For a few years now, I have been dealing with a mild case of depression. Dealing the fuck out of it. To a degree that I have forgotten about living at some point and became a walking internet quiz: “Are you depressed?” (Let’s try to find out with irrelevant questions), “Are you an introvert or extrovert?” (Still don’t know the answer, still don’t know why I keep asking it in the first place), “Are you falling behind in life?” Etc.
I can say I invested maybe more time than I should have into analyzing myself and getting a sense of who I am. So I have lost a veeeeeery long time staring at the ceiling and asking why I have done something in the past and how it has shaped my character. Although I have been complaining about this soul-searching for two paragraphs now, it has also helped me come to conclusions which I want to live by from now on and share with you.
P.S. They will sound cheesy. They will sound simple. Trust me. But keep in mind that it does not take away from what I am saying.
1. Don’t make up excuses
We all have dreams or plans crashed by “others,” whether it be parents or friends. Yes, I know you were dying to major in arts, but your family would rather see you engineer the shit out of things. Yes, yes you really wanted to go live in an exotic land but your friends or your beau tied you down emotionally. You know what? NO.
I am pretty much an expert at finding excuses, just like Kanye West, and that’s what I’m good at. Well, I don’t know how you’ll take the news, but sorry there is NO ONE to blame other than you. I have found as I grow up, life is not the series of happening to you. It is rather how you react to those. So, stop blaming your broken self-esteem on an ex. Yes, he has been shitty, but it’s your duty to pull yourself together. Stop blaming your strict parents for having your dreams hammered. The truth is you did not stand firm enough, you did not give it all you had. Jesuuus, Katy Perry came from a deeply conservative family and now she goes around all sexy, kissing girls, and liking it.
2. Don’t dwell on your past
Pretty generic advice, isn’t it? Well, yes, but for a reason. Every single day we wake up having a sense of ourselves, our reality. We reflect on things we have done and said. Yet we always fail to remember that it is a brand new day and the day before literally has no relevance at all. Also, we forget how much our and others’ perceptions shape the things we go through. (Turns out the girl I have been carrying guilt over for breaking her heart did not care much for the incident, while I kept finding worse traits of myself every single day, for months)
We should let all our burdens go. I don’t mean to say that the past should play no role at all, after all it is there for us to learn from and build upon. Yet, as beautifully put in Her, it is “Just a story we tell ourselves.” It is not necessarily our life story. We don’t live in cycles, so try hard to avoid them. Forgive yourself and move the fuck on.
3. Don’t be afraid to reach out
I often see that people tend to cut all lines of communication when they fight and never intend to talk later because they assume it will make them seem weak. A little power play. But time goes on, the things are left unsaid, and guess who it ends up hurting? Yes, man, it’s you.
Don’t shy away from talking to a person. Why care how it makes you look? Speak your goddamn mind or you will end up bearing those thoughts on your shoulders for the rest of your life, not the other way around. Let’s say you told a person everything going through your head and they literally gave zero fucks. So??? It doesn’t matter how the other person chooses to react. You know what I’m stopping here because I am about to plagiarize my own work so I’ll just skip to my next ground-breaking point.
4. The other person’s reaction does not define or does not take away from your own intentions
Going back to the example where you spilled your guts and the other person just stared right back blankly. If I told you this sitting on a table, taking sips from our delicious coffee, would you react by saying how immature or incapable that person was or would you blame it on me for giving it a shot? I am praying that you would say the former. The point is that I said it all. I have completed my duty both to the other person and to myself. So who gives a fuck about how the other person chooses to respond? It’s their choice to make and eventually regret if mishandled.
5. Don’t build on negative emotions, choose optimism
Remember that awesome film Inception? Remember how Dom (Leo DiCaprio) chooses to build on the positive “building-for-my-own” sentiment instead of “revenge-shall-be-mine” thought? Well, he has a point. We should not base our goals on negativity. We should not be plotting revenge or choose to live to hurt some other person. It not only gets harmful, but also takes away from you in reality. Carrying around anger or sense of betrayal is exhausting. I have difficulty clearing my thoughts even when I have a tiny little fight with my best friends, so how can it make sense to build upon all that negativity. Always choose the high road, always try to improve, not sabotage.
6. Control is an illusion, so don’t freak out when you lose it
In my opinion, this point is unfortunately better understood when you lose a loved one. You plan all your life, every single detail up to your career plan, your future children’s names, or your future everything. Well, should I remind you that it may not be even slightly close to what you will be doing? Of course a person should not just let everything go and give up own his or her life. That is and will never be the point I am trying to make. But we should always remember that life is chaotic and shit happens.
This point is personal to me because it is one of the things I deeply struggle with. I am sometimes a control freak and may even cry in shame and secretly if I miss a bus I have decided to take going to Taksim or whatever. So I have always envied the happy-go-lucky type. We should all be like them. We should have plans or career paths, BUT not freak out or give up altogether when one thing is amiss.
I am well aware that all these look pretty easy written down, but they are pretty hard to apply. Don’t assume I do, I constantly forget these and end up staring out of the window, shooting a music video, playing Anathema’s “Lost Control” through my speakers. But we should sometimes remember that life is just a journey and it should not be taken so seriously.
I hope you do a better job following my advice than I do.