Stop Surviving and Start Living

It’s New Year’s Eve and I’m left reflecting on what 2021 taught me. It was a long, yet exciting year. I struggled and hit rock bottom a few times while I kept climbing. I hit rock bottom more times in the last year than I have my entire life. There’s a good reason for that, though.

I didn’t give up this year. In the past, when I hit rock bottom I would stay there until someone pulled me out. This year I fought. I was a fighter. I set goals and strived for them, I fought to achieve my desires instead of watching them from a distance. I got accepted into anthologies; I published a book; I created a website; I gave mental health presentations; I started a podcast; I coached baseball and played softball; I fell in love with writing again. Most importantly, however, they were my desires and not the desires of others.

That was another thing I learned this year: I had to put myself and my family first. Not the blood family, because that isn’t who I call my family. I had to weed out the ones who sucked me dry and used and abused me. Narrowing down my circle and figuring out who my family was, I learned the meaning of family and learned that even those related to you aren’t always family.

So what does the New Year hold for me? It’s time for me to stop simply surviving and to start actually living. For too long, I have let my past haunt me and my future scare me. I want to learn to live in the future and live for the day. I want to laugh and smile every waking moment of my life, because life is too short.

I’ve lived in the shadows of my past and used it as an excuse for my actions. No more will I allow my past to dictate me or control me. I’m freeing myself from the shackles that have held me back for so long. While the trauma will always be there, I CAN control it. The trauma hurt me. It broke me. The old me. The new me is repairing himself and coming back better.

As for the future, for too long, I have feared what was to come. It is out of my hands and not something I can control, so I need to live and let go. I need to set my goals and strive to achieve them, but learn to adjust when things don’t go according to plan. I want to live here and now, with my loved ones.

I want to love like I’ve never loved before. Every single person in my family, I want to love them and never let them forget they’re loved. Life is too short. The years are too short. I want to live in the present, learn from the past, and look forward to the future.

Published by Tyler Wittkofsky

Step into the captivating world of Tyler Wittkofsky, an extraordinary talent hailing from North Carolina's enchanting southern coast. As a multi-genre maestro, Tyler weaves tales that sweep you into unforgettable adventures. Beyond his writing prowess, he's a fervent podcaster, mental health advocate, and travel blogger. With his wife Grace and furry companions Dutch and Belle, Tyler embarks on awe-inspiring journeys across the US, chronicled on the enthralling blog "Adventure With Coffee." Tyler's literary repertoire includes the touching novella "(Not) Alone," inspired by true events on mental health struggles, and the debut romance "The Seeds of Love: Sunflower Kisses Book One," navigating love's complexities through a mentally ill protagonist. His emotionally charged poetry collection "Coffee, Alcohol, and Heartbreak" draws from four transformative years. Collaborating with Kelsey Anne Lovelady, "Enamored Echoes Book 1: Potent" marked his fantasy co-authorship debut. As a beacon of hope, Tyler shares his mental health journey on He co-hosts the Cook the Books podcast, delving into writing and publishing. He also leads Tea With Coffee Media, spotlighting untold stories via his indie publishing company. Not just a creative, Tyler excels as an award-winning marketing pro, recognized with accolades like Wilmington Biz Journal's Top 100 award. In 2020, he launched The Wittkofsky Company, a non-profit digital marketing and PR firm for positive global impact. Join Tyler's journey on social media @TylerWittkofsky, and explore his work at for an inspiring rollercoaster of emotion and unforgettable stories.

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