Defending Your Life: I Hope I Can Be Brave

Did you ever see that movie Defending Your Life?

I know, you’re like “where did a 1990’s baby pull that one out of?”

But growing up, this was one of my favorite movies. Back when I was a kid I loved it because it depicted a world where you could eat anything (everything) in excess–and never feel sick or get fat. Just endless sushi and omelets and everything was delicious. (As a kid who later in life developed a whole index of food intolerances this was a particularly moving sentiment.)

Meryl Streep demonstrates this phenomena

Meryl Streep demonstrates this phenomena with an endless piece of pasta.

That’s still one of my favorite parts–but as an adult, I love this movie because I think it says a lot about your life. If you haven’t seen it–here’s the IMDB summary:

In an afterlife resembling the present-day US, people must prove their worth by showing in court how they have demonstrated courage.

Which is pretty vanilla considering the grandeur they show in recounting each character’s life. They talk about the moments in their lives that were defining–decisions they made and why they made them. They didn’t judge how smart you were, how much money you made, how many kids you had or what kind of job you took. The key to moving on to somewhere better? The strength of character to have overcome fear.

The fear of running into a burning building to save your cat–and the fear of asking for even more than you think you deserve during a job interview. Wherever there were moments in your life where you let fear get in the way of what would make you fulfilled and happy–that is what they brought to trial.

And I really think that’s what’s waiting at the end of my life. Whether or not it’s in an actual celestial courtroom (although I GUARANTEE there will be actual celestial sushi buffets) I think there will be a factor to the worthiness of my life based on how much fear I overcame.

I say this because the older I get the more things I realize I’m afraid of. The older I get the more things I realize that I will HAVE to overcome in order to live a good life, be accountable for the people I love, and most importantly to like myself.

I want to know that there were moments in my life where I was meant to stand up for myself–and I did. I want to know that there were days I probably shouldn’t have gotten out of bed–but I got up, put in my contacts and did it all anyways. I want to know that I allowed myself the opportunities to have a bigger, crazier, more celebratory life–even though I feared all of the challenges that it brought with it.

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It’s something that’s always in the back of my head now: if I were defending this moment in my life–could I truthfully say that this was a moment where I chose to be brave?

What are you not letting fear take away from you today?

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