Mark Nessia

Bakersfield Life Magazine Editor Mark Nessia and his pug Tina Louise

It’s that time again.

No, I’m not referring to the holiday festivities that take place throughout the month to wrap up 2019. I’m talking about when people reflect on the passing of another year. It’s especially notable this time around as we close out one decade and start another. More often than not, you’ll hear others talk about how a period of time was not so great and that they’re looking forward to the future because it will be “their year.”

Hardship is inevitable, but it will also be accompanied by stretches of happiness. The problem is many of us have a tendency to focus on the negatives. Even if we went on an epic vacation, got a promotion or became a first-time homeowner, 2019 may be remembered as the year we broke up with a significant other or experienced the death of a loved one.

It’s not a matter of blocking out the bad, but rather not letting ourselves forget the good.

Life is an ongoing series of peaks and valleys.

To put it all in perspective, my fellow mentor at East Bakersfield High School, Monique Moreland, introduced our group seniors to what she called a “life chart.” A life chart can come in various forms, but Monique showed us a version that looks very much like a line graph, going back as far as when you were born and highlighting events and experiences that took place since. A positive experience resulted in an upward line, how good it was determined how high the line rose, and a negative experience resulted in a downward line, the severity deciding the degree of decline.

Drawing it all out, it’s easy to see how one’s life has played out thus far – and I’m willing to bet that the number of ups exceed the number of downs.

The reason negative experiences dwell in our minds is because they are, for the most part, rarer occurrences. Take airplanes for example. Thousands of flights take off and land safely every day, but if a plane crashes, that’s all everyone talks about and remembers.

It may be tough to admit, but we’re all guilty of taking good times for granted. We enjoy them and move on. But when adversity comes our way, we often slow to a crawl or come to a halt.

When you’re in a valley, it can be difficult to see the top. But we can’t let that stop us, because the best views often come from the hardest climbs, so we must push forward so we can find ourselves at the summit again.

And when we get there, don’t forget to enjoy the view. Commit it to memory so you may revisit it whenever you like. Make sure to look back as well to see how far you’ve gone and all that you’ve overcome.

Everyone here and now has survived 100 percent of their worst days so keep your heads up and know that another peak is just around the bend.

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