3 years ago my cousin was in a hospital bed with a near fatal brain bleed, he’s getting married next year.

8 years ago my uncles company was pulled out from under him, & he went bankrupt. He bought a house this year.

5 years ago I found out my teenage cousin as pregnant, her little girl ended up being the thing that pulled my Pop Pop through his chemo.

83 years ago my great-nanny, buried her husband the same day she gave birth to the youngest of her 7 children. That day she became a non-English speaking, Italian immigrant single mother of 7.

5 years ago, my Pop Pop, was battling chemo and a heart attack. He’s still here, and no longer on chemo.

4 years ago, I sat in a methadone clinic parking lot in the middle of the city waiting for my friend. She’s relapsed once. But she’s sober today.

3 years ago, my cousin moved across the country to Colorado and got engaged. Later that year after finding out about her fiancee’s addiction she. broke off the engagement and moved home. This year she and her new boyfriend got a house.

I don’t really know why I’ve shared all these, except to remind myself things are hardly ever as bad or as good as you think they are. But things change. All those people are pretty much doing better now, but it wasn’t a simple road to get there. In fact I’m not even sure how many of them, have even reflected back on how far they’ve come. That’s the funny thing about life, when you’re in the hellish parts, that’s all you see. Yet when you make it to the calmer waters, you don’t always realize how far from the darkness you’ve come. It’s not a lack of self awareness, it’s the opposite. Because to each of them, they don’t see the black and white. They remember all the steps in between hell and happiness. My uncle went bankrupt and went through some scary times. But his wife found a good job at a hospital, he went through a few jobs. My cousin had to recover from that brain bleed, go through court for that, and complete the schooling he missed. My cousin had to graduate with a baby, she had to deal with the babies father, and adjusting to motherhood. The point is things change but because you are so busy changing them I don’t think you realize that’s the set is all changing around you. There’s many times when it just feels like you’re at your lowest, how could anything get worse, how the fuck are you supposed to move on from here, when’s your break, you can’t do this anymore. But you do it. You find a way. Life I feel like ultimately is a series of highs and lows. When you’re in your lows, you see if and feel if all. But when you’re in your highs, you don’t notice, because you’re too busy living a life you want to, but every now and then you’ll see a photo or remember something. And you’ll remember that it wasn’t always like this. Happy goes away, but sadness does too. In life I guess, you shouldn’t really aim for happy. Because happy goes away. Aim for content. Aim for a life where you feel content, where when sadness or happiness hits, it doesn’t feel so heavy because you know when it goes away you’ll be okay. I’m saying all this for anyone who is reading this but also to myself. I’m hardly a fan of the whole think positive way of life. It’s as unrealistic as someone who says they’re dead inside. Nothing is or should be completely positive or negative. But there’s a difference between blindly and foolishly believing everything is a positive thing, and trying to just remember some things are good. Admitting some things are good, or that you are happy in certain areas, doesn’t mean that other things aren’t awful, or that you have to always feel happy. It’s just an acknowledgment that while this world sucks, some things are okay. That’s all we really have to grasp to, that’s some things are okay. That things change. That it’s never black and white. Most importantly that all those people I listed that went through hell, myself included, are tougher and more interesting humans because of it. That’s hardly comforting to someone in their own personal hell, I understand that. Because part of life, is just realizing some things are fucking unfair and horrible. That people can be awful, businesses unfair, and life sometimes a royal cunt who kicks you while you’re down. That’s as important to realize and say, as admitting that children are little nuggets of hope and baby laughs fill your heart with smiles and that not all people are awful. I wish to everyone reading this I could promise your break will come soon, that you’ll get what you deserve, but I can’t. But I can promise you that anyone that’s been through hell, will tell you that it never feels like you’ll get out of it, or find a way through it, until you do.