Life will always be difficult.
Everyone has bad days and demons to face, but life would be a dull road if there were no bumps. And sometimes tough times are invitations for growth.
If life were easy, we would never learn. We would never push ourselves.
Maybe our tears exist to remind us that our bodies are made of 75 percent water. And, like water, we're unbreakable. We’re flexible, mobile shape shifters who can adapt to anything.
Our skin darkens after a day in the sun, our lungs grow stronger the more we swim, and our pupils dilate in the dark. Our bodies are powerful and changing.
But we were given our bodies. What we weren't given is the way we choose to experience life. That's something we cultivate ourselves.
To have a positive life, you need to match your mind's strength to your body's abilities. Choose to be happy every day. Think optimistic thoughts, and work hard at achieving inner peace.
Fall head over heels in love with your life. And remember that you need to put in effort -- just like you would in a normal relationship.
To help you do this, here's a checklist of four simple ways to stay smitten with life.
1. Stay close to what makes you feel alive.
You deserve to get a head rush when you think of how fulfilling your life is.
Start where you are, and do what you can to become a stronger and more productive person. Do push-ups. Write a story. Make cupcakes. Purchase a plane ticket. Try something -- anything -- new.
Don’t be afraid to set realistic short- and long-term goals, and write them down. Motivate yourself by checking off the items as you complete them.
It may seem like a small thing to start a book club or coordinate a food drive, but you’ll be amazed at how easy it is to brighten other people's lives. And eventually, you’ll see your own bloom in response.
Find a way to spark yourself, then work at fanning that fire everyday.
Don’t let these ambitions go dim. One way of doing this is to stay near people, films and books that inspire you. Cultivate a positive atmosphere by keeping out anyone or anything that detracts from your optimistic energy.
2. Leave the past in the past.
Snakes shed their skin to remove parasites and allow for growth. Humans should do the same.
In order to become a healthier and happier person, you have to cast away your former self and all the parasitic people from your life. You don’t see a snake trying to put its old skin back on, and neither should you. (There's something about this in the Bible, right?)
Leave the past where it belongs and leave what’s dead buried.
Memories are like tombstones. They're fine to visit and sometimes even weep over, but don’t try to dig anything up. Let things be. Nothing can grow in the past, so focus on the milestones you can make today.
3. Let go of what goes, and be receptive to what comes.
People leave -- even the ones who say they never will. So let them go. Accept that people are not permanent.
When someone leaves the dance floor, it doesn’t mean you have to stop dancing or having fun. Keep dancing. Keep having fun. Eventually, the right partner will feel your pull.
You can’t control who chooses to stay, but you have power over something much, much better: where you want to go.
Better things, people and opportunities will come. You just have to work hard at bettering yourself and keep your chin up long enough to see it happen.
4. Be present, but be grateful.
You can see! You can look up and see a bright blue sky as the roof over your head. You can wiggle your toes on a blanket of grass or run across sand, soil and cement. You're able to read this article using your eyes.
Not everybody can do these things. Having your basic physical capabilities is a major blessing. You’re not in a coma, and you're not paralyzed. You’re present. So be present.
Live in the moment. Savor every sensation. Feel the wind run its fingers through your hair and let warm sand blanket your body. Feel someone else’s skin press against yours.
Remember to capture images with your eyes and not just your iPhone. Be appreciative of the beauty that's too often overlooked: a monarch, a seashell, a flower.
And remind yourself that you get to be alive today. If that isn’t a privilege in its own right, I don’t know what is.