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Learning To Celebrate Oneself

There’s a structure called the “hero’s journey” in film scenarios. Before reaching the happy end, the hero goes through a substantial transformation, naturally brought along by unexpected challenges. On the other hand, the hero’s courage that ignites the fuse of this transformation is always rewarded. “Generally,” this new life is much better for the hero compared to the previous one. It’s just that the hero doesn’t know about it yet.

At least, that’s how it’s always been in the story of my life. In order to have a new and good beginning, first, the one I had grown intimately accustomed to always had to be demolished. Today, for most of us, not being able to leave our comfort zone is a problem. Again, how can a hero make progress without stepping out of their comfort zone for an adventure? I’d like to warn you, though, not every step forward makes life easier. The challenge that one overcomes is, mostly, pregnant with even bigger challenges. But that’s life and I think it’s just the thing that makes it worth living. What fun is it to beat the same monster in a game, or watch the monster beat me down? I wouldn’t want you to think of me as a masochist who enjoys self-inflicted suffering. Let’s just say I wish to see the other possibilities. I’d like to mention a few films that talk about new beginnings. Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore says, “After an unexpected incident, Alice soon learns that second chances do exist and that, when one door closes, another one opens.” Or, In The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, “Unsatisfied with his life, Walter Mitty one day says ‘Enough!’ and quits his job to go on a journey by himself.” In other words, it’s an unexpected, out-of-routine step to break the cycle. It can even be something much simpler - such as saying “yes” to a proposition that you usually say “no” to. Isn’t that how it happens in Yes Man, starring Jim Carrey? Let’s assume that all this happened and you’ve become one of those characters in horror movies that manage to survive the night to see the dawn. Would you celebrate it? Or would you believe that “each achievement is a coincident,” like me? As my new year resolution, I wish for the ability to celebrate anything and everything, without making myself believe that it’s a coincidence. I wish for the ability to say, “Gizem, you’ve written a sentence in your script today. Congratulations!” I want to celebrate myself the same way I celebrate others with candidness and enthusiasm. What we celebrate doesn’t have to be big. I believe every moment we’re alive is worth celebrating. It’s strange that the only celebration I could think of while writing this is the scene from Dogtooth by Yorgos Lanthimos. A quite pessimistic scene in itself, I think it would be enough to summarize my thoughts on celebration. But no, I’m writing this so that it will give me hope (as I had cautioned myself in the beginning). I would take the right step into this article and this year! Anyways, let me take another crack at it. Does celebration always have to be about the new? A new age, a new year, a new job... Isn’t is just as important to celebrate the old and not-so-lovely things? Now that I think about it, I do have some bad and lasting memories in life, and moments about which I think, “I’m glad this happened,” and which I celebrate. (See? I set out to give you hope but turned pessimistic again. I don’t think I have it in me.) I don’t know, maybe you could also think of (or have already thought of) similar memories that you’re glad happened. I believe honestly celebrating those moments and feeling grateful for them makes us feel strong and hopeful.

If you’ve made a resolution to change for the new year, I hope you find the courage to take that step. And, whatever the consequences, you can manage to take a deep breath while watching the sunrise and celebrate yourself - even for your mistakes.

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