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

An Open Letter to My Future Self:

Hey there stranger,

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I’m writing you because I want you to remember that, once upon a time, you felt confused. I want you to look around your life right now and realize how truly blessed you are. Look in the eyes of those you love today and understand what it took for you to get to this moment. I want you to take in every single second of today and be thankful for it. Remember that not so long ago, you were this 23 year-old girl who diligently grasped at your dreams and decided to be fearless. This girl, the one that you see when you look in old photographs; she is the reason you are surrounded by love and joy.

I want you to remember every scary moment you’ve faced, even the ones that I don’t realize I’m talking about yet. Wrap your arms around yourself and give yourself a hug; believe me, we both need it. You need to thank the girl that got you to where you are and I need that damn hug. I need to be told that even when frightening situations come my way, we’ll make it through. I need to know that all of these major life decisions that I’m making are not in vain. I know that you already know that; you may have known for quite some time, but on this side of time, I still feel a bit overwhelmed.

If you’re not writing or living life like you want to be, I’m sorry. I did the best I could, sometimes that wasn’t much. Realize that we’ve failed in certain respects, but excelled in others. Are you happy? Does he still have that cute nickname for you? When’s the last time you were kissed? Are you a wife or a mother? Do you own 50 cats? Are you still spunky and outgoing or have you traded in the attitude for something a bit more calm? Can you look back on the time between now and then and smile at the memories? I hope you can. I’m on my knees praying that I’ve given you the best life I can. Please know that. Know that I’m working hard and I won’t give up.  We deserve a life filled with joy and peace; I’ll work diligently until my future /your present is something we can be proud of.

I look forward to meeting you when you pass by a mirror today; the reflection may have changed, but know that I’m still there. This girl who is all elbows and worried thoughts was once the entirety of who you were. Put on some mismatched, colorful socks today and smile at your aged reflection; pretend that it’s me smiling at you from where I am, because it is.

Sincerely,

-LP

Life Update: One of Many

I can’t stop smiling.

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My life has been a bit of a mess the last few years, but lately… man, it’s just been so damn great. I’ve been dealing with a lot of problems and issues that I’ve been working through but even with all that, I’m still happier than ever. It’s just amazing. This path of mine has made its way up mountains, down valleys, and through the thickest of all thickets; all the while I was worried about each decision. I constantly wondered if I was making the right decision. It’s really difficult to know that, you know?

I’ve second guessed myself every step of the way, but I’ve learned -through a bunch of trial and error- that, generally, the first thought that floats through that mind of yours is often the right one. Trust your gut. Seriously. Don’t doubt yourself. You’re smart and most often our first decisions are the ones that our heart truly wants us to follow. I’ve had to make so many difficult decisions in my short life and each decision has been riddled with self-doubt, but I’ve finally made it to the other side of pure clarity. Let me tell you, the fact that I feel secure in my decision doesn’t mean that I don’t sometimes feel the clouds of doubt looming overhead; it just means that I know a gust of reassurance is heading my way and soon those clouds will be gone.

I grew up thinking that earning a degree in English would be wasteful. I thought it would be amazing but not worthwhile; I thought I would be happy just writing in my free time, but I needed a “real job” to pay those bills. I spent years taking courses in education, social work, and nursing, and filling in any opening with courses in literature and writing, I finally got to the point where I had one useless degree under my belt and I was looking for something more. I knew I had always longed to complete an English degree; I had known it for years, but it was always just a pipe dream, something that was just for dreamers- funnily enough, I always called myself a dreamer.

Well folks, yesterday I got my official acceptance letter into the English program and I was able to register for courses. I furiously clicked through classes while slouched into the sofa, excitement building with each press of the button. The list of classes that I had to choose from overwhelmed me with pure joy. I squirmed excitedly in my seat as I read through the courses that I get to take and immediately bought and began reading the required text  upon selecting my courses.  I’ve always loved school, but now I am finally pursuing something I am so beyond passionate about. I know that I’m blessed to be able to at only 23 years old, but it’s been a lifetime of thinking that it just wasn’t practical to follow this dream of mine.

Not only am I able to pursue something I absolutely love, I have the support of someone who encourages me every step of the way. The boyf and I are just two peas in a pod. Honestly. I’ve never had a relationship in which I can be my true self. I’ve often found that I have to give up pieces of myself or push down the things that make me, me in order to be more palatable, but not with him. I can be excited and bouncy or sassy or sweet. I can be who I am every moment of the day. I can love things that I love and appreciate the things that he loves. It’s just spectacular.

Life is grand.

-LP

You Get Good at What You Do, Not What You Dream of Doing

Stop dreaming your life away.

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I don’t know about you, but I’m a day dreamer. I always have been and I’m certain that I always will be. I find myself zoning out in the middle of the day thinking about random scenarios that pop into my head. I’ve always been filled with ideas and pipe dreams. I’ve dreamt of publishing poetry and stories for so long that I truly thought it could only ever be just a dream. But you know what? I’m done with wishful thinking.

I want something come out of these dreams that I have, but in order for that to happen I have to start doing something about it, and so do you! When you’ve got something in your mind, something that you just truly cannot shake; something that is constantly in your thoughts, take a  step back and figure out why you’re still just dreaming about it? We don’t need to keep up with the fantasy, we need to actually put our plans into action and make those dreams a reality.

If we want to see a change in our lives, we have to make that change. We have to determine what we want our lives to look like. Do you want to be old and frail, thinking about the dreams you had that you could have actually experienced, but instead you just kept envisioning them? No. No one wants that. You want to be able to look back on this life of yours and feel proud of what you’ve done, so make yourself proud!

If you want to become an amazing artist, musician, writer, literally anything, then you have to work at it. Each day will be hard work, but when you’re working on pursuing your passion it doesn’t feel like work. Each day is exciting and enjoyable. Each day you learn something new or you challenge yourself to be better. Who is truly content being mediocre? Not me, that’s for sure. I want to be more than just “okay” at something. I want to be great. I want to make myself and those I love proud of me, so as crazy as it seems, I’m going to work hard. I’m going to stay up late and slave over the things I love. My passions will become more than just day dreams; more than just hobbies; they’re going to become my life.

If you’ve got an ounce of determination, you can do it. If you’ve got something that you love; if you have something that you keep thinking about doing… DO IT! If you want to paint, paint! If you want to be an amazing musician, be one! If you want to quit your job and dedicate your life to your children, your passion, your family, or to whatever, do it! Don’t let fear, worry, or laziness hold you back from your goals in life. Don’t let your dreams stay dreams. Work hard at making your life something worth living. Something worth being proud of.

I’m not sure why, but the song Grow Old with Me by Tom Odell just really makes me think about this; I’m currently listening to it and it is just filling my heart with excitement.

Grow old with me
Let us share what we see
And oh the best it could be
Just you and I

Maybe it’s because the boyf and I are both pretty passionate people who want to pursue our dreams of becoming something wonderful both as individuals and as a team, but this song really just makes me think about the future. I can’t help but imagine working beside him on my latest post, short story, or poem and looking over to him as he strums away at his guitar. His brow furrowed in concentration and fingers dancing across the chords. That life… man, that life in which we both get to do what we love… it seems far-fetched doesn’t it? It might be, but I’m going to work my hardest to make it a reality. I want to live a life I love even if it is the road less traveled, I’m gonna make my way down that path and never look back.

I know you’ve got dreams, now it’s time to turn them into something great. It’s going to be hard work, but when you are living that life and enjoying the crap out of it… well, simply put, it’s gonna be great.

-LP

P.S. If you want to own Grow Old with Me by Tom Odell, and believe me, you do, click the link below to get that cool cat’s tunes into those ears of yours while supporting this sassy, cat loving, baby blogger.

 

Help! I Need Somebody!

I have a confession to make: I need validation.

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It’s not very modern, but it is very honest. Sure, lots of people will think that’s weak of me to say, but it’s true. It’s an innate human quality that cannot be over looked or ever totally snuffed out. It’s in our DNA. From birth we need to have some form of validation; we need to know that someone understands our emotions, our feelings, our needs, so they can meet them for us when we are incapable of doing so ourselves.

Please stop trying to kid yourself, that doesn’t just go away. It’s okay to need to feel validated. Quite honestly, I sit on my computer or check my phone to see if anyone has liked my posts or commented way too often, but that’s because your opinion of me does matter. Why is it that we so regularly try to pretend that we don’t care what others think?

I’m guilty of doing that myself, I must admit.

In my late teen years, I pretended I didn’t give a crap about anyone’s opinions of me, but I was lying to myself. It’s like when you’re telling yourself you’re choosing to be celibate because you haven’t gotten any in a while. Well friends, slap the sign on my forehead because I’m open for business.

I. Do. Care.

We all do. It’s okay to admit that to yourself even if you can’t tell your friends. But guess what! If you can’t tell them, it’s because you need the validation and want them to like you, and that’s okay. That’s the whole damn point of this rambling post. We all need people to validate us, to make us feel like we have something to say that’s worth listening to.

I am lucky enough to have someone that I can talk to and know that he’s listening even if he isn’t responding. Sometimes you need to have that little monologue and just get your thoughts out, but it’s so important to be able to share them with someone else; it makes it feel real. It makes it feel like they actually matter.

I think we’ve all had that experience when we’re trying to tell someone something that you’re super excited about but no one is listening and you just give up about halfway through; it makes you feel a bit like crap. We’ve all been there and if you haven’t, then you’ve got some pretty bomb ass friends.  Tell them to call me because I need that in my life.

So, friends, do your best. Let people know that their thoughts, feelings, and ideas matter to you. Make sure they feel listened to. We all just want to figure out our own mind and sometimes, in order to do so,  we have to share with others. Validate others and they will in turn validate you. Listen up and actually give them the time of day, because maybe no one else has before. There’s a first for everything, so be that first for them.

-LP

P.S. If the title of this post reminded you of The Beatles, here’s the song you’re looking for.

Focus on the Motive not Motivation

What is your driving force?

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If you’re rooting your actions, thinking, etc. in something as weak as some feeble motivation, prepare to lose it. Have you tried starting a diet, making a lifestyle change, learning to recycle, etc.? Odds are, you lost motivation half way through. I get it. I’m the same way. The excitement that gives you initial inspiration quickly fades away and you’re left wondering why the hell you started this to begin with.

Find your Motive.

What is the reasoning behind your actions? Be honest with yourself. Personally, I’ve found that extraordinarily hard to do. I like to kid myself and say that I’m choosing to do whatever I’m doing based on something smart or sparking change or whatever, which isn’t always true. Half the time I’m doing something because of how it makes me feel. It may make me feel smarter; it may spark a change within myself, but that’s not the driving force behind my actions. I am. That might sound hella selfish and self-centered, but the biggest disservice you can give yourself is to pretend that you’re not a selfish creature.

We all are. And that’s okay.

Embrace the crap out of the fact that you should be driving yourself, but don’t simply find inspiration within. Let your world inspire you; let it give you motivation, but take that one step further. Once you have the motivation to begin, ask yourself “why?”

This will help you to determine if whatever task at hand is actually doable for you. Don’t waste your time on odd jobs, projects, or people that don’t inspire you. It’s a waste of your time and a waste of theirs. It’s easy to fall into the rut of sticking with things that you’re indifferent to. I know that from experience. I let the winds of the world sway me into things that I didn’t really love; things that I was just “okay” with. It took me a long time to finally realize that I had lost that creative flame that burned inside of me. I had snuffed it out by piling on things that the old, excitable, creative version of myself wouldn’t have given a second thought.

I became a person who just existed. A person who had motivation to do these lame tasks, but always ended up giving up because I didn’t have any meaning behind it, any reasoning; I was lacking motive. Passing time isn’t a good enough reason to do something. If you need to earn money to pursue your passion; Work that shitty job. Live in that tiny apartment. Eat those damn potatoes for every meal. Just do it and remember why you are. You’re dealing with the crap now so you can bask in the glow of your dreams. Follow them. Find the meaning behind them. Find your purpose. Just do it.

It won’t be easy. Quite frankly, if you’ve lost your drive for life, it’s going to be a massive pain in the ass to find it again. Just do it. Seriously. It’s so damn worth it. As cheesy as it sounds, follow that damn heart of yours. It’s truthful and worth the risk.

Always keep searching.

-LP