The Captain and Author

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeoning of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

— “Invictus” by  William Ernest Henley

white and black sail boat on ocean
Photo by Mikes Photos on


Living a life is sometimes a tricky business. You already know a lot about it when problems occurs to others; but you tend to “lose it” when it comes to your town problems.

The lesson I learnt today is we do have a choice.

It’s fun sometimes to play the victim. Many do that, often. We overestimate the power of all the things and people around us, but underestimate ourselves.

Last night, I had a drink with my good friend Diane. She has been suffering from a breakup of a ten-year relationship. She lost 10 kg within 3 months, because she couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep for almost 2 months after it happened.

Of course, as how everyone gets over a breakup, she got better. Sadness comes from time to time, but she feels free now. “I haven’t felt this free and… light for a long time. Too long.” she said.

Diane is a girl of the romantic. She has a soul for art and a wish for helping the less fortunate in the world. After a Gin&Tonic, she said to me: “I believe that the universe has purpose for everyone. I just need to find mine. When the road doesn’t feel right, it is the wrong road to be on.”

“But we all have our choice on this.” She said, “we can choose how the universe wants us to live, to achieve our own purposes. Or we can ignore it, living in the feeling of wrongness for the rest of the road.”

And never get to where we are supposed to go.

It’s just like Henley wrote in his poem. If there is fate, then I’m my own captain.

Thinking about what our purpose assigned by the universe is — for me, this is living consciously.

woman wearing white tank top seating on boat
Photo by Oleksandr Pidvalnyi on

I believe, that we are actually not as smart as we think. People can be tricked into wanting something which they did not wish for.

I believe, we are what we believe we are.

Living a life is like telling ourselves a story. As authors, we already have a vision of how the story should go. But when the plot goes on, we start to have different expectations on how the story line is supposed to follow. That influences how the story as a whole turns out in the end, and of course, it also affects our “ending”.

Our envisioned story for ourselves, is “the assigned purpose from the universe”.

Maybe everything that happens to everyone on this planet — billions of different story lines — is a composition of a grand novel by somebody else. For better or worse, useful or pointless, we should be a satisfying lead role in our own story. A lead role will experience ups and downs, fulfillment and disappointment, comedy and tragedy. I only wish: mine, will be a good read.


“I chose the suffering that I am going through.” said Diane. “It brings me to another direction. I chose the direction. I don’t know where it leads to… not to perfection or anything like that. Happy ending is not what I wish for. But I will keep myself and the loved ones around me happy.”

We don’t know when our stories are going to end. Maybe in tens of years, maybe next month, maybe later today. But let’s just try to have as little regrets as possible when that moment comes.


30 Days Writing Challenge – Day 8



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