I read the eye-opening and evocative “13 Reasons Why” years ago, so when the Netflix series came out, I decided to give it a try. I’m glad I did. It’s raw. It doesn’t sugarcoat.
It doesn’t portray a bubble-wrapped kind of pain and darkness, rather it shows the real, gritty truth behind suicide and other heavy topics that aren’t always discussed on-screen and off-screen—though they should be. The most tragic part of Hannah’s story for me was the reality that there are innumerable Hannah’s out there in the world, struggling and feeling empty and alone, which inspired me to create my own 13 reasons for anyone who is having a hard time—13 reasons why you need to keep living.
I’m not you, I can’t know what you are going through and I can’t pretend to. And I’m not an expert, I’m just a 20 year old girl hoping her words can someday make a difference, even a small one. With that being said, there is something I know I can do, I can tell you why you should never give up on life.
Maybe some of these things will seem cliché or trivial, or maybe they won’t resonate with you, but these are only 13 reasons out of hundreds, little and big.
1. For yourself
First and foremost, live for yourself. You are the only you, that should count for something. The world can’t replace you if you decide to leave it, it will forever have a you-shaped piece missing—one that is unique, beautiful, needed.
2. For the places you can go
Near and far. Explore your own backyard or travel the world. Drive to your neighborhood park or wander cobblestone streets of Europe. Stroll along the ocean, warm sand beneath your feet. Go for a hike, and always stop to smell the flowers. Go everywhere.
3. For your family
Whoever that may be. Your mom, your dad, your grandma, your grandpa, your brother, your sister, your cousin, your aunt, your uncle...they need you. Don't doubt that for a second.
4. For the love you’ll find
Whether it be romantic love or familial love or the love of a food, a book, a song, an animal, a job, a moment. Stay so that you can love, and so that you can be loved, too.
5. For the laughter
Laughter is unbridled joy. It’s freedom. It’s light. It’s healing. Let it heal you.
6. For the beautiful things you’ll hear
The rain. The ocean. Birds chirping. Music that touches the soul. Laughter. A breeze rustling the trees. People thanking you. Pancakes cooking on the griddle. A warm fire crackling. People telling you they love you—because they truly do.
7. And for the beautiful things you’ll see
They can be simple things. Fireworks sparkling. Imaginative shapes in the fluffy clouds. Glowing stars and constellations. Glittering fresh snow. Golden fall foliage. A puppy toddling across the grass. Dandelion seeds stealing away in the wind after you make a wish. The world offers sights to inspire awe in you and wonder and joy.
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8. For your dreams
What’s your biggest dream? Go after it. And if you don’t have a major dream yet, that’s okay, you’ll find one and you’ll chase it with everything you have.
9. For the friends you have and for the friends you’ll make
You never know when a best friend will walk into your life. When they do, your world is changed forever and for the better.
10. For the firsts
Look forward to the thrilling firsts. What would be the most important to you? Maybe it’s your first time falling in love or having your first child. Maybe it’s running your first half marathon or finishing your first painting. Maybe it’s having your first kiss or your first dance. Your first successful baking attempt or your first job. Your first car. Your first road trip. Think of all of the firsts you've yet to have!
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11. For the positive impact you can make
And by making an impact, I don't mean you have to end world hunger or write a groundbreaking novel read by millions. Even making a positive impact on one person or in one place or for one cause is enough. You are enough.
12. For the people who see you as one of their own reasons
Someone (or multiple someones) wake up every day and think of you. You bring them happiness. You make them smile. You add an extra something special to their lives. If they ever feel down, you are a reason for them to be lifted, to reignite their love of life.
13. For everyone else who is struggling
Show them life is worth it. They are worth it. You are worth it.
If you are looking for a sign to carry on, this is it.