Today is the last day of 2019, and tonight at midnight we’ll say goodbye not just to another year, but also to an entire decade, one that was no doubt full of pain and heartache, but hopefully joy and happiness as well.
Over the past decade we lost so many great friends, relatives, and celebrities to overdose, to suicide and accidents and old age, so much so that we could barely keep track. They were idols of our youth gone too soon, people we respected, admired, and loved. They were our closest allies and greatest champions. They were irreplaceable. They were legends.
We’ve seen America become divided more than it has in a long time, and yet we have also seen the beauty and strength of people coming together for causes both great and small. We have witnessed the power of unity, and we must continue to do so. We must persist.
I certainly know I can look back at the “teens” and recall much love, strife, laughter, sadness, loss, and recovery. There were some truly beautiful moments that I was privileged to experience, memories that will live on in my heart long after the rest of the world will have forgotten them. There were also times that devastated me, times when I thought I wasn’t going to make it one more day, when I was certain I couldn’t. When just getting out of bed was a struggle.
Every day we see endings – in books and movies, in lives and love, in days at work and time with friends – and yet we keep going, on to the next book and the next film and the next experience that will either fall into the mundane or change us forever.
As Fred Rogers once said, “Often when you think you’re at the end of something, you’re at the beginning of something else.” And this is absolutely true. There is always another story waiting to be told if only we have the courage to embrace it.
Moving forward, the thing to remember is this: we can lament the past or worry about the future, and although we’ll certainly miss people dearly who we know we'll never see again in this life, or whose paths no longer align with our own, we can at least say that we’re grateful to still be breathing, to still be able to make memories and pet cats and read , to still be able to taste the good foods and drink the fine wines, to still be able to love, laugh, and learn new things every day.
This life is both beautiful and cruel but it is always what we choose to make it, so long as we keep going.
And that is exactly what you must actively choose to do each and every day, despite all the odds, all the obstacles life throws at you – keep going. Because whether you believe it or not, you matter.