As humans, we feel the necessity to move—that is, from one point of our lives to the next. We cannot remain stagnant for we do not live in a world of constancy. What we know now may not be enough in the future, regardless of how intelligent we think we already are. Our comfort zones now may not be comfortable anymore come a couple of years. What makes us happy today may not be the same as what will make us happy tomorrow. We need to go out there, take risks, and grow.
I remember watching a couple of episodes of the documentary “The Great Migrations.” It is amazing how different species travel hundreds of miles to breed, to find food, and ultimately to survive. But after all the efforts these animals exert, still a great number of them don’t make it through. As the narrator said in the documentary, “the strongest instinct of all is the instinct to survive. But to survive, creatures must move or die.”
I have seen crabs travel miles just to lay their eggs on a particular shore, only to be eaten by ants on their way. I have seen wildebeests cross rivers, only to be devoured by crocodiles. The migration can either prolong their life or end it. Regardless, they still cross continents; they still risk their lives for a bigger chance to survive.
I guess the same is true with us humans. We also need to move in order to survive. But the thing is, our concept of survival does not only mean existence. Our friend Abraham Maslow said that our needs go beyond mere food, water and shelter. We are in search of self-actualization. And for us, to survive is to succeed; to attain self-actualization is to live. While we all have different views of success, we agree that it should be the ultimate end of our lives. It must be. Because if not, then why do we keep on pushing ourselves when we can just sit back and relax? Yes, to sit back and relax—that sounds much easier than to work our asses off. But then again, that does not keep our heads above the water. Short-term comfort is overrated. No matter how difficult it is to stray beyond the borders of our comfort zones, we need to constantly strive. We risk what we already have in search of a more meaningful existence, for a chance at becoming bigger than our current selves.
I feel like I am one of the animals currently on the move to “survive.” I am one of those first-timers whose knees wobble at the sight of a predator and whose endurance is being tested a hundred times over. Every step takes me closer to my destination, but at the same time, it leaves me farther from what was once home. Suffice to say, we kind of die a little every time we move to another chapter in our lives. The death I am referring to may not be as brutal as the ones I’ve seen in the documentary, but I believe it is just as painful.
It’s never easy to leave behind something or someone we treasure dearly. Maybe that is why animals migrate in herds, so that even if they are moving away, they take something of home with them—one another. (Well, that is apart from the fact that there is strength in numbers.) As for me, I have faithful friends and a loving family I can turn to when things get tougher than they already are. They keep me safe, they give me strength, and, most importantly (I think), they keep me sane. These people will never let me fall behind the pack. They are the ones who make sure that I will make it through this long, tiring trip.
The end of every migration is success for those who endured the sufferings and complications brought about by the thousand-mile journey. They have gained another chance at life. For us humans, the end of our journey will always be death, but we have the choice and the capabilities to die happy. And so, regardless of the pain we have to deal with or the path we have to take, we should always keep ourselves moving. Let us not be afraid of taking bolder steps and making changes, especially if we know it is a means to attain our goals. But, it is also important not to lose sight of what is right, or else we’ll get lost and maybe even die a meaningless death.
As I write this last paragraph, I am taking another step forward. Life is, after all, a great big move and I cannot afford to make delays. I look forward to bumping into you somewhere, somehow. But until then, I’ll be putting one foot before the other. And so should you. Go and be bigger than yourself.
Lia Czarina T. Rivero, 19, is a graduate of the University of Santo Tomas where she was editor in chief of her college’s publication. She is now on the move to becoming a certified public accountant.