Around this time of year, people start wishing for it all to be over – the year, the day to day, the busyness of life. But I don’t want to plod my way across some imaginary finish line that marks the end of the year. I want to roll in with a bloody bang. And savour every last day. December isn’t a month to be wished away. This decade is never coming back. So this is your friendly reminder that you could die, at any time, or your entire world as you know it could change, at any given moment. Maybe, if you’re not already, it’s time to start living like you mean it. Living like this one precious life you have is fleeting. Maybe it’s time to stop telling yourself stories and start getting uncomfortable. Living in truth. Maybe it’s time to start choosing joy. Joy doesn’t just happen. It’s a decision you make about how you are going to live your life — and how you are going to respond to life. Here’s what I know: joy attracts joy. Here’s something else I know: who you surround yourself with is who you are. Who are you spending the rest of this year, this decade, with? My advice is to find people who speak your language, so you don’t have to spend a lifetime translating your spirit. The kind of people who understand what you do not say. The kind of people who light a fire in you. The ones who fill you with joy. Find one, or ten, of them. But more than anything, be one of them. The clock ticking over at New Year might signify a fresh start for some, but I don’t buy into that, and never have. You can reinvent yourself anytime you like. You can reflect, and reassess, on any day of the damn year. Fresh starts happen anytime you decide to embark on one. All you have is now. And, to me, that seems like a perfect place to start. Go be who you want to be. The person you need. Don’t put your happiness in a person, a possession or a profession. Joy is up to you. So is how you spend the last thirty-four days of this year. And any days you get beyond that. Find your joy — and keep choosing it every day.
Cheryl left this comment on my last blog, asking how I go about self-care when it comes to wearing my, let’s call it, ‘cape of no fear’.
I’m not really sure how to answer or where to even start.
I realise that’s incredibly unhelpful, so I’m going to try and break it down.
I’m a really positive person. And when I say really, I mean r – e – a – l – l – y. Like, there’s almost something wrong with me really.
I believe it’s one of my greatest assets, but also one of my biggest downfalls.
It’s where a lot of my strength comes from, but it also makes me blind as hell.
And it’s a double-edged sword.
When shit hits the fan, when things go wrong, when nothing feels right, when people screw me over, my ability to see the positive is ridiculous. My knack of finding a shining light in everything and – to a certain extent – everyone, is outrageous. But it’s all I know. Why I am like that – why I think like that – is beyond me. I just don’t know how to be any different.
The problem with that is sometimes I’m a little out of reality. I don’t think ahead too much, and I don’t plan enough, and I get kicked in the guts more often than I’d like because…because…because in my head, it’s different.
I’m not stupid.
I’m not out of touch.
I’m not in la la land.
I’m quite reasonable.
I’m pretty intuitive.
It’s just that I always always come out the other end of every hiccup, every challenge… happy.
I told you. There’s almost something wrong with me.
I still go through the motions.
I feel it.
I feel everything.
Some days I just want to pack it all in. Other days you can’t tear me away from my computer. Some days I want to move to a tropical island and live off coconuts. Other days I have five coffees and six meetings and I swear sparks fly out of my shoes when I’m sashaying down the street. Some days I wake up and wish I could go back to sleep for 72 hours. Other days I’m up at 5am buzzing. Some days it takes the best part of twenty hours for me to tick two things off my to-do list. Other days my to-do list literally cannot keep up with me. Some days things hurt. Other days things don’t.
Sometimes I can feel myself starting to harden. When I’ve been burnt or disappointed. And then I remember that while it’s hard feeling so much, it’s better than feeling nothing at all. And while on the inside everything feels like it’s crumbling, it’s really not. And when all I want to do is curl up on the couch and get lost in something, it’s better to get dressed and show up.
For me, anyway.
I realised, actually, I decided, years ago, that I didn’t want to be the kind of person that let the bad things in life determine the kind of person they would be.
People often confuse my positivity with an assumption that the biggest challenge I’ve ever faced is a broken fingernail. It’s so ignorant of them. I don’t subscribe to the idea that if you’ve had a tough life – challenges, hurdles, obstacles – you need to be bitter about it.
What I know is that what’s happened has happened, and, for me, that means one of two things: let all the bad, all the hard, all the really messed up stuff hold me back or let it set me free. Let it bring me down or let it make me soar. Let it make me despondent or let it make me grow.
I always choose the second option.
I don’t know why.
I just don’t know how to be any different.
So, Cheryl, for you, or anyone else out there that feels the highest of highs, but also the lowest of lows, know this:
It has to be that way. As long as you have some of both, and some days that fall smack bang in the middle, you’re doing it right.
I need to feel low-spirited at times, because it makes the times when I’m towering over everything feel so much better. I need to feel angry and enraged and saddened at times, because it makes me feel. It makes me a better person. A better writer. And it makes the times I’m elated so much more valuable.
Some days you’ll want to Netflix your life away. You should. Some days you’ll want to be alone. So be alone. Some days you’ll just want to stare out a window for a while. So do exactly that.
We’ve got to stop permeating the idea that every day needs to be perfect and well-balanced.
The truth is some days are good and some days are bad. Some days are easy and some days are hard. Some days make you and some days destroy you.
They’re just days. It’s just life.
And all I know is the difference between the people that are happy and the people that aren’t is the way they choose to be.