Five years ago I had just survived the worse year ever (no, 2017, that is not a challenge). In addition to losing my dad, I had broken my promise to God, failed classes, moved, and tried to figure out how to make it in my new world. I had started therapy. I felt lost.
There was this website I used to be involved in – moreloveletters.com – the normal objective was to write letters to strangers and send those letters to them. However, at the end of 2011, the creator of the site issued a new letter writing mission for January 2012 – write a letter to yourself, mail it to them, and they would mail it back in January 2013. Craft the perfect love letter to yourself. It was exactly what I needed to do at that time.
I spent a good part of January working on my letter. For me, it wasn’t just a letter, it was everything that I wanted for 2012. I mailed it off at the end of the month and wouldn’t see it again for a year.
I don’t remember the exact contents of the letter, and I know I have it somewhere. It wasn’t really a letter – more like an art project – I made a book, filled with hope for the new year. One part that I held onto, even after I mailed it, and I still hold onto to til this day. “This year – I didn’t wish to get a boyfriend or to save money or to lose weight – I just want to be happy.” Although the order I listed those three things in might be off, those were the ideas I most often associated with happiness when I was younger. However, as 2011 became 2012, I found myself not wanting any of those things, I only wanted to be happy.
Happiness seems like such a simple idea from the outside. Of course anyone can be happy, but when you feel like you’ve lost all your happiness, when you can’t even figure out how to be happy anymore, that’s when you find yourself starting from square one. That’s where I was – I spent the year focusing on taking care of myself and doing things that would make me happy. I began to learn to love myself and the new life I was thrown into. And when things started to drag me down, I reflected on my only goal for the year – be happy.
I made some big decisions in 2012. I prayed about them a lot. I talked to my friends about them a lot. I thought about what was best for everyone else. Then I asked myself what was best for me (and my dogs). I chose the things I thought would get me to where I wanted to go, while refusing to let my dogs go – somehow, someway, all three of us were going to make it through 2012 and I would determined to always give them, and myself, the best life possible.
I stopped making resolutions after that year. Instead, every New Years, I think about the resolution I made so many years ago – be happy. When something in my life has me down, I reflect and decide if it’s truly making me happy, and if the answer is no, I make a change. When my only resolution is to be happy, all the other changes take place when they need to, not just on New Years. This year, while I stopped making resolutions years ago, I continue to reflect on the last one I made – be happy.