How to make yourself the main character of your life

Hiking fire trails
Nirvana Ellaboudy/File

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Remember back in middle school when people would yell “YOLO” (you only live once) and then do something brave or silly? Or remember when Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa came out with the hit song, “Young, Wild and Free,” featuring Bruno Mars, which became so popular that almost everybody still knows the lyrics to it today? Well, after burying yourself in school, internships and work, it’s easy to forget these messages. We at the Clog are here to remind you that you do, in fact, only live once and that you should live young, wild and free. We need to stop being afraid of making mistakes and continue doing more of what makes us happy. You need to be the main character in your life, not a side character thinking about what you wish your life was like. Here are some ways you can get started.

Put yourself first, always

Mental health is so important. We need to normalize putting ourselves first and checking in with ourselves because it’s so easy to get caught up in the chaos that is our everyday lives. My advice is to stop scrolling through other people’s photos on Instagram and wishing you were them. If you see someone having a picnic on the beach with friends wearing cute dresses, don’t think, “I wish I was them.” Instead, think, “When can I do that?” You are the only person who can make things happen for yourself. If you’re not in the mood to go out, don’t. If you feel like going out, go out! It’s as simple as that. Do what makes you happy, and take a break when you need one.

Not tomorrow, but today

Constantly think about what makes you happy. Where do you want the main character (you) of your movie (your life) to go? What experiences and opportunities do you want for yourself? We too often say, “I’ll do that tomorrow” or “I’ll do that next year.” Just start doing it now! If you’ve always wanted to learn guitar, sign up for lessons. If you’ve always wanted to start exercising, start with a stroll today. Life is wild. Roll with it. Be brave. Be yourself. Life is too short to be spent sitting on the sidelines, waiting for tomorrow.

Be nice to yourself

Last summer, I was sitting with a group of friends, and we were talking about all kinds of issues people experience as they grow up, from insecurities and self-doubt to body image. One girl said every time she looks in the mirror, she hates what she sees. We all paused and just sat there, realizing we sometimes do the same thing. Then she sighed and said, “Gosh, people can be so mean to themselves,” and I’ve never heard a more factual statement about growing up. Of course, there will always be people who are mean to you, but you can’t control that. You can only control how you treat yourself. When you look in the mirror — and I know this sounds silly — try complimenting yourself. It seriously boosts your self-esteem and makes you feel confident. After all, who doesn’t love confidence and feeling good?

Also, never doubt yourself. You are capable of many things. Be unapologetically yourself. Stop caring about what everyone else thinks of you. That reminds me, never let people push you around. You are so much better than that. Be nice and humble, but don’t forget to stand your ground and remain confident about your choices. You will not tolerate being used or taken advantage of. Be yourself, and don’t let anyone change that.

Live in the moment

Don’t worry about capturing everything with your iPhone. Maybe don’t even bring your phone on the next hike you take, or leave it in your backpack. Technology has stuck its claws deep into our feelings of security, but when you learn to be without it, the present moment becomes so much more meaningful. Live as if every day is your last day because beautiful things are quite literally everywhere. Take the time to do more things that benefit you. Go find an old favorite song on your playlist and press “play.” Take a nap on the grass in the sun. Think big and dream big, because the world is ready for you to do big things.

Let go of the past

It’s over. Done. Can’t go back. So, the only logical thing to do is to move on. I know and agree with you that it’s easier said than done, but the more you focus on moving on, the sooner you will.

Never stop laughing

I think this is the most important piece of advice. Create a comfortable space around you where you can feel complete with being nothing but yourself. Be the happy, confident, quirky, joyful person you want to be, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

So, are you ready? Today is the first day of the rest of your life, once you commit to making yourself the main character of your life story. Today is when you realize you are enough, and if you want to be something more, you can make that happen for yourself. You have nothing to lose. Go for it!

Contact Natalia Brusco at [email protected].