Honestly, remember:

Even the prettiest people feel ugly at times, the happiest people feel the need to cry themselves to sleep at night and the most independent people feel alone… whether they admit it or not.

As much as we all might lead different lives, we all deal with the same demons. The best thing you can do for yourself, and for everyone else for that matter, is to remember that we’re all dealing with the same demons. Compassion and people skills go a long way in this crazy crazy world.

Things I wish I knew when I was 22

  1. It’s not the end of the world. Yes, things sucked. Debt is not fun. Having shitty people in your life is also not fun. Realizing that the bull shit you thought you were going to be done with when you finally find your place in this world is a fact of life. But, at the end of the day, you’re still going to wake up tomorrow and put one foot in front of the other. Move on, don’t forget, just look past it.
  2. DON’T EVER SETTLE. The moment you do, you’ll end up with so much less than you ever settled for. You are important. Yes You. And don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise. If you want to run a marathon – instead of listening to someone tell you why you can’t, put your running shoes on and get to training. If you want to be a doctor, you better be willing to study. If you’re going to be President, you better want to be president. Barack Obama didn’t just wake up in the Whitehouse. How many people told him it was never going to happen? He didn’t give a damn and neither should you.
  3. Just because you don’t talk to them for long periods of time, doesn’t mean they’re any less of a friend. Shit, life happens. You know that better than anyone, so don’t go holding it against the people in your life when they get busy.
  4. If you let the bad stuff matter more, you’ll never be happy. Heartbreak and loss, destructive insecurities… they’re the inevitable facts of life that catch up with everyone eventually. When you don’t have a reason to be happy, give yourself a reason to be happy. Just as much as you want to be happy, the people in your life want you to be happy too. So go get a pedicure, walk in the rain, buy a puppy… whether the reason small or large, give yourself a reason to smile. You deserve it.
  5. Remember to laugh. Remember to cry. Remember you’re only human. As much as it might suck to feel vulnerable, strength comes when you discover your weaknesses and overcome them. Laugh a lot, cry a little and learn your lessons. Repeat.
  6. Go easy on yourself. Everyone and their dog can say “I’m my own biggest critic” because we’re always aware of our biggest flaws and greatest insecurities. Thing is, even the harshest critics in the world take a day off once in a while. If they don’t that negativity will take over who they are. Are you going to let it take over your life?
  7. Play the lottery. Lightning isn’t supposed to strike twice, but it does. The underdog isn’t supposed to win, that doesn’t stop them from it. Not asking is worse than asking and getting a no. Not playing lessens your odds a whole lot more than buying a ticket. You never know when your windfall will come. Open your arms and let it.
  8. Work. Work hard. Work your ass off. “C’s may get degrees” but in all honesty, what reason do you have for not doing your best? Laziness is a demon that will eat away at you if you let it. Be the best version of yourself. Work, work, and work. Each time you do something, strive for a higher achievement. You don’t know what you’re capable of until you get there, so work your ass of and get there.
  9. Rome wasn’t built in a day. As much as it’s become common place to say, it still isn’t really understood properly. Change is not an overnight occurrence. You won’t wake up tomorrow and be a completely different person. It’s a much slower, much smaller process than that. Don’t expect yourself to change, allow yourself to change. One day you’ll look back and see how far you’ve come and wonder how you ever were that person.

A note to self.

Listen to me: It is okay to be a mess. 

It’s okay to have thick thighs and lots of questions and crumbs in your bra. It is completely alright to fall too hard, to feel too much and to overthink everything. 

You can be too scared to move out of the place that you hate, you can be too stubborn to ask for the help you need and you can be too shy to make a move, hang on a little longer or hear those words. 

Do not tell yourself to be to be quiet. Do not tell yourself that you’re too wild, too forgetful, too stupid or not good enough. You need not sit and wait and do as they please. 

Be sharp and shy, and a lazy bum in your bed every weekend. Be thoughtful, and sentimental but never regretful. Be the kind of person that looks herself in the mirror to see the good, not the bad. 

May that cackle remind you the sun will come out tomorrow and may that kindness remind you that even when they don’t deserve it, you will be bigger, better, not once second guessing that choice. May that pocket-full of sarcasm guide you through the worst of days and brighten the best of days.

You are a complex creature with a pinch of this and that, pastels and petals. There will always be more layers than meets the eye, for you are not one thing, but a whole fucking gallery of complexities, conundrums, insanity and happy.

It’s completely abnormal to be abstract and absurd, barely there and all-in at the exact same time. And you, you do it well. It’s what you are. So alive it makes your eyes water, your lip twitch and your heart beat.

So hear me when I say this, because I want you to really listen to me. It’s okay to be a mess. Be exactly what you need to be, and want to be. It will always be good enough.

Late night thoughts: My mind won’t shut off.

It’s easier to do math with a calculator than it is to try and do it in your head. It’s easier to listen to audiobooks on your electronic device than it is to actually sit and read a book. It’s easier to drive to the store than it is to walk. It’s easier to assume the worst than to put your trust in someone, even if that someone is someone that you love. It’s easier to judge someone for who they ‘appear’ to be rather than who they actually are. It’s easier to go along with everything then it is to stand up for something you believe, even if it isn’t something most people do. 

Society chooses to do a lot of things the easier way. Why? Laziness? Or convenience, I guess. It’s convenient to bust out the calculator rather than trying to multiple 70×70 for most people on their own. So, if you don’t have to then why would you?

I’ll tell you what though, this restless mind of mine cant ever accept anything as is. I can’t help but believe there’s a time when convenience crosses into an inability to do anything for ourselves. Sure, technology is great. GPS relieves a lot of headaches. But there are people in this world who are driving that still can’t read road signs. Calculators are great; they’ve given us the assistance to solve many of the universe’s greatest questions, but the amount of people in this world who can’t do simple math in their head is alarming. Just about a week ago now I had a cashier whose register was broken and she needed to pull out a calculator to do $3.00 – .32 cents. 68 cents lady. It’s $2.68.

There’s a lot of talk. Everybody’s got words. But the lack of actions, that’s something that bothers me. So many are so quick to judge the homeless man as a ‘dirty rotten scoundrel’ who is clearly unintelligent and brought his situation on himself. Because believing that what is expected, what is believed of him to be, that is far easier than actually getting to know that he’s a war veteran with a masters degree who, thanks to situations beyond his control, lost a whole lot more than his belief that people will see the better in him. Believing the dirty rotten scoundrel of it all is so much easier than actually having to care… to take notice, and to be forced to think about what actually happens in this world.

All I’m saying is that sometimes a little math is good for the mind, and, a little truth is good for the soul. Reading books is not for punishment, but rather for expanding your horizons of what you ever believed possible. Questioning is never a negative, and getting to know someone is always a positive. Even if it’s just to learn who you don’t want as a part of your life, everyone’s got a story to tell. Convenience is great but sometimes it’s nice to take the road less traveled. 

You don’t always have to take the easy way out.

Day 27: What’s it like to be homeless?

The day that I was fired from my job I gave notice that I would be moving out of this apartment. At the time it seemed like the right thing to do. I didn’t want to be here, and if I wasn’t working, why should I stay? I was clearly way too over-confident in thinking that I would have everything sorted out in one-month’s time.

Here we are 27 days later and I don’t have any more answers now than I had the day I gave my notice. I’m packing my things, cleaning my apartment and getting ready to become a stow-away/couch surfer/mooch from everyone I know.

In the truest, societal definition of the sense, I am not ‘homeless’. I won’t be on the streets. I won’t be in dire straights not knowing where my next meal will come from. Thankfully, I do have some extremely wonderful and loving people in my life whom I know will make sure I have a place to sleep during this awkward transition I seem to be going through. That being said, it’s going to be weird to be of no fixed address. To not have my things and my bed and say I am going home to my place at the end of each day. Maybe I’ll get used to that. Maybe I’ll even like that. It might be nice to have nothing to tie one’s-self down.

The one thought that has remained constant during the past 27 days is the desire to travel. I have the most intense, urgent desire to up and leave everything behind and see the world. I want to take beautiful photos, eat exhilarating foods and spend all of my savings just living. Truly living.

Perhaps I’m wrong. But then again we’re all allowed to make our own definitions of what it means to truly live. I can’t shake this feeling though that there’s got to be more out there for me than a cubicle with my name on it.

Maybe I don’t need a fixed address. Maybe what I need is out there… somewhere in this world that I have yet to travel.

Question of the day: where’s your ideal travel destination?

Day 26: Money can’t buy happiness.

Actually, money can’t buy a lot of things. But, as I sat in the salon listening to the woman next to me complain about her husband, her children, her home, her life and her motivation, I couldn’t help but think that she was the perfect example of that statement.

Wearing a diamond ring larger than any I’ve seen before, fumbling through her $5,000 purse to find her car keys to shut the car alarm of her $150,000 Mercedes, she continued on about how her husband doesn’t listen to her. About how he doesn’t care. About how when she gets upset with him his response is to buy her something new. Be it diamonds or electronics or vehicles, he’s bought it all for her and he still hasn’t learned that what she wants most is for him to listen.

As she continued on talking about how her children were spoiled brats who didn’t understand the values of anything in life, I couldn’t help but wonder if she played a hand in making them that way. I don’t think it was intentional, but I do think that when they’re not looking, parents play a larger role in passing on bad behaviours to their kids then they believe.

Here’s the thing: the woman was clearly very depressed with her life. Something that seemed quite ‘beautiful’ from the outside, at a personal level was tearing her up. She was not happy. And maybe too afraid to do anything about it. (That last part is absolutely speculation) And, as I watched what seemed like a perfect exterior fall apart in a salon chair, I couldn’t help but think about the fact that material possessions are nothing more than that. Possessions can’t give peace of mind. Possessions can’t make you happy. Sure, they can make things easier, if you use them properly. But they won’t buy your happiness.

I’ve never been someone to be wowed by fancy things. With a whole world out there to explore, I have no desire for diamonds, I desire experience. I want to walk with penguins in Antarctica and go cave diving in Madagascar. I want to see the whole world. And yes, money is needed to travel. There is a bit of a catch-twenty-two there. But watching her, clearly deeply unhappy with her life and how it’s turned out, I was reminded that experiences are far more important than things.

She, for me, will serve as a reminder that things are not necessary. Money can’t buy happiness. Money cannot buy peace of mind. Actually, money cannot buy a lot of things. Money can’t buy:

  • Respect
  • Truth
  • Work-life balance
  • Natural Beauty
  • Manner
  • Common Sense
  • A clear conscience
  • Purpose in life
  • Integrity
  • Good Friends
  • A long life
  • Close-knit family
  • An open mind
  • A worry-free day
  • Trust
  • A new beginning
  • A great idea
  • An honest politician
  • Peace of mind
  • A good hair day
  • Patience
  • Luck
  • Happy Memories
  • Time to relax
  • A strong work ethic
  • A positive attitude
  • A happy home
  • Good Karma
  • Blessings
  • Appreciation and love of the simple things
  • True Love
  • A new shot at a missed opportunity
  • Peace in the World
  • A golden anniversary
  • Talent
  • A second chance
  • Quality time with the ones you love
  • Wisdom
  • Happiness
  • Intelligence
  • Humility
  • A good reputation
  • A 25 hour day
  • Youth
  • Experience
  • Class
  • Justice
  • Perspective
  • Selflessness