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2018 is the Year of “I Can”

I get epiphanies at an inopportune time in the most inconvenient of places. Like when I am about to sleep, or when I’m in the toilet. The latest one came to me a few days ago while on a motorbike, traveling my way home. I covered myself with a shawl because the sun bore down on us and it felt like I was getting a tan against my will. The idea that came to me, it’s this, 2018 is the year for “I can.”

Let me expound.

I think there has been a going-on theme for each of my year; 2017 is when I stopped asking for easy, 2016 is all for building belief that dreams are possible, and 2015 is about self-healing. I was depressed for most of my life that I truly believed I would never recover. I treated this mental condition as a home and I owned it. It’s weird to say, but it’s true, I was comfortable with my misery that it made me arrogant. People would offer help and I’d scoff at their “lack of understanding”. I didn’t think I could be helped, I didn’t think I could get over it, I thought I’d have to carry the demon forever. There’s something in my head, my chemistry that was fucked up and people just couldn’t understand. It’s clinical depression, it doesn’t go away.

Or so I thought.

I knew I was in for a challenge; depression to me is like an imaginary friend that I never grew out of. It was with me constantly that I couldn’t see a life without it. Almost like I would be crippled, almost like I would be naked. Many people have left this world without escaping their mental prison and I could be one of them. It was going to be tough and I knew I might not win, but I also knew that I could try.

I can’t recall the specific date but I can identify the year, it’s 2016. My life turned around that year. The hows are a number of things; I removed toxic people from my life, I started traveling more, I got a new job, I limited my exposure on politics and social media, I went ahead and make new friends and stuck with those who have a positive disposition. The thing with depression is, it’s relentless and it’s a terrible foe. It cannot be defeated with one method. To beat it, you have to be stronger than it and you have to keep on trying. 

It was long and arduous but I pushed through it. You know how when people work out and then one day they saw muscles starting to form and suddenly they don’t want to stop lifting weights, that’s kinda like how it felt for me. Once I started reaping the fruits of my labor, nothing can stop me anymore, not even depression.

As a result, blessings have started pouring in. When before I used to be so broke, suddenly I always have more than enough that I’m even able to send my sister to college. When before I could only travel a few times a year, now I can go abroad and out of my own pocket. On blogging, I made wonderful connections that I started getting gigs, one of them is a sponsored trip to Japan. My crowd has also changed, new friends have come in, most of them are as passionate as I when it comes to traveling. Being with them made me aspire to do more and be more. Things have indeed begun to look up for me. It was thrilling, to say the least.

Personally, I noticed that I’ve grown mellow. I can now stop myself from saying something that might be hurtful to others. I no longer lash out at people. I also stopped burdening other people with my personal problems. When I am faced with adversity, I keep it mostly to myself and would only share when it’s over, and only to a select few.

[Read: Travel Recap 2017]

Some people from the past have tried to come back, but I didn’t want to open the door anymore. It was not because they didn’t deserve a second chance, or that they didn’t change, it was because I had to stick with my decision to get better. We are all passing by on each other’s lives, and when our part is over, we have to accept that and continue our journey. That’s how I choose to look at it. My part in their lives and my part in theirs are over. For what it’s worth, I wish them the best and I hope that in my own little way, in the short time that we’d been given, I was able to make them happy.

My life is not perfect, but now the better days outnumber the bad. It’s all because I tried and I replaced my I can’ts with I can.

If you are currently having a difficult time or if you are struggling with depression, I hope I can convince you to take the path to recovery or at least give it a try. That’s all you need to do, try. It will be tough but there is a reward for perseverance. You have to drop the false idea about yourself; you can find hope, you can change, you can learn. There is a strength within you that’s been keeping you alive, tap on that.

So this 2018, let us start living with these two words in mind, I can. This is the year we are going to make it all happen. We will face a challenge head-on and say, “I can beat you,” we will stare fear in the eye and say, “I can conquer you,” we will look at our dreams and say, “I can reach you.” Even if it seems impossible at first, even if it takes everything you’ve got, never say that you can’t.

When the year is over, let’s meet again and talk about the things that have happened when you started saying, “I can.” I hope you give it a try, I hope you start believing. I am rooting for you, may you achieve amazing things.

 

 

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14 Comments

  • Reply
    Arni
    April 4, 2018 at 9:37 AM

    I must say, “Chapeau!” because it’s not an easy feat, it takes courage, strong will and constant determination to stare at depression in the eye to get to where you are now. Well done, girl and I wish you more blessings and happiness this year.

  • Reply
    sumit walia
    April 1, 2018 at 1:14 AM

    a written post on thoughts and beliefs , on inner thoughts and external influences . I remember someone who is going through the condition that you were speaking of and it pains me to see how she is unable to recognize it and sinking deeper into it , breaks my heart actually

  • Reply
    Aditi
    March 23, 2018 at 9:10 AM

    I can so relate to your post, probably have been in depression since years now and going through some major upheavals currently, but I have learnt it to fight it out for myself, because no one else can. The strength lies within us, its only that we need to identify it and believe in it. If one has faith, there is no such challenge that when cant overcome. I also feel since the time I have given a positive shift to my mindset, things automatically start falling in place. Its all in the universe, if we think negative, the negative happens because we unknowingly invite it, if we think positive, the outcome also takes a positive shift, slowly but steadily it does change

  • Reply
    neha
    January 24, 2018 at 4:55 AM

    I have started the year with very similar spirits and thoughts. This has to be the year of “I Can” and I have to do that not just with my travel goals but with my other personal life and professional life goals as well. Reading your post was really inspirational since it gives a push to me when I read similar lines of thoughts as mine.

  • Reply
    Christine
    January 17, 2018 at 12:46 PM

    I love your personal stories Marge. This one strikes a chord in me too. I don’t have clinical depression so I won’t pretend that I understand what you went through but I’ve been to very dark phases of my life too that I thought I won’t be able to recover. And the thing is, as cliche as it may seem, you’re the only one who truly has a power to change what you feel. I used to question why things happen, why I had toxic people in my life and why I was unhappy. And all the answer I got is because I let it happen. Now, I face life with what come may attitude with a sense of responsibility. And from the past few years, I’ve been saying yes to everything. Congrats for overcoming your depression and 2018 will be your year for sure! xx

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      January 17, 2018 at 12:53 PM

      Thanks Christine! Cheers!

  • Reply
    Sam
    January 17, 2018 at 1:16 AM

    Growing up. I also feel like I’ve grown mellow. I tweeted it once — I once thought passion was the ultimate must-have trait. Now I know it to be slef-control. Being fierce may be considered a thing of youth because you don’t know yet what can destroy you. But when you’re wiser, you tend to balance it with rationality.

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      January 17, 2018 at 12:54 PM

      I agree, it comes with age really and experience.

  • Reply
    Rye Santiago
    January 16, 2018 at 5:31 PM

    Hi, Marge. I will not express any grief for the depression you’re going through. Why? Because as you have just said, you can. You can make things right this year. You can be a fighter. You can allow yourself to be weak when you have to, and you can be your own source of strength because that’s what you’ve decided.

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      January 16, 2018 at 9:14 PM

      Hi Rye, I am not going through a depression because I have already conquered it. That’s the point of the post. I wish you had read it better.

  • Reply
    Varsha
    January 16, 2018 at 3:40 PM

    Quite inspiring article. I wish you and myself all the best for keeping ‘I can’ approach for all the year. Nice photo as well. Where have you clicked it?

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      January 17, 2018 at 12:53 PM

      It was taken at a café in Sydney.

  • Reply
    Harini
    January 14, 2018 at 12:54 PM

    I can completely relate to everything you are saying because I struggled with depression myself for five years during my teenage years.2016 was a life-changing year for me too because I replaced all the I cants with I cans and continued the same through 2017.This year I am replacing the I can’s with I will.When we are under depression we are so engrossed in negativity that it ends up becoming our best friend and we end up believing that we are meant to live in a dark room forever.Even though some love, support and encouragement can help to some extent it isn’t going to help cure depression.You know you are on the path towards healing and the demon in you is growing old and slowly dying only when you decide to take control over your own life and turn on the light in the darkroom and decide that you will be responsible for your own happiness and no one else will.I am glad that you have decided to put yourself before others first and realize that you will do what is good for you and internally validate yourself before seeking external validation.This attitude of yours completely inspires me which has helped you come a long way from where you were earlier.The problem with most humans is that we seek external validation to the extent where we ignore our own interests and needs.When I was suffering from depression I used to depend on the circumstances around me for happiness and I used to seek too much external validation, as a result, I ignored the people who genuinely cared for me and ended up driving them away which lead to a vicious cycle of dependence.I lost a lot of friends during that period and struggled a lot to make new friends because thoughts like ‘Do they like me and do they really enjoy my company ?’ continued haunting me.It is only when I changed this thought to ‘Well, even if others don’t enjoy my company I shall enjoy my own company’ and I decided to invest more in my passions and things which made me happy, helped me improve which changed my life completely and made it better.I am easily able to make friends now with anyone, anywhere I go and life has given me a lot of wonderful friends whom I am extremely thankful for.Lastly,congratulations on winning a sponsored gig to Japan

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      January 14, 2018 at 1:09 PM

      Hello Harini. Thank you for your comment, I really appreciate that you took the time to share your own experience. You are so right when you said that one should be responsible for his or her own happiness. Nobody could really do it for us, seeking external validation only leads to more pain. I am happy that you were able to overcome depression too. I hope that our stories will inspire others who may be suffering the same condition.

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