Each year on January 1st, we look back at all the things we’ve gone through and survived, everything we’ve learned, and we think of ways to make the upcoming year even better than the one that came before.
Looking back at 2017, here’s what I’ve learned.
A bad day doesn’t equal a bad life.
Bad things happen, but what I’ve come to learn is that everything is subject to change, everything will pass. Life is hopeful and sad, happy and confusing, wonderful and tragic.
The bad things that happen don’t outweigh the value of the good things that do, and the same goes in reverse. As we experience hardship, we grow and often become stronger versions of ourselves.
Life is made up of experiences that shape who we are, and who we will inevitably become. There’s nothing wrong with that. Just remember that the people of tomorrow are shaped by their hardships today.
Happiness is a journey, not a destination
There are lots of little reasons why the things in our life happen the way that they do. My traumas may have been the worst things I’ve ever gone through, but they also allowed me to meet the best people I’ll ever know. It gave me purpose, it’s what made me into the writer I see myself as today.
Definitions are important: for me, happiness comes from within. It is acceptance of who we are, it is getting to do what makes us happy and doing those things with the people that matter to us, the ones that add a spark in our lives that would otherwise not be there. It is living for ourselves, not for society and their idiotic standards.
We know how things are going to end: eventually, well die. Just because we know how it’s going to end, it doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy our journey to that ending. Make it a good ride, fight the good fight.
A new beginning is like a rebirth; it allows us to invent ourselves/our identity and to shape our future.
Lao Tzu said that when we’re depressed, we’re living in the past. When we’re anxious, we’re living in the future. When we’re at peace, we’re living in the moment.
I started off last year by making all these big plans for 2017, and when 2017 came to an end, I realized that I didn’t end up doing a lot of the things I wanted to do. It’s why I no longer plan. In my eyes, although planning is sort of like bringing your future into the present, it is also postponing the inevitable. Don’t plan to do something, just do it. You never know what the future holds, so why would you plan ahead? Make every single day you’re alive the best, most productive day you can. Make sure you’re happy.
Journaling is something I now do every day; it allows me to see what’s on my mind, it allows me to see what’s most important to me, what’s difficult for me, and understand myself with more clarity.
What I do to cope with depression when it hits:
- Listen to music (I use Google Play Music/YouTube Red)
- Watch a lighthearted movie or show that will make me laugh
- Go to the gym
- I go to therapy twice a week
- I allow myself to feel what I need to, for a while, then try letting it go.
- I help myself by helping others, because spreading cheer feels amazing.
- I take hot baths and try clearing my mind.
It may sound terrible, but all we can do in life is try to move forward, as we can’t change what happened in the past. Holding onto those negative feelings is like holding a hot rock; you’re the only one getting hurt. Remember that it’s okay to feel confused, to lose ourselves. But we mus never stop trying to fight. We’re alive for a reason, even if we don’t know what that reason is.
So, I guess we’ll see what to 2018 brings! Hopefully it brings us the strength to do more than we were able to do last year, healthily and happily.