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

Tyler Wittkofsky is a multi-genre author, blogger, award-winning marketing and communications professional, and fierce mental health advocate from the southern coast of North Carolina. Tyler has been writing short stories for as long as he can remember. Growing up the grandson of an English teacher, Tyler had a constant fuel to his creative fire in his grandmother. He started writing poetry in 2012 to cope with his mental health struggles with anxiety, bipolar, and depression. Using poetry as an escape, he developed a unique style of poetry that has left readers saying, “Tyler’s voice is compassionate, even while suffering, and I felt the despair and loneliness seeping out through his words.” His first poetry collection, composed of poems written from 2012 to 2016, was published in March 2020. He began his first novel in 2019. The novel, (Not) Alone, was a story based on true events surrounding the struggles of living with mental illness. Described by readers as “An Intimate Closure with Mental Illness,” this began Tyler’s revitalized passion for mental health. He decided that his writing would have a focus on mental health. His next novel, The Seeds of Love: Sunflower Kisses Book One, was his debut romance novel and debut series. Described as “a great job of relaying the realistic emotions of young love and emotional drama that is particularly difficult for young adults…”, his debut romance novel was met with much success. In 2021, Tyler began writing short stories. He was accepted into several anthologies in mid-2021, expected for publication in early 2022. He also writes supernatural horror and historical fantasy for the online magazines In the Pantheon and In the Crescent. He has work published through Five Minute Affairs as well. He built his website www.TeaButWithCoffee.com in 2021. On this site, he started his blogging journey. He began writing book reviews, interviewing indie authors, and writing on mental health. This passion sparked a new desire to connect with more people. Tyler is currently in the beginning stages of two podcasts that he hopes to be live by the end of 2021. Tyler currently lives in Leland, North Carolina with his wife, Grace, and dogs, Dutch and Belle. You can find him and his works here: https://linktr.ee/wittkofsky

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