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“Living like you’re dying
Isn’t living at all,
Give me your cold hands,
Put them on my heart,
Raise a glass to everyone
Who thinks they’ll never make it through
This life
To live a brand new start” 

Ingrid Michaelson – Afterlife

No words. Nothing to say. Acknowledging the one next to you, their pain and loneliness, or instead their dreams and desires, is an act of effort, which most of us would probably rather not commit their energy and time to. Can’t be bothered, as the saying goes.

But why not? Why is the connection you establish with another considered a bother, when all the studies and research on happiness say it should be our first priority in life? That is, unless you’d prefer to end up 80 and filled with regret at all the things you could have said and all the souls you could have touched, but instead found excuses not to.

Yeah, life can certainly sometimes be one big steaming pile of shit. I think a lot of people will agree 2016 has been one terrible, no good, very bad year. It’s been no different for me  – the recent loss of someone dear has shaken me to my core and made me look at the world through a different lens.  I’m not coming up with some novel idea to achieve happiness, these are truths we can all acknowledge and there’s almost a ‘duh!’ element to what I’m about to say next; but probably precisely because of the common sense aura surrounding these things, we tend to treat them with levity and not grant them the importance they deserve.

Our time is limited. No shock, no surprise, no big reveal. Yet somehow we’ve become so talented at forgetting that, at shoving that fact so deep under the daily grind and under piles upon piles of unessential events. This is the amazing part – that we act like there’s always going to be more time to put back together what we’ve broken and to rebuild what we’ve torn down. Maybe there will be. Just as well, this might be all we get and absolutely not a second more, and our level of control over how much of this thing called life we get to enjoy is in fact ridiculously low.

Yet we put off saying the things that we mean to say. One ‘I love you’ or one ‘I miss you’ or one ‘You’re beautiful’ won’t chip away at anything, but not saying them might. A touch of the hand, a long hug, a passionate kiss won’t cost you. A kind word won’t make you any less strong, instead it will show the kind of strength you posses.

I was once asked if it doesn’t scare me to put myself on display through my posts, to show so much of myself through my words and to ultimately be as vulnerable. Of course it does, but this is who I am and I’ve learnt that owning the vulnerable part of myself is where I draw my strength from. More than ever, after this terrible, no good, very bad 2016, I choose to be open, to own who I am and to carve out time for what truly matters during this brief time we each get to be alive.

I get excited by the holidays. Even more so this year, because it’s a time when generally people pull away from the dark and dreary of their existence and decide to instead celebrate the good around them and be grateful for the tiny bit of positive in their lives. Why do people make such a fuss about the holidays? Simple: for some, it’s probably the one and most important time when they get to be surrounded by the people who matter and get to fully enjoy their presence, no rush, no work-related phone calls, no stress for the tasks that are waiting for us in our inboxes. It’s that moment when you get a reason to smile, even if a lot of the time life is hard and painful.

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by Brooke Lark, via unsplash.com

Even though 2016 has been a terrible, no good, very bad year, I refuse to give in to that. I refuse to give in to an immobile, sad, almost hopeless existence of dragging myself from one day to the next, with little to no joy for the good things and amazing people that surround me. Joy can be in the incredibly spectacular gestures you might receive from someone who loves you more than anything, but it’s also in the small acts of kindness, which can mean simply showing gratitude for what the universe has given you.

The day we give up on having hope in the good, on celebrating it, however small and insignificant it might seem to others, that’s the day our spirit dies. Personally, I don’t plan to be a dead-woman walking, my spirit is very much alive and kicking. So I say be silly, be merry, be alive!

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