Though I sincerely hope to be many, many years from my death, I imagine that when my day approaches I will look back on my life and not regret trying too hard at damn near anything. In other words, don’t be afraid to fight, really hard… 100%.
I don’t mean fight like the bouncer at some underage bar that beats the hell out of drunk college athletes every weekend. And certainly don’t be the guy that starts the fights with those bouncers because someone grabbed your girlfriend’s ass. (Trust me, you don’t want to do that, and she doesn’t want you to either. You will not be Patrick Swayze in Roadhouse, rippin’ throats out to rock-a-billy music while legs part for you at the bar. You’ll be the asshole spilling my drink, that’s it.)
What I mean is, when you find something worth fighting for, fight. Your family, a great job, a worthy cause, a true love… whatever. I’m not saying it’s going to work out, and I understand that “go for it” is really banal advice. Who doesn’t say that? But I think this idea is so common and unoriginal because many of us, your author included, regret punking out of worthy endeavors in the past and desire quite sincerely to not do it again. Looking back and wondering “what if” almost always feels worse than losing.
There are many things we cannot control (see #3), but when you find one worth the trouble, why not try? People (and lady luck) can do all kinds of terrible things to you, but giving up or forging ahead will always be your call. Have you really given everything? Are you literally exhausted? Probably not. Once you’ve fought so hard that you can truly answer yes, the outcome doesn’t matter that much anymore. By then, all that’s really left is the calm after the storm, and the pride of knowing you gave everything. Some people go their whole lives without really feeling that, which is a real shame. So fuck it pal, fight — tooth and nail.
© 2012, Ian Mathias