It’s Been Awhile

I think I owe you an update.

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It’s been a long 8-ish months since I’ve posted anything on LPA and for that I sincerely apologize. Life has gotten incredibly crazy and I feel like I’ve been living in a bit of a blur. Not only did my snazzy Finn and I finally reunite, we’ve received an amazing surprise, but more on that later!

Now there’s a lot that has happened since my last post back in January and I promise to update you all as briefly as possible; buckle up and let’s get to it.

Jan through March: This period of time was full of angsty waiting while working as a leasing consultant back in Michigan and as a digital marketing intern for a company based in Helsinki. The boyf and I were trying to figure out any way for us to reunite in the future and avoid this whole long-distance thing.

I cannot even begin to explain how overwhelming it was to weed our way through several options, eventually land on one, and then attempt to get it all sorted as quickly as possible. Not only were we moving me to Finland, but also two of my cats (one is currently living with my dad in Michigan and is his little buddy!), and timing it perfectly to allow me to return to Helsinki in time to finish my last month of my internship in person while first allowing the boyf to come and meet my family. It was hectic to say the least.

But alas, he made it to Michigan and met my family. We traveled around Michigan IMG_3551sightseeing and we got engaged! He proposed at Port Huron; it was a truly perfect day as we were driving around the thumb of Michigan, stopping at different little spots along the way, and we even made a pitstop at Wilson’s Cheese Shoppe to grab some amazing cheese curds, dip, and sausage for snacks. We chowed down the entire drive home, haha.

Interested in reading about the immigration process in Finland? Check out our next post!


April: We left for Finland on April 6th. In all honesty, we probably should have postponed my coming to Finland because not only was no one in the office for all of April, but staying home to save up money would have been a smarter decision. Oh well, hindsight is always 20/20 and I’m truly grateful to have been able to spend so much time with my man. Anyway, April 6th was a day full of emotions. I was incredibly stressed out over moving to Finland, getting the cats situated with their flights, and we received a major surprise that day.

About 2 hours before we were to leave for the airport, I was standing in my mother’s bathroom staring at a big + sign in utter disbelief. I stuffed the test into my pocket and placed it in the center console of my car so I could tell my guy privately. We ended up IMG_3728taking a quick trip to the bank and I asked him to check the console. He opened it up, looked inside and goes “there’s a pregnancy test and your wallet” and then closes it, not even looking at the test! I laughed and said, “did you even look at it?!” which causes him to reopen the console, look at it, and then at me. His expression was complete shock and pretty much captured the mood of the rest of the entire day.

Our flight to Finland was filled with us, holding hands, watching movies, and occasionally looking at each other and saying “oh, shit…” while laughing. It was definitely what you’d imagine seeing in a movie!

By the end of the month we had visited a maternity clinic here in Helsinki and heard our little baby’s heartbeat. Life truly hasn’t been the same since.


May: In May, I began renegotiating a contract with the company I worked at as an intern for in Helsinki, just to come to an agreement that was revoked after they were bought out by a larger company. Literally the next day. I was devastated, because not only did I love what I was working on, but because I knew I needed some form of income while in Finland an awaiting my residence permit.

By the end of May, boyf morphed into my husband and we traveled to Estonia on our IMG_4698short but absolutely perfect honeymoon. We spent about 4 days in Old Towne walking up and down cobblestone streets and eating delicious food. We made a special trip to St. Olav’s Church and climbed to the top of the church tower to appreciate the gorgeous views.

Note: This tourist spot is not handicap-friendly and while I saw a little girl climbing the stairs to the top, I would definitely not say that it is kid-friendly either. The staircase is insanely narrow and the steps are no more than 4 inches deep. It’s a bit disorienting because it’s such a twisty staircase and there’s only a rope to hold onto, plus some people are walking up while others are walking down and each step is probably only two feet wide. After climbing to the top, I really dreaded going back down. Luckily we were one of the first few people to go up, so it wasn’t super busy until we made our way back down .

Stay tuned for my next post that ventures deeper into our honeymoon in Estonia!


June through September: Okay, so I know this is a really large lump, but there’s mostly just been routine and not much to note in these last few months. After everything with my internship ended, I focused mostly on just finishing my degree (which was conferred in August, whoop!) and taking care of this little bun in the oven.

August 1st we found out we’re expecting a baby boy and we couldn’t be more excited.IMG_5145
We’ve decided to name him after both of our grandfathers and with a name that works in both English and Finnish. Let me tell ya, figuring out a name in both languages for a girl was such a pain in the butt and we weren’t in love with our decision, so having a boy was the perfect solution! Our little man has been steadily growing and I’m nesting little by little. My parents are sending us a package of baby items in the mail because clothing and everything we need is so expensive here. We’ve been fortunate enough to have generous parents and people in our lives. Hubs’ parents built baby’s beautiful crib by hand and we finally have it situated in our bedroom.

Interested in seeing a completed nursery/master bedroom tour? Stay tuned!


So now we’re here, in modern day, enjoying the last few months as a family of two – four if you count the cats! Life has been an incredible adventure and it’s only just begun.

xo,

LP

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Keep Climbing and Don’t Look Up

This was not how I envisioned this going.

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If we’re being honest, I hadn’t expected this year to be such an uphill battle. I figured that, by now, life would have gone back to normal and I’d be working for a company I love, in Finland. Hell, if we’re going to talk about my crazy and incredibly naive notion on how this year would go, we’d be discussing how I had planned on still being in Helsinki and working for a company that was able to hire me on full-time, planning to go back to Michigan any day now.

But that’s not how life works.

Life is messy- I’m pretty sure I’ve said that phrase about a million times on this blog, but it’s still true. After spending the last year and change in an international relationship, you’d think I’d understand how nothing is easy and just seeing each other is the world’s biggest headache, but I’m still not fully grasping the severity of it all. Let me give you guys the low-down on what’s going on:

I am currently working for a start-up company in Helsinki, from Michigan. This company is amazing and I want to be a part of this team like you wouldn’t believe. There is an opportunity for becoming a partner at this company after my initial position has come to its close. So you’d think that would mean I could get a residence permit, right? Nope. So even though I’m an educated and hardworking individual with a job that you’d think would allow me to mosey my way on over, I can’t. Here’s why: because this company is a start-up and we are not making real salaries, in terms of like over a 1000 euros a month, I cannot get a residence permit, so I can’t move to Finland in order to work there, like, you know, full-time. Plus, although I would be in a situation where I don’t have normal expenses like rent and utilities, it’s not a good enough reason to not need to meet their income requirements.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t even be looking into this company or moving to Finland if it wasn’t for my super cool boyfriend who I’d like to actually get to spend time with… preferably without the use of a computer and the internet. So we’ve talked about it, the big M-word, and it’s been a difficult conversation. This wasn’t how we had planned on doing it. Rushing it was never in the cards, but living apart for another year and a half isn’t either. It’s all a bit up in the air at the moment and I’m stuck somewhere in the limbo of planning a courthouse wedding and looking for full-time jobs in Michigan for when my contract with the Helsinki based company ends. As the “planner” type, this has been horrible. I’ve broken out with hives every day for the last week and I keep pretending it’s not because of some underlying stressor, even though it is.

I know there’s already been a lot of climbing this year; my arms are a bit tired and my footing is a bit loose, but there’s nothing else we can do but climb and not look up at the rest of the massive mountain in front of us.

-LP

Learn Your Limits

It’s difficult to offer support to someone when you need it yourself.

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I remember my nursing instructor telling us the age old saying “you cannot pour from an empty cup” and while I definitely felt it applied to my nursing career and studies, I’ve had a hard time applying it to my life in general. I’ve spent many days feeling overworked and at my breaking point; my cup has been running low and now, well… it’s empty. I suppose I have no one to blame but myself. I watched my cup’s contents slowly dwindle down to a few spare droplets until one day there was nothing left and I was left dumbfounded when I tried to pour over and over to no avail.

Life is difficult. It’s filled with trials and tribulations that leave us battered and with wounds that require licking. When you’re in a relationship, their worries and trials become your own and you want nothing more than to make their difficult days better. You feel a bit of responsibility with regards to how their lives are going, and if not a responsibility then at least a innate desire to make their days brighter. So if you’re focused on making their days brighter while yours feel oddly dim, how can you handle it? How can you make them smile when you feel drained?

Offering support to each other is essential, but remember that while offering support, accept that you may need some too. Learning your limits and knowing when to recognize a quickly emptying cup is essential in taking responsibility for your own self-care. Sure, you love your partner and you want their life to be filled with unending joy, but when you’re feeling unable to handle your own day-to-day, the best thing you can do is admit and accept that.

Some phases of life are more difficult than others and it’s not easy to accept that you’re not always able to keep your cup full without some extensive self-care. Taking a break and refilling your tank will allow you to make it through those phases; so take breaks. Care for yourself and remember that self-care is not always about bubble baths and pedicures; sometimes it requires looking at yourself critically and accepting that there are parts of you that desperately need to change. Change how you handle situations. Change how you allow any emotion to flood freely and without control. Change how you are more prone to give up and walk away than to push through the hard phases.

Sure, take the bubble baths, long walks, and pet your cat too, but don’t forget that caring for and about yourself requires more. Sometimes it requires you to look at your life from an outside viewpoint and give yourself the harsh truth; you can’t handle it all on your own and you cannot always take the burden of another person’s troubles either, no matter how incredibly important he or she is in your life. In order to have anything to pour into their cup, you’ve gotta keep yours full. So, take a moment to fill it before it runs dry.

-LP

Grow Fonder

When life feels full of sorrow
And pain comes easily,
Remind me of tomorrow,
Don’t just leave me be.

My words feel so jumbled up,
My pen can’t find the page.
And when I think of the future
My heart turns the lock upon its cage.

It’s too easy to grow distant
Too easy to let go.
And I wouldn’t wish it
On my dearest friend,
Or my deadliest foe.

It’s so easy to grow apart,
So please don’t let me wander.
Hold me to your heart,
Make me grow fonder.

I’m Slightly-Dependent and I’m O.K. with it.

The phrase “I am independent” isn’t always a good thing.

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Sure, it’s 2018 and the term “feminist” is now synonymous with strength, power, and independence. Women are where it’s at and men are expected to sit down, shut-up, and only come when called upon. Women are fierce and our supposedly “newfound” strength and independence is neatly embroidered on the sash we wear proudly in public. I mean, we wear hats called “pussy hats” now at rallies and proudly exclaim that “the future is female” as if we didn’t know that already.

I mean, how will procreation occur if there aren’t women? Did men suddenly become asexual? Last time I checked, generally when an XY man peed on a pregnancy test and got a positive result, that was a bad thing.

Bad as in cancer, and I don’t mean the astrological sign.

I’m all for women having equal rights, pay, and the like if we’re being rational on the topic, but the idea that I am a “strong, independent woman who don’t need no man” is not something I’m okay with.

Do I need my guy? Absolutely.

But it’s more than that, I want him too. I like when he’s around and now that he’s over 4,000 miles away I’m a bit at a loss here. I’m at a loss and there’s no one to turn to because we’re not allowed to need a man and if we do, we better not admit it. But holy hell, things are hard and I’m incredibly emotional because my period is coming. Am I allowed to say that? Well, I did.

I’m emotional, irrational, alone, and depressed. 

Life is incredibly hectic right now and, to quote one of my fav men, Bob Dylan, “I can’t get no relief.” Every day seems to be a never ending list of tasks on my To Do List, even when I’m in bed I lay there staring at the ceiling with a sense of inevitable dread.

But I’m “independent.” I always have been and I’ll always probably try to see myself that way, which is why it’s hard to admit that maybe, just maybe, I’m not. Maybe when times are hard, I do need someone else around. I could use a shoulder to cry on, a person to talk to, and someone to love me. I could benefit from having someone wrap their arms around me while it feels like dawn just will not break and I think you’ve probably been there too. So why don’t we talk about that?

Why are we so proud to tell everyone how independent we are? How we don’t need anyone and no one better need us. Why do we pretend to have it all together day in and day out when we feel overwhelmed and under-qualified to face the day?

I guess I can understand it though. It’s like what I was talking to one of my friends about; we only want people to know the best of our lives. If you look on social media you’ll be greeted by the smiling faces of your friends and their perfect lives. Lives that you desperately wish you had; lives that seem so much better than your own. I’m guilty of it too; I know that’s what my pages look like. My closest friends were shocked when they found out my life was crumbling around me 2 years ago because I hid it well. I still hide it pretty well, for the most part. So I guess I have to explicitly state it:

My life is a mess, and I don’t mean the kind of mess you can wipe up with a swiffer. It’s a break-out-the-big-guns-where’s-the-shopvac? kind of mess. I’ve let myself get pulled in so many different directions that I don’t have a place to stand anymore. Sure, galpals are incredible and essential, but sometimes they’re not enough. My family is great and I know that my dad in particular would listen to any problems I may have, but that isn’t what I want nor is it what I need.

What I need is to let go of the emotions that I’ve been bottling up for the last few weeks and just have a nice and long cry fest in a hot bath, followed by wine and ice cream in a fluffy bed with the love of my life next to me while we watch YouTube videos of cats, bad movies, and sassy home cooks. What I need is to know that the light at the end of the tunnel is not just a flashlight, but the actual sun waiting for me. I need to know this shit-show will end soon. I need to know I can make it.

-LP

Love Can Hurt, Distance Doesn’t Help

I could spend forever with you and it still wouldn’t be enough.

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I’ve been told to write about that which you dwell upon and I guess you could say I’m dwelling on this.

I honestly don’t know where to begin with this. I’ve tried writing this post for the last hour and I’m still just swimming in thoughts mixed with distractions, all of which are laced with a painful reminder that I’m here and you’re there. And I just want you here.

I’ve learned a lot these last three months that I’ve spent loving you while simultaneously being in the same country as you, in the same space as you.

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Now that I’ve been spoiled with the knowledge of what it’s like to hug you, kiss you, and do all the things that we’ve done, I can’t forget it. For a year, video calls were enough for us.  Sure, we wanted more, but we knew that it would come and we knew that we would be together. I suppose we still know that, but now the moment we were looking forward to is in the rearview mirror on this road in which there is no U-turn.

I don’t even know where to begin in order to unburden myself of this heartache, but I suppose the beginning is the best.

This past October, I packed my bags and boarded a plane on my way to you. I spent 15 hours traveling and attempting to contain my excitement as I flew across the Atlantic. I had no idea what to expect and honestly I didn’t have any expectations, I just knew within my heart that the next three months would be amazing… and they were.

We’ve experienced so much together, all of which only deepened and strengthened my love for you. From our trip to the cottage in Puumala, to the weekend in Gdansk, and even our day at the zoo, every day started with waking up beside you, and ended asleep beside you. Precious moments turned into memories and I swear it happened all too fast.

I hadn’t realized how quickly three months could fly by, but now we’re here at this phase where we aren’t together anymore because over 4,000 miles separate us. After having my lips against yours every day, this distance feels insurmountable. I feel hollow without you in my life and after returning to a place I had called home with ease, it doesn’t feel like home.

I feel alone in a place I used to feel relaxed in. Your presence in my life is so potent that I can’t help but to wonder how I had gotten on without you before. I can’t even explain why I feel so sad, I just do. I can’t sleep without you anymore; at first I thought it was jet-lag, but now I know it’s more than that.

IMG_2995I was told that when you are away from home for an extended period of time, you’re never really able to fully come back. I hadn’t believed it before, but I do now. This is no longer my home. The time I spent in Finland had felt so natural that now I don’t know who I am or what to do. I spend my days here thinking about going back as quickly as possible, knowing that I won’t be able to for many months. I find myself wondering what we’ll do if the position I have at the Helsinki based company falls through and it terrifies me.

I’m not afraid that we won’t make it. I’m not afraid that the distance will win. I’m not afraid of anything to do with us; I have no doubts about the strength of our relationship, but I just feel alone. I know that it’s not easy on you either. I know that you’re forced to live in our flat alone. You walk to the shop alone and sleep in our bed without me. You’re living our life without me and I can’t even imagine how that feels.

I guess you’re right though, this is the cost of having something amazing. We have something truly amazing. It’s been over a year and I’m not only madly in love with you, but I’m not annoyed by you, and I still crave your presence. All I want is a life with you and I know that’s what you want to.

There’s been a lot of rambling in this post, but it’s just been a way to decompress and let go of some emotions… maybe this will help me stop crying randomly during the day.

-LP

Grieving for a Marriage You Never Wanted: A New Divorceè’s Perspective

You can’t realize how unhappy you were until you stop being unhappy.

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Photo by Chiến Phạm on Unsplash

I’ll admit it; I was in an unhappy marriage and I didn’t know it. 
How did I not know it? Ignorance is bliss and I was trying damn hard to be blissful. I mean, that’s what the entire first year of marriage is meant to be, right?

That’s what I was told, until things got hard.

Then I was told the first year of marriage is the hardest. 

And when that wasn’t enough to make me stay, I was told I took a vow. 

They were right. I took a vow. I stood before a man and told him I’d love him regardless of what came our way. I made this promise in front of all of our family and friends. I wore the dress. I played the part. I was the blushing bride.

Yet somehow I found myself standing in front of a judge waiting to finalize the divorce of a barely there marriage.

I was able to stand in front of our judge and confirm, without hesitation, that the bonds of matrimony had been severed and there is no hope of reconciliation. As I stood there, somberly and pretending not to see the man who was about to become my ex-husband to my left, I waited for the doubt to creep in. I waited for the moment where my heart would tell me I was making the wrong choice. I waited and yet it never came.

I wish I could have said the same for my wedding day.

A mere 19 months earlier I stood holding that man’s hand, unable to look into his eyes without forcing myself, and felt panic rush through me as I vowed to be his wife. Pure terror rushed through me and I waited for the courage to let go of his hand and run down the aisle, alone.

But now I sit here with no ring on my finger. No husband in my life and no desire for him to be there; but I can’t help but to have a sore heart. I’m just as doubtless as I was in the courtroom, but there’s a gray tinge to the rosy outlook I had on life.

I’m grieving for a marriage I never wanted to be in.

I wish I wanted it. I wish, so badly, that he was what I wanted. How can you want more than a person who loves you unconditionally? A person who would agree to anything just to keep you in his life? A person who just wanted to be loved back?

I never tried to want more. I spent months attempting to convince myself that I was happy, but I just… wasn’t.

Maybe they’re right. Maybe I am being selfish. Maybe I should have stuck it out and realized 50 years from now that I wasted a life wishing to be happy. Would I have been okay with the choices I made? It’s possible, but unlikely. Regardless of if they’re right or not; it’s okay to grieve for this marriage that never could have become something I wanted.

If you’ve gone through a divorce, even one you wanted, and you’re wondering why it is you’re not feeling like celebrating… just know you’re not alone.

Your marriage ended. I’ve had several people ask me how I’m going to celebrate; I’m not celebrating. I spent the weekend with a close friend of mine and all we did was talk and day drink. Sometimes therapy is watching Grey’s Anatomy silently, crying over Denny Duquette’s death, and wishing you loved someone like Izzy loved him. You’ll find someone that fills your heart with that kind of love; don’t worry. (Bonus points if is name is Denny!)

You may still care for your ex-spouse. That doesn’t mean you’re meant to be with them. I don’t wish my ex-husband ill; I just know that we could never be what the other person needed. Regardless of how hard you try, sometimes the pieces just don’t fit and you’re both left banged up from trying. It’s okay.

Your future changed. You can no longer imagine exactly what your future is going to look like. You were probably, at least slightly, comfortable in your relationship and now that it’s over you’re feeling a bit out of sorts. Give it time. If you separated before the divorce it might be a bit easier, but it doesn’t mean that it’s completely painless. That first year is the hardest, but you’ll make it through.

Your identity is changing. Again. You used to be a single unit, then you became his wife, now you’re back to being on your own again. You’re no longer so-and-so’s wife; you’re just you! It’s both an amazing and unsettling notion. If you’re changing your name back to your maiden name like I am, be prepared for lots of questions and having to get used to signing it again!

It’s okay to feel a bit sad when you think about the life you gave up even if you know it’s for the best. It’s normal. It’s part of the process. I knew before we got married that we shouldn’t get married. I knew it wouldn’t last because I never wanted it in the first place but it doesn’t make it any easier to let it go.

I’m happier than I’ve ever been and then I remember the heart I hurt. It sends a little pang of guilt into my chest, but I know with time it will subside and that ultimately, this is the best way I could have ever shown him that he meant something to me.

Even if he doesn’t get it yet.

-LP

Self-Care is NOT Optional

Once you’ve lost yourself, it’s incredibly difficult to be found.

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It’s too easy to let life take over and to let go of the progress you’ve made with yourself. While most people would not actively choose to forgo caring for themselves, shit happens. I’ve spent the entire year focusing on improvement and learning to love myself while making positive changes; that shit isn’t easy and it’s a long, difficult path to take, but a worthwhile one nonetheless.

Lately, I’ve been overburdened with two jobs, school, sick family members, stress, lack of a support system, and baby kittens; I’ve felt myself crumble under the impossible weight of these responsibilities and let go of one responsibility that should be my top priority:

Self-Care. 

If you’re struggling to care for yourself and you can feel yourself slipping into a downward spiral, take heart.

Things won’t get easier when you don’t care for yourself. You might feel as though you simply don’t have time to do things that make you feel better; I’ve been there, I get it. You cannot expect yourself to be able to handle everything that comes your way when you’re already feeling rather broken. It just won’t happen, or if by some miracle, you’re able to, you’ll end up in an even worse spot than where you started.

If you don’t make it a priority, no one else will. They won’t feel badly about adding more to your already full plate, because you’re not speaking out and telling them. Don’t expect the people in your life to be mind readers (even the best of them can’t know what you’re thinking), so tell them. Are you scared? Overwhelmed? Stressed? Are you nearing the point of no return? If that means an assignment goes in late or you have to call in; do it. You have to care for yourself. 

There’s no shame in taking a mental health day. So just take it. This is something I still struggle with; I feel as though I absolutely cannot call into work or take a day off from coursework, but I’m working on it. I choose to go to the gym to relieve stress before I feel like I’m losing myself instead of when I’m in the midst of it all.

The best kind of self-care is preventative care. Don’t wait until you’re already on the verge. Don’t wait until you’re so stressed out you feel like crying. Take an hour to yourself; whether you can only take a hot shower, paint your nails, sit in silence, whatever, just do it! You need it and your soul will thank you for it.

It’s not easy to find time to care for yourself, but it’s damn worth it. Write. Read. Take a long bath. Go for a walk. Find your inner peace in whatever way you can. Make time for it, even if that means you have to schedule “me time” for yourself each week. Do it and don’t feel guilty about it. You’re worth it.

-LP

 

Letting Go of Who You Were: A Beginner’s Guide

Don’t let yourself slip between the cracks.

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; life is hard. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the day-to-day aspects of our lives and forget to allow ourselves time to reflect and grow. I’m guilty of it and I’m sure you are too, but that doesn’t mean we can’t change for the better, it just means that we’ve got to start that routine today.

  1. Be Kind to Yourself. It’s easy to look back at who we were and want to rip away the parts that don’t seem all that great. Just recently, I spent some time reminiscing on the teenage version of myself and I’m glad to say that I’m no longer that girl. It makes me cringe to think of who I used to be, but I know that 10 years from now I’ll be doing the same when I look at how I am today. It’s alright. We’re learning. Life is a process.
  2. Forgive Yourself. Don’t hold those awkward, embarrassing, painful, or even disappointing moments against your former self. Come to terms with the fact that you’ve made mistakes and realize that we all have. It’s natural and part of growing into a better version of ourselves.
  3. Forgive Others. The worst thing we could do is harbor resentment for those who have wronged us. It’s draining and quite frankly isn’t all that healthy either. Sure, your ex-boyfriend might have been a major mistake and he may have committed some terrible crimes against you; forgive him anyway. Let it go and hope that he’s moved on as well. Wish him well and say goodbye. It’s alright.
  4. Love Yourself Through the Crap. You’re going to keep messing up. You’re going to forget that you’re not meant to have it all together; that’s okay. You might get chubby. You could enter a marriage you were never supposed to be in. You could break a home and a heart, and move across the globe. It’s okay. Love yourself anyway. Love yourself through it all, even the bad parts.

Ultimately, our experiences shape us and without them we would never grow and change so accept the fact that you’re still learning and let go of the old versions of yourself, even the one from yesterday. You’re better than you were then and not as great as you’ll be tomorrow.

 

-LP

 

I’ll Pretend to Have All the Answers

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25 Things to Start Doing Today

  1. Brush your teeth twice a day and FLOSS. It’s important.
  2. Compliment a stranger. It can brighten their day.
  3. Hold the door open for the person behind you. 
  4. Take responsibility for your actions.
  5. Stop putting your career first. Your career is great, but so is having a life and appreciating time with your family and friends.
  6. Tell the one you love, you love them. Often.
  7. Express yourself with authority. If you don’t believe in what you’re saying, no one else will either.
  8. Declutter. You don’t need all of the possessions you’re holding onto. Getting rid of what doesn’t matter and keeping what does will change your life.
  9. Don’t be afraid to travel. Even if that means you’re going to do it broke.
  10. Care about something or someone more than yourself. Yes, cats count too.
  11. Spend time with your loved ones. They’re gone too soon.
  12. Cry when you’re sad and laugh when you’re happy. It’s okay to feel things. If you’re waiting for someone to tell you that, there ya go.
  13. Learn a new word each day and try to use it.
  14. Let go of the past. This includes old partners, bad habits, grudges, and even memories that hurt.
  15. Live in the moment, with a bit if caution. This is not a #YOLO type idea, what I mean is this: if you see a pretty sunrise, stop for a moment and enjoy it. If your family member is sick, call into work and spend the day with them, it’s worth it.
  16. There are a million reasons to not do something that’s a bit scary, focus on the reason you should. 
  17. Love yourself unconditionally, without being conceited.
  18. Love others unconditionally, without being foolish.
  19. Offer support to those around you. You never know how much they may need it and they may never ask for it.
  20. Ask for support when you need it. Life is hard and we can’t go through this alone.
  21. Don’t apologize if you don’t mean it. Unless you’re actually sorry, don’t say “I’m sorry.” Don’t apologize for being excited about something or for not knowing the answer, yet.
  22. Count your blessings. Use your fingers and toes.
  23. Say one nice thing about yourself each morning. It gets easier with practice.
  24. Never speak ill of your partner. Don’t let the last annoying thing they did, be your next topic of conversation with your friends.
  25. Don’t take yourself too seriously. We’re all still learning.

-LP