I want you to know

You change things. You make things better… you make me better. The way that you see the world is admirable and I’m drawn to it in the way the tide is drawn to the gravitational pull of the moon. Bright, reliable and relentless.

I love who you are. I love what you stand for. I love you. I love everything about you and, though I know change is inevitable in life, I hope your change comes through growth. I hope that, much like a fine wine, the very basic core of who you are and what you stand for only gets better with time.

Thank you for your kindness, for your sincerity, for your generosity in a world where it seems to be dwindling at increasing rates with each day that passes. Thank you for making me believe more and believe better of myself and better of everyone. Thank you for always seeing the bright side, even on a dull day. Thank you for existing. I know you probably don’t feel like it makes a difference, but your existence in this world does. You are the change that I want to be and the change that I wish to see.

Thank you for always trying, even when I tell you not to. And thank you for never turning away when I tell you to leave, because you know that it’s the moments when people push others away that they need someone the most. Thank you for understanding. Thank you for never questioning and thank you for always supporting, even when I don’t deserve it.

Thank you for being you. For being strong, independent, intelligent and brave. Thank you for being thoughtful, grateful, insightful and humble.

I want you to know you change things. Because you do.

30 lessons to live by

While I believe there’s truth to the statement ‘you learn through experience’ I also believe there’s truth to the idea of learning from others mistakes, gaining from others wisdom and becoming who we are thanks to those we surround ourselves with.

Even if they might sound cliche, there’s plenty of life lessons that can be learned from the simple act of listening/reading. In a lot of cases you might already know these lessons. In a lot of cases, it’s just a matter of re-reading it to put it top of mind.

Here are 30 lessons to live by that withstand the test of time:

  1. You are not your parents. As much as people might try to tell you that you’re just like them… you are not, I repeat YOU ARE NOT, doomed to repeat their mistakes or force yourself into the same situations as they are/were in. Be yourself, don’t try to become them.
  2. Collect moments, not things. Memories are the only currency we have that doesn’t diminish in value with time. While tangible objects collect dust and can invariably disappoint over the years, our memories never dim, nor fade. They forever live on in our minds with a bittersweet sense of belonging.
  3. A man is not a financial plan. This one comes directly from my mother. Trying to hinge your bets on living off someone else is an insecure way to live. Make sure that you’re capable of looking after yourself financially, then your partner can add to your life, not control it.
  4. Debt isn’t worth it. Buying things you cannot afford might fix your problems in the short-term, but long term will give you nothing more than stress and anxiety.
  5. Failure is growth. Society tends to tell us that failure is a bad thing and that’s really not the case. So long as you’re learning from your failure, you’re growing as a person. Learn from your failure and you’ll appreciate your success so much more when you accomplish it.
  6. Comparison is the thief of joy. As cliche as it sounds, it’s true. Don’t compare your step one to someone else’s success. [Insert Name Here] might be a billionaire at 20, that doesn’t mean you’re a failure if you’re not.
  7. Change is good. Even when it seems like it sucks. Remaining stagnant in a world where change is all around you is a naive failure to flow with the natural order of the world.
  8. Age is just a number. Don’t ever discount someone because of their age. Age does not tell you intelligence, competence, capability, confidence, or anything about a person beyond the year they were born.
  9. Body positivity has zero to do with what you believe is attractive. Body positivity is a respect for the human body and what it does for a person. What you find attractive in a person has NOTHING to do with treating people with respect and appreciating what your body does for you and their body does for them.
  10. If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. There’s no need, reason or excuse for being rude, mean or demoralizing. If you can’t be kind, keep your mouth shut.
  11. Putting up walls diminishes authenticity. Creating a persona to shield yourself from surrounding judgment, or potential judgment, diminishes the integral aspects of who you are. Don’t let your true self fade behind the walls you build.
  12. Exercise contributes to every aspect of your well being – physically, mentally and emotionally. It improves your health and your outlook. It forces much needed serotonin on your brain and can vastly benefit your outlook towards the world.
  13. Giving love is one of the best gifts you can give. Receiving love is one of the best gifts you can receive. Never underestimate the value of love.
  14. You get more from giving more. Success doesn’t come from seeing how much you can take. If you want to live a life of abundance, give with grace and give as much as you can.
  15. Even if you’re questioning whether to let your head or your heart decide, ensure you listen to your head. That tiny-voice inside of you always knows what’s right.
  16. Grudges cause nothing but pain. Allow yourself to move on from the past. Remember that just because you forgive does not mean that you need to forget. You can forgive someone and not carry the weight of the pain they caused whilst remembering so that you don’t ever have to suffer that same pain twice.
  17. Travel makes you more interesting, insightful and an accepting person. You learn when you see how others experience and you become more open to things beyond what you could ever imagine. Travel and travel often.
  18. You aren’t always right. There’s always more than one version to the story. Practice humility and remember that you’re wrong sometimes, too.
  19. You define your life. If you want it to be meaningful, make it meaningful. If you don’t, you won’t.
  20. You cannot control others, only yourself. Make sure that you’re a positive example of what you want the world to be.
  21. Gratitude multiplies happiness. Consciously focusing on what you have, rather than what you don’t, is the best use of your brain.
  22. Please yourself first. Don’t wait for approval from others in order to look after yourself. Just like no one in this world can make us feel as bad as we can, no one in this world can make us feel as good as we can.
  23. Self-awareness is more valuable then personal achievement.
  24. Knowledge is power. The more you learn, the more you earn. The more you know, the more you bring to the table. The more insightful you can be, the more tolerant and understanding you are. Don’t ever stop learning.
  25. If you want something done right, do it yourself. You know what’s right for you. Don’t try to pass it off on someone else if you know you’re more than capable.
  26. Your thoughts are like boomerangs. What you put out into the universe will come right back to you. What do you want coming back?
  27. The easy road is never that. Trying to take the easy way out is like trying to cheat the system. In the end, it’s going to come back to haunt you.
  28. Honesty, even when it hurts, is far better than any lie, comforting or not.
  29. If someone shows you who they really are, believe them the first time. I’ve heard this quoted to Mya Angelou. She’s pretty darn right on the money when it comes to this quote. Offering second chances always seems to show you what you already know/knew.
  30. Make every day count. You never know when it will be your last.

Good Friends

I’ve always been a firm believer in the distinction between friends and acquaintances. And, though over the years I’ve qualified some into the friend category that really didn’t deserve to be there, or belong there, I’ve learned my lessons and I think I have a sincere understanding of those that cultivate my inner circle.

See, good friends don’t want things from you. Good friends don’t put stipulations on your friendship. Good friends are just there for you. Good friends help when they can, listen when they can’t and call just to genuinely see how you’re doing. Good friends add to your life. And you, if you’re a good friend, do the same for them.

Good friends are good people. And you know who are good people and who aren’t.

When you really stop to think about it, you know who your good friends are. Like they say in the song, ‘somebody’s gonna drop everything, run out and crank up there car, hit the gas to get there fast and never stop to think what’s in it for me… or it’s way to far’.

Are you a good friend?

Do you have good friends? Is there anyone you’ve categorized as a friend who is more of an acquaintance?

Can you be a better friend?

How can you be a better friend?

Powerful people empower people.

It sounds cliche, and I guess it is. But, the important part here is that it’s true. Don’t waste your time with silly little people that bring you down. What’s important is surrounding yourself with people who celebrate your successes, push you to be better and believe you’re always capable of more.

When people feel empowered, they believe more in themselves and their ability to control both their personal and their professional lives. Helping to empower others promotes optimism, self-sufficiency and can help immensely with ‘the battle’. As much as we like to act/pretend or believe that what others say and do doesn’t effect us, it does in a big way.

So if you’re feeling up for it, and want to empower those around you, here are some small suggestions of how to be a better support system, mentor and all around good fucking person.

  1. Always offer the words ‘thank you’. It sounds so simple but they seem to be the most undervalued words in the English language. The truth is, when you say thank you, you’re letting someone know you appreciate what they’ve done for you. And when it’s not always clear, that ‘thank you’ can go a long way.
  2. Give your time and attention without asking for anything in return.
  3. Give sincere compliments. Actually work at it if you have to. Why? Because you should never pass up the opportunity to make someone smile, and, make them feel better about their day.
  4. Go out of your way to help new people. Whether it’s a neighbour, a coworker or however they fit into your life, it’s an unnerving feeling being the new person. Make their transition a little easier by going out of your way to introduce yourself and provide help where you can.
  5. Share successes. When you find success, the people that matter will celebrate your success. The people that matter are people you’ll want to share your successes with. So, spread the wealth.
  6. Listen, listen, listen. Sometimes… actually, most of the time, what people really need is someone who will hear them. So, listen. The time will come when someone will return the favour, trust me.
  7. Exemplify the behaviour you wish for others to follow. When it really comes down to it, good people attract good people and assholes attract assholes. Who do you want in your life?
  8. Provide positive reinforcements. No, human beings don’t need compliments to be successful. But if you help someone in celebrating the small victories, each time you do it, it’ll boost their confidence more and more.
  9. Be honest, always. Honesty, even when awful, is far more valuable than any lie, no matter how comforting.
  10. Promote autonomy. Allow others to know you believe in them while giving them the leeway to do things for themselves.

At the end of the day, it’s like my grandpa always said… treat others the way you want to be treated. If you’re empowering others your benefitting others. And, if you’re empowering others, they’ll empower you. It’s a nice circle to be in. So please, consider it.

Feeling a little lost today.

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about time. The time we give, the time we take, the time we steal, the time we make, how much time we get, how much time we don’t… it’s crazy to me how two people can go through the same six months together and come out as completely separate people.

If you’d asked me a year ago if I thought I’d be this person today, I would have said ‘hell to the no’. Hell, if you’d asked me six months ago if I’d be here today, I’d have laughed you right out of my house. That’s the thing about time though… though we all expect it, you never really see it coming.

I’ve changed a lot… so much so that it scares me sometimes. So, I try to not think about it. My priorities have changed. My desires have changed. My outlook on life as a whole… has changed. Does anything ever stay the same?

As I navigate this new version of me, hoping to find happiness in a world that doesn’t seem to have a ton of it these days, I’m wondering if I even know what happiness is anymore. Would I know happiness if it were staring me in the face? I have so many questions and with next to no answers.

Great moments in literature.

The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars…

Jack Kerouac

I’m very particular about the people that I let into my life, those I’m friends with and those who I associate with. Why? Because I’m a firm believer that people should add to your life, not take from it.

When you really stop to think about it, you know who’s adding to your life and who’s chained to your leg like a dead weight you’ve been carrying around for years. As you weave your way through this crazy world, always remember that you can be open, honest and transparent with the world while still realizing that not everyone deserves a seat at the table that is your life.

All work is noble.

A woman slowly, carefully, collects her strength and steps her way out from behind the counter, purse in hand, hair net still on her head, and walks towards the door. It’s been 13 hours since she got to work this morning. Her feet are aching and have been for hours. And she just kept cooking. She always keeps cooking. Every day she wakes up hours before the rest of the world and she works hard, all day. Why? Because that’s her job.

Just down the road a man is working his second shift for the day. As he lifts up the trash can and dumps it into the compactor truck that he’s driving, his muscles strain just a little bit more. Some put their trash in bags, others don’t. Some put lids on their cans, others leave theirs to spill out over the street. And he collects it all, every time. No one acknowledges him. No one ever says thank you. They just expect him to do it and he does it. Why? Because that’s his job.

As a society we tend to decide one’s value in this world based on what their job is. And, the people in this world who work the jobs that society doesn’t necessarily value, those are the are the people I have the greatest admiration and appreciation for. Why? Because they keep our society going. They keep our world functioning. The work HARD. All of the fucking time. Whether their feet hurt, their back aches, their stomach grumbles, their arms quiver, they just keep working.

Cooks, garbage collectors, cashiers, waiter/waitresses, construction workers, plumbers, janitors, and so on and so forth (I really could go on forever), these people work hard, all of the time. They keep us going. They’re there for us when we need them and they ensure that our lives function properly. I don’t think people really understand how much they bring to our lives and how thankful we should be that they do what they do. Example: people don’t pay attention when the garbage collector comes, but they sure as hell crank when the garbage collector doesn’t come.

I think if there’s one thing I can teach the people in my life it’s that I want them to be thankful for those people who do the jobs we all take for granted. I want them to place value on all work, and not just their work. I don’t want my family member’s to think their kids have to end up with doctors or lawyers, I want them to think that all jobs are noble and they’d be lucky to have a son-in-law or daughter-in-law that is simply passionate about what they do, no matter their job.

Doctors and lawyers are very valuable to society. They absolutely are. But, I want the people in my life to understand that so is the cleaner who keeps your house tidy, so is the cashier who keeps their register open ten minutes late to ensure you can purchase your food even after the store closes.

All work is noble work. Remember that when you see someone walking with a slight limp because their feet or so sore after they’ve been on them all day. Remember that when your garbage is collected or your house or office is clean without your having to do it. Remember that when your brother or sister or son or daughter, or even you, are searching for love. All work is noble work. Everyone plays an integral role to pushing our society forward.