100 Reasons To Keep On Living

100 Reasons To Keep On Living

"It's not about forcing happiness; it's about not letting sadness win."
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I’m going to be honest -- the first semester of college wasn’t my favorite. I developed mild to moderate depression, and, for the most part, spent most of time in my bed because I didn’t feel anything. During the first week, I got a mild concussion from slamming my head against the concrete wall while I was sleeping, and my hormones were out of control due to starting birth control, resulting in the constant feelings of tiredness, sadness, and overall numbness. Since I was in a completely different state from my family and friends, I lacked an adequate support system. I can’t say that I was jumping at the chance to tell the girls on my floor how I was feeling (don’t get me wrong, I love talking about feelings. I adore deep talk. It’s just weird to tell complete strangers intimate details about my life because I have a certain way that I need them to react -- and [surprise!] it’s not with advice). Every day was a struggle to get out of bed and conquer the day. I took naps, I secluded myself, I watched more Netflix than I’ve ever watched before (OK. Maybe that one isn’t 100 percent true. I once watched ten seasons of "Grey’s Anatomy" in a month. Either way, a lot of TV was consumed over the course of three months). I was sad and lonely and numb.

I knew a lot of people that had struggled with depression in high school. After all, I’m a theatre kid. The stage is where the misfits go to find peace and healing and a sense of belonging. Many of the kids that I knew struggled with some sort of mental illness, and while I personally never struggled with thoughts of ending my life, I knew a large handful of people that had contemplated, attempted, or committed suicide. Many of them simply couldn’t find any more reasons to live, and after dealing with depression for the last three months, I know how hard it can be to find joy in anything -- especially in the things that I was once so passionate about.

In order to cope, I began to develop the courage to talk to the girls on my floor about my depression. Once I opened up (and also went off of the pill and recovered from my concussion), I immediately saw myself getting happier. Instead of bottling up my sadness and carrying the weight of it on my own shoulders, I was able to sit in the sadness with other people, processing and crying with them on their couches. I also remembered a small book that I wrote for one of my suicidal friends about a year ago (thankfully, he is still with us today). In this book were 100 reasons why this friend of mine should live. Some of them were big, some of them were small, but they were all reasons to keep on living for one more day.

I found this book recently, and I knew that I had to share it with the people of the world, just in case one of you is struggling with the same feelings me, my friend, and millions of other people are struggling with.

100 Reasons to Keep on Living:

  1. Sunrises and sunsets.
  2. The sound of a baby’s laugh.
  3. Watching someone talk about something they’re passionate about.
  4. The first snowfall of the season.
  5. The smell of artificial watermelon.
  6. Fresh baked cookies.
  7. Shooting stars.
  8. Stepping on crunchy leaves.
  9. Splashing in puddles.
  10. Traveling the world.
  11. Your future children, pets, spouses, or friends.
  12. The feeling of being held in someone’s arms.
  13. New books by your favorite authors.
  14. Christmas lights.
  15. The one influential person in your life that has helped you through everything.
  16. The way dogs gets excited to see you when you come home from a long day of school or work.
  17. Smiles on other people’s faces.
  18. The warmth of sunshine on your skin.
  19. The smell of coffee.
  20. Sitting in a warm house or by a fire with a really good book.
  21. Decorating the Christmas tree.
  22. The chill that racks through your body when you’ve accomplished something you’re proud of.
  23. Clumsy first kisses.
  24. The warmth and smell of fresh laundry.
  25. Music.
  26. Compliments and praise.
  27. The feeling your heart has when you see your crush.
  28. The sound of good laughter.
  29. Your support system (because they would be broken and lost without you).
  30. The feeling of someone paying attention to you - the one that makes you feel safe and loved.
  31. The movies that you leave you speechless after you walk out of the theater.
  32. The feeling you get after you pee for the first time in hours.
  33. The first day of spring when you can finally see the green grass peeking out of the snow and everything feels more hopeful.
  34. Puppy kisses.
  35. Baby kisses (the open mouthed kind when they smack their lips on your cheek).
  36. Swear words and the release you feel when you say them.
  37. Trampolines.
  38. Ice cream.
  39. Stargazing.
  40. Cloud watching.
  41. Taking a shower and then sleeping in clean sheets.
  42. Receiving thoughtful gifts.
  43. “I saw this and thought of you."
  44. The feeling you get when someone you love says, “I love you."
  45. The relief you feel after crying.
  46. Sunshine.
  47. The feeling you get when someone is listening to you/giving you their full attention.
  48. Your future wedding.
  49. Your favorite candy bar.
  50. New clothes.
  51. Witty puns.
  52. Really good bread.
  53. Holding your child in your arms for the first time.
  54. Completing a milestone (aka going to college, graduating college, getting married, getting your dream job.)
  55. The kind of dreams where you wake up and can’t stop smiling.
  56. The smell before and after it rains.
  57. The sound of rain against a rooftop.
  58. The feeling you get when you’re dancing.
  59. The person (or people) that mean the most to you. Stay alive for them.
  60. Trying out new recipes.
  61. The feeling you get when your favorite song comes on the radio.
  62. The rush you get when you step onto a stage.
  63. You have to share your voice and talents and knowledge with the world because they are so valuable.
  64. Breakfast in bed.
  65. Getting a middle seat in the movie theater.
  66. Breakfast for dinner (because it’s so much better at night than in the morning).
  67. Meaningful sex.
  68. Forgiveness.
  69. Water balloon fights.
  70. Orgasms.
  71. Fireflies.
  72. Birthdays.
  73. Realizing that someone loves you.
  74. Spending the day with someone you love.
  75. Spending the whole day in bed.
  76. Eating a whole pint of your favorite ice cream.
  77. Floating in water on your back and just staring up at the sky.
  78. First dates (even the bad ones make for funny stories.)
  79. Bonfires and s'mores.
  80. Relationships where you love someone but aren’t in love with them.
  81. Coming home to someone you love.
  82. The color of autumn leaves when they change.
  83. Summer.
  84. Singing songs at the top of your lungs with your friends.
  85. Cuddling.
  86. Being wrapped up in a warm bed.
  87. Someone’s skin against yours.
  88. Holding hands.
  89. The kind of hugs when you can feel a weight being lifted off your shoulders. The kind of hug where your breath syncs with the other person’s, and you feel like the only two people in the world.
  90. Singing off key with your best friends.
  91. Road trips.
  92. Spontaneous adventures.
  93. The feeling of sand beneath your toes.
  94. The feeling when the first ocean wave rolls up and envelops your toes and ankles and knees.
  95. Thunderstorms.
  96. Your first (or hundredth) trip to Disneyland.
  97. The taste of your favorite food.
  98. The child-like feeling you get on Christmas morning.
  99. The day when everything finally goes your way.
  100. You have to be alive to see the world become a better place (because I’m so hopeful that it will).

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A Senior's Last Week Of High School

The bittersweet end.
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Well, this is it. This is what we've worked so hard the last four years - who am I kidding - basically what seems like our whole lives for. This is the very last week we will set foot as a student in our high school's hallways. As most schools are getting ready to set their seniors free at last, it all begins to set in - the excitement, the anxiousness, and also the sentiment and nostalgia.

For seniors, the years since our first day as a freshman at the bottom of the high school totem pole have seemed endless, but as we look back on these last few weeks, we realize that this year in particular has gone by extraordinarily fast. It was just yesterday that we were sitting in our classrooms for the very first time, going to our 'last first' practice, and getting our first taste of the (very real) "senioritis". With all that's going on in our lives right now, from sports and clubs, finals, and the sought after graduation ceremony, it's hard to really sit down and think about how our lives are all about to become drastically different. For some it's moving out, and for some it's just the thought of not seeing your best friend on the way to fourth period English; either way, the feels are real. We are all in a tug of war with the emotions going on inside of us; everything is changing - we're ready, but we're not.

THE GOOD. Our lives are about to begin! There is a constant whirlwind of excitement. Senior awards, getting out of school early, parties, and of course Graduation. We are about to be thrust into a world of all new things and new people. Calling our own shots and having the freedom we have so desperately desired since the teenage years began is right around the corner. Maybe the best part is being able to use these new things surrounding you to grow and open your mind and even your heart to ideas you never could before. We get the chance to sink or swim, become our own person, and really begin to find ourselves.

Things we don't even know yet are in the works with new people we haven't even met yet. These friendships we find will be the ones to last us a lifetime. The adventures we experience will transform into the advice we tell our own children and will become the old tales we pass down to our grandkids when they come to visit on the weekends. We will probably hate the all night study sessions, the intensity of finals week, and the overpowering stress and panic of school in general, just like we did in high school... But it will all be worth it for the memories we make that will outlive the stress of that paper due in that class you absolutely hate. As we leave high school, remember what all the parents, teachers, coaches, and mentors are telling you - this are the best times of our lives!

THE BAD. The sentimental emotions are setting in. We're crying, siblings are tearing up, and parents are full-out bawling. On that first day, we never expected the school year to speed by the way it did. Suddenly everything is coming to an end. Our favorite teachers aren't going to be down the hall anymore, our best friends probably won't share a class with us, we won't be coming home to eat dinner with our families...

We all said we wanted to get out of this place, we couldn't wait, we were ready to be on our own; we all said we wouldn't be "so emotional" when the time came, but yet here we are, wishing we could play one more football game with our team or taking the time to make sure we remember the class we liked the most or the person that has made us laugh even when we were so stressed we could cry these past few years. Take the time to hug your parents these last few months. Memorize the facial expressions of your little sister or brother. Remember the sound of your dad coming home from work. These little things we take for granted every day will soon just be the things we tell our college roommate when they ask about where we're from. As much as we've wanted to get out of our house and our school, we never thought it would break our heart as much as it did. We are all beginning to realize that everything we have is about to be gone.

Growing up is scary, but it can also be fun. As we take the last few steps in the hallways of our school, take it all in. Remember, it's okay to be happy; it's okay to be totally excited. But also remember it's okay to be sad. It's okay to be sentimental. It's okay to be scared, too. It's okay to feel all these confusing emotions that we are feeling. The best thing about the bittersweet end to our high school years is that we are finally slowing down our busy lives enough to remember the happy memories.

Try not to get annoyed when your mom starts showing your baby pictures to everyone she sees, or when your dad starts getting aggravated when you talk about moving out and into your new dorm. They're coping with the same emotions we are. Walk through the halls remembering the classes you loved and the classes you hated. Think of the all great times that have happened in our high school years and the friends that have been made that will never be forgotten. We all say we hated school, but we really didn't. Everything is about to change; that's a happy thing, and a sad thing. We all just have to embrace it! We're ready, but we're not...

Cover Image Credit: Facebook

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Why Ignorance In Our Country Is Not Bliss

And it never will be.

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The saying ignorance is bliss is a bunch of crap. Ignorance is ignorance.

With everything going on in our country, I think it is very important for us to be educating ourselves.

You don't trust the news? Do your own digging.

You don't understand? Do some research.

You don't have the same perspective? Share it.

You only have your religious beliefs to base your knowledge? Learn before you judge.

We live in a scary world today. People judge others they've never met or before they've ever heard their story. People involve themselves in matters that they shouldn't be involved in. People are trying to regulate other people's bodies.

People don't want to learn about the issues they so strongly believe in. People don't want to hear the other side. When did party affiliation become more important than being a human being? When did men get the power to decide what women can do with their bodies? When did we stop being compassionate? When did we stop being decent human beings?

I don't want to live in a world where I have all these questions.

I don't want to live in a world where a judicial system will convict a woman who got an abortion after she was raped, but won't convict her rapist.

I don't want to live in a world where my social media timeline makes me want to cry.

I want to live in a world where everyone's opinion matters, not just the one you agree with.

I want to live in a world where everyone's voice is heard equally, not just the one's in power.

I want to live in a world where everyone's story is taken into consideration, not just the one's the government wants you to hear.

I want to live in a world where I can raise a young girl and not be afraid for her.

I want to live in a world where we do good.

I want to live in a world where we have differences, but that doesn't make us any less equal.

I want to live in a world where we don't judge before we know.

I want to live in a world where religious beliefs are respected.

I want to live in a world where it doesn't matter what political party you are.

I want to live in a world where people see right from wrong.

I want to live in a world where I am not afraid.

What kind of world do you want to live in?

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