The other day, I was doing a brief check up on my blog (looking for any new comments, stats, etc.) When I was intrigued by one of the titles of a post from way back in 2013. I read it, and as weird as it may sound, I became jealous of my "past self".
As I read the post, I felt inspired, I honestly didn't feel like I was reading something that I wrote. I didn't understand. How was I so good at writing and expressing my feelings back then? How was I able to so quickly and efficiently find peace and happiness even in the midst of trials? How was I so open to promptings and spiritual feelings? How was I......? The list could go on and on.
I loved the post I read, but I also felt jealous of it. It led to a lot of introspection and questioning. The main question I asked myself was "what is different in my life now as compared to my life in 2013?" I just couldn't put my finger on it. I didn't understand.
The thing is, in some ways I am doing better in my life than I was in 2013. I have a job now I feel very loyal to, I am enrolled in college through BYU-Idaho (through the Pathway program), I am doing better with my addictions than I was in 2013 (though definitely still not completely clean), I have a calling in my ward that requires me to serve others and actually work, so with all of these good things now that I didn't have in 2013, how did my life seem better then? What was going on?
I realized a big part of the puzzle on Sunday. Perhaps I was happier back in 2013 not because of a lack of trials or because of high successes, but because I was grateful for what I did have. Back in 2013, I was much quicker to say "thank you" to God than I have been recently. I appreciated the people in my life more than I do now. I found happiness even in the midst of trials. I was closer to God, I prayed and read my scriptures more. I was more humble than I have been recently, partly because of circumstance (being compelled) and partly due to choice.
So if there were positives and negatives then, and there are positives and negatives now, why the stark difference in happiness and quality of life? I honestly think one of the biggest factors in this has been my lack of gratitude. That's not to say I haven't been grateful about certain things, but I haven't been consistently thankful, I haven't been thankful about the little things. Another big factor is I have been fairly pessimistic. Dealing with depression doesn't make it easy to be optimistic, but I chose to be as optimistic as I could in the past, and I haven't been choosing it as much recently.
So what can I do? Well, the truth is, I don't know all the answers. I do know, however, that I need to regain an attitude of gratitude (and no, I'm not just saying that because it's November). I honestly need to start thanking God for the big things, the small things, and everything in between. I need to be thankful to and for the people in my life.
I also need to change certain habits. I need to start praying regularly, I need to start reading my scriptures regularly, and I need to serve others (which is something I've been lacking a lot in recently). While I'll never be the same person I was in 2013, nor should I hope to be, I can strive to regain the good qualities I had back then, and seek to gain new ones as I move forward and try to shape who I am and who I want to be.