A few years ago, I decided to take some time to myself and try and correct some of the situations in my life. After a 3rd unsuccessful attempt at trying to take my own life, I decided that I didn’t want to live like that any more. Something had to change. I spent 2 months in an inpatient psychiatric hospital and almost 2 years doing an outpatient DBT program. It wouldn’t be fair for me to say that the program changed my life. It changed everything. It changed the way I see things, the way I express myself, the way I react to the way people express themselves. It taught me to understand my emotions, to process things properly and effectively, and just made me an all around better person. It made the way people interacted with me, especially my family. It was the hardest work that I have ever done in my life.
When I came home from inpatient (back to my parents house by their request!), I was greeted by a beautiful card from my sister Raquel. Next to the card was a box, and in that box was a bracelet. The words, “Live the Life You Love” were engraved on it. She wasn’t sure if I would like it much because she felt that it was too feminine for my taste. And it was, but something about the message and the thought behind it made me love it. I wore it almost every day for the next year, taking care not to snag it, or leave it anywhere, taking it off and putting it in a pouch while doing yard work or washing dishes. It was a constant reminder to work hard so that I could do just that! Live the life I love.
While all of this was going on, I was also on another journey. Sobriety. While in the rooms (kinda mandated but kinda not), and questioning every bad decision I had ever made because of my drug and alcohol use, I would look down and be reminded why I was there. I needed to get it together. I needed to keep pushing forward and learn from my mistakes. That was a little over 5 years ago. I may have gone back to some of my bad habits a few times, but I always remembered what the ultimate goal was. For as long as I can remember, I wanted a happy life, with lots of love, understanding, friends that cared about me and that I cared about, support from my family. As I started cleaning up my act, getting honest with others AND most importantly myself, as I confronted the things that were bothering me, as I surrounded myself with positive people and their infectious positive energy, I realized that I always had all the things that I wanted. I was just too wrapped up in my own misery to realize it.
My sister didn’t realize that such a small, kind gesture would have such a profound impact on my life. A sterling silver bracelet with 5 simple words on it, “Live the Life You Love” would effect me the way it did. The constant reminder that life is what we make it. Today, I love my life! I’m living it the best way I know how, doing my best to remember that people rely on me as much as I rely on them. That I love hard and fervidly, and sometimes they wont love be back and that’s okay. That I make mistakes and learn from them. That I take responsibility for my actions. That losing is no big deal, and that when you screw up, you fix as quickly as you can. I say sorry when I’m wrong or hurt someone’s feelings, and that people won’t always say sorry when they do it to me. I can’t complain about the life that I’ve created for myself. I can’t really complain about anything! This week, as I was going through my hiking pack getting ready for an overnight hike to Mount Marcy with Marco, I found it inside it’s usual little pouch. I thought I had lost it months back and was devastated! But there it was, as awesome as ever. It reminded me of all those little things that sometimes I forget. And i realize, life is good, and I’m Living the Life I Love…