Stop settling for friends who make you feel like you can’t be yourself, or that you have to change a large part of who you are in order to be good enough for them.

Stop settling for a life of sitting still, of watching other people go after what they want while you sit back because you’re too afraid to try.

Stop settling for toxic social environments. If you’re invited to a dinner outing with a group of gossipy and judgmental people, politely decline. If you have to go because it’s a work thing or because you need to support your partner, go for an hour and leave. Don’t ever give more of yourself and your energy than you need to.

Stop settling for being an ‘okay’ friend. If a friend is going through a bad breakup, show up to their apartment with beer and cake and don’t leave until they’re ready for you to leave. Show up for the people who show up for you.

Stop settling for the idea that fear is always something that should be avoided. If your heart starts pounding when you think about applying for that job or signing up for that acting class or trying to make amends with that one friend, listen to it. Embrace the fear. Fear is a compass.

Stop settling for a life of being on autopilot. Of commuting to work like a zombie, of playing on your phone instead of being fully present for movie night with your friends, of thinking about what you’re going to say next when you’re talking to someone. Just let yourself relax, and be there. Something will always come afterwards, just trust.

Stop settling for the idea that happiness is a milestone to attain instead of a state of being. At some point, you must grasp that if you just keep chasing and chasing, there will always be something new to want. But if you start focusing on the joy of being, simply being, you’ll have a much easier time finding happiness. After all, it’s already there. It’s always been there.


Daguerreotype portrait of a group of artists in Rome, the Papal States, c. 1846. By Philibert Perraud.

You don’t wait for his messages anymore.

You don’t wonder about where he may be or who is he with anymore.

You don’t intentionally go to that place where you used to hang out, anymore. You don’t have this heavy feeling in your chest that you have to carry around like it’s not dragging you down anymore.

You don’t have to pretend to be happy anymore because being happy comes naturally now. You have lesser sleepless nights because he’s not on your mind that much anymore.

He makes a cameo in your dreams from time to time but it doesn’t bring back all the pain you felt before the leaving. It doesn’t make you want to cry or want to listen to your old songs all day long.  He’s just simply just a passing thought.

You don’t think that the sad songs that you hear are written for you, anymore.

When you see him, you still feel something. That’s normal. But when you see him, you don’t want him back anymore. You know he’s there but you don’t mind so much anymore. You focus on yourself now and what you’re doing with your life. You have finally established a routine that doesn’t involve him. You can finally smile again. Your chest lightens.

You, darling — you finally have moved on, and you may never have thought that this day would come, but it is here now. I promise it was worth the wait.