Words on words: changing for better or for worse


Alice Yu

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was born Jan. 30, 1882 and ranks as one of my favorite U.S. presidents. He was elected to office four times, serving from 1933 to 1945. The most notable successes of his presidency include his New Deal, which decreased unemployment rates and boost the economy after the Great Depression. Roosevelt also led the United States into World War II after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, ending his previously neutral stance on the war. He passed away three months into his fourth term on April 12, 1945.
[quote]There are many ways of going forward, but only one way of standing still —Franklin Delano Roosevelt[/quote] With talks of New Year’s Resolutions still sprinkled in conversations, the new year is a reasonable and logical time to reboot and refresh — to create a better version of you. While my personal opinion lies with improving whenever you can regardless of the start date, I commend those who are setting up plans to change for the better.
Any change is better than no change
Before I receive the counter argument that negative change (say, becoming a psychopathic murderer) is way worse than no change, I’d like to set up the boundaries of this change I’m speaking of. Yes, in our lives, we do make some mistakes in deciding what to do. I could very well decide to move to Toronto with only $1,000 to “find myself” but realize I should’ve stayed at home and applied for a job. In this case, the change wasn’t exactly positive, but I still learned from the experience.
Here’s how you can be more content with your life: solve your own problems
If you are not content with some aspect in your life, find the root of whatever is causing you grief and try to resolve those negative feelings. Of course, this is easier said than done, but wouldn’t it be better to at least try to improve your situation, rather than swallowing your true feelings and feeling down and annoyed all by yourself? Life doesn’t come with a handbook; none of us knows what’s right or wrong, predict the future, or know with 100 percent certainty the consequences of our actions when we face a fork in the road. So instead of waiting for a handbook — or worse, waiting for a magical power to patch up holes in your life — become a problem-solver.
You don’t know how to file taxes? Ask your capable and talented friend, Google. Read a few books from the library. Ask your parents and even your friends. You don’t know when the deadline for that AP language and composition essay? Text a friend or email the teacher. Asking for help isn’t weak; it’s intelligent. 
Each of our lives change every day, whether or not we consciously realize it. We don’t have to limit ourselves to implementing change on a certain day of the year and we don’t have to shy away from change because of the fear of making a mistake. Mistakes happen. If it makes you feel better, Google the worst mistakes (NASA and politics usually have the most outrageous and face-palm worthy mistakes) and think, “even though my situation is bad, at least build a space-based infrared system that went $100 billion over the budget, only for it to shut down seven seconds after reaching Earth Orbit.” Mistakes trigger unhappy feelings, but also provide an oh-so-valuable learning experience. Don’t let the fear hold you back from improving, mentally, physically and emotionally.
art by Alice Yu