“Finding the Light.” Alex Finally Chills Out

“I’ve had a rough year.” We all have them. A loved one dies, a job gets terminated, a heart gets broken. Something about fall has always elevated the introspective, internal side of myself. I think it’s the constant change—the leaves are falling, the sky is getting darker earlier, and for us students, the year has begun. It’s time to “start anew.” But how can I “start anew” when the haziness of fall and all of its changes seems to leave me behind? Has everything in my life, every decision I’ve made, amounted to where I am now? Is this where I’m supposed to be? Am I supposed to be? I’ve been there. It’s easy to lose yourself in the fog of fall. Maybe this can help.

 

I take my inspiration, almost always, from my loved ones. Moving to Seattle and expanding my social circles has completely changed my perspective on the world around me, for the better. It started as such: my friend, quite literally, told me to “chill” one day. Over 10 months into 2018 and that may have been the best advice I have ever received, and something I carry with me every day. “Chill.” Seriously. When you struggle with anxiety, when you get lost in your own head, obsessing over everything you don’t want to obsess over, it can be hard to just “chill.” But I tried it. How I’ve come to understand this idea of “chill” is consciously speaking less, listening more, and firmly rooting myself in the present.

Every November for 5 years, I have never been able to escape my head. And, in all honesty, I’m fucking tired of it. For 5 years, I have entered November with bright eyes, wide smiles, and an open heart. And every year, something happens. I fuck up, he fucks up, they fuck up, I fuck up again. How do you break the cycle? How do you escape the doubts swirling around in your head, and enjoy your life as it’s happening?

 

When you’re at your lowest, look around and take inventory of what you have. Find your assets, keep who and what is still there, and, as painful as it might be, build again. You don’t have to get lost in your past, or your mistakes, or what you said or failed to say. When you speak less, do more, and make decisions for yourself that send butterflies through your stomach and into your chest and make your heart race, you’ll know what you did. You’ll know that you set your mind at ease, maybe just for that one moment, and that you will be okay.

 

Readers—please realize how much light you carry within you. All day and every day. As individuals, we carry so much power with the light we have to share; we can literally change a life, every single day, in a single moment. Self-love, and finding the light in yourself, is an incredibly difficult thing to accomplish, and so I implore you not to. I have found that looking for that moment of realized self-love, or that moment of finally getting over someone—it isn’t going to happen when you expect it to. The moment I stopped pursuing the concept of self-love and began to make decisions that felt the best to me, I didn’t need to look for self-love. The moment I looked up from my phone after typing a long message to send to an ex, my friends’ eyes met mine, and I didn’t worry about what happened anymore. No matter our past, we all have to move forward and forgive ourselves, and one another. You can teach yourself how to combat the pain in your life, and how to find patience in the most difficult of times. And you can teach yourself to love, too, every single day, by being the truest, most authentic form of yourself. Smile. And do your own thing. You have the light within you, and that’s all you need.