I sometimes write things down to comfort myself. Stuff learned in bad times. Thoughts. Meditations. Lists. Examples. Things I want to remind myself of. Or things I have learned from other people or other lives. It is a strange paradox, that many of the clearest, most comforting life lessons are learned while we are at our lowest. We never think about food more than when we are hungry and we never think about life rafts more than when we are thrown overboard. So, these are some of my life rafts. The thoughts that have kept me afloat. I hope some of them might carry you to dry land, too.
It’s okay to be a mess. It’s okay to wear the scars of experience. It’s okay to like what you like. It’s okay to be sentimental and whimsical and cry bittersweet tears at songs and movies you aren’t supposed to love. It’s okay to be who you are. It’s okay to make the most of every chunk of time.
Change is real: We turn keys all the time. Or rather, time turns keys all the time. Because time means change. And change is the nature of life—the reason to hope.
To be is to let go. Self-forgiveness makes the world better.
In order to get over a problem it helps to look at it. You can’t climb a mountain that you pretend isn’t there.
Aim to be You: If you aim to be something you are not, you will always fail. Aim to be you. Aim to look and act and think like you. Embrace that you-ness. Endore it. Cherish it. Love it. And don’t give a f*** if people mock you for it.
When things go dark, you can’t see what you have. That doesn’t mean you don’t have those things. Those things remain, right there in front of you. All you need is to light a candle or ignite some hope, and you can see that what you thought was lost was merely hidden.
One day this will all be over. And we will be grateful for life in ways we never felt possible before.
We grow through hard times. Growth is change. And when everything is easy, we have no reason to change. The most painful moments in life expand us. And when the pain leaves, space remains. Space we can fill with life itself.
Love stillness. Slowness. When nothing is happening. The blueness of the sky. Inhaling clean air. Birdsong over traffic. Lone footsteps. I used to think the quiet patches felt dead. Now they feel more alive. Like leaning over and listening to the earth’s heartbeat.
Don’t envy things you wouldn’t actually want. Don’t absorb criticism from people you wouldn’t go to for advice. Don’t fear missing parties you would probably want to leave. Don’t worry about fitting in. Be your own tribe. Don’t argue with people who will never understand you. Don’t believe anyone has it all figured out. Don’t imagine there is an amount of money or success or fame that could insulate you from pain.
For when you hit rock bottom: You have survived everything you have been through and will survive this, too. You are more than a bad day, or week, or month, or year, or even decade. You are a future of multifarious possibilities. You are another self at a point in future time looking back in gratitude that this lost and former you held on.
To remember during the bad days: It won’t last. You have felt other things. You will feel other things again. Emotions are like weather. They change and shift. Clouds can seem as still as stone. We look at them and hardly notice a change at all. And yet they always move. The worst part of any experience is where you feel like you can’t take it anymore. You are still here. And that is everything.
You can try to organize your experience but you can not actually control time itself. Try to enjoy moments of rest when they come. The waiting is part of it.
As soon as we realize that it is not our job to be perfect, everything gets easier and more honest and more true.
And now ask yourself: If you could strip away all your distractions and obligations, who would you be left with?