The Barbarian Book Club: Book of the Month (October 2020): The Alchemist – Paolo Coelho

Greetings Barbarians! Long days and pleasant nights!

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Have you ever read a book that completely changed your life? Is there a book that touched your deepest core that you decided to live through its pages? Would it be a sin to live through its magic?

It’s no secret how much I love Coelho’s The Alchemist, it is my all-time favorite book after all.

Would it surprise you to find out that I never watch an episode of Game of Thrones? Yes, I belong to the small group of people who, despite its popularity, never watched an episode of GOT.

I’m the kind of person who never follows the hype, and never cracks under peer pressure. I’ve always been like this, I was never good at following orders. I pave my path and get lost rather than follow a path set by others. Maybe that is why I don’t have any luck and everything seems so difficult right now.

When I first heard the hype around The Alchemist, my initial reaction was of contempt. I’m often skeptical about hype but this is one of those rare instances where the hype is justified. I’m dumbfounded how something that I despise became my favorite book of all time.

It was during the darkest moment in my life, my ex-wife left, I was going through therapy. I was doing my best to maintain any semblance of normality and hold on to life. It was then when I read somewhere online that The Alchemist is a great book for those suffering from trauma.

By the way, shoutout to Carla for giving me her copy of the book. I owe a lot to you, you are a great friend.

The book is very popular so I won’t be doing a review. I revere the book so much that my review can’t give it any justice. So instead, I will write about the significant impact of the book in my life and hope that I don’t mess it up. With everything that is going on right now, it would be a great idea to reconnect with the book. To look back and see why I took this journey in the first place.

“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

Ah, the line that started it all. For so long, I live life with no purpose nor aspiration. I go on living life rebounding from one situation to another. I never dreamed of anything for myself. In one of the darkest days of my life, I told my daughter to never follow in my footsteps. I told her not to be like me and that she should follow her dreams. To which she replied, “Why didn’t you follow yours?”.

“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”

Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

I could give a dozen reasons why I didn’t but it will all sound like excuses because deep in my heart, I know it is an excuse. Because there is no reason why one shouldn’t follow their dreams. Any reason we make is nothing but an excuse because we are afraid of failing.

“Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure.”

Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

I dream of being a writer, I dream of publishing a book. I want to be renowned for my outlook on life and for other people to value my opinion. Does that mean I see myself as someone special? A resounding no, but I do dream of finally stepping out from the shadows and into the light.

“The secret of life, though, is to fall seven times and to get up eight times.”

Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

Despite not making any money at all and about to lose our house, I continue to write. There are days where I am failing, yet I continue to press on. The life of a writer or blogger ain’t glamorous as they appear and it ain’t getting any easier. I have more misses and a few hits, there are days where I struggle to write anything. Yet for some reason, I don’t like missing a post, because despite how hard things get, this is my dream.

“Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.”

Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

I have encountered people, both online and offline, telling me how to live my life. There are countless times where I have been told what I can and can’t do, and I have been called many things.

“It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.”

Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

Yet, I press on because this is my dream. No matter how tough it gets, someday, I will look back and tell myself, “I made it”. I can make it, I can get to my dreams if I don’t quit.

“When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.”

Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

Because despite not being special, I love my life and everyone in it. I want to be better for myself and everything I love. I want to be a better person for my daughter, my friends, my family, and myself.

“Because true love never keeps a man from pursuing his destiny”

Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

Because true love means loving for yourself and following your dreams.

“I weep for Narcissus, but I never noticed that Narcissus was beautiful. I weep because, each time he knelt beside my banks, I could see, in the depths of his eyes, my own beauty reflected.”

Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

After all, how we love ourselves is how we love others. Our radiance is the reflection of other’s radiance.

Before I end this post, I’d like to thank my friends for their support during this difficult time. You made us believe that we are worth something when people seem to turn their backs on us. I’m so thankful for your friendship and support. I wish this would be over soon. Maraming salamat at mahal ko kayo!

Please check them out!

To Courage and Freedom, and Maktub!

“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

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