When You Woke Up Today

When you woke up today, were you happy? Did you feel like you were a better person than you were yesterday?

Or did you feel tired, exhausted, depressed, angry, and sad? Just a bit emptier, more sluggish, more hopeless for the things to come?

When you woke up today, did you jump immediately out of bed, meditate for 10 minutes, sing in the shower, put on your best clothes and tackle the day headfirst?

Or did you lie in bed, refusing to move, feeling sorry for yourself, watching things you don’t care about just to escape the creeping anxiety, breaking all promises you made to yourself yesterday and thinking about regrets and failures that constantly plague your thoughts?

Did life seem promising and a little too short? Did the sun shine in your eyes as you woke up, filling you up with a passion and love for all things to come, motivating you to face the problems and challenges that will inevitably appear throughout the day?

Or did life seem bleak and a little too long? Did the gloomy, dark day filled with rain awaken you from the dream that was so much sweeter than reality? Did the day seem a bit too tiresome and too strenuous to bear?

Did you look at yourself through the mirror, in all your perfect imperfections that make you exactly who you are, and smile at the sight of yourself? Were you proud of what you saw, warts and all?

Or did you feel uglier than yesterday? Did you look in the mirror and hate what you saw in that moment? Did you look contemptuously at all the imperfections that are so apparent and conspicuous? Did you wish for another face, another identity, another body that would never make you feel this way? Did you turn quickly from your reflection, so you didn’t have to see what you were for a second longer than necessary?

I think many of us struggle to get up with a passion for life. I think many of us struggle to accept ourselves, to love what we are, what we have become. I think many of us hate the state of reality as it currently is, and feel powerless and hopeless.

I’m not depressed. To label myself as depressed would be an exaggeration. What I am doing is facing how I feel on given days, where I feel that everything I worked toward is not worth anything anymore.

The writing that used to sustain me throughout the week, the reading that used to light up my eyes and make me love living, the family and friends who have loved and shaped me into the person I am today — all cease to matter sometimes.

And I think that’s fine.

Because I need to understand that there will be days where life seems insufferable. I need to understand that to appreciate the best days, you need to endure the worst days.

To fully treasure the happiness I feel, I need to experience the sadness that is innate in the human experience. To try to numb what is natural and unavoidable in being human will only exacerbate the pain.

By understanding what is considered bad in the world, I can understand what it means to be good. To fully understand what it means to love and be loved, you must understand how it feels to hate and be hated.

There is nothing wrong with feeling negative emotions or thinking negative thoughts. It can be a sobering experience and allow you to be more grateful and compassionate.

But it’s also true that venturing on this path can be a dangerous risk. You may never come back to the life you lived, you may never be the same person as you were, you may never look at life as you did.

You may not find happiness in the places you once found it in. You may fall into despair, and never be able to recover. You may risk contemplating suicide, if the knowledge is too much to bear.

It is not a path for the weak-hearted. Even those who believe they are ready will fall victim to this unforgiving, uncaring path. It is a path for the courageous, willing to embark on a journey that can risk everything and everyone they once knew and loved.

But to live as if we could hide and distract what we feel and think can be detrimental.

When we are faced with infinite ways to communicate and be connected at all times, we crave solitude and silence. The irony of our desire for solitude, however, is that when we get it, we desire companions. We can never be satisfied. The grass is always greener on the other side.

Why are we so scared to talk about the things that affect us the most? Why are we so scared of being vulnerable, showing emotion, admitting our fears and putting ourselves out for all to see? Why are we all pretending to feel something that we may not be feeling? Why is it so hard for us to accept ourselves in all our brokenness, in all our flaws and imperfections?

We think we need to suppress everything that is somber.

We think we need to hide everything that makes us unhappy, and instead drown ourselves in things that we believe will make us happy.

We take anti-depressants to “treat” or “cure” us, we drink to distract ourselves even just for a few hours, we indulge in mindless entertainment to avoid answering the questions that cannot go unanswered:

Why am I here? What am I supposed to be doing here? What does it all mean? What am I doing with my life?

I don’t have any motivating or inspiring words for you. Honestly, I don’t really care if this story makes sense to anyone. I just knew that I had to write this, to write whatever came, to write without thinking about anyone else but myself.

Because to help myself is to help society. To better myself and to understand myself is, I believe, my duty as an individual. To be the best version of myself is the least I can do to help humanity.

Maybe this will hurt more people than help them. Fine, then I will try again tomorrow. I will be better and work harder to ensure that one day, my work will help others rather than hurt them and add to the noise.

My only solution to the negative thoughts and emotions in head is to create a mission each day.

And my mission for the day is to write and to figure it out for myself. Whatever “it” is.



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William Cho

William Cho

If you want to ask me a question or simply want to talk: @ohc.william@gmail.com. I also write about a variety of other topics on greaterwillproject.com!