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Health and Wellness


"To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all." -Oscar Wilde

Maria Goncharova

It’s interesting how being four thousand miles away from everything that you’ve ever known makes you think. Since I was little, I have dreamed about going to Europe. And now, after working all summer and filling out all of the incredibly tedious study abroad paperwork, here I am, in Limerick, Ireland for the semester. I had never left the United States until three weeks ago. Now here I am, on a new continent, surrounded by people from all over the world.

I have had an unanticipated amount of free time now that I’m in another country and not working a part time job. Consequently, I’ve had more time to focus on my studies, recreational reading, and self-reflection. I have time to think and I have time to be myself that I had been lacking previously. I haven’t “started over” or “found myself.” But even after just being here for three weeks, I have changed.

I used to think that I was miserable because of my past. Had my uncle not killed himself, or had my parents not had an ugly separation or had so and so liked me, then I was sure that I would’ve been happy. But I now realize that I would have been miserable no matter what. What I struggled with was devastating, but my own self-pity was far more horrible than anything life could have thrown at me. Rather than trying to change the way I saw the world around me, I let it crash around me and wallowed in the ruins. I victimized myself and thought that life owed me something that it was not going to give me.

But here’s the deal, life owes you nothing and nothing is going to save you.

If you want to change something about your life, then you have to do it yourself. Other people can encourage you and hold your hand along the way. Actually, I really hope that you do have someone, or multiple people, to do this with you. Having people that add beauty to your life is a gift that should be cherished. But ultimately, they cannot change you, or how you react to what has happened to you. You have to make the decision to get better, to be better. It doesn’t matter how good of a person you are.

You’re no “better” or more worthy of a good life than anyone else is. You were not targeted by fate. You have to fight for your happiness and for your goals. Sometimes, you have to fight obstacles like getting out of bed in the morning, and sometimes you have to fight while you grieve. Regardless of what it is that you’re fighting, fighting takes its toll, and it will not be easy. Like a parasite, sadness will try to suck the life away, and some days, it may feel like its succeeding. But you have to keep going. The Earth will keep on spinning at 1000 miles per hour. The Earth isn’t going to stop, and neither should you.

It’s taken me twenty years and four thousand miles to realize how strong I am. I kept going. That is an accomplishment unworthy of a resume or certificate. I have my life now, and I’m going to live it.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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