I used to look at people sideways when they would post inspirational/motivational clichés on social media. I thought they were extremely cheesy and insincere and that all those sayings just SOUNDED good, but never applied to real life. In reality, I was stuck in my own misery and seeing other people’s positivity made me envious.
Now I am 23 years into my life, and I find myself constantly thinking about that Hannah Montana song. “Life’s what you make it, so let’s make it rock! (Let’s make it rock)” Did Hannah Montana really know as a young teenager that life is what you make it… or did she just sing it because it was catchy? (Probably the latter).
Regardless of why the song was made, the phrase “life’s what you make it” is 100% accurate. (I know I’m making my past self cringe right now)
About a month ago I was reading a self-help book (my guilty pleasure), and I decided to make a list of my top life defining moments. These were moments that brought me intense joy, intense misery, and changed my path in some shape or form. My list is as followed, and it is what immediately came to mind:
– Going to college
– Meeting Jonny
– Living alone at 19/Being Depressed (went hand and hand)
– Studying abroad
– My First “real” Job (first salaried job)
I haven’t looked at this list since I wrote it. My initial thought is that there are a handful of moments that I left out- the majority of them being incredibly embarrassing, painful, shameful, or just straight up private information that I wouldn’t want to share via the Internet anyway. BUT it is intriguing to me that when I made this list four weeks ago, having nothing to hide from anyone and no plans to share what I wrote, I STILL had left those moments out.
And why is that? Because those moments truly do not define me. They do not have control over who I am now or the life that I choose to live. When I was going through those unspoken moments, they felt like my entire world. They felt like they consumed my existence and there was no way of escaping it. I was doomed to be that way, to be viewed in that connotation, doomed to be untrusting and hurt. But at some point, I decided I wasn’t going to live that way. And eventually my subconscious mind agreed and now they’re distant thoughts.
Your past stories do not have to be your future stories. Choose what you want to define you, what you want to focus your energy on, who you want to be, and what you want to change. If you find yourself clinging to undesirable past stories, rewrite your script. Write out your life defining moments, and decide which ones you want to stick to. If you don’t like what you see, you have the power to start a whole new draft.
I don’t want this to be taken as “just forget the hard stuff with painful memories and look at the happy ones so you can be a positive butterfly.” F no. The actions associated with each story go much deeper than the surface. Jon and I met at 17, and we had a toxic relationship for 2 years. We were manipulative towards each other in a way that is absolutely unmentionable. It was down right emotional abuse. When I lived alone, I thought I would never be happy again. I thought that even when I finished college, got married, had a family, went on vacation, adopted my first pet – all things that should bring someone immense joy- that I was still going to be miserable. My first big girl job with a salary and an office (the type of job you “strive” to obtain after college), I cried everyday for 4 months. I don’t want to go into specifics, but to give a general basis.
These life-defining moments were excruciating but absolutely fundamental to the woman I am today. I don’t use them to think, “why me” or “well now I’m destined to feel this way, live this way, be this way.” I use them as learning experiences. Instead of continuing the abuse and manipulation in my relationship, I got open about, “How can I change for the better?” Instead of being sad and alone forever, doubting my future happiness, I focused on, “What is important to me? What truly brings me happiness?” Instead of being miserable on the commute to work, I asked myself, “Well what do I want my life to look like?” That is how I rewrote the script, and it’s how you can rewrite yours.
I understand that everyone’s life is different, but if this resonates with at least one person, it was worth sharing.
Life’s what you make it, so let’s make it rock.