Two weeks ago, on the first of September, I met a new friend for a drink after work. We had a great time talking and catching up, but when I went to catch my bus, it wasn’t there. By the time I got home, it was later than I had planned, and I was more than slightly irritated with the MTA. It was putting a damper on my otherwise fun-filled evening, and the minute that I realized what I was doing, I decided to intentionally push the negative thoughts out of my head and only hold on to the positive.

At the time, I was finishing Karine Tuil’s The Age of Reinvention (pubbing in December by Atria Books), which has been described as a modern Gatsby. And, like Gatsby, all of the main protagonists are either living in a lie or unhappy with their current lives…all waiting for the perfect life to just spring up from out of nowhere. It was towards the end of the novel – when one character had gotten his dream come true but was still wallowing in despair over something he didn’t have – that it clicked. Wouldn’t he be in a better place if he could just be happy? Happiness, after all, is just a state of mind. And it’s something that only you, yourself can control.

I started thinking about my own life. My own insecurities. Things that I want to change, people who are now strangers, the fact that my bus didn’t show up that night…just all of the negative things that swarm around in my head. And then I started thinking about the positive things. Working in book publishing, my family and friends, the upcoming trip that I’m taking next year, Shadowbox, etc. I decided that I no longer want to be dragged down by negative thoughts, and that from that day on, I would only dwell on the positive. Only stay in the present. Not that I will never have another negative thought, because that cannot be helped, but that I won’t let those negative thoughts consume me. I’ll let them enter my mind, and then let them go.

The moment that I made this decision, I felt instantly lighter. That, by letting go of the negativity, I could just be myself and really live. I didn’t feel the need to hold back and wait, which is what we do a lot of the time. We wait to fall in love, to get the perfect job, to have enough money in our bank accounts. We wait for everything to work itself out and be perfect, but life doesn’t work that way and we forget. We forget that uncertainty is part of life. That, more often than not, we don’t know what’s going to happen. Sure, it can be scary, but the beauty in life is the unknown. There’s no point dwelling on what could have been or what could be, when life is right in front of you. Right now. Waiting, for you to live it.

Autumn may not be here yet, but it’s coming sooner than you think. So, in the last week of summer, before the change of seasons, take the time to erase the negative thoughts and just enjoy life. Be present in the moment. You won’t regret it.

View from the pier after an afternoon of sunning with my uncle, August 2015
View from the pier after an afternoon of sunning with my uncle, August 2015

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