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It was a good weekend for so many reasons.

A friend drove four hours to come see me on Friday. We hit golf balls together at a park the next day and talked about grad school options. On Saturday, I got a lot of work done so that I could have a Sunday all to myself, which I did! It was the first day since school started that I didn’t do any work whatsoever. I slept in, worked out, made bread, chatted with friends, caught up with a friend from Honduras, and just generally relaxed. It was so nice. It was the perfect practice to my new mantra: If it doesn’t add to your good pile, you don’t need it!

Confession time: I haven’t been doing well for about a month. It’s been bad. I’m not going to divulge too many details, but I will say that I’ve spent some time contemplating the value of my existence. Through all of this contemplation, I’ve come to one great conclusion: if it doesn’t add to my happiness now, or won’t contribute to it in the future, I don’t need it. Before I left Honduras, I realized that I had done many things in my life because I thought I was supposed to do them. These were things that didn’t make me happy, contribute to my overall well-being, or add anything more to my life than regret. When I realized this, while lying in my bed, staring at the ceiling with the lights on in the middle of the night, I realized something else as well: I don’t have to live like that. I never did. And who said I had to live like that in the first place? Why didn’t I smack that person?

Because that person was probably me.

As a result of this epiphany, I decided not to return to Honduras this year. I moved home and reconnected with several wonderful friends. I found a new job with awesome people. I found an apartment I really like. I started taking more steps to better myself and improve my health. I started trying to make more of an effort to strengthen existing friendships and create new ones instead of waiting to be invited. I tried more. I planned more adventures. I started a blog. And all of it for no greater reason than because I wanted to.

Today, I called a friend who didn’t return to Honduras. We talked for about an hour about our respective decisions and what was happening in our lives. She called the conversation “a breath of fresh air.” That made me feel valuable, to be fresh air to someone. We also talked about piles of good things and bad things.

I love Doctor Who. In one episode, the main character, The Doctor, and his companion, Amy, time travel to meet and save Vincent Van Gogh from an alien, and from himself. They witness his depressive and manic episodes, as well as how he sees the world in bright colors and swirls of amazing. When they return to the present, Amy rushes off to a museum, certain he did not commit suicide and that there will hundreds of new paintings to see. There aren’t any new paintings. He still commited suicide. She cries because she feels that it was all for nothing, that they didn’t help him at all. The Doctor explains to her that Van Gogh was a very troubled man and that nothing could have saved him from himself. He had a big pile of bad things, but they added to his pile of good things. That’s why I used the above quote for this blog and for my little mantra.

There are piles of bad things and good things in life. Some of us have big piles of bad things we either can or can’t do anything about. But if I can add to my pile of good things, or to someone else’s pile, I will. So this is my new view of life: if it doesn’t add to my pile of good things now, or won’t in the future, I don’t need it. I may still need to do things I don’t really want to do sometimes, like see the dentist or go to class when I’m sick, but in the long run, my pile of good things will grow by doing those things. This is choosing happiness. This is choosing better. This is choosing what I really want for my life: a pile of good things.

And I hope this added to your pile of good things today.

Now go add to someone else’s pile of good things.