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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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

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

Enjoying the Day-to-Day

When I was working at Dairy Queen I felt constantly stressed and unhappy. The job itself was great, I mean who doesn’t like making ice cream? I had worked at multiple Dairy Queen stores and I really really enjoyed it. I had a great boss and coworkers; even though I didn’t have a relationship with them outside of work, work was fun and stress free. I mean, we basically sell happiness in a cup. Unfortunately, when I moved back home from Eastern Michigan University, my new store wasn’t as welcoming. I definitely learned to get over it and I even made some fantastic friends that I love more than anything, but all in all, I hated it there. There were a few people that made my job miserable and having a new boss that doesn’t do anything about problems, does not help. After exhausting my resources available to me for conflict resolution, I decided to leave, at least for the time being, namely because I just could not deal with the stress of nursing school and catty coworkers. It just made life easier.

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It’s been almost exactly 1 month since I left DQ and I already feel so much better. The constant unhappiness and stress has faded away as a distant memory and I can talk about Dairy Queen without feeling like I’m going to crawl out of my skin. I have come to realize that life will never be stress-free, but if you are in a situation that makes you constantly unhappy, you need to get yourself out of there! I became a completely different person while working at DQ, and it wasn’t someone that I liked being.

Here are some tips and tricks I use (and I’m still trying to perfect) to help you enjoy the day-to-day:

1. Leave the stress at the door. Work is stressful. School is stressful. Traffic is stressful. Everything is stressful. If you weren’t stressed out, you wouldn’t be alive. When you come home after having a horrible day at work, or you fail an exam, it’s okay to be upset. You can cry and you should. Let the stress out and deal with it, but do not bring it home. Do not lash out at those that love you and want to be there for you. They want to help, so let them.
2. Focus on the good. Look at the stress in your life, the failures you’ve encountered, the promotions you didn’t get as opportunities to learn more and do better. Don’t beat yourself up! To err is human. And we are so far from perfect, even if we pretend we aren’t. Even if we try to be, we fail.
3. Let go & pray. Don’t knock it ’til you try it, my friend. Honestly though, take some quiet time to yourself and look inward. Look at who you are and what’s happening around you. Focus on the good in life (as difficult as that may be) and take some long deep breaths. Meditate, breathe deeply, just focus on what you’re feeling and allow yourself to feel it, guilt free. It’s okay to be upset, unhappy, overwhelmed; it’s okay to need to look to something or someone else for a bit of reassurance. The quiet time will help and guide you back to the happiness you seek. Take a few moments and try. You just might be surprised at how much it truly helps to calm you down and help you through it.

For those of you dealing with a stressed out partner, realize that as much as you might want to help, or as much as you want to get to the bottom of why your significant other feels the way they do, give them space. (At least for a little while) Then go to them, express how you are feeling about the stress they are dealing with and listen to them with open ears. Avoid asking “why?” as it can make a person feel as though they have to defend their feelings and justify them and they might not even really know the reason behind their emotions. That is for them to wrestle with and figure out; you can still be there though, just go to them with open and understanding, nonjudgmental arms. Odds are, they want a hug and someone to talk to.  🙂

As crappy as the day may seem, you will have better days! You will probably have some more not so great ones too, but try to look on the bright side of life and find things that make you feel better. I am a HUGE fan of long showers, listening to music, going for a nice drive, or focusing on things like homework to get my mind off of what’s bothering me until I feel like I am ready to deal with it with a level head. It isn’t easy. I lose my cool, but it’s something I’m working on and something that I encourage you to work on as well! Choose joy. Choose peace. Choose happiness. Choose to be optimistic even when you do not feel like it.

There are some circumstances in which a person is genuinely depressed and those people should seek help. Remember, if someone is coming to you with their sorrow, it’s probably hard for them to do so, so allow them to express how they are feeling and offer some support even if its awkward or uncomfortable for you.

If you, or anyone you know feels as if they are in the midst of a crisis, please take the appropriate measures. Call the completely free hot-line: 1 (800) 273-8255 if you are located in the United States, because you matter. These people who man the phones at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline will talk with you, listen to you, and help. You are not alone.

-LP