My life’s gained quite a bit of overall activity as of late, and in the midst of all this activity I’m reminded of an Ernest Hemingway quote that I’ve loved for a very long time, which is that we must “Never confuse movement with action.”
Hemingway was famous for having a very active lifestyle. He traveled all over the globe. He reported on the Spanish Civil War. He went on safari in Africa. He interacted with countless lives, had countless adventures, basically any words I write can only bring forth bland images of his vibrant life well-lived. I could only dream of living quite so active a life, but I’m sure some people out there will be blessed enough to live just as fully as Hemingway did.
I’ve done my best to stay in a state of doing in my life, I just try to stay moving as much as I can. But there are moments where I feel this strong impulse to take a step back, take a deep breath, and remind myself that anything I do should be for a productive purpose. That I shouldn’t just be doing things for the sake of doing things. For the sake of established habit. I should be taking actions for the sake of improving myself as an individual, and doing what I can to improve upon those actions to optimize their benefit.
But there are sudden moments where I find myself wondering if it’s all futility. If I’m just Sisyphus pushing a rock up a hill, and that life is just a strange punishment for some original sin of existing. Some joke of a Higher Power on us all.
I’ve been in a state of constant happy movement, but I had a weird, sleepy, semi-objective look at my life today while I was waking up. A rampage of questions bombarded my groggy mind. Am I taking the steps I need to take with my life? Is this a place from which I can springboard into something more? Will things shift? I feel okay about the trajectory brought on by my life’s more recent actions, but in my more introspective moments, questions like that haunt me. I’m sure they haunt most of us, but maybe it’s just me. I hope it’s just me. I’d wish that type of sudden hesitation on no one.
I’m not advocating second-guessing every other step you take in life, nobody can live like that. He who hesitates plays a dangerous game. But I do think it’s best, in the midst of heightened movement in life, to occasionally take a step back and try to ask yourself hard questions about your actions. To see where you’re going to make sure you’re moving in a good direction.
But when you know you’re doing what you need to do in your life, and you’re taking productive actions that bring you forward, and that state of action brings you joy, there’s only one real option from that point onward.
Push harder every damn day.