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This Day Comes When You’re Standing At the Photocopier

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Posted By Christine Foley


There is a day in the life of most people which, although momentous, passes unmarked and uncelebrated. In fact, this day comes when you’re listening to the news on the car radio on the school run or standing at the photocopier.

You may be at the doctor’s surgery or standing by the freezers in Morrison’s on this day. The thing that is so sad about this day is that you will not even know that you are living it or that your life has been building up to it for the past few years.

This day will happen to you silently

And when you go to bed at the end of it you will not even know that one stage of your life has definitely ended and another, much longer stage has just begun.

I can’t tell you when this day will dawn in your life- it may be today for you, or years into your future. You may be coming up to it this week, or maybe it came and went last week when you were watching the TV with your cat on your lap.

These days are incognito

No one speaks of them or can identify them. As far as I know, there has not been any research done into them, and no one has attempted to measure the time in people’s lives when these days arrive- so no one can prepare.

Yet still, they come; leaving behind a still pool of sadness and loss that we all accept as simply a rite of passage in life’s journey: an inevitability, a mark of maturity.

Perhaps you have already guessed what day I am writing about. 

There are some people for whom this day did not pass unnoticed but actually passed with such a massive hammer blow to their hearts that they are able to recall every last detail. These people may tell their story with tears in their eyes and you may have been forced to listen to it a few times over.

If you haven’t already guessed what I am writing about, I will tell you now. I am talking about the day when people give up on their dreams and subsequently just exist.

How many people do you know who are living exactly like that?

This is a condition that human nature accepts as being a sorrowful component of old age: a life now lived looking forever backward.

But the question I have for you is this: when does that stage actually begin- when we just give up, when we say that it’s too late to do what we dreamed about?

Do we give up too easily?

Are we actually taught to give up too easily? Are we all too quick to say: “ It’ll never work.” Are we all just too quick to tell each other that we are just not cut out for greatness? To judge that for some reason we don’t deserve to be truly happy because that’s just not the human condition?

Who doesn’t live with regret of some sort?

A dream dissolved, a skill neglected instead of nurtured? Ask nearly anyone and they’ll tell you what they thought their life was going to be, and it was always so very much more fulfilling than how it turned out.

Sometimes it’s due to circumstances: war, poverty, illness. However, so often it seems to be just down to nothing in particular: just giving up. Deserting a dream because it didn’t seem to be strong enough to sustain the hard days when no one else would believe it could come true.

I don’t think that there is a way of measuring this pain

Or of even knowing where and when exactly it settles in our hearts and makes itself a part of what we are. It is certainly corrosive, as it eats away at our strengths, talents, and powers and turns them to dust; so easily blown away.

What we actually believed was possible

If you ask most people what their dreams were when they were younger they will probably tell you with a strained smile on their faces, as though it is funny to think of it now- what they had actually believed to be possible.

I would like to give you a challenge

And as for you- I’d like to give you a challenge. Of course, you can ignore it entirely if you wish, and scroll on to your future as we all do, day by day.

The fulcrum of disappointment

But what I want to ask you is this: whereabouts are you in your life? Have you reached or passed the fulcrum of disappointment, or are you able to still grasp your dream and mould it into reality before it disappears?

Because, believe me, if it is left or neglected for too long a dream loses its value and substance and disappears quietly into your past. It becomes a thing of sadness and loss rather than beauty and happiness.

Nurture it, feed it and give it strength- build it and believe it.

Don’t listen to the people who tell you that it is impossible, or that you are too old. Instead, educate and skill yourself, arm yourself with what you know in order to fight and win the battles ahead.

In that way, you will find the life you were designed to live, rather than the one you have settled for.

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