Our future is up to us
Does the walker choose the path, or the path the walker?
— Garth Nix, Sabriel
I took some time away from my work recently, for two reasons: the first is because I reached a point where I needed to take time away from everything. I spent the past two weeks in Jamaica to see my family and reflect. I also took two weeks before that to revisit my centre that felt caged and unexplored. The second reason is I needed to realise how much my future, my work, and the path I take is up to me, and me only.
While I was away, I watched Enola Holmes for the first time. I've always been a fan of Sherlock-based franchises—the deeply-rooted intuition and desire for solving complex crimes through deduction is what hooks me the most. Being deeply intuitive and able to understand important things quicker is a challenge I love.
At the end of the film, Enola shared the line "the future is up to us". Perhaps cliché. But it’s something we spend our lives struggling to take command of. Here’s why this message is everything.
I think the best thing you can do for yourself is to decide which path you’re going to take. There are only two: our own path, or the path others tell us to walk. A part of me tends to feel like it’s wrong to take so much time off—but then it begs the question: who's deciding on my path? Me, or other people?
Many people spend all their time trying to fit into the world around them, in a way that means they lose their shape trying to fit in elsewhere. And no matter how hard they try, they’ll never be comfortable.
To change your world is to be vocal about the things you’re passionate about, as Enola also said. While it can seem like people in today’s world are crudely self-absorbed, this generation has an abundance of very open-minded people. New thinkers. More people are accepting of new things and find it easier to do so. It’s getting easier to meet new people, online or offline, to learn more about the world, to avoid sitting there and being quiet like we were once told to. It’s a start to learning how to walk your path.
For some time, Enola’s message can serve us very well. But there’s a need to be continually reminded of the point that is very important: no one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. If there’s something you want to achieve, a path you want to take—nobody will move you along.
When it feels like nothing is going your way, when nobody is giving you what you want, you must ask yourself this when questioning why this seems the case. Otherwise, it can consume a lot of time, a lot of brain space.
Don’t let your thoughts limit the ways in which you can explore the world in your way. If you’re especially curious and experimental at heart, let yourself experiment rigorously, not limited by the fear of failure.
And I know, there’s one thing I can’t ignore: to continuously walk the path you want, you need safety. Safety will free you. It’ll help you walk the tightrope of life without looking down or back, with a little less worry. It’ll drive you to help yourself and others meet the right needs.
The best way for you to learn and attain safety is to find someone or something that exemplifies it for you. While nothing is permanent, life is long, and you have all the time to know what safety feels like. Because after then, you can understand what your art is and create it.