One week before I was supposed to leave for college, my drunk best friend intentionally shoved me down a full flight of stairs at her birthday party because I was physically in her way of getting to a guy. Great friend, right? The fall caused me to snap four out of the five metatarsals in my left foot. It was one of the worst days of my life. My body immediately went into shock. The pain was unbearable. To make matters worse, my supposed best friend slapped my broken foot because she thought it was funny. Obviously, after that night I chose to end our friendship. However, by ending that friendship, I lost all my friends because they were all in the same friend group and chose to take her side. They claimed it was my fault for getting injured. I then permanently lost my job because all those friends were also my coworkers. I knew that if I had returned, the work environment would have become extremely toxic and hostile. Worst of all, I lost the opportunity to start college that year because my parents believed I was not in any condition to attend, physically or mentally. And, although I protested, I secretly agreed with that sentiment.
I became overwhelmed as I slowly lost control of everything in my life. Suffocated by my own insecurities, I was left to drown. Losing any semblance of self-esteem, I began to anticipate only failure, exhausting my vocal cords from endless screams of frustration and with eyes so red and swollen from crying that they burned. Shaming and hating myself for failing, I gradually became numb. I no longer felt anything and lost sight of any sense of self purpose.
Eventually, I was snapped out of my pity party when I spontaneously reached out to an old high school teacher. Having looked up to her as a role model since I took her class, I hoped she could help me get my life back together. She jolted me awake to reality when she told me to get my act together since I didn't work my butt off in high school simply to mope around the house every day.
Before breaking my foot, I had chosen to pursue a career in film production. However, after months in recovery, I discovered my love for magazine journalism. After finding my one true passion, I found that I was actually relieved that I had broken my foot. Yes, I couldn't walk for five months and lost my friends and job, but now I had found a career path that I would truly enjoy. Taking a gap year between high school and college gave me the opportunity to discover my true self. I established new beliefs, changed my brain patterns, relinquished my unhealthy coping mechanisms, and learned to confront the joy, pain, and conflict of life unguarded.
Throughout the entire ordeal, my mom constantly reminded me of her belief that "everything happens for a reason" and that "things will get better," but I never believed her. I truly believed I would suffer for eternity. It wasn't until then that I realized that getting lost allowed me to find myself and that the only thing permanent in life is change. My suffering wasn't permanent, I just believed it was because I refused to embrace the changes that were happening in my life.
My mom, like always, was right. No matter how bad a situation is, it is always temporary. Although people change and things go wrong, life goes on with you or without you. You can either resist the changes and be miserable (like I did for the longest time) or find happiness adjusting to the changes.
This is the single most valuable piece of advice I've ever received. Life is extremely unpredictable so you'll never know what your future will look like. You may be living your best life today and then suddenly feel as though you're living your worst nightmare the very next day. Because nothing is permanent, you can't rely on your current situation to ensure you achieve your lifetime goals, happiness, and progress. You must constantly seize new opportunities to have ongoing joy and fulfillment in your life and you must adjust to the constant changes happening in your life. You should never get too comfortable. Instead, you must always be ready for change.
Hearing and, most importantly, understanding this advice allowed me to discover a wealth of new insights about different aspects of life, to learn important life lessons, and to grow. In addition, it has allowed me to easily adapt and adjust to unexpected events. I know that I must be willing to make changes in my career, goals, finances, everything, if I want to improve any or all aspects of my life. I no longer have a fear of failure. This lesson has allowed me to overcome numerous obstacles and challenges in life, which has only made me stronger.
Since receiving this advice from my mother, it has reshaped my worldview. As someone who was previously resistant to change, I now live each day of my life as if it was my last. Knowing nothing is permanent has pushed me to live life to the fullest because I never know when any aspect of my life will change. Who knows? Tomorrow I may lose a close friend, be fired, have a stroke, win the lottery, etc. I'll never know until it happens because I can't predict the future. However, although I can't control the future, I can control my reaction to it. I can make sure that whatever life throws at me, I won't let myself respond negatively to things I initially perceive as tragic.
Unfortunately, everyone experiences professional challenges, personal issues, or a streak of bad luck that ruins their day. There will always be problems in life. But rather than seeing them as burdens, I now try to see them as opportunities to learn, grow, or adjust in a way that improves my life.