Survival is Underrated

“There’s a lot to be said for surviving.” —Anonymous

‘Muddy Clouds’ by Ana

In my early 20’s, I was going through a rough patch. I had moved to a new town to start a new life. A high school dropout with no goals or aspirations, I was awkward, antisocial, and broke. In spite of my better judgement, I got into a relationship with a person who I knew was unstable and volatile. Predictably, nearly a year later, I was alone and heartbroken, unable to see past my own misery and pain.

For a several months, I spent my spare time in an empty apartment, wallowing in my own isolated misery, reading existentialist philosophy and listening to gothic-industrial music. It seemed at the time like my life was over before it had even begun. In my mind, this is how I would spend the rest of my days, working menial jobs, barely getting by, depressed, and alone.

In the year or so prior to this low point, I did manage to meet a few very good people, folks I could trust and rely on, several of whom I still count as friends more than twenty years later. One of these people was and continues to be a trusted advisor, a mentor to me, someone who understood where I had come from and who helped me to start over. He knew what I was going through and had listened to me whine and moan about it for quite a while. Finally, he looked at me and said something that I carry with me to this day when I am struggling or feeling down.

He said, “Survival is underrated. There’s a lot to be said for surviving. You’re fortunate to have made it this far.”

“As in life, so too it is in budo. As in budo, so too it is in life.”

-Robert Van Valkenburgh is co-founder of Taikyoku Mind & Body, Severna Park’s Holistic Chamber of Commerce, and Kogen Dojo where he teaches Taikyoku Budo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

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