I’ve been beaten down. I’ve been frustrated. I’ve lost my footing. I’ve woken up and looked out my window, wishing I didn’t have to see another day. I’ve watched people I love face immeasurable obstacles. I’ve fought demons within my own mind. I’ve loved and lost. I’ve dragged my insecurities and fears behind me like dead weight. I’ve felt incredibly small and alone. I’ve said goodbye to people I cared so deeply for. I’ve lost faith and felt broken beyond repair.
We all have our battles, our scars, our stories. And yet, still we rise. Still we find faith in the smallest of things. Still, we patch the holes and continue, letting people back in, stepping forward into the light.
We go through so much on this earth; we were never promised easy. Sometimes it feels like we’re on a spinning loop, up and down, around and around, taking steps forward then falling back only to be back where we were. It shakes our foundation after a while, makes us dizzy and tired.
And yet, we still find a way to make purpose stem from pain, to see the blessing bloom from every burden.
I’ve had my share of struggle, as we’ve all had. But I choose to push forward. I choose to restart. I choose to smile, even on the days that I don’t want to, praying that one day my mouth will move effortlessly. And it will.
Today, and every day, I choose to live.
I choose to wake up and remember what I’ve been given, rather than what I’ve lost. I choose to be patient with the universe, instead of angry for what hasn’t yet happened. I choose to smile, not frown. I choose to let people in, not push them away.
I choose to celebrate the little things. I choose to smell flowers. I choose to walk barefoot in the dirt and let laughter slip from my lips. I choose to lean my head back and feel the sun kiss my skin, a reminder that even in all the darkness, there is still light.
And I will choose to see that light, walk in that light, be that light.
Every day we have a choice—to begin again or let our yesterdays define us. Every day we have an option—to carry our past weight or let it go. And every day we have the potential—to stay as what we were, or become something new.
And we are all capable of fresh, of different, of more.
So please remember that the past doesn’t write your story, that your mistakes are not your definition. Remember that where you were does not have to be where you are and what you’ve gone through does not need to carve weakness into your character.
Remember that you are strong for even facing another minute, and more powerful than you even know for crying and rebuilding in the wake of pain, no matter how slow you move.
Even if you feel little or lost, know this—the universe isn’t done with you yet. You are only beginning.
So stand with me today, and choose to live. Choose to let your past push you into something better. Choose to let your aches be healed by the universe, by faith, by your baby steps forward. Choose to see the sun peeking through clouds, the birds fluttering between tree branches, the flowers blooming even in places where the earth is dry.
Choose to let your troubles fade and forgiveness fill your heart instead. Choose to find little pieces of happiness where you least expect, and hold them close. Choose to treasure the people and memories you make, and focus on that when all else tumbles into chaos.
Choose to begin again.
Choose to live.