Today could be awesome. It’s your choice.

Your choice is simple: happiness or sadness.

You can complain all you like about your situation. That won’t change it. You can think about all the things you wish you were. That won’t make you them. You can compare yourself over and over and over again to everyone you know — and everyone you don’t know — and always find yourself coming up short. You can live life relative to everything else, measuring distance relative to the landmarks around you, relative to the distance traveled, the miles covered, the milestones achieved, and the monuments left behind. You can live looking back in the rearview mirror, seeing everything disappear, or staring at the horizon ahead, always afraid of what’s coming. You can live paralyzed by insecurities and doubts, internal and external, and let yourself get caught up in perceptions of the truth, living vicariously through the criticism and negativity, letting it determine who you are. You can let your future be determined by everyone else and what they expect from you. You can be the loser. The drug addict. The drunkard. The failure. The lazy one. The fake. The melodramatic. The jerk. The quiet one. The loud one. The paranoid. The overly busy. You can let the world tell you what makes you happy. You can spend your whole life chasing the dreams you’re fed from others’ imaginations, invented so they can make a quick buck, and find, after years of chasing, that you’re nowhere near anything that matters, anything recognizable, or even anything remotely beautiful. You can live your life and be acted upon, like a prop. You can be the tool, the chump, the manipulated, the gullible. You can watch the television, day after day, channel after channel, and find that after all you’ve seen, you really aren’t any better for it. You’re still just as empty.

The choice is yours.

The only thing we really have in life is our ability to choose. To choose what we do, what we wear, what we think, and, ultimately, who we are. Some choices really don’t matter in the grand scheme of things. What color of umbrella you buy is probably not going to determine the outcome of your life. But there are choices that matter.

The first thing you need to do is understand that you can’t control everything. In fact, there’s a pretty limited scope of what you can control: your actions, reactions, thoughts, and feelings. Can you control somebody else? No. Don’t even try. Can you control the weather? Good luck.

Things will happen. Some of those things will, well, suck. Some of them will be totally awesometastic and make everything worth it and make sense. Not every day is going to get a 0 out of 10 or a 10 out of 10. Face the facts. Most days are probably somewhere in the 5-7 range. At least, for me, that’s where they fall. They’re not awesome, but they’re not terrible. They’re just days.

So what are you to do? Make excuses as to why today can’t be awesome? “It’s raining. I hate rain.” “I didn’t get my homework done, so I’m mad.” Think of it. How often do we qualify our moods on things that we have absolutely no control over? What’s the use in wasting your already short life by purposely making it worse and wasting time complaining about something that you’re never going to be able to change? Really, there isn’t. So stop complaining about things you have no control over. Be it, “So-and-so doesn’t like me! WAA!” or “I hate the cold!” or “I hate it when people do/don’t do such-and-such!”

You control your reactions. If there’s something to be done about a problem, instead of wasting time complaining, DO SOMETHING.

If you’re really bothered by people who don’t recycle, start a recycling campaign. If you wish people wouldn’t complain, start a positivism movement. If you want people to be happy, give them a reason to be happy!

You define your life. You. Yourself. Nobody else does. Not your mom. Not your dad. Not your brother or sister. Not your uncle, aunt, cousin, grandma, or grandpa. Not the bullies at school. Not your defects. Not your insecurities. Not your fears. You. You are so much more than what you think. Don’t limit yourself. Be  different. Make a difference. Make a decision. Don’t be afraid of failure. Everyone fails. Every day.

What separates the happy ones from the sad ones is that they pick themselves up and keep going. They have a dream and they stick to it. They decide they want something – something good – and they go after it with everything they are.

When’s the last time you did that?

Make the choice. Choose what you think about. Focus on what matters. On what’s good. Surround yourself  with it. Dive into it. Get away from what drags you down. As far away as possible. Choose your words wisely. Build, don’t break. Would you rather be remembered for the kind words you choose to say, or the unintentionally rude words you unthinkingly utter? The choice is yours. Today could be awesome.

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