81 Reasons to Be Alive

When I was younger I tried to take my own life, more than once. I ended up in the hospital. In a psychiatric ward. I didn’t receive counseling afterwards, which could have been a pretty grave mistake since I considered trying again many times afterwards. Luckily, my empathy saved me every time. I couldn’t leave my little sister without her big sister. I couldn’t leave my mother without her oldest daughter. And eventually I most certainly could not leave my daughter without her mother.

But each time, I wondered what it would be like to just not be here anymore. Just gone, somewhere else. No where else. I didn’t care as long as I wasn’t in this debilitating and dark mindset in which I either felt pain or felt nothing at all. I hate when people say “suicide is weak and selfish.” I mean, I get the point. But do you know what it feels like to be there? To feel so alone and hopeless that you truly believe you do not deserve to live? To believe the world and the people in your life would be better off without you there? Or even that no one would care at all if you were gone? It is such a deep pain that is so hard to explain to someone who has never been there. In the moment you don’t feel selfish, you feel helpless. You feel alone. You feel already dead. When you’re dead, nothing matters. When you don’t see a light at the end of the tunnel or any way out of this you think “I can’t possibly survive here forever.” Man let me tell you, depression kills. Depression almost killed me. I am thrilled to be alive. Sometimes it’s still dark and that sucks. Other times everything is bright and beautiful, and I’m full joy.

My most recent spurt of depression I felt a familiar pain, and a familiar thought that said “I wonder what would happen if I took this whole bottle of pills. If I did it, everyone in my life would be okay. They might be better off.”
Of course I wouldn’t do it. It was a fleeting thought of “what if” and “maybe in another lifetime” but not now. I couldn’t. I wouldn’t. I never will. But I realized I needed to remind myself why I want to live. And so I started this list, 100 reasons I choose to not only live but be present and feel the joys my life has to offer. If you are struggling, or have struggled in the past, I recommend spending time each day reflecting on what you have to live for. Notice what makes your heart full, what brings a smile to your face, what makes you want to be here every damn day.

100 reasons I choose to live.

  1. The soft yet tight grip of my child’s hand in mine.
  2. The sound of my daughters belly laugh.
  3. The warmth of the sun beating on my skin.
  4. The way my girlfriend smiles at me.
  5. Laughing with my sister.
  6. The calming presence of my soft sheets against my legs each night.
  7. Watching my daughter do yoga.
  8. My daughter’s “I love you”‘s.
  9. Vanilla ice cream.
  10. The smell of paint.
  11. Driving with the windows down.
  12. Feeling rain on my arms.
  13. Jumping in a swimming pool.
  14. Immersion in a good book.
  15. Freshly painted nails.
  16. A home cooked meal.
  17. Lemon water.
  18. Biting into an apple.
  19. Finding a new meal you absolutely love.
  20. Showering at my moms house.
  21. Naps on a couch.
  22. The smell of a library.
  23. A clean house.
  24. My cats.
  25. Learning something new.
  26. The feeling in my legs that tells me I’m buzzed.
  27. A movie that makes me cry.
  28. A move that makes me laugh.
  29. Documentaries.
  30. Finishing a paper for school.
  31. Graduating with my masters.
  32. Hanging out with new friends.
  33. Realizing that new friends are going to be lifelong friends.
  34. Finding my passion.
  35. Exercise.
  36. Running.
  37. Swimming in a pool.
  38. Looking at the lake.
  39. Sunrise.
  40. Sunset.
  41. Daydreaming about my future.
  42. A car wash with my daughter.
  43. New socks.
  44. Putting cool sheets on when it’s hot.
  45. Wrapping in warm blankets when it’s cold.
  46. Fall leaves crunching under my feet.
  47. The first snow fall of every year.
  48. Planning my daughters’ birthday party.
  49. The sound of rapid typing.
  50. Campfires.
  51. The feeling of being involved in a movement.
  52. Cutting off negative people from my life who drain me.
  53. Having a successful meeting with my counselor.
  54. Taking leaps of faith.
  55. When someone tells me “I don’t know how you do it.”
  56. When someone admires my modesty.
  57. Feeling better after being sick.
  58. Having soup when you’re sick.
  59. Listening to my daughter say “I’m pretty good at this”
  60. Watching my daughter pretend to read a book.
  61. Nailing a job interview.
  62. Learning from a job interview.
  63. Lemonade on a hot hot day.
  64. My grandmas Christmas ham.
  65. My Mammams’ goofy laugh.
  66. A newly cleaned room.
  67. Lotion after a shower.
  68. A bubble bath for myself.
  69. Lighting a candle in the winter.
  70. Dark Chocolate.
  71. The smell of movie theater popcorn.
  72. The way my legs feel when I ride my bike.
  73. Feeling the warmth of a campfire.
  74. Sticking my hand out the window of a moving car.
  75. Trees with syrup dripping down them.
  76. Feeling “light” after a haircut.
  77. Hearing a song that speaks to your soul.
  78. A room of lit candles at Christmas Eve mass.
  79. Grapes on a hot day.
  80. Tea with honey.
  81. Farmers markets.
  82. The kids at my work.
  83. Snowfall.
  84. Music.
  85. Artwork.
  86. Hiking.
  87. Crossing everything off a to-do list.
  88. Writing in my journal about a good book.
  89. Re-reading my old blog posts.
  90. School pictures.
  91. Seeing a happy dog outside.
  92. Feeling that release of emotions after therapy.
  93. Calming down after a cry.
  94. Essential oils and other great smells.
  95. Cookies.
  96. Running outside.
  97. Reading outside near the water.
  98. Planning vacations.
  99. Trying to be an activist and making a difference.
  100. Feeling happy, which always comes back.

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