As I’ve been getting older, recently turning 19, I’ve gathered numerous mottos and mantras by which I attempt to lead my life. Many of them shine through many of my articles, but others remain embedded in my mind, unseen. Each experience I have that exemplifies certain words of wisdom only further solidifies my belief in their significance to living a happy and full life.
One of those experiences I had recently while traveling with my immediate family, very close family friends, and the rest of their family with whom I had spent most of my life getting to know. As each day came to a close, I couldn’t quiet my mind which was bouncing in a million different directions, analyzing the trip. And every day, I felt unbelievably grateful and happy to be a part of this crazy but incredible group of people.
To dive into my analysis of this trip and how it relates to the title of this article (AKA the reason you probably clicked on it), I’m gonna give some context. Lately, my mentality and attitude toward life has taken a severe downturn. I’ve gotten into this mindset that everything and everyone will always disappoint me, including myself. Which yes, I am aware, is a terrible mindset to have. But, I’m working on it. Anyways, this new outlook is pretty emblematic of my first semester in college and simply the past couple months of my life. Even when I know, logically, that thinking negatively will produce negative outcomes, it seems impossible to drag myself from the depths of this mind-trap.
It has become increasingly difficult to get myself to be excited about anything. The holiday season has always been my favorite time of year, for many reasons. One, my birthday is December 22. Two, I love Christmas and everything about it. And three, everyone is generally in a good mood. But, as I packed and then boarded the plane to come home to Boston, it felt like I had also packed agony, misery and overall disappointment along with my 50 pounds of other items (yes I know I have a problem with overpacking). However, we were leaving for a cruise to the Caribbean on the 23, so I hoped that coming home on December 9 gave me plenty of time to figure my shit out and get pumped. Spoiler: it didn’t.
As my birthday and the 23 inched closer, I grew more worried as to why I wasn’t excited. I would get to spend a week in the Caribbean with some of my favorite people; I had to be insane to not have an ounce of excitement somewhere inside me. And it wasn’t just apathy, the thought of having to spend a week faking being happy and the person that they all knew made me anxiously dread the trip. I almost decided not to go, but told myself that I should have an open mind. So, I procrastinated packing until the night of, and woke up at the crack of dawn with my family to get to the airport.
I think this was the first time I had virtually no expectations for something. I couldn’t get past my own negativity to envision how great the trip could be, which, actually worked to my favor. I had a blast. And not only was it extremely fun and a nice break from reality, but being surrounded by 32 amazing people I know and love, gave me a whole new appreciation for being alive. They exuded love and support even without me having to explain my recent life detour. Just being with all of them reminded me that I’m loved and that life is beautiful. I even got to witness arguably my two favorite people in this world (next to my own parents) renew their vows after 23 years of marriage, hardship, and kids. All while absorbing as much sunlight as humanly possible and seeing the most beautiful oceans in existence.
This brings me to my final philosophical narrative for the week to impart on whoever is reading this: live your life with no expectations. This means good ones or bad ones. I guess you could interpret this as “living in the moment”, but I don’t think that’s always necessary. Expecting nothing but to go through each day with happiness and kindness is the best way to live. People will surprise you. Moments will surprise you. And 99 percent of the time, you’ll be thankful to be alive.