1. Everyone has something to teach you. This is a prime example of why one should never be close-minded to new opinions, people, and ideas. We are constantly learning, and by closing ourselves off to all the variety this diverse world has to offer, we are restricting our knowledge and overall happiness. No matter how young or old a person is, I promise that you can learn something from them. Small children speak as many words of wisdom as the elderly. Teenagers often have as viable opinions as adults. You could meet a person from any walk of life and I am one hundred and ten percent sure that they can teach you something you never knew or considered before. The more you expose yourself to culture and education, the wiser a person you become. In any case, if you can't find a seed of inspiration of how to act or who to be, you can always learn from example what not to do!
2. This is going to sound like the most ridiculous thing you've ever heard, but all you really need to do to be happy is choose happiness. And I'm not some blessed spoiled kid with a perfect life. Far from it. I've battled depression for four years. Two Novembers ago I was suicidal, and this past November I came pretty close again. I've struggled with self-harm, eating disorders, anxiety attacks, and a tangled web of complexes. I'm still, technically, manic-depressive; I can't change my DNA. But what I could change is my attitude. So, on the first day of this new year, I put my foot down. I said to myself, I refuse to let misery control my life any longer. And you know what? It hasn't. I've stopped all but one anxiety attack this entire year. I haven't spent one single day lying in bed for hours staring at the ceiling and mourning all the things I should be doing. I reconnected with my passions, I got in touch with old friends, I made new friends! I dared myself to step out of my comfort zone. I started trying again, really trying to be happy. I've gone to bed exhausted every night this year, but it's not the I-want-to-die depression lethargy anymore. It's an I'm-wiped-but-today-was-awesome kind of tiredness. And I bet a lot of people have it worse than me and happiness seems like an impossibility, but I promise you, if you refuse to let life run you down, you are invincible. Let me illustrate this concept with a picture you may have seen before:
Yes, it's really that simple.
4. Learn to accept things the way they are. Sad as it is, the sun doesn't rise in the morning just to make your day bright. Every day, I see people griping and grumbling and stressing about things they can't control. If I look at my news feed right now, Facebook statuses include "I f***in hate this town", "The weather sucks, hurry up spring" "No Glee concert this year... oh look there's my heart shattered on the floor" and "Ugghhh Mr._____ is a b****** im gonna bomb this test!". Well, I'm sorry, but you can't control this town, the weather, whether or not Glee tours, or the workload your teacher assigns. So what is the point in getting upset about it? Complaining about the weather won't make summer come any sooner, so honey I suggest you put on a sweater, make yourself some soup and get over it. Life isn't easy and it isn't fair, but that doesn't mean life isn't good. It really is exactly what you make it. I, for one, don't plan to waste any more of my precious time worrying and groaning about the bad things. It's okay to let yourself have a pity party every once in a while, but after you wipe your tears you need to get up and do something about it. If you can change your situation, great. But if you can't, you're going to have to find a way to deal, because being sad isn't going to get anybody anywhere. I wasted so much of my life being miserable because I was depressed, always thinking that if I was put on meds, or if the weather got nicer, or if I didn't take such challenging classes I would be happier. Wrong. Once I accepted the difficult reality of life, I was much better prepared to take control of my own happiness -- and take control of it I have!
5. You really, really, really need to live in the moment. I don't know if you have a time machine, but I don't, which means every second I've been alive is a second I will never get back. People are always saying "I need more time" or "I don't have the time." Well, what are you doing with all the time you do have? Are you watching TV or wasting time on the internet? Busy, working people who want to get in shape often say they don't any time to go to the gym. Well, maybe that's true, but eating a healthy diet doesn't take any more time than eating a poor one. Doing a one-minute yoga stretch in the morning is not going to make you late for the rest of your day. So, prioritize and commit. I promise you, if you really want something badly enough, you will make time for it. To live an inspired lifestyle is to make the most of every moment. Laugh more often. Call that old friend you've been meaning to call. Multitask. Buy a planner and schedule your day, and then actually stick to it as much as possible. Write in a journal before you go to sleep. Never put anything off until tomorrow, because tomorrow isn't garunteed. If you want to be happy, you have to live today. Time is the most precious thing we have. So don't waste it. In the wise words of Ferris Bueller, "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."
And also, print out pictures more often. Looking at some photos from 2011 just now really made me smile. I'll share a few...
There are countless more, of course, that I'd love to share, but I don't feel like making a zillion more collages, so enjoy that glimpse into my 2011 for now! I laughed so much looking at old pictures. Just another reason to make the most of every moment. :)
I've noticed how I end every single post with a sentence beginning in "I hope," so I'm going to twist it up and say that I do quite wish you've all been well and you've enjoyed my rambling, preachy kernels of wisdom! Cheers! x