It was around January 10th in 49BC that Julius Caesar, then just a general in the Roman army, led his legion of Roman soldiers across the Rubicon River and into Italy from then-Cisalpine Gaul. Caesar was on a mission: to centralize government and authority away from the Roman Senate and establish an empire under his rule. He knew that entering Italy without disbanding his army was an immediate and irreversible act of war, and that he and all those under his command would be declared enemies of the state. There would be no turning back. It was this sense of firm resolution and unwavering purpose that turned him into a hero in the eyes of Roman citizens even as he marched towards their capital intent on taking over by any means possible. He had no sooner appeared on the banks of the river before he issued the order to cross. With little hesitation and swift action he caught the Roman Senate off-guard and many of them fled Rome in fear.
It was here that Caesar supposedly uttered the now-famous phrase ‘alea iacta est’ or in English ‘the die has been cast’. To this day both phrases, Latin and English, and even the act itself, ‘crossing the Rubicon’ have held the connotation of ‘passing the point of no return’.
Look, I get it, and I’m not exactly proud of myself for biting the bait, but WordPress has been pretty damn ‘hit you over the head’ with its deliberate word choices for the New Year. Gone, crossing, clearly they want us in some reflective mood. Well fine, you win. I’ll bite, it’s just too damn juicy to pass up.
We all have our Rubicons to cross. Some decisions are too important, too significant, to chip away at little by little. There are times when we must gather the courage and the resoluteness of will to ‘cross the point of no return’ and force ourselves to face the results of our actions. We all now stand at the shores of these rivers. They lead to many places and their currents and depths are all different. Some we will ford with little to no trouble, others will batter us to the ground and wear at our legs and soak us to the bones. At the end of the year we look back and reflect, appreciate our accomplishments, lament our defeats, lick our wounds and move on. We reflect and think of what we’ve done, what we could’ve done, and what we haven’t done. But now it is the new year so we look forward. We think of all the obstacles we anticipate meeting along the way. I don’t know what it will be for you.
I know for me, as I’ve mentioned, I will be facing a lot of relationships with new light. I will be closing a chapter of a past relationship and moving on. I will be working on redefining the relationship I have with my friends. My family. As I also approach my second year in this company (first in this current position) I will be faced with the decision of what I want to do professionally. I want to look and feel and think at my very best.
I think when it comes to me, my biggest problem is resolve. I’ve become hyper-acutely aware of all these areas of my life that I could be working on. It was easier in the past to distract myself with friends and with new relationships, but because I’ve been giving myself this time and opportunity every day to just sit down with my thoughts and see them written out, I’ve come to realize how much I get to very excitedly work on over this year. So great, I’ve been granted this new level of self-awareness. I see all the paths of life I’ve maybe not seen or not really considered before. I’m at the shore but I don’t have that push, that wall closing in behind me, to get me to cross.
Some things will need a bit of a softer, more subtle hand. I can’t just present myself to my friends like ‘be deep or get left behind!’ I can gradually shift more responsibility and accountability on them, while letting myself gradually explore new interests and passions with other people and giving myself more time to either myself or to new groups.
But I wonder what, if any, and where, and when, I’ll find myself at that moment of ‘now or never’. Crossing the Rubicon isn’t about waiting for the right time or the right moment. It’s about having the resolution and force of will to put yourself in a position where there is no choice but to move forward and pursue. When Caesar crossed the Rubicon he was declared a traitor and an enemy. Had he stumbled or wavered, his enemies would have seen weakness, organized, attacked, and overwhelmed him. But because he never stopped once he crossed, his enemies fled.
I got a lot of hopes and plans for this year. I don’t know how many of them I’ll be able to achieve but I know it’ll be none if I can’t work on the resolution to not only see things to the end but to commit to beginning. Less thought, more action seems like a death sentence for a writer. But I’d rather write to you with a story of a great experience than with predictions and plans. Hey I you know, did things in 2016. I got my feet wet. I went out and did me. But now…I want to know what it feels like to have water up to your chest.
Man: 149 Loneliness: 31