It won’t be easy all of the time.
I began my walk home in the rain, the cold breath escaping me and becoming small clouds. It was nighttime, the street lights were guiding me home despite poor visibility, and I couldn’t help but look around at all of the other people. So many people were moving at a faster pace than I was. They looked like they had places to go. Some of them were in a rush to get out of the storm, and while I understood that mindset; I didn’t share it. After a busy week, I was simply content to walk home and listen to music, even as the rain jacket and shoes I wore began to let the water in. The rain was cold and wet, and there was water in places that it shouldn’t be. Still, nothing was going to shake this feeling that I had, the smile that was on my face.
I was happy to be outside. I was happy to be done with the week. I was happy that there were no more questions to ask or to answer. I could walk home in peace, knowing that while there were people texting my phone, that the messages could wait. I walked home knowing that there was no rush to be anywhere, not even a rush to get back to my apartment, or to get out of the rain. I smiled in that moment, possibly psychotic, and just enjoyed each step as the soundtrack of my year played on. All I’ve ever required is the music to fit my mood. Anything else is a bonus.
Being out in nature, no matter the circumstances, is almost always lovely. I can’t handle the extreme hot or cold, but I can work with anything else. Each condition brings with it something new. Rain results in days spent inside, cozy and watching movies. Snow can bring something similar, although some people love to ski and skate, maybe even go sledding. No matter what, it behooves you to find things you enjoy, things that you can do during each season. Each day is a gift, and at this point, as I near 32 years of age, I refuse to write days off in favor of some future time when things will be better.
My dad taught me how to live this way, even if teaching was never something he explicitly did. Despite all he’d been through, his sense of humor never diminished. If anything, it only got stronger as we struggled to find the humor in situations that didn’t seem to have any. Growing up was not a smooth experience, but I’ve done my best to follow his lead, to enjoy life as much as possible because I know that humor, while it can keep the good times rolling, I know that it’s more valuable in times of chaos and tragedy. It’s the laughter that keeps situations from getting too serious, the reminds us that there is still joy in life, and that we must celebrate when we get the chance. It would be too easy to let life pile on until we’re absolutely crushed.
When you learn to make the best of any situation, any moment can be joyful.
My life is calmer than it was, but it’s clear to me that it doesn’t get easier or less complicated as we go. The stakes are higher, and the pressure increases because now we have things to lose, and people who depend on us, no matter what the actual relation is. Every endeavor won’t be a soaring success. We might fail once or twice, maybe more, and maybe a lot more. It behooves us to be resilient, but resilience doesn’t come naturally to everyone. Sometimes we need to wallow in self-pity. Sometimes we struggle to find the way back up, or we struggle to find a reason to have hope. It can be so easy to just let go, to fall even deeper, until you no longer recognize who you are, can no longer make sense of the life that you’re leading.
Not only can I bounce back, but I can make the most of any situation. I laugh when friends think they need to entertain me, as if there needs to be some grand happening whenever our paths cross. That’s never the case. We don’t even have to leave the apartment or house. I’m more than happy to relax and be wherever I am, telling stories and trading jokes. I know that we love the good times, but life will deal you some challenging cards, and we need friends who will be there when both end up in our hand. We need people to help brighten our day when it feels like it would be so much easier to just quit for a bit. We need someone to keep us on planet earth when we’d rather float off into space.
Making the best of any situation is all about your mindset. You can say that a situation is pointless, that it has no redeeming value, and it’ll stay that way. That’s not me. It has been in the past, but I’m working to change that. Almost always, there’s something that makes the whole experience worthwhile. I’ve seen my fair share of bad movies, and while I could just write them off and say that they’re terrible, there’s often unintentional comedy to be found, and I end up laughing at how seriously the moving is taking itself. I never lack for enjoyment, even when I’m struggling. We all struggle at times, but we don’t need to stay down. Even if it seems like our world is ending, we may be surprised when we open our eyes and find that it’s still here, that we’re still here.
Look for the joy. Look for the piece of an experience, no matter how small it is, that makes you smile, that makes you glad you came, or glad you stayed. There are so many nights I didn’t want to go anywhere, but when I finally get out there, most of the time, I stay until the end. Maybe I’m curious to see how the night will play out, but more than that, I’ve found then when I let myself go and truly pour myself into an experience, that I’m rewarded more than I could have ever imagined. Maybe I just enjoy a good time, but I’d like to believe that our experiences are about the mentality we bring to them. A positive and joyful mentality can transform a bland moment into something you’ll remember forever. Be adaptable, and don’t give up if this type of thinking doesn’t come naturally. Give it a shot, and see how you feel. You won’t be disappointed. Thanks for reading.