Whilst taking my customary hour-long shower, I came to a sudden realisation: I’m a deeply unhappy person. Every night before I sleep, I mull over the day’s happenings, more specifically, everything that wasn’t perfect. My heart would palpitate, and my breaths would shorten. My head would spin, dizzy with anger and dissapointment at myself. Why did I say that to her? Why am I hopeless at chemistry? Why didn’t I score that goal? The stress that I put on myself shows. Pimples bursting out from the depths of my cheeks are complemented by my furrowed brows. I’m so often lost in my own thoughts, so busy wallowing in self-hatred that I come off as an ignorant fool. The worst part of it all? I smile. Smile through it all, burying the cold pain with forged happiness. I take myself too seriously, and am unwilling to let go and just be myself. Too caught up with crafting a perfect me, I forgot what life is for in the first place. To live.

But wait, the story hasn’t ended yet, for I made this realisation not today, but last week. I was spilling my sorrows to my old friend when he offered to me this piece of gold, “Chin, in life you win some and you lose some. Why grow old so quickly being a grumpy boy? Take every positive, and use it to light a blazing fire, one which nothing can extinguish. Live life with a smile, love it. And to hell those who say it won’t love you back.” Accustomed to being the one offering advice rather than recieving it, his words caught me off guard. How true they were, how damn bloody true. Although he pulled the last sentence straight from an old blog post of mine, it still struck a raw nerve in me.

Why am I punishing myself by living my days as an unhappy man? I can’t expect myself to be good at everything can I? Yes, the pursuit of perfection is a noble one indeed, but reaching it should not be the only thing that brings me satisfaction. The road towards reaching it, the ongoing act of self-improvement, that should. All the ups and downs that I experience, I should take them as learning points. The downs are not mere unfortunate events, they steer me towards the destination. From that day on, I no longer had sleepless nights. I would lay in bed with a large grin, satisfied and feeling blessed with the day past.

The best part about this? I feel young again. I feel my smile coming back and my face slowly brightening. My conversations no longer start with “Why did I?” but rather “I’m glad I now know!” And as I’m writing this, on the way back home after a long training session, I can honestly say I’ve never felt so free. I’m looking forward to the new day ahead, and all of its blessings and afflictions. No surprises on which of them I’ll be counting is there?