“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined.” – Thoreau
Thirty years ago today, I was born into humble beginnings in the Nakagami District of the Okinawa Prefecture in Japan. Thirty years ago today was born an individual that would grow up to become stronger than her parents could have possibly imagined.
This individual is me.
From the outside looking in, my life has been anything but happy. And yet somehow, I bounced back every time. I lived through immense psychological and physical trauma in my childhood. That only increased during my seemingly short adolescence. By the time I hit nineteen I began to figure out how self-deluded I really was. I had periods of extreme happiness. Triumph. In my early to mid-twenties I had a dark night of the soul. I was defeated. I spent several years becoming addicted to games. I lived those years of my life inside a computer. Then one day in January of 2009, I started to wake myself back up.
My late teens and early twenties I had accomplished a lot. I had a successful band. We were signed to a record label. We were playing out across the country. It was wonderful in some ways, and terrible in others. I did things few people would barely imagine doing. I lost myself in my art.
I became the most unhappy in my life when I lost touch with that side of myself. Sure, I became overwhelmed by depression. But never once did I consider suicide. Deep down, I knew that I alone had the power to change my own destiny. And I did.
I ended up getting myself together. I absconded from the place I never regarded as home. I headed to the East Coast to find myself. And found myself I have.
Here I am, standing at the door to the rest of my life. It’s my thirtieth birthday and I’m sitting here happy. I am a success.
I am not a success because of what I have. Material possessions ultimately mean nothing for happiness. Happiness is achieved when you find the good in everything that happens to you. You decide to be happy. To someone who is happy, we welcome adversity. But we don’t treat it as something that defeats who we are. So what if we fall? What’s the worst that could happen? You have to get up again?
Being successful means living through the tough things that stand in the way of your goals and dreams. Being successful means following through. It means making promises to yourself. It means being honest. It means loving who you are because you are worthy of love.
For the most part bad things happen to people because they want them to happen. Think of bad things as a gift from yourself, to yourself. Good things work in the same way.
Everything is perspective. Never compromise yourself for anything that seeks to destroy who you really are. Including yourself.
You alone are responsible for who you are–for who you are to become. You are an island in a sea of stars.
I’m standing here at the door to the rest of my life–smiling. My childhood is finally over. And I’m standing here at the door to the rest of my life–so proud to be who I have become.
Happy birthday to me.
I love you so much.
Xepera Xeper Xeperu.