Last night a friend of mine posted a link to this video on Facebook. It was about 1am and I couldn’t sleep. I thought I’d watch the video, turn everything off and then go to sleep.
Suffice to say, I watched the video, cried, and then couldn’t sleep. I’m excessively emotional these days. Sam Berns sadly died just a few days ago, just 17 years old, but that’s not why I was emotional. What struck me was his uplifting positivity and perseverance.
Those of us lucky enough to live in relatively wealthy and developed countries are privy to a very safe, comfortable lifestyle. We are rarely hungry or thirsty, we have warm beds to sleep in, stylish clothes, and if we have a headache, we can take one of any number of painkillers to get rid of whatever is challenging us. We face so few real challenges that when something difficult does come into our lives, we flail about in panic, wondering how on earth we will cope.
The human body is extraordinarily resilient. Even with Progeria, Sam’s body endured 17 happy years and allowed him to achieve some of his ambitions. Whilst he may appear slender and fragile, his skull protected his brain through the years to produce this intelligent, thoughtful and inspiring young man, who wants to show other people how to be happy. It’s ironic that we so often look up to people who appear to have ‘difficult’ lives for advice on how to be more content with our own. Sam is firm on the point that he has a very happy life. Is that despite the challenges he lives with? Or do the hurdles give him perspective on what is important in life? Maybe we would thrive a little more with a few more sticky situations to battle through.
I loved him most of all for his words on pushing forwards. I am often guilty of lingering over the past, or dragging it along with me, or looking back at it and sighing. Challenge can stall us in life, surround us and make us come to a standstill, as if we can do nothing until the challenge has somehow disappeared again. Sam encourages us to push forward, move on through it all, to not be embodied by the obstacles in our lives.
I’m adding it to my resolutions for the year. I’m going forwards this year, not back.