It Is Time to Choose

Life is moving. Every second presents itself an opportunity. Before us are decisions, choices which hold within them a tremendous power to change our futures, our perspectives, and our spirits. There are times we dash from the decisions before us. I am here to tell you to pack away the running shoes. It is time to choose. It is time to be alive.

So eat the birthday cake. Cut yourself a slice and enjoy every bite. You had to fight hard for it. That cake is not just a symbol of the day you were born. It is a congratulations. A job well done. A medal of honor. That cake is your symbol for making it through another year despite what life threw at you and despite the battles you faced. Even in the falls and the tears, in the pain and the loss, in the heartache and trials, you made it. Another 365 days you proved you have the heart of a warrior. Take pride in what you accomplished. Rejoice in the fresh start this cake symbolizes. It is marking a new year for you, one not yet touched by fears, one waiting to be lived, one with doors yearning to be opened with only a key you possess. Expand your arms wide to it. Welcome it with hope and excitement. So eat the cake. Eat two slices. Eat three slices. I promise it will not hurt you.

Take yourself out on dates. Just you. Learn the beauty in being with yourself. Spend quality time investing in you, getting to know you, falling for you. One day it will turn into love. All of those nights devoted to you will result in a lifelong relationship; one that cannot be broken, separated, or divorced. Your love will be so deep, so wide, nothing can shake it. Do not underestimate the value of being in the presence of yourself, soaking in who you will be, what you have overcome, the dreams before you waiting for your touch. Rediscover your joys, ignite your passions, find what makes your heart leap, search for what makes your spirit catch fire. Each minute in your presence lets the light within grow. It is time for you to shine. So go take yourself out. Be okay with the silence. Let it be your opportunity to hear the voice of your spirit, the one you blocked out in the chaos of life, the one you silenced with the thoughts of fear and hate. Laugh with you. Cry with you. Be okay with just you. Let you be enough.

Take the picture. Forget if your hair is perfect or if your make up is done. Do not worry about the blemishes on your face or if you are still in your pajamas. Every picture is not a headshot. This is your life documented in still images. Seize the moment. Perfection does not exist so do not wait to capture moments until it does. You will have nothing to show for it. Life will not stop. These seconds are fleeting. That moment you took to fix your hair is gone. You cannot recreate the time you said no. We should be so lucky to have a way to freeze time for a bit, have something to look back on to remind us of all we have done, the people who changed us, the experiences that shaped us. Stop declining a photo. Get in the selfie with your sister. Stop and ask the person walking by to take a photo of you with your family on vacation. Let your friend take a candid photo of you on your spontaneous trip to get ice cream. Take a silly picture of yourself randomly as you are reading on your deck. I have never regretted a taken photo but there are many photos I regret never taking. So you look back in five years and laugh at the state of your hair. That is the worst that will happen. This is not “America’s Next Top Model.” Relax. Have fun. There will come a day when they are all you have left of a person, of how life once was, of a simpler time. Hit the button and capture the moment.

Go skydiving. Go snorkeling. Go climb a mountain. Do something to remind yourself how small you actually are, how vast this world is. You are one little speck in this infinite universe. The world does not revolve around just you. Whatever is going on in your life, take one look around and be brought back to the reality that the world is still turning and that means another chance at another day. Beyond the four walls you keep yourself in is a land waiting to be touched, yearning to be seen, begging to be experienced. There are people eager to meet you. There are places excited to feel your feet on them. Do not limit yourself to a comfort zone. Do not trap yourself in safety. Go out in the great unknown and explore. So many opportunities await you. They are not going to come to you. You must go to them. Live in the beauty this world has to offer. It was made for us to delight in and in which to leave our mark. Do not let your footprints never leave your backyard.

Be silly. Belt out a song. Dance it out. Never forego the opportunity to let loose. You have this one shot at life with an unknown amount of years. Do not take life so seriously. Save the drama. Preserve the energy. Bad things are going to happen. We cannot avoid them. So take control and fill your life with good. Seize the opportunity to put positivity in the world. Stop fearing the dark when you have the ability to create light. Who cares what people think. Do not let their opinions rob you of smiles, of laughter, of authenticity. Do not be shackled to the thoughts of those only speaking out of fear and jealousy and insecurity. They want what you have and are taking out their own entrapment on you. Let it go. Continue to blind them as you shine. Be free.  

Make a mistake. Actually make lots of them. I know you hear that a lot. That is because it is truth. If you want to learn, if you want to live, if you want be authentic, you must stumble and fall and slip up. They are how you learn what you want and don’t want. Who you want to be and don’t want to be. They are how you learn your strength. The muscles of our spirit grow every time we pick ourselves back up. We need to fall so we can rise. That is where the beauty lies. You become an overcomer in the mistakes, in the battles our wrong choices sometimes bring us. Do not fear imperfection. Do not worry about the cracks in you. The light needs some way to get out. Do not be ashamed of the scars. They hold some of the greatest accounts of survival ever told. Own your story, every mistake and every success. Own it before it is even finished. Trust it is going to have a happy ending no matter the amount of stumbles you had in every chapter. All things work for good. All pain has purpose.

Go out in the rain. But do not just stand there. Dance in it. Throw your hands in the air and twirl as the rain hits your skin. Let it fall all over you. Let it touch you and soak you. Let it wash away your perfectly done hair and your made up face. Allow it to make you come undone. Stop trying to avoid the hardships and let them come. But while they do, rejoice. Do not park yourself in pity. Do not just sit there and watch it happen. Do not run from it. The more you do, the scarier it becomes. Become a part of it to learn and to experience. Let it be the water to help you grow. Celebrate. Because with every trial, beauty is around the corner. Give it some time and the rain you are dancing under will become a rainbow to chase.  Show gratitude to the rain. It is molding you. It is washing you clean. It is paving the path to your destiny.

So it is your time to go out in this world and make decisions. Life is waiting to be done. You have a legacy to leave behind.

Love, light, and bravery,

J.L.