This I believe: the secret to life was explained in the movie Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. In the movie my favorite line is, “Maybe being happy is about more than having your life always be perfect. Maybe it’s about stringing together all of the little things.”
High School is a place of changes for everyone, and I was no exception. During my junior year, my small group of friends had begun to grow apart. Boys, alcohol, drugs… they all entered the picture at that time. My friends started going off in different directions- going places and doing things I knew that I didn’t want to be involved with. That summer I basically stopped associating with all of them, and them with me. But I had work to fill my days and I was fine. And then my senior year of high school started. I had basically no one, or so I thought. I went through a time in my life where I was depressed. It was the kind of depressed where you just didn’t want to get out of bed in the morning, the kind of depressed where you smiled to reassure everyone but the smile never quite reached the eyes. I was just going through the motions, biding my time until I could get out of that place and go to college.
Unfortunately it took a scare to get me out of myself absorbed state and focused back on the people around me. My mother had gone in for her yearly mammogram. And they found … well, something. There was a small lump in her breast. I didn’t find out until a couple weeks later, after my mother had already had her biopsy. It was benign.
But how worried she must have been, how scared she must have felt, and how alone. How did I not realize that something was happening? After that experience I began to concentrate more on the people around me. I began to concentrate on all of the happy moments we had together.
It was then that I picked up on my first joy- my family. I started to clue in to other things going on around me. My brother and sister in law could tell that I was lonely, and they knew that I had nowhere to go on the weekends. For a teenage girl, this was devastating. So they started inviting me to hang out with their friends, or they would come over to the house and play games with me. I didn’t realize at the time what they were doing, but I will be forever grateful for that kindness.
I appreciated, and found joy in things I would never have considered before. I appreciated the new friends I found that filled my time while I was at school. I found joy in reading, in my homework, and in anything that occupied my time, really. I found that I could in fact be fine alone, that I could go places by myself and be independent. And I loved it. Concentrating like that, on one small thing at a time, I overcame my depression and grew a whole lot in the process. It is a lesson that will stay with me for the rest of my life.
I look back on the self absorbed girl I was, on the trial that I thought was so hard at the time, and I am grateful to have learned that lesson. Since then I have had so many more trials in my life, so many more low periods, and I have cried about so many more serious things. But I will always know that no matter what happens I can be happy. All I have to do is concentrate on the small things that bring me joy. Nothing will ever be perfect. That’s the way life works. But you have to cherish all of the small things you do have no matter what pain you are going through. By stringing together all the little moments you can feel peace and happiness in your life even when times are hard.
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