By Noel Alberto, FINDink Contributor
With Thanksgiving around the corner, it’s a time to give thanks. While we give thanks to our family, friends, etc, I have someone else to be thankful for. The person who saved my life. I don’t remember who you are but when those words popped up on my screen, I knew I had to stop. So here’s a story for you all.
"People often ask me, “Noel, why are you always smiling or why are you always so happy?” Honestly, there’s a long story behind it, a sad one to start, but I promise you it gets better in the end.
If you really knew me, you would know the saying, “When it rains, it pours.”, it was a saying that was too familiar, except the “pours” part was more of a torrential downfall for me.
At the tail end of my junior year of high school, I wasn’t very happy with my life. It was just over a year since my grandfather had passed away, and I still had trouble coping with that loss because I was so close with him. I was the first grandchild, his namesake, and he lived down the street from me my whole life. Every Sunday after church, my family and I visited him at the mausoleum and I would dedicate all my tennis matches and track/cross-country races to him. Still, I had trouble dealing with the fact that he was gone. I was still melancholy about his loss; it was like there was an emptiness inside of me.
Following that, after going to junior prom with my best friend, she called off our friendship. After years of not having a best friend, I felt broken from losing another person so close to me, my only best friend. As an emotional person, I cried because that’s what people do when they “lose” someone who is important in their life. It was the second time in two years, that someone so important to me left my life. The heart hurt a lot.
The struggles continued when I felt I was disappointing my family plus myself, and I heard my friends were getting of tired of me and my problems. My grades were subpar compared to what they were during my early years of high school and I wasn’t living up to my parents’ and my own expectations. I felt like I was letting everyone down. My friends were also sick of hearing my problems so they shunned me away and asked me to deal with my problems alone.
Three of these four events took place in the span of several weeks and on top of that, I still hadn’t coped with the loss of my grandfather. I was depressed. It felt like it was me against the world. One day, it was a family party, but I just wasn’t in the mood with everything going on at the time. So with everyone scattered, I walked upstairs into one of the rooms that had a window next to the roof. I opened the window and sat on the roof ready to pull the trigger (aka the knife). However, my phone lit up, I had told someone what I was doing, and they told me to stop. I forgot who it was, but I’m eternally thankful for them because without them, I’m not here today, making an impact on someone’s life everyday, and my loved ones are left wondering what they could have done to stop me. However, one day, I decided I had to stop moping around and realize, “the past was the past” and that there was nothing I could do to change it.
I decided I should change my outlook on life and live life with a smile. A certain quote resonated with me, “Use your smile to change the world, but don’t let the world change your smile.” That really stood out because what happened to me was I let the world change my smile into a frown. I didn’t want to continue living with a frown.
I’m always smiling because something as small and simple as a smile to someone can brighten their day. People smile everyday so it is easily taken for granted but one of the secrets to making the world a better place is to smile as often as possible. I strive to be that person in everyone’s life who they can always go to when they’re in need of a smile to brighten up their day.
I still struggle with some of those old depressing feelings, but no matter how hard you think your day is, remember that someone else has it harder than you. Always keep a smile on your face because you never know how it might impact someone’s day. I want to end this in the way I started this story: “If you really knew me, you would know why I’m always smiling because a day without a smile is a day unfulfilled.”
To whoever you are and wherever you are, thank you for everything. Happy Thanksgiving FIND :)
Disclaimer: The views of the author do not necessarily represent the views of FIND, Inc.