The thing about babies is that they are ridiculously fragile-looking. It seems like if you accidentally touch them with more weight than a feather, they will simply collapse.
The other thing about babies is that they are ridiculously strong.
Take my niece, for example. Yesterday she was born with the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck. She was blue. Yet 9 hours later when I saw her for the first time, she was perfect.
Think about that for a second. This baby entered the world strangled. But her resilience allowed her to emerge completely unscathed, her delayed first breath causing no terrible side effects, aside from her father freaking out for a minute. Her tiny fingers and nose and toes that look as though you could break them off with a breath are actually miniature versions of the toes and nose and fingers she will later jump off a diving board with, inhale the air before a storm with, and grip a pencil with (or okay, type on an iPad with). They’re little, but they’re powerful.
Before my niece even leaves the hospital, before she has a chance to learn about the ways of the world, before she knows what it means to overcome adversity, she has already taught everyone around her how to live. She has reminded us that we all start out on the one hand as naive, helpless creatures, but on the other, as beautiful, purposeful survivors.
Somewhere along the way, some of us lose that natural instinct to fight for our lives. We let opportunities pass us by, or we give up on our dreams. We simply forget how to try. But it’s never too late to get back on track.
My 1-day-old niece is the expert on this, but since she can’t talk yet, I’ll say it for her: If I can get through being choked on my way into this world, you can do whatever it is you want to do that seems too hard or too scary. I know what I’m talking about because I just did it yesterday. Here’s the secret: take a deep breath and start living.