“Living a ‘perfect’ life is like watching TV in black and white: you take out all the color. We need the adventure, all of the highs and lows, the unexpected heart breaks, the ecstasy, the challenges and the sweet, smooth sailing. Life is not about picking out the parts you like and leaving the rest. It is learning to coexist with it all and choosing to see the beauty the grace and the hilarity while also experiencing the inevitable disappointment and failure.”
As I reflect on this past year, this quote by author Alexis Jones hits home. As college students, we all are busy. We all experience stress, frustration and even failure. We have all felt brutally challenged. We have all been knocked down. We have all been sent spiraling into places from which we thought we would never rise.
But this article is about standing up.
We are human. We will have disappointments, heartbreaks and letdowns. We will be afraid; we will doubt our abilities to persevere through adversity. We have all fought battles, whether it is with schoolwork, relationships or war with oneself. Maybe you already fought your battle; maybe your battle has just begun.
Regardless, we must not choose to only see life from our low places. We are better than that.
So when you are having a meltdown over a 10-page paper or a bad grade, remember that when you look back on your college career, this failure will seem insignificant. When you are up until 4 a.m. trying to piece together a broken relationship, remember that while we are all a little broken, we can choose to mend each other.
We are all humans just trying to stand up. Maybe we can do it on our own, but more often than not it is our bonds with others that will lift us higher. We are all so much more alike than we know. Jones writes, “Maybe our challenges have different names, and our adversity wears different masks, but the fact that we all have them is the common thread that ties us together and makes us human.”
Sure, life is not perfect. But why should it be? We cannot grow from perfection; we cannot rise if we have already reached our peaks. Adversity makes us brave. It makes us passionate. It brings us to the edge of a cliff so that we can choose to soar. It is not easy, but it is worth it.
So if you have been dragged down to the darkest corners of your life, stand up. Do not be afraid to be happy, for happiness is a mood, not a destination. “Live in the sunshine; swim the sea; drink the wild air,” as Ralph Waldo Emerson puts it. Let go of your frustrations, your doubts and your inhibitions. Stand up. You are full of wonder, and you are so much more than your scars.