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 other’s mistakes, gaining from other’s 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 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?

Happy Birthday, G!

Today is Geneva’s 30th birthday. (It is now midnight on the West Coast, and since she lives in the same time zone as me, it’s officially her birthday.)

Geneva is one of the kindest, sweetest, most wonderful people that I’ve met on this website since starting my blog. And, as I’m sure you’re all aware, turning 30 is a very big deal.

Please join me in wishing her a happy 30th birthday today! Geneva’s blog is here: https://gcerrato.home.blog/ if you would like to stop by and send her well wishes for her special day.

Thanks for reading, thanks for wishing her happy birthday.

Happy Birthday, G! Welcome to the 30’s club. Trust me when I say this, you’re going to love it.

Late night ramblings…

The more sad my mood, the more often I come to my blog. I’m not sure if that’s a commonplace thing, or perhaps it’s just me. But, when you find something that allows you to put your thoughts to paper (so to speak) it’s a lot better than keeping them floating around your head.

You know when someone says something that insults you, but you don’t want to let them know they’ve insulted yo because you’re worried you’ll come across as insecure, or soft, or lacking in strength? It’s like… you don’t want them to know you’re so easy to hurt or offend. And why? Perhaps if they knew they hurt or offended me, they’d think twice before they said it next time. More than likely not, though. At least that’s what I’m telling myself to try and make myself feel better.

I’m an overly sentimental person in general. I always have been. I carry this overwhelming love, compassion and desire to see people do well. People I know, people I don’t, completely strangers… those poor kids in Africa on the commercials for organizations like UNICEF, they make me cry. I wonder how I could have been born with so much and they be born with so little. I’ve always tried to use that sentiment to my advantage. After all, when you care about the world, that should make it easier for you to make an actual difference, right?

The downside to caring about everything is that it seems like people carry the ability to hurt me so much more than others. It’s hard. And I’m not saying this to try and play victim. I’m saying this because… I need to learn how to develop thicker skin.

I just want to do right by the world, whilst making myself happy in the process, whilst not being taken advantage of. It seems like a lofty goal, and I know that the making myself happy part is a tad selfish, but we all need to be a little selfish now and again.

FYI: Flying standby is incredibly convenient.

11:00 pm, Northern Sunsets.

I’ve been away on a sneaky holiday in a sneaky location for the past week. It was exactly what I needed – to get away from reality, just for a few days. Though it rained the entire time, though everything didn’t go according to plan, though there’s always a ‘what could have been’ floating around the back of my mind, it was an incredibly calming, much needed week away.

For the first time ever, I flew standby for this trip. I’d always wanted to try flying standby before but have never really had the opportunity. It’s a luxury awarded to employees of airlines and their friends/family. Luckily, on of my connections decided to use his standby pass for me.

After five days, four standby flights, three airports and two time zones here is one list of things to know about flying standby:

  • It’s cheap. Hella cheap! For a trip that regularly costs roughly $1,000 Canadian, the entire trip’s fees were just airport taxes. I’d travel every trip this way, if I could.
  • It’s convenient. If you’re not needing to be anywhere at any given time, flying standby means you can show up at the airport whenever you want to and hop on any flight that happens to have an extra seat.
  • If the plane isn’t full, you have the opportunity to sit in your own row without paying an extra fee. One of the planes I boarded was only half booked. Not only did the airport gate attendant assign my seat to my own row, she assigned my seat to a row that didn’t have anyone around (four rows in front and four rows behind). You can always ask. It never hurts to ask!
  • If the plane is full, they will put you in whatever seat remains – which can include premium and plus seating. The second flight I got on was full. I was the last person to get a seat on the plane and the last seat available was premium seating… a seat/ticket that those sitting in paid an extra $500 for. I got it for free! Premium seating included having free drinks and a flight attendant waiting on us the entire flight… a perk I’ve never had before in my life as I’ve never booked a premium fare.
  • If the plane is full, you’re waiting for the next one. If you’re in a large airport, this might not a big deal. Another flight could be leaving for your destination in an hour, in which case I recommend grabbing some Starbucks and relaxing. But, if you’re in a small airport in a smaller city, this could mean several hours to a half day of waiting. This could be kind of a pain in the butt. It all depends on what type of traveller you are.
  • You can’t really check a bag. If you don’t know that you’re for sure getting on a flight, checking a bag would be rather stupid. Your bag will get to the destination and you just might not. For that reason, I highly recommend only bringing a carry-on bag and not paying for a checked-bag.
  • If you have connecting flights, you won’t know if you’re getting on them until you get there. You won’t know if you can get on flight two until you get off of flight one. If you’re a nervous/anxious traveller, this might not be an ideal scenario for you.

All-in-all, if you’re a laid back or easy going traveller and you have the opportunity to fly standby, I highly recommend it. The benefits far outweigh the negatives, and packing in a carry-on promotes the minimalist lifestyle we all dream of finding on holiday.

On the other hand, if you get nervous about flying, anxious about connections, fearful of lost baggage or any of the other worries travellers experience, I would say that flying standby might not be an ideal option for you. Some people really don’t want to have to worry about anything so booking flights 5+ weeks in advance is ideal for them.

If you know someone who works for an airline, or you just have the opportunity and want to try it, go for it! Sneak away for the weekend, or for a longer holiday. Everybody needs a little more adventure in their lives.

Welcome to the world, baby boy.

The whole pregnancy, I told my brother and sister-in-law they were having a girl. They didn’t want to find out until the baby was born, but, since I found out last October I’ve been hammering in their ears that it’s a girl. I was certain it was going to be a girl.

IT’S A BOY!

I must’ve annoyed him a hell of a lot with my ‘it’s a girl’ bantering because one of the first things he did was take a picture of the baby’s penis to send to me to show me it was a boy. hahahaha!

My little brother’s a dad, now. I couldn’t be more happy for him, for them and their beautiful new little family.

I lied in order to get a job interview and I don’t feel bad about it.

Anyone who’s applied for a job online in the past couple of years knows that, at the end of almost every job application form there’s a question along the lines of “Are you presently living in ________ (location)?”

Here’s the truth: that question in there because said company does not want to pay to relocate an employee. If you select ‘No’, your resume/application is automatically being submitted into the ‘do not consider’ pile. They would rather only consider professionals already living within their city then branch out. Even if it means they’re not getting the best candidate for the job.

If you select no, they won’t even review your application. You might as well not spend the time in sending it, because you’re only wasting your time.

Story time:

I wound up in this city that I am presently residing because I came here to help my mom through her cancer treatments. That being said, this is not where I want to, or plan to, stay. I’ve been applying for positions in Calgary. And, probably will continue to do so until I find the right one.

Last week, whilst on holiday, I got a call from a company in Calgary asking for a phone interview. I distinctly remember applying for the position with this company and checking ‘Yes’ where it asked if I presently resided in Calgary. A lie, yes. But, I knew that all I needed them to do was read my resume and I would stand out from the pack.

I did the phone interview and they loved me, naturally. I’m pretty fucking amazing (and I don’t say that to be cocky, I say that because I know what value I could bring to any office). During the interview I was upfront and said ‘Calgary is a city I would like to be living in by the end of 2019’. Shocked and confused, the woman conducting the interview asked where I was presently living. When I told her where I was she admitted ‘we really don’t interview candidates that don’t live in Calgary’. Somehow they’d read my resume and loved me based on content provided, but had ignored the address listed on my resume.

When I hung up the phone, I really didn’t think I’d hear from them again. Though I’d nailed the phone interview, I didn’t live in Calgary and that seemed like a deal-breaker for them.

To my surprise, I got an email later that afternoon asking if I could have a phone interview with the boss the next day.

Of course!

The next day when I was talking to the boss, I nailed it. He loved me. I could tell that he loved me by the way he was responding to what I was saying. I once again mentioned my wanting to move to Calgary and he said ‘Oh, you’re not in Calgary?’ I explained to him what I had said the day before and the woman I’d spoken to the day before let it slip that she liked me so much she didn’t tell him where I was living.

Nevertheless, he liked me so much that they’re coordinating a video-conference interview for me to do this week. And honestly, I’ll talk to them as many times as they’d like, because the bottom line is that I know I’m qualified, I know I’m willing and they need to know that discounting an application based on someone’s geographical location is stupif.

If you’re looking for work, please LET THIS SERVE AS A REMINDER: if you are not selected for a position, it is not because of lack of qualifications. It can very well be something as stupid as checking ‘Yes or No’ on a questionnaire.

I’m willing to relocate to Calgary on my own dime. And if a company would bother to talk to me, they’d learn that. So counting myself out because of location isn’t a fair step of the process.

Don’t ever let ‘the process’ keep you from your destiny. If you need to fudge the truth in order to be heard, do it. The process is an extremely convoluted and, at times not even fair, series of events. I don’t see anything wrong with taking control out of their hands and putting it into your own. If you’re a badass, count yourself in, check yes and let them see just what they could have if they opened their eyes beyond a narrow scope.