In 2009, an exquisite movie came out. Far from the typical love story depicting myths about love and happily ever afters, 500 Days of Summer is a quirky, delightful, and refreshingly accurate representation of relationships. (Also, it has one of the greatest people in the world in it: Zooey Deschanel.) If you haven't seen it, I urge you to. The movie basically goes through the 500 days that a girl named Summer is in the life of a guy named Tom. Before each scene, a number is flashed on the screen to indicate how far along we are in Tom's journey.
I promise this post will be more than a synopsis of the movie. But for the sake of my main point, it is essential that I describe a few key scenes. After several months of dating, Summer tells Tom that she doesn't think they should see each other anymore- and so begins Toms's spiral into a brokenhearted depression. Eventually Tom learns that Summer is engaged to someone else and for the following couple of days Tom doesn't even get out of bed, and when he finally does, it's just to buy Twinkies and whiskey.
We come to Day 456. Sweet, sweet day 456. On this day, Tom decides to stop rolling around in his own grief and do something with his life. He starts pursuing his dream and begins to turn his life around.
Whether it is a broken relationship, an injury, a layoff, or something else, we all reach a point in our lives when things stop going the way we want them to. What we desire and what is reality become such distant concepts that it is hard to see beyond them into the realm of the good that can come out of it. More often than we would like, things don't turn out the way we had hoped they would. But the thing is, this doesn't always mean that they didn't turn out right. What we want and what is actually best for us do not always match up. And sometimes what we want would have been great but it just didn't work out that way, and either way, we owe it to ourselves to get out of bed decide to let life get better. Misfortune is unavoidable. Accidents can happen, disaster may strike, and people (both the good and the bad) will hurt you whether they wanted to or not. These are things we cannot control. But what we can control is what we do about it. We can stay in bed all day, literally or figuratively. We can choose not to forgive and stay hurt. Or we can do something.
I say we do something. Be in control of your happiness. Stop thinking about your burden and free yourself from that sadness and from that anger. Lately I have been claiming Philippians 4:8 as my motto:
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things
I feel like in the last few weeks I have finally reached my day 456 moment and I want to extend some advice to you:
-Stop thinking about how you wish things were and decide what you can do to make your life great. Then go do it.
-Think about your specific talents. Are you using them? If you're not, then you should start. Find a way to express yourself in a way that is unique to you.
-Get active. Physical health has more of an effect on emotional/mental health than many of us take into account.
-If you like to sleep in, try waking up earlier and doing something productive. And whenever you do wake up, convince yourself that it is going to be a great day.
-Pick up a new hobby, or pick back up a hobby you have been neglecting.
-Above everything else, you have to make a conscious effort to stop living in the misery you have become accustomed to. Although that sounds obvious, it's hard to let go of certain hopes and expectations we hold onto even when we know that clinging to them is destroying us. You must make the decision to have a better life before it can ever become a reality.
I know I say this in nearly all of my posts, but never stop reminding yourself that you are awesome. If anyone has led you to believe otherwise, then shame on them and forget everything they said. You deserve to have a great life that you love. Believe that, and then make it happen.