I’ve lived for 16 years. There are too many teenagers who haven’t made it this far or won’t be able to hold on much longer.
Here are 16 reasons I live:
1) God. I live for Him. He’s my number one, but if He isn’t yours then don’t fret- just keep going.
2) Family. Believe it or not, every breath you breathe effects these people. Blood-related or not, you have family. You hold people close to your heart, and I promise they hold you just as close to theirs.
3) Myself. To deny yourself the gift of life is the most heartbreaking thought in my mind. There’s so much in your future. It’s okay not to be at the peak of happiness in high school; it means you’ve got room to keep going up.
4) Hot cocoa. Live for the little things. The warmth of hot chocolate on a winter night is a small pleasure that I don’t want to lose.
5) New people. There are so many new faces that will introduce themselves and turn your world upside down. You don’t want to miss it.
6) Unexplored territory. The world is your oyster. Go see something new. It doesn’t have to be far, but once you’re standing in that new place you had no idea existed, remember that you’re still traveling through life. There will be so many foreign experiences that have the potential to become one of your favorites.
7) Books. Read a book. If you feel trapped in this life with all the doors locked and no way out then allow me to open a window. Grab a book off of the shelf that you find interesting and just live there for a little while. Take a break from this life. We all need a break from time to time.
8) Flowers. A small beauty of life. Accept it. Hold them close to your heart- those natural occurances which, no matter how ugly the world grows, remain pretty.
9) Animals. The pure of heart that act purely on instinct. A creature that gives what it gets. Given love, and love it will give. Such a beautiful system that you can enter into if you own an animal.
Also, remember that an animal never inflicts harm for no reason. Remember now that we are mammals, we are animals, so those inflicting harm on you have their contorted explanations for why it’s okay. Maybe it’s time you offer your own consensus as to why it’s not.
10) Knowledge. The learning is in the struggle. Live knowing that you’re gaining so much from the hardships. Live knowing that you’re growing, and when the time comes that you’ve made it out of the storm alive, you’ll be so much wiser than ever before.
11) The unknown. No, don’t be afraid. Instead, be excited. Be ravenous for your future. Who knows what, or who, is awaiting you ahead, so instead of slamming on the breaks, now is the time to set the cruise control and enjoy the ride. Be ready for patches of ice, and do not fear when your stuck in the mud, these are only temporary misfortunes. Your journey will continue.
12) Finding me. Aren’t you still figuring it out? Stuck in the middle of a complicated quadratic equation that seems to have no right answer… How could you stand not finishing the problem? All the times you were so sure, but then went back and realized it didn’t fit. You didn’t fit. Not like that. Not like who you were trying so hard to be, and it’s okay. That’s normal not to fit sometimes. Keep reworking the problem until you find YOU. Then everything else will finally make sense. If nothing is making sense, then there’s a high probability that you need to make the change, not anything or anyone else.
13) Art. Any kind of art. Drawing, writing, dancing, singing, etc. The expression of it is beautiful. Find a type of art that you can fall into and allow it to consume you. Let it be your anchor. Let it keep you grounded when you think of floating too far.
14) Laughter. You’ve laughed. Maybe not anytime soon, but at one point you’ve experienced the type of happiness and pure enjoyment for a moment that your smile and your laughter seem to burst from you in rays of sunshine. A feeling to savor. A feeling so easy to achieve. A feeling you need to let yourself feel. Stop pushing it away. Don’t deny yourself what you deserve. You deserve happiness.
15) Sadness. Now you assume I’m insane, don’t you? I live for the times when I feel like I am face down on rock bottom. To be so far down that would you look at that, the only way to go from there is up. That’s why no matter how insanely impossible it feels to keep going… you have to. If you’ll use every single bit of drive left in you to just push through for a little bit longer than the moment when you feel at your absolute most hopeless, then you’ll see that you’re going up. Nothing can be worse than what you just felt. You’ve hit your maximum capacity for sadness, and you made it through. So why stop now? Go enjoy all of the blessings of life- some of which I’ve been mentioning.
16) Reflection. That monumental pride that swells in your heart when you look back at the time when you almost lost your grasp but didn’t. You made it.
I’ve made it to 16. In a world where, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, teen suicide is one of the top 5 leading causes of adolescent deaths, about 121 people die in the United States from suicide every day, and for every single successful suicide about 25 other people make an attempt, I consider myself blessed.
Therefore, thank you for the birthday wishes, but if you’d truly like to give me a gift this year, then make contact with someone you know has had it tough. Reach out. Speak out. Save a life by simply offering your shoulder and your kindness.
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Life can be messy. Thank God I have my faith and my pencil.