“You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.”

  • Dr. Seuss.

I recently had a moment…

It was one of those moments when all the pieces of the puzzle that we call life suddenly fall into place, and for a brief instant everything that you have ever lived through begins to make sense. I was at the beach, lying on a blanket beside a girl. Her dog was excitedly climbing all over us, causing sand to stick to our sunburned skin. She was laughing hysterically, apologising on his behalf as she began throwing a stick for him to chase. I leaned towards her and planted a kiss on her shoulder, feeling something monumental shift inside my chest when she turned to meet my gaze and kiss my cheek.

I know that what I’m about to say sounds terribly clichéd, and some may even call me a hopeless romantic. But as I lay on the sand with her head resting on my stomach, I realised that I have never wanted anything in my life half as much as I want her. Sunburnt, covered in sand, and completely at the mercy of a beautiful woman, I started to think that perhaps I have been so preoccupied with chasing visions of literary success that I have misunderstood what life is really all about.

When I first started to experiment with writing at the age of seventeen I never could have anticipated the impact that my passion would have on my life. At the time, I was an idealistic teenager with a head full of stories and an ego a mile long. I told myself that I had talent, and wrongfully assumed that it would be easy to become a best seller, earn a small fortune, and find a partner who loved me as endlessly as I would love her. I didn’t think that I would spend the next ten years continuously pushing myself to think beyond my own limits, or sacrificing as much as I have in order to create.

But because there was such a startling imbalance between my heart and my head, those sacrifices that I have been forced to make were inevitable. I spent years focusing so intently on illogical delusions of grandeur that I ignored the beating of my own heart as it tried to tell me to slow down, appreciate life, and allow myself to feel love. In my ignorance and haste to be successful, I didn’t bother to understand my own emotions. As a result I have ruined relationships, missed opportunities, burned bridges, and suffered through anxiety and depression.

To put it really bluntly: I became so concerned with chasing dreams that I started to really screw up my own reality.

Yet while it would be easy to beat myself up for the mistakes that I made, I’m actually glad that I made them. Because it was the accumulation of all my past successes, failures, elations and pains that led me to that moment in time when I kissed the soft skin of a woman’s shoulder and felt the universe tell me that I was exactly where I was meant to be.


I’ve never felt anything like I did on that beach before. I’ve been in love; and there was a time when I thought that I had found the girl that I was destined to marry. But I have never experienced a moment where everything just makes sense; where all the highs and lows, the self-doubts, and the chaotic ten years caused by an impulse to write suddenly become meaningless in comparison to something as simple as a kiss, a smile, or watching a girl who takes your breath away laugh as she throws a stick for her dog to chase across the sand.

Now that I have felt it, I don’t want it to go away. I don’t want to lose the feeling that she left behind when she engraved her name in fluent cursive into my soul. And I don’t want to keep endlessly chasing dreams or falling asleep either. As I lay on the beach, I glimpsed a reality far greater than anything that I have ever dreamed of. It was a reality where I could balance the literary goals in my head with the beating of my heart; where I could write, be loved, and be happy all at once.

Life isn’t about materialistic success. It isn’t about selling millions of books, earning thousands of dollars, owning an empire, or any of that bullshit. It’s about being balanced and being happy. It’s about sharing yourself with those that you care about, learning that sometimes it’s important to listen to your heart over your head, and allowing yourself to be vulnerable enough to fall in love. Twelve months ago I never imagined that I could feel something as profound as I did on the beach. I never thought that I would find myself lying beside a girl who is so beautiful that she could alter the way that I see the world just by kissing my cheek. But I did. And I haven’t stopped smiling ever since.

So, I want to set you a challenge…

If you’re out of balance, and you’re listening to your head too much at the expense of your heart, I want you to try and make a shift. I want you to turn off the voice that drives you, slow down, and begin to understand what your heart truly beats for. I want you to stop being lead by your dreams, and start building a more beautiful, worthwhile, and rewarding reality instead. Allow yourself to feel loved, to listen to your impulses, and understand that the greatest thing you will ever do in your life is to share it with the people that you care about. If you can do that, you’ll be truly happy. I promise. Because I am.

As for the girl on the beach; her name has been written into my chest like poetry in the pages of a notebook. Whether I get my reality with her remains to be seen. But I really hope that I do. Because if something as simple as a kiss on the cheek can make me feel the way that I did, there’s no telling how magical a reality with her could truly be. 

Author: Chris Nicholas

Chris Nicholas is an author from Brisbane, Australia. He has published two novels, and is currently working on his third.

74 thoughts on “Shift”

  1. Wow. Great piece of writing Chris. You have described the sensation very well: A feeling you feel, when you feel, you are about to feel a feeling you have never felt before! Congrats!

  2. Interesting. I was literally thinking about things along these same lines, getting deep and overwhelmed in my head. I decided to come read something on WordPress and lo and behold your note is here. hhmmm. Guess I shouldn’t try to run away and face these troubling thoughts. Thanks for writing this and sharing it with the world.

    1. It’s coming along… slowly. The script is booked in for its final edit in early December, which means that I’m hoping to be able to have it out around February 2018. I’m stoked that you’re interested in reading it! At least I know now that someone will 🙂

      1. I had no clue you were actually writing one. It was wishful thinking on my part, because if your blog posts are any indicator, I have a feeling it will be fantastic. So now I am excited! Looking forward to it!

      2. Well… Surprise! I am. I struggle to admit to myself that I’ve written a romance piece, so I tend to call it a love story instead.
        I’ve been working on it for about 14 months now, and I’m so close to being finished!

      3. Beautiful and so well said I felt your words so deeply. Very true every word happiness love I know that’s what is the real thing money fame comes and goes but happiness is the real riches . Love your writing you have a way that really touched the heart. 🙂

  3. This is a gorgeous piece, Chris. What a beautiful challenge – I will happily accept. 😊 Keep your girl close, she sounds like a keeper! Very happy for you! 🙂

  4. 7 hours since you posted, and with the strength of your writing and the number of followers you should have 15,000 comments and mine should be like a grain of sand on that beautiful beach you describe. I so love the way you write Chris!

  5. This was beautifully written! You have a gift for writing and don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise. I appreciate your honesty and vulnerability! It’s hard to share your feelings, especially online where everyone can read about it. You are so right about saying life is meant to be shared with people you care about! This world has it wrong. He who dies with the most toys doesn’t win. Being rich from being successful can actually be an empty place. You’re not going to be fine alone. We need people in our lives, and we are made to share our lives with others. I can’t wait to read more of your writing! Keep it up!

  6. How beautifully ironic. I think awareness of moments, and pure truth is what makes writing so authentic. It’s an excavation. That moment, and that obvious truth brought up this beautiful piece in you, that I can profoundly relate to. I see a lot of myself here. Balance, getting lost, finding your way back, all perfectly imperfect. Life is about moments. Writing is sacred. Success is finding the elation. Thank you.

  7. There are things we only learn through experience. People will tell us to slow down a million times, give advice and we won’t follow because we are right and ‘they don’t understand us’.
    You have found your path after 10 years. No one told you. You felt it.
    I have already accepted that challenge in my own way. It’s time to rediscover myself and my abilities. It’s time to let feelings surface.
    Thank you.

  8. You have given us a lovely glimpse into that very special moment. I know that moment. I had it 34 years ago. I am still with the man I had that moment with. I wish you all the best and thank you for taking me back to my own magical moment.

  9. This made me cry–thank you. :’) I know exactly what you mean about following your heart, and I say it all the time, but it’s so good to have this reinforcement. ❤

  10. I didn’t cry. Sorry. Nor was I inspired to do anything but make me want to tell you to throw the rearview mirror away,stop whining, live a little. Make yourself open and magical, and the magic will happen. Or, better said – “Act the way you’d like to be and soon you’ll be the way you like to act.” Bob Dylan

    Love doesn’t make you. It makes you, better.

  11. Your talent for the written word is undeniable. Your love for this woman eclipses it completely. I’m pulling for you to have a long and happy reality with her. What a lucky woman to have such words written in her honor.

  12. I love the reflection and vulnerability in your piece. And the line “she engraved her name in fluent cursive into my soul” – perfect. Thank you for sharing! (And thanks also for stopping my new blog and liking a post. Because of that, I was able to find yours! 😉 )

  13. Hello. I spent my entire adult life chasing literary success and fame, constantly changing my definitions of what those were to me. I suppose I thought it would help define me and make me important. But to who? Strangers who care about nothing. I got distracted. I had always known the importance things were the smell of rain, the feel of tree bark, the friendship of warm, soft animals. I’m glad you discovered this whilst you still have possibilities. Cheers.

  14. Gorgeous sentiments, gorgeously articulated. Incredible depth, self-awareness, and insight. We’re forever works in progress, simple and complicated at the same time.
    Also, thanks for stopping by my blog (Midnight Marauder)! I look forward to reading more…

  15. Gorgeous sentiments, gourgeously articulated. Incredible depth, insight, and self-awareness. We’re forever works in progress, simple and complicated at the same time.
    Also, thanks for stopping by my blog (Midnight Marauder)!
    I look forward to reading more…

  16. This is one of the most beautiful things I have read about that moment. I have had a few or so I thought. I hope I feel this one day and I hope this becomes your reality.

  17. Beautifully written. I’m the opposite of you. I’ve always followed my heart, been in love and have loved and it continues to get broken through death or divorce. I never thought it was possible for a heart to be TOO open, but I have a warning. Keep some for yourself. Maybe it’s because I’m a woman and we do tend to find it easier to be openhearted, but I can scarcely fathom a man loving me the way you do your woman. I just don’t believe it anymore and even though I ask for it to be possible, to have a partner again after too much death and loss, part of me doesn’t believe I can do it. And maybe that’s that. I really don’t know. But, congratulations to you! I wish you the best.

  18. Oh, I love the moments in life where you realize you are exactly where the Universe put you at the right moment. And you see the tapestry, for just a moment, in as much entirety as our tired human eyes can. Beautiful piece–and love the challenge to us. I’ll remember that one today . . .

  19. It was so intresting to read this, because I firmly agree with the idea of giving in to your heart rather than your head. So much so, that I think I sometimes need to do the exact opposite. This post was so heart-warming to read and really helped settle my doubts. I loved it.

  20. This was more beautiful and emotional than most of the poetry I’ve read in a long time. Congrats and good luck 😊🙏🏻❤️

  21. This post hits home on all number of levels. That speaks to quality writing.
    One of my favorite lines: “illogical delusions of grandeur that I ignored the beating of my own heart as it tried to tell me to slow down, appreciate life, and allow myself to feel love.”
    Good show.

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