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

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I Crave the Breeze

I’ve noticed as we grow, we try to tame the wild parts of ourselves.

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I realized this fact, yet again, as I was looking at myself in the mirror this morning, running my fingers through the halo of messy brown hair framing my bare face. At 15, I let the curls do their thing, but now I wake up early to smooth them into a more respectable form; I spend 10 minutes applying makeup to this face in order to “accentuate my features.” I spend a majority of my morning trying to transform into a version of myself that I’ve somehow grown into.

Why is it that as we age we feel the need to be tame? Is that just me? Surely, I cannot be the only one who feels like I’ve let go the colorful and crazy pieces of themselves. I was so eager to grow up; I wanted to have the freedom that came along with adulthood, but I didn’t realize how much would change and how quickly. I can’t stay up on the phone until 6 am and roll out of bed at 7 for work without looking and feeling like a zombie. It’s no longer “appropriate” to wear bright blue nail polish and 5 friendship bracelets on one wrist. I can’t even remember the last time I spent an entire day dancing around and eating chips by the handful without a care in the world. When did I last run for fun and not exercise? When’s the last time I spent the entire day in bed with a book and didn’t feel guilty about it? I still remember illegally piercing my cartilage at 15 and hiding it from my mother; over a year ago, I removed that little token of defiance. I think it’s time to put it back in.

But, now I actually separate my wash into lights and darks. I know how to properly iron a pair of trousers and tie the perfect Windsor knot (thanks dad!). I have to file taxes and pay bills. I realize how expensive gas is and why people complain about utilities; I can hold my own in debates about politics, religion, and culture, but truth is, I still know more about Harry Potter than I’d like to admit. I still toy with the idea of painting my toenails blue and when I’m feeling extra saucy I wear an anklet in the summer. Crazy, I know. I just wish I had realized how quickly life goes by; my dad always said that once you leave high school, time flies by. I always laughed at the thought, but as I walked across the stage at my high school commencements, I realized that I was closing another chapter and moving to the next.

On thanksgiving morning, I looked at myself in the mirror before walking out the door. I turned my head from left to right, pushed a strand of perfectly straightened, short, brown hair behind my ear, and looked into my spectacle framed eyes. I sighed when I realized that I’m no longer seventeen. Now let me explain; I don’t feel old, but I just caught a glimpse at myself and I look so different. I have faint wrinkles around my eyes when I smile and I wear diamond studs, glasses, and I do my hair and makeup each day. I don’t recognize myself. When I think about what I look like, I still imagine myself at seventeen. I still imagine the long wavy brown hair and the young, innocent chocolate eyes I once had. I don’t know when life morphed into this entirely new chapter, but the page turned so quickly, I must not have had the chance to notice this time.

-LP

Welcome Home

I dream of the simple life.

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When you ask someone about their dream home, generally they’ll tell you how many bedrooms and bathrooms they want. They’ll tell you how they want their bathroom to be dripping with marble; they want walk in closets and cathedral ceilings. Now this isn’t true of everyone, but so many focus on the structure of the home instead of what you feel upon entering. Ask my mother, she could go on for hours about the number of bedrooms and every little design aspect.

Don’t get me wrong, I have some aesthetics in mind; I want a fireplace to curl up in front of in the living room and a window over the kitchen sink to peek out of while the children play outside. I have plenty of little desires when it comes to our home. I’ve always dreamed of a lush peony bush on the side of our cozy home and a front porch to sit on after the sun has gone down. I’ve got those plans, you know, the ones that you’ve secretly been storing away for “someday.” Plans that make your heart smile and you hope are more than wishes; maybe, just maybe, they are premonitions. At least I hope so.

It’s essential to create a home and not simply live in a house. Create a safe haven. Make your home somewhere you want to spend your days in. If you love paintings, hang them. If you can’t spend a single day without listening to music, play it loudly and dance around to it. Do what makes you happy and make your house into a home for yourself. Believe me, we will have Motown playing on Sundays; we’ll have pictures on the wall and fluffy rugs on the floor. You’ll be able to look around and see that the place you just entered is more than someone’s house; it’s a home.

I want that little home; I want it to be filled with love and happiness. I want to decorate the walls with pictures of the happy family that resides within and cover the fridge with drawings that flowed from precious little hands and notes from the one I love. There will undeniably be stacks of books on the coffee table and piles of blankets in little wooden baskets by the sofa we snuggle on. I long to have the kind of home that shows a family lives there. I wish for it to be filled with smiles that broke into laughter, hugs, and bedtime stories. I want soft moments to be a daily experience and for disagreements to be things that bring us together instead of tear us apart. Sure, maybe it’s childish to have these dreams, but I promise you, I’m not walking through life with my eyes closed.

I know life will be hard and days won’t always be as sunny and cheerful as I’d like. I can accept that, but I’ve always had a bit of a childlike side to myself, so I’m going to walk into the future with these dreams and pray they become reality. I’ll get that peony bush one day, I swear.

-LP

Lub Dub

Each beat brings us closer.

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I love the feeling of a heartbeat. I remember learning a little trick in nursing school; if you close your eyes and focus on the feeling against your fingertips as you hold them to a patient’s wrist, you can feel the beat more clearly. I didn’t notice it while I was pressing my fingers against their skin, but when you stop and think about it, that beat holds so much information; without it, there would be nothing to tell.

I read years ago, that if you place your hand on a loved one’s chest and they do the same, your heartbeats can sync together. It may not be entirely true, as my research has been mostly inconclusive, but it’s such a pretty thought. I have always gone through life with the notion that I am a single entity and that my body and my effect stops and the border of my skin; but what if that’s not true? What if there is more than meets the eye?

I’d like to think that I am my own person. I’m different. No one knows the thoughts that bounce within my head nor do they know what I’m dreaming of as I sleep; part of me will always be mysterious. Part of me will be mine unless I choose to share it; I always thought my heart was a bit like that. But I’ve come to a point in my life where I want to take everyone’s fingers and place them upon my wrist, tell them to close their eyes, and realize that this voice wouldn’t be speaking to them without the beat that they feel. I want them to realize that without this heart, something we all have, I wouldn’t be here. It’s such a basic idea, but I feel that it’s one we often overlook.

I pray that one day, someone will be so in tune to this heartbeat that the moment it goes silent, they’ll feel it. They’ll place their fingers upon my wrist and long for the warm beat that once pulsed below the surface. I think we all want that; we all want to know that when the end comes, we’ll be missed. We want to know that our heartbeat is unique and when it is no more, someone will notice. Maybe it will change the way their heart beats as well. Maybe they’ll feel it in a way we never expected. I’d like to believe that they won’t feel alone; that they can close their eyes and focus on the heart that beats within them and maybe it will feel just like mine did.

-LP