Wisdom is not free; pain is the toll.

‘Wisdom is not free; pain is the toll.’

That moment, when you hear something like this, you nod your head in understanding, admitting the knowledge behind the quip. It’s not until you undertake a truly painful experience, a series of events which seems as though it’s trying to sweep your legs out from under you, drag you down into the abyss and destroy every semblance of whatever it was you thought you could be, or whatever you believed you had going for yourself, that you truly, truly understand exactly what that phrase means; you understand where that person was, what they were thinking as they ascended from the fog, eyes and heart open and willing, that you really find meaning in such simple words. I am no exception to this, despite my inflated ego and sense of self worth. As I descended into the miasma that is depression, only to ascend into a less viscous form of the miasma that is loss and grief and regret, I thought I was done. I thoughtthere was no rebuilding who I once was, that there was no going back to what was once so great. It was within this horrendous existence that I had an epiphany, a moment of clarity from deep down, submerged in my own regret and sorrow: There’s always more.

As though a ray of sun from the light of the morning pierced the clouds and shined upon me, I found not only the strength, but the courage and mental fortitude to just…let it go. Here I stand, looking about incredulously, thinking to myself ‘but wait, I thought there was more than this…’, wondering when the kicker is going to enact its merciless onslaught of devastating emotional trauma, when I’m going to wake up on day screaming, tears streaming down my face as the sorrow overtakes me.

Yet that day has not come, and I honestly feel as though that day will not come. The pain has subsided, the desperate grasping for what once was, the clutching at the air trying to grab on to any semblance of a life previously lived, and I am left with not only a sense of clarity, but a sense of elation, akin to the feeling of a spontaneous action.

It’s at this moment I know, that the rest of my life has begun, and that there is oh so much more to be had, this revelation almost shaming in the fact that I could actually once believe that there was truly nothing left. It’s this moment that will usher in the new life, and in this moment I will live for all that I want; I will live selfishly but not greedily; I will live reserved but not cutoff; I will live freely but not dangerously.

It is at this moment that I am free to do anything, yet I have not lost everything.

Wisdom comes at a price, but if you cannot move past the pain paid in penance, to persevere through the perpetual pain, you cannot live as you wish; you cannot love as you wish, and you can never, ever truly be free.

Written by Alex Blunck


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