Best Christmas Gift: Living

Written by Ray Long.

I just finished a hard semester. Nursing school is no fun at all.

This past semester of Fall 2016 there were times I asked myself, “What did I get myself into?” What I was most scared of is failing and having to repeat the semester all over again. But with bound determination and my eyes in the books and ears listening to everything from my professors, I passed with flying colors. A sigh of relief and I felt like I was on top of the world.

But that feeling would never last so long for me. Like taking a good temporary drug, life comes and switches to my default state: depressive contemplation.

I know I deserve more than this. I freaking passed my class in Nursing. I have one free month of my own time; head to the gym and lose the extra pounds of friends I made who decided to reside in my belly, be with my companion of friends, and indulge myself in fun.

I also managed to accomplish my very long goal of achievement in my martial arts journey – achieving the rank of black belt within my Kung Fu academy. I remember intensely focusing on the form I needed to take with my instructor. During the test, there was a part where the long pole weapon needed to be spun around. With all eyes on me, I accidentally knocked myself on the head squarely making the bone cracking sound resonate throughout the academy. Being oblivious, I continued on. Yes I passed. After that, back into my nursing books.
I haven’t told anyone about this. I recently stop posting much on Facebook.

Now here I am telling myself the accomplishments I have done for the past year. But I still feel this presence of loneliness and sadness. Christmas is here and there is the one gift I am always thankful for. Being alive.

I try not to take for granted for what I have.

I have clothes that keep me warm and the shirts that show my passion for video games.

I have parents who support my decision to go back to school and let me stay home with them.

I have a good job that allows me to avoid getting loans for school.

My health is in good shape due to my marital arts practice.

For a while, I enjoy my own personal solitude.
I sometimes dine by myself and relish in the food I eat.
I love taking my long walks at night in the sea green nature of forests.

Sometimes the yearning for companionship tugs at me. This is like a tug of war in me. Should I hang out with them? Will I do something that will make them think badly of me? Am I even worth the time to be with? For the worst case scenario, I just drop it and think nothing of it and go about my business to avoid this problem. Or maybe because my standards are really high. Worst case, I’m a simple and  down-to-earth boring guy.

This past month I came to some conclusions for ending the year of 2016. I can’t blame people for the decisions they make even when they hurt me. I know they made those decisions for whatever personal reason choosing their priorities over everything else. They have made those choices whether or not they have calculated the process of the decision and accepted the possible results.

I guess my main point in writing this out is that people should take advantage of what is already in front of them. For me, being alive is a special gift. I try not to ask for more. I take what is in front of me and work with it. If there’s a problem, don’t post on Facebook and complain about it. Think and breathe to solve it if it’s within my control. If there’s something or someone I don’t like, avoid them or it.

But there’s always a part of me like a child who has worked really hard for that goal, crying, and asking for some sort of acknowledgement….or maybe a reward.

Only I am responsible for my own life. The decisions I make could benefit others but can also hurt them. I prefer making the decisions that hurt myself and not let others know I have harmed myself for their own benefit.

I shall end this with a quote from Fullmetal Alchemist. I heard it so many times it probably sounded cool to everyone. But I have been applying this principle in my thought process unconsciously.

“Humankind cannot gain anything without first giving something in return. To obtain, something of equal value must be lost. That is alchemy’s first law of Equivalent Exchange. In those days, we really believed that to be the world’s one, and only truth.”