Gravity works well and at all times, but a child has to test it by jumping off a tree and breaking an arm or two. I was never that child. I was one of the safe ones—the scared ones. But I did my share of testing for all things told to me. Even in our fear, most of us were brave. There were many ways to be brave. Some played and climbed and jumped off trees; some stood up for other people despite the cost they had to pay; some gave their hearts away without an afterthought about the consequences. They told me people were unreliable. Scared as I was, I trusted people anyway—more than most could fathom. The jury’s still out on it. I’m waiting to prove them wrong. There’s a sort of bravery in jumping off a tree, knowing too well you will fall down. It is still brave to want to fly. It is brave to check things you are told to be true.
There is bravery in going forward with all your dreams stuffed into a tiny box with a misspelt label, taped, tucked under the table or in an attic. There is courage in packing them up in the first place. All people will do this at some point: they will find an old box, the cardboard breaking off the sides a little, and dump their dreams into it. No, not because it is not in them to achieve those dreams, but because they understand how you cannot always get what you want, that it is no reason to lament or struggle over, but a part of this thing we called life. It was a noble pursuit, even a heroic pursuit, to chase after your dreams, but it was gracious to understand when to stop chasing.
As brave as wanting to fly is, at some point, we must realise when our body is too bent, too broken, and there is only enough healing our legs can manage. There is happiness in cutting those old plasters down, in throwing them away so we can walk forward for once. There is only so much we can verify for ourselves; we should sometimes take the world at its word, pack our questions into boxes, and keep them somewhere, forgetting them altogether.
I grew up in a house with many boxes stacked over one another, the cardboard towers touching the sky blue ceiling. I wondered for years what was in them. I stopped when I noticed we still laughed.