“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. The courage to change the things I can. And the wisdom to know the difference.”
Happy New Year! I missed the trend where everyone was posting on Instagram in the days leading up to January 1, 2022. I enjoyed watching all the slideshows and reels and stories and super long posts about everything people learned and loved from 2021 and everything they were hoping to leave behind.
In looking back over my own 2021, that year was… a lot. A lot happened! I moved into my dream home in a new state where I knew virtually no one. I’ve reconnected with old friends. I got my heart broken. I got attacked in my car! I got a promotion at work and started a journaling program, something I’d always wanted to do. Then I left that job to start a crazy new opportunity at Netflix of all places! My loved ones have gotten very hurt and very sick and some have not made it into the new year. I dealt with (and am still healing from) some extreme illnesses of my own. My niece was born and named after me! I had some really hard but transformative therapy sessions. I’ve had some amazing opportunities and collaborations. I met new people and I said good-bye to others.
Even though I spent 80% of 2021 in my house in the middle of a pandemic, it was an eventful year. I experienced some really high highs, and some really low lows. People tend to say: “If I had to do it all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing.” And after looking back over my own year and years passed, I’m asking myself, “If I had the do it all over again, would I change a thing?”
And my answer is “Hell yes, I would!” I would change A LOT of things!
Things are the way they are but that doesn’t mean that’s how they always have to be.
Look, I’m grateful for my life and all the lessons I’ve learned along the way. But some rough and tough shit has happened to me and I’ve often found myself wishing that it hadn’t! I’ve wished that I’d been smarter or more alert. Wished that I’d made different choices or never met certain people. I’ve looked back and wished I’d done many things differently but it’s too late now.
Or is it?
The thing is, I think I can do a lot of things differently. I think we all can, all the time. I’ve been looking back with my wishful thinking when I should have been looking ahead. I may not be able to change anything from my past but, knowing what I know now, I have the opportunity to do a lot of things differently moving forward.
I can’t go back in time and undo shitty relationships and one-sided friendships that caused me pain and distress but I can use what I know and make sure I’m never in another relationship like that ever again. I can’t take back the Sundays I’ve spent depressed and anxious about the upcoming work week. But I can make changes so my work life is less of a drain and I can figure out what I need to have a career I enjoy. I can’t cure everything that physically ails me. But I can make changes to live as healthy as I can in spite of all that. I can’t undo childhood fears and traumas. But I can use all the resources at my disposal (like therapy) to make my current and future existence are as peaceful and happy as possible.
I do think our experiences have something to teach us, even if the only lessons we glean is that we never want to experience something like that ever again.
I’m not sure if everything happens for a reason. Some things just happen and it sucks, it really sucks and you may never get any explanation as to why it happened to you. But I do think our experiences have something to teach us, even if the only lessons we glean is that we never want to experience something like that ever again. I also believe everyone exists for a reason. And I think every new day we’re still here is a new opportunity to try to make this life a little better than the day before.
So yeah, if I could change some things about my life, I totally would. And now I’m starting to think I totally can. Things are the way they are but that doesn’t mean that’s how they always have to be. If I’ve learned anything in the last year, it’s that life will change on its own. In an instant, you can go from healthy to sick. In love to alone. Employed to broke. Alive to dead. I don’t think we can control everything. But that doesn’t mean everything is out of our control. Life doesn’t have to be a thing that just happens.
I’m still learning that I do have the power to make some things happen for me, and to make sure other things never happen to me again. And of course there will always be times in my life when I can’t control a damn thing. But why not take everything I know now, everything I’ve got, to do life a little differently than I’ve done before? Why not try? I mean, the alternative is to go through life with the same things happening to you over and over again. And like I said, I’m grateful for my life but there are some things I never want to repeat.
This is the time of year when everyone is trying to make some changes and yeah, it’s a little cliché and in some ways annoying (especially at overcrowded gyms). But in many ways, it’s admirable to take your life into your own hands and change what you can. I don’t want to keep lookin back and wishing things had been different. When I’m looking back at the end of this year, I wanna be able to say, “Yeah, I did that!”