What is Your Why?

Alexis Council, Contributing Writer

“What are your whys?”

I have been asked this question a lot this year by my coaches, my parents, my mentors, and even my teachers. I have even asked myself and my friends these four words.

So, now I ask you: What is your why? 

Another way to frame this question is: What allows you to keep moving when there is nothing else to push you? or What allows you to keep making progress when the world seems to make you feel that there isn’t any at all?   

Let’s be real, 2020 was not the year that we thought it would be. Some people had plans to finish school, play sports, or enter a new chapter in their life like getting married or even starting a new job. We have been on pause for almost a full year and we are still at the same place – or maybe even a little worse off than we were to start. In the beginning of the pandemic it was easy to understand the lack of motivation that we all felt, the lack of care or traditional worries we had, and the isolation we brought upon ourselves. Whether you were alone or forced to spend time with people – sometimes too many people it seemed –  I bet it was hard. No matter your situation, we went from a world that was in a constant state of movement to being trapped in the house and not having that one-on-one contact we most desired. 

In April during the beginning of quarantine, I decided to look ahead on my calendar – to my birthday in August – and write down where I was and what I hoped to accomplish between April and August. The reason I decided to do that was to be able to look back and see if I allowed the virus to take control of what I do or did I make sure to progress in my life during a virus that granted me so much open time. 

You see – time is my why. As a person, I want to look forward, not backward. In April, I looked at what was left of 2020 and decided to step back and challenge myself to use the time ahead to improve myself rather than allowing myself to give up when I still had some fight in me to finish the year out. I wanted to see where I could take myself, to see if I could accomplish more, to see if I could continue to find more happiness in life, and to see change or even make change happen.

Guys, we have had time during this quarantine, which means that nobody should be saying they are tired or they didn’t have enough time. We had a 10-month break from the world; we had time.

So what does that mean for all of us moving forward? It means, go do that workout that you said that you didn’t have time for, go study for that driver’s license you have been pushing off, go make that petition to start advocating for whatever drives you to make a change, go start that business that you always wanted to start. 

The fact is, 2020 is over and I’m about to end the first semester of my senior year of high school virtually. If you asked me back in April if I thought we would still have COVID running our lives, I would have told you that it would be gone by summer. But hey, 2020 had other plans. Let me be real, I have battled mental health during this time just as any teenager or adult has. I’ve felt heartbreak, gotten my first official job, taken advantage of new opportunities, made new friends, lost some friends, and gained a better relationship with God and my siblings. I know 2020 sucked but I have to say to it,  “thank you for all the memories that I was able to try and  make.”

I refuse to allow 2020 to follow me into 2021 because that is not progress. So, I say this: Dear 2020, you were miserable, but thank you for showing me that love is real, that patience is key, that understanding my limits is important. Thank you for helping me to figure out who I am. Thank you for helping me develop a stronger understanding of myself, for teaching me how to love and be loved, and for showing me my true worth. Thank you for showing me why every day. 

So now I ask whoever is reading this the same question we began with: what is your why?