My Book of Life

Something you should be aware of: I have a lot of mental issues. While none are officially diagnosed disorders, I consider them as such (I have a whole other post about that, don’t get me started on self-diagnosis).

I have struggled a lot with these issues, but this post is not for pity. It is to explain one of the ways I am dealing with them, as well as figuring out some ideas for my future.

A notebook.

It may seem stupid, but I have a Life notebook. It contains a mish-mash of things; from tattoos I want to get, to skills I want to learn, to traits I want to have. All the stuff I want to have in my life. While it may seem like a silly idea in theory – and yes, I know I sound like every useless school listening service ever by suggesting it – I can honestly say that it really helps. Thinking about things I want to do/see gets me through my depressive bursts, while writing it down satisfies my anxiety’s desire to have a plan. Plus, it fills time productively and is actually pretty fun.

If you are unhappy with an aspect of your life (which everyone is, don’t lie), then a good way to work towards correcting it is to write it down. You don’t need to sketch out every detail to scale, but having a basic note will make you more likely to actually do it. Studies have actually shown that physically writing the idea down is more effective than typing it somewhere, but if you need to use the Notes app on your phone, do it. I mean, you might want to up the security on your phone afterwards if it gets personal, but still do it.

By taking the time to evaluate your hopes and dreams – or your “bucket list” – you can actually learn a lot about yourself. For example, I discovered very recently that I’m interested in a medical career, which I had previously written off long ago. I also discovered, by virtue of writing a “keep in touch” list, that there are some ‘friends’ in my life that I am perfectly content to lose touch with. And that’s okay.

I would like to go to university. I would like to foster a child. I would like to skydive. I would like to get my black belt (that may be a little harder though xD). Had you asked me a few months ago, I would have been adding a lot more “might”s to those sentences. Now I know some things I would really like to do.

If you’re not certain whether or not you want to do something, a good indicator is when it physically aches. You may not know the feeling, but if you get a physical tugging in your chest or butterflies in your stomach at the thought of it, then put it in the book. That feeling doesn’t always come though, so don’t live your life waiting for it; take some chances and it’ll come to you.

My personal Book of Life is decorated with quotes on what life means to me. Yours can be whatever you want. Whatever life means to you. Love, laughter, money, success; whatever is most important to you. Most of my quotes are about love and happiness, but that doesn’t mean that yours have to be. Life means different things to everybody.

… I wasn’t intending for this to become a meaning of life thing, but okay.

My original point was: having a physical record of the stuff that interests you is a great motivator in the darker times, and can also be a fun project in the lighter ones. The best of both worlds, if you will. I already hate myself for saying that, now the song is stuck in my head.

Didn’t I warn you guys in my first post that I go off on tangents? I think I did. I hope I did, anyway.

At the end of the day, your life is your own; you have to create it as you create yourself. However, when it all gets a little heavy, you might not see the light of the future in the tunnel, so having a solid reminder of what’s out in that light can help pull you through.

Whether you decide to make a Book of Life or not, I wish you all the best with your hopes, dreams and journeys through dark tunnels.