“Write an anonymous letter to a stranger detailing the things you’ve learned about life.”
–642 Things To Write Journal
* * *
To whom it may concern,
It’s strange to look back and recognize two very important things about who I am at this exact moment in time: one, that I am still very young, and two, that despite being very young, I feel like I have a better grip on what is important in life than many of my seniors. Part of that could be that I’m proud of myself and of who I’m becoming. I know too many people–too many very young and very old people alike–who hate something crucial about who they are as a person. I feel like this mindset has made it harder for them to appreciate what the world has to offer.
Anyway, before I start rambling about that, let’s get down to business. Like I said, I’m young, and in being young I’m often looked at as though I don’t really understand life and its troubles. Those who look at me this way may be right; I don’t want to assume I know everything there is to know. However, I feel like this can also be a very narrow perspective, and that attitude and experience are equally important in giving someone a well-rounded appreciation for the world around them.
That being said, there are a few things I wanted to jot down for you–“truths” about life–that I’ve come to believe in my time wandering this beautiful planet.
One, we spend way too much time worrying about people other than ourselves. A certain amount of selfishness is not only okay, it’s healthy. We need to take care of ourselves, both physically, emotionally, and spiritually to be happy, healthy people. Too often we stay with bad lovers because we don’t want to hurt them. Too often we let negative people stay in our lives because we’re worried about their feelings or what other people will say if we do what we need to do for ourselves to keep us happy.
Two, we need to focus on the people who make us feel awesome. This goes hand-in-hand with my point above. We spend so much time on people who aren’t deserving of our love and affection that we don’t notice the people who do deserve it. I honestly believe that, if we spent more time focusing on the people who make us feel great, we’d all be happier people.
Three, happiness is a choice. This is the hardest one to really get across, and something a lot of people really, truly hate hearing. I’ve gotten a lot of flack from this when I’ve talked to people about this, especially with the big bump in depression awareness we’ve seen lately. They say, “It’s not that easy to choose to be happy, you know.”
And yes, I do know. When I say that happiness is a choice, I never once meant to imply that it is an easy choice. In fact, especially for people struggling with depression, choosing actively, every single day, to wake up and be happy is a very, very hard choice. It’s a struggle. It’s going to take time–a lot of time–and sometimes, you’re going to fail.
Finally, the most important thing about life I’ve come to appreciate is a simple one: don’t take it too seriously. Laugh. Have fun. Enjoy yourself. Don’t focus so much on the things that stress you out, like money, how much you hate your job, or how unsatisfied you are with your body. The greatest thing we can hope to have is people who love us for who we are, and when you have that, you’re rich.