I don’t want to come right out and say that 2018 was the worst year ever, oh wait, yes I do!
Okay. Some good things did happen; I’ll admit it right now. Before I go off and rant endlessly about how much it sucked, I should spend some being grateful to the good.
I Put My Family First
I put my family at the top of this list because most of the good things in 2018 happened because of them.
In early December, my wife announced she was pregnant with our second child. For me, this will be my fifth, but that’s not uncommon for a 50-year-old man on his second and final marriage. Some have said I’m too old, but I disagree.
This year, we added a house and a new car. If I were a smart man, I would have bought a house when I first moved to the Philippines 7 years ago. It would have almost been paid off. But, that’s water under the bridge.
The best thing about this year and all its hardship is that the three of us have become closer than ever. Even though my daughter is starting to become more independent and mouthy, she still thinks I am the best thing since sliced bread. Zoey and I have always been close, and as she gets older, our relationship gets better and better.
My wife and I have also grown closer. We spent much of this year working, but the time we did spend together was wonderful. We took day trips and ate at excellent restaurants (food brings everyone closer). We had less time for each other but made the most of the time we did have.
I can’t wait to see how we do in 2019.
I Took My Writing Seriously
I’ve wanted to be a serious writer my entire life, but it wasn’t until 2018 that I committed to it. I started writing on Medium in October. Since then I’ve turned my writing into an almost daily habit.
I’ve improved my writing skill dramatically since I started writing every day. It is true that practice makes perfect.
I’ve been reading more and studying great writers. I’ve been following the advice of my new writer friends, both on Medium and in the #writingcommunity on Twitter.
I’ve gained a terrific amount of confidence. I genuinely think confidence is the most important thing a writer (or anyone) needs in their toolbox to be successful. No matter what level you think you currently are, having the confidence to put your work out in the public where everyone can see it is an important step you need to take to improve continuously.
I’ve made the mindset changes I needed to make to set myself up for success in 2019. I think this year will finally be the year where I make a breakthrough! This year my writing will bring me to places I never imagined. This year I will not only change my life, but I will make an impact on others.
I’ve Changed How I Deal with My Mental Health
The journey to improving my mental health has been going on for some time now. But this year challenged all the changes I put in place. It strengthened some ideas but broke others.
2018 was full of very dark times for me. My psychosis, depression, and anxiety didn’t get better, but they changed. I started to understand how I can live my life despite them.
I’ve learned they will probably be with me as long as I am alive. I don’t hold out much hope that a cure for mental illness will arrive within my lifetime. But I’ve wondered if there was a cure, would I take it? My illness makes up a small part of who I am, my identity. What kind of person would I be without it, I wonder?
This year helped me understand that I have the fuel within me to battle for as long as I live. I will have bad periods, but I will never stop fighting. I will never stop trying to be a better version of who I am now.
I Live in Gratitude
Even though life is very, very hard, I am grateful that I am alive. Even though waking up every morning to the crushing fear is hard, I am glad that I have the chance at another day.
Though there are many times I wish I were dead, I am always grateful that I keep living. I am thankful for every breath I draw because it allows me to do the things that make me happy and be with the people I love.
I love my life.
Now that I’ve written a few of the things I am grateful for, it’s tough for me to try to complain about the bad things. It’s like everything in life: if you strive to look at the positive, the negative means very little.
I started this essay prepared to whine and complain about all the shitty things that happened to me in 2018. This essay was going to a massive and epic rant that would prove to everyone that 2018 was the worst year ever.
I wanted to rant about Trump, Republicans, Democrats, poverty, racism, religion, sexism, misogyny, the rich, the wealth gap, mental illness, climate change, and so on. I wanted to talk about everything that is bad or negative in some way and explain how nothing is getting better. Everything is horrible. I see it when I look at the news. I see it when I read stories on Medium. I see hundreds of tweets about it every day.
But you know what? Despite the bad in this world and the terrible things I am forced to deal with daily, I love my life.
Listen: I love my fucking life!
Maybe the way to change the bad in this world is to recognize what is already good. Maybe we get so caught up trying to change the evils of this world, that we fail to recognize the joy in our lives.
I don’t want our freedom fighters to stop, but I don’t want them to miss out on the fact that life is great because they were too focused on killing the bad guy.
I don’t want people to stop living their lives because they are too focused on the negative. There is soo much positive. Look around you!
I don’t say this just for everyone else, I say it for me. I need to stop dwelling on everything negative. I need to see the positive in my life.
I love my life.
I love my life and you should too.