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Breaking bad is one of my favourite TV series, for the most part because of how relatable I found Walter White.
It’s scary to say, but I see him as an older version of myself. A man with so much wasted potential, living a life where he never really seemed to have a say in any of it.
For many of us, we too live lives characterised by fear. Fear that holds us captive, shrinks our perspective, and robs us of our potential.
Looming over us constantly, like a flickering fluorescent bulb above our weary heads.
A constant feeling of having had, and lost, something limitless.
We work day in and day out in jobs we dislike, surrounded by people we don’t respect, in order to fulfil a vision that we never intended. Each and every day selling a piece of ourselves until one day — there’s nothing left but an arid remnant of our former selves.
All the while, we are rewarded by money: a remuneration given in exchange for our forfeited passions and dreams, which sadly, will never come close to repaying its debt.
It’s a situation that so many of us are all too familiar with, and if you’re anything like me, all to fearful to resolve.
I have no idea what it’s like to be dead — funny as that may sound. Pearly white gates? An eternal blackness? Who knows.
But like you, I do have a good idea of what it’s like to live dead.
Dead to your dreams, dead to your potential, dead to your true purpose in life.
Empty. Shell like.
Death is so confronting. It hits you, like a sack of bricks:
“Smack!”. “Bang!”. In the face.
It saddens you. And to your very core, you can’t help but be moved.
Yet, what’s even more sad and frightening than the reality of death itself, is that it’s happening all around us every single day, and too often we fail to recognise it — within others, and most importantly, within ourselves.
At this very moment, people are dying small deaths all around us: that bright, attractive young girl who took a job at an investment bank instead of following her dreams in music — death. That middle aged man in a 15-year-long loveless relationship, too afraid to say more then “hello” to the attractive young receptionist who smiles at him every morning as he walks to his desk — death. That loyal friend who you turned down in favour of working back late on an important project — death.
Every day, we sell our life and our potential down the drain through fear. Living our lives on autopilot. Tying a noose by our own safety cord.
When a sick person jumps off a building we are horrified and saddened — and rightly so. Yet, when we settle for the safe and easy option in our career/relationship/dreams/aspirations, we are congratulated: we shake hands, get a pat on the back and are wished well — “You just died. Congratulations.”
I know what it feels like to be alive. Not just to exist and take up space either. I mean to really feel alive. And I know you do too.
So. What does living mean to you?
For me, it’s to be lost in an amazingly crafted piece of electronic music, or to feel a rush while jogging through the cool evening breeze, and especially to feel that amazing feeling of ‘state’ after a night out partying and interacting with amazing, positive friends.
That shit’s amazing. And I want more of it. Not just for me, but for all of you in 2014. I really, truly mean that.
At the risk of sounding like some sort of contrived self-help guru, I came to a few realisations this past year. While I realise these may sound rich coming from a 20-something year old, they are principles I feel profoundly about, that I truly believe in. And age or experience is no consideration when it comes to matters of the heart.
I was going to list my ‘top 10 ways’ to overcome fear in your life — but fuck that, what the hell do I know? Who am I to pretend like I have a fucking clue what it takes to overcome the fears in your life.
But I feel you, I do know what it’s like. And I have hope that you can turn your life around.
I believe in you.
So what are you waiting for:
“Get up, get out in the real world and you kick that bastard as hard as you can — right in the teeth.”— Walter White, Breaking Bad