“All cowardice comes from not truly loving, or at least, not loving well.” —Ernest Hemingway’s character in the film Midnight in Paris
UPDATED 11/26/21: Upon watching the film Midnight in Paris in 2011, the above quote was spoken by the character playing Ernest Hemingway. As I have been currently wrestling with a few ways I can take risks in my own life, it was after receiving an email from a long-time TSLL reader this week sharing her daring to take a risk she would have never thought possible, but upon doing thoroughly glad she made the decision to do so that my own courage took a deep breath and acknowledged it was time to be brave.
As to the hand-written quote seen in the pic, I wrote this message to myself during the first year I began living in Bend, Oregon (2015), and I have held onto the thought ever since. If my life is any evidence in anyway that this quote holds truth, and I dare say it is, I encourage you to consider honoring your ‘fairy tale’. It does want to come true. Now find the courage to let it come forth.
I share this post from the archives with the words I wrote in 2011, but their sentiments still ring true today, and I continue to step bravely forward.
Original Post below:
At one point in the film when Owen Wilson’s twenty-first century character is taken back to Paris of the 1920’s, he has a conversation with Ernest Hemingway, and Hemingway is quoted stating today’s point of inspiration shared above. Needless to say, I pondered this quote (and its source) the rest of the evening. What does it mean? Is there truth to be found? yada yada yada. (My mind, as my family and friends can attest to, never shuts off.)
After much contemplation, I began to examine my own life and assess those instances when I took risks. Substantial risks, or at least at the time, a risk that felt very substantial based on my circumstances. And I have to say, based on my own experiences, the decisions I have made that were risky and in hindsight cause the question, what was I thinking? to echo like a chorus, were also the decisions that reflected what I was passionate about, unabashedly so, and unapologetically so.
As each of us grows older, we may find that we are less willing to take risks, to put all that we have worked so hard for on the line. Think about it for a moment. Most people become more protective as they advance in life of their assets, relationships and other vital aspects of their lives because they are better able to be grateful for the fortunate they have, appreciate the time and effort that went into creating what they now have, etc.
The opposite can be very telling as well. If after a handful of decades on this planet, one is willing to take a leap, a risk that will alter all that they have worked for, there are two reasons that allow this to happen: one, they are not happy with how their lives have unfolded in some or all its details; or two, what they want now is something they are even more passionate about which can be very exhilarating.
True passion, whether it be for a person or a dream you hold for yourself, is something that you will cast aside fear to attain if you truly, truly love it.
While Hemingway (and Woody Allen for that matter most certainly) have their naysayers and disqualifiers, they pose an intriguing question that holds quite a bit of truth. Today’s quote is something to think about.
What or who do you love? What is most important to you? Others’ opinions, or achieving your dreams? What you pursue in life, how you live your life, reveals so much about your inner strength or lack thereof.
However, the good news for everybody is that this inner strength that sometimes seems so elusive, is within reach for all of us. How, you may ask? First, get to know yourself, then discover what you are passionate about and then, figure out a way to incorporate it into your life. You can do it. You can cast aside your fears if you want it badly enough. Hold fast to your courage and bravely step forward. I am.