#1 The Seasons Will Always Change.
Whatever it is keeping you up at night, tossing, turning, sweating or medicating, will eventually pass. You may be in a storm, but even seemingly endless storms do not last forever. A rainbow will always appear after the rain. The sun will shine again. Spring always follows winter. Inevitably, the season is going to change. Adaptability is what sets the warriors apart from the defeated.
Life is a cycle of never-ending changes, and you must possess the ability to adapt to those changes. Do not be frightened of them. Do not cling or clutch to whatever season you are in, and do not try to return to a season of yesterday. Some seasons are for planting seeds and some are for harvest. So, taste the fruit and drink the drink of each. Whether bitter or sweet, it, too, shall pass.
#2 Don’t Be So Dramatic; Your Problems Are Probably Not So Tragic.
I realize there are exceptions to this, however I once heard that if people could dump all of their problems out onto the street for trade, the majority of people would want their own problems back. Perhaps you have a friend you call every day for the purpose of unloading your troubles. The truth is, they have troubles, too… perhaps they simply choose to not unload their troubles on you. Everyone is faced with obstacles, including the girl or guy you are absolutely certain has it all. So, if your problems are a matter of consequences of your own mistakes, don’t be so dramatic.
You are not a victim of a hex, but perhaps hexing yourself with your own mindset. The truth is, you are equipped to handle the hand you have been dealt. So, dust off your knees and start believing in your resiliency.
#3 One Day, If You Live Long Enough, You Will Eat Your Lunch Alone.
You know the quiet old man you saw eating alone in a booth yesterday? He is so much more than a quiet old man eating alone. Perhaps he is a boy of 16 won his basketball team’s state championship. Perhaps he is a man of 22 who returned from the war only to find himself face down, kissing his father’s freshly covered grave. Perhaps he is a man of 30, awed by the miracle of witnessing his first child being born. Perhaps he is a man of 65 who retired after years of intense labor spent providing for his family.
He may be sitting quietly alone, a man of 90 with callused hands, bad knees and an aching back, but he is a sea of stories. He is a living, breathing textbook of history with the energy of a thousand better yesterdays still alive and well; still whispering his name. Once upon a time, he may have been someone’s heartbreak or someone’s hero. He may have been the class clown or the class reject. Perhaps, behind his silence, is a man who has quietly patched his heart up time and again as his most cherished friends and loved ones passed on one-by-one, allowing new generations to inhabit this earth while the echoes of yesterday’s beginnings, adventures, milestones and endings continued to inhabit his mind.
He may be eating his lunch alone, living a life now barely recognizable to the decades of his past, however, one day, if you live long enough, you will also be living a life barely recognizable to your own. You, too, will eat your lunch alone. So, do not feel pity for the man. Rather, be patient as you walk behind him. Silently congratulate him for having survived on this planet for such a length of time. Have reverence for his sea of stories you will likely never know.
#4 You Are Going To Die.
Someday someone is going to plan your funeral. Someday someone is going to lovingly select the most appropriate ways to commemorate your life. They will select songs to play and photographs to display. Someday someone is going to go through your stuff. They are going to read your journals, empty your wallet fragment by fragment, dig through your keepsakes and box up your clothes. Someday someone is going to replay your voicemails and long for just one more chuckle or embrace from you.
There are currently approximately seven billion people inhabiting the earth, however there have been approximately 106 billion people to have ever been born and died. That is 106 billion expiration dates with 106 billion tales, some tragic and some triumphant. That’s a lot of first tears and final breaths.
Someday your life will contain an expiration date. All that you will be remembered for will be contained within it and your birthdate. Someday your life will be a collection of stories. Write them wisely. Write them in color. Write them so that they may bless others.
#5 You’re Not Dead Yet, Though.
Stop waiting for life to be kinder, for the storms to calm, for your big break to magically appear, for your white knight to round the corner or a fair maiden to come and fulfill your every desire. Stop betraying yourself. Stop betraying your dreams. Stop growing bruises. Stop being offended by everything. Stop seeing yourself as a victim. Stop wallowing on the floor, crying out and waiting for the clouds to divide and rain down with answers. Wake up, get up and live.
A previous version of this article was published on The Huffington Post, and can be found here.