31 December 2011

out with a bang (the grand finale)

As Steve Jobs said thrice on his dying breath, “Oh wow.”
This has been quite a year. I have really never had a year like this, starting with laboring over my anatomy textbook during my junior year Christmas break and finishing with college applications on senior year break.
Can you believe last year tomorrow I was in Staples getting my 2011 calendar made by the employee who gave it to me for free? Crazy stuff. The things that can change in a year, it’s just wow. Do we all remember the earthquake and tsunami in Japan? The Libya, Syria, Egypt, and Middle East protesting and conflicts? South Sudan seceding and becoming its own country in July? It all happened this year.
And from macro back to micro, I went into my last year of high school, I went to Central America for the first time and swam in the Pacific Ocean for the first time, I applied to college, I got a Facebook. We all tested the strengths of our friendships and family bonds as issues continued to hang over us. And sometimes I really, honestly had nothing good to write here. I often just said, “well kid, you’ve gotta write something.” There is always light in a dark situation, which I have learned. You just have to find it. And sometimes it’s harder to find than other times.
Something unexpected I learned from physically doing this blog: visions change, and it’s ok. I didn’t follow my original plan of optimism and finding happiness. Because you can’t always find happiness. Some days you are feeling down, and you can’t pull yourself back up again. It takes time to find enough strength to overcome things that . Because you can’t always find happiness. Some days you are feeling down, and you can’t pull yourself back up again. It takes time to find enough strength to overcome things that knock us down, and sometimes repairing pains does not allow for happiness. You can’t be happy all the time; you have to learn to better appreciate the happy times.
And while we are a convoluted species, we are actually pretty simple in our needs and wants. If you don’t focus on all the things you do not have, the simplest things, like friends, family, and spending time with everyone who matters to you will matter the most. Life is made up of the experiences we life; when we live earth someday, we go to rest not with our iPhones and Blackberrys, but with the memories of a life hopefully well-lived. I have found so many things in my life that are just simple things – like texting a friend all night long, enjoying the amazing weather of a fall day, studying with a group at Starbucks, or teaching children English words in Costa Rica – that truly make you happy in the long run. They are the intangible things that give us value.
Did I follow my original 2011 new year’s resolution of finding happiness in the little things of life? Not really. But I found something better – a deeper meaning. I didn’t need to “find” happiness; I just needed to dig deeper. Not shopping at a different store, just checking all the nooks and crannies of the same old store.
I hope that this blog brought some thought into your life everyday; or if not every day, than at least some days. We all have the potential to make our lives whatever we want them to be, no matter if we are 75 or 17, sick or healthy, privileged or not. We’ve all got it in us, and I challenge you to make finding a deeper meaning in a life a resolution for 2012.
And as Clark W. Griswold, Jr. says of his feat to pull of the most ridiculous yet wonderful Christmas ever in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, “I did it.”

Here’s to 2011, and here’s to happiness.

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