You Take The Good, You Take The Bad

I used to hate New Year’s Eve. Maybe it’s because I hated the pressure to have fun, or maybe it’s because it was too difficult to remember the new year when writing the date on papers. Either way, as the clock struck midnight, I was always filled with dread. But somehow, over the years, I’ve become okay with New Year’s. I may not be its biggest fan, but I have a new appreciation for it, thanks to my love of reading year-end lists.

A lot happens during a year, and by the time December rolls along, I always forget half of what happened in the beginning of the year. Sometimes it’s because I blocked something out, whether it was sad or disgusting or irked me. Other times it’s because I was too busy focusing on something else, and it just slipped my mind. It’s a fast-paced world, and I need year-end lists to jog my memory. But after reading a dozen lists about the best viral news stories and most tragic celebrity deaths, I wanted to focus on a more personal list. I started making my own list of my biggest moments in 2013, and, in doing so, I remembered a lot of great things that happened this year. I spent the year so focused on all the bad things that happened, I almost forgot about the week where I was offered three jobs and my summer in the dorms with a five-person suite to myself. It turns out, I had a great year, which was kind of a shock.

Last May, I declared 2013 to be the worst year ever. It was only five months into the year, but I was in the midst of a pity party. In my mind, things were only going to get worse. I was going through a lot. Whenever something bad happens in my life, more terrible things tend to follow it. Maybe it feels like that for everyone, or maybe I’m just cursed, but April 2013 was especially filled with bad news. I want to go into 2014 focused on the good, so I’m not going to go into the specifics of the bad news, but national tragedy was followed by personal tragedy, followed by more personal tragedy. But eventually things got better.

A few weeks ago, I had a moment where life seemed too good. My exact thought was, “Everything’s coming up Chelsey!” I was graduating college, I scored a dream internship, I had a part-time job that I actually liked and I was really happy. My anxiety was under control, and it was Christmastime, my favorite time of year. But, of course, I kept wondering when things would go sour. I was wondering when 2013 would rear its ugly head and prove itself to truly be the worst year ever. Thankfully, it didn’t, and after the rough start to 2013, I really appreciated the good things that happened.

Is it possible to have an entire year where only bad things happen and nothing is good? This may just be the optimist in me, but I don’t think that’s possible. Life is all ups and downs. And some boring neutral moments, but let’s not talk about those now. It’s never all good or all bad. Even when things seem to be the worst ever, something good is probably on its way. It may not be something big, but maybe you’ll have a really delicious dinner or a perfect hair day. No matter how small it may seem, good things are around every corner, but, unfortunately, so are bad things. Living with an anxiety disorder, it’s really easy for me to dwell on the bad stuff, but I try not to. In order to keep my anxiety in check, I make sure to dwell on the good stuff. And now that 2013 is coming to a close, I’m realizing it was an amazing year for me. Sure, it was equal parts awful and wonderful, but it’s the memories of the wonderful that I want to take with me into 2014.

I like having this time at the end of the year to remind myself that bad things happen. And good things happen! That’s how life works. You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have the facts of life. (Sorry to quote The Facts of Life theme song, but it felt necessary.)

I’m not making a list of resolutions this year. Instead, I’m going to make a list of the best things that happened to me in 2013. And when 2014 starts to get rough, I can pull out this list and remember that good things are always on their way. Also, as good things happen, I will start making my 2014 list, that way I’ll have my work cut out for me next New Year’s Eve. Life will never be perfect, but it might be happier with reminders of the good things, no matter how small they may seem.

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