Reasons to Keep Breathing

The sun will come up one morning, and you will realize that you haven’t yet slept. On days like this, when it feels like you haven’t slept in weeks or months; on days like this when you wake up at 2 am, heart pounding, with unwanted memories circling around your head; on days like this, when you’re too anxious, too nervous to close your eyes, or the drumming of your heart can be heard in your head, which makes it impossible to sleep anyway; on days like this, when the night is long but not long enough, and the shadows threaten to swallow you whole, promise me you’ll keep breathing.

Promise me you’ll keep breathing, even if the weight of the world seems too much for your shoulders to carry, even if the floor doesn’t seem too steady, even if you can’t get out of bed. Keep breathing.

Keep breathing because one day you will find things to believe in: God, a cause, a person, yourself. And even if you can’t believe in God because it seems like He left you a long time ago, I hope you can believe in yourself.

I hope you can believe in yourself because even though you are one finite person in this infinite universe, there is an entire universe inside you. There is an entire system of neurons and nerves, synapses and cells, bones and muscles, genes and ideas, hopes and dreams that make you unique. And if the idea that all of these things exist inside of you and make you one in 108 billion (which is the estimate of how many people have ever lived) isn’t enough to blow your mind, imagine this: the probability of your existence at all is 1in 10^2,685,000., which is basically zero.

You are a miracle. And miracles are beautiful.

If you can’t find the beauty in yourself right now, one day you will. But for now, find the beauty in others, in the world around you. Find the beauty in the laughter and the smiles, the rain and the sun, the snow and the fall of the leaves. Find the beauty of people falling in love, and out of love, and upside-down in love. Find the beauty in the way babies and old people are so much alike: all they do is eat and sleep.

Life has a way of repeating itself.

Find the beauty in the expected and the unexpected. Find the beauty in the colors of fall, sunrises, and sunsets. Find the beauty in the smell of freshly baked cookies, puppy kisses, and the taste of snowflakes on your tongue. Find the beauty in the way there’s a cycle to everything: life and death, the bloom and the harvest, the dawn and the dusk.

Remember this: even the hardest winters bring beautiful springs.

Keep breathing because you are still becoming. Who you are now is not who you’ll stay. Where you are now is not where you’ll end.

Keep breathing because even though the journey of becoming sometimes seems too hard, I promise you it’s worth it. You will touch so many lives. You will impact more people than you could ever know.

Keep breathing because one day, you’ll wake up, and you’ll be in recovery.

This is how you know you’re in recovery.

One: you sleep through the night.

Two: the sun is shining just a little bit brighter.

Three: the numbness goes away, and you begin to feel again.

Four: you eat again.

Five: you smile again.

Six: the scars begin to fade.

Seven: the nights seem a little less dark.

Keep breathing because there are so many stars left to count.

Keep breathing because sometimes having the air knocked out of you is all you need to remind your lungs how much they like the taste of air.