It’s closer than you think

Oh my god, it’s Friday.  There’s even something awesome about the word itself, isn’t there?  Well, I said I’d be posting something every Friday, and here we are, so here we go.

I sat down on Sunday night with one of my best friends and started catching up on all the big stuff we’d been glazing over in our conversations over the holidays.  As we were talking about all the changes we’re both going through and everything we want to accomplish this year, I realized just how much happier I am now than I used to be.

That’s not a humble brag — or any kind of brag, really; I know it could all come crashing down tomorrow.  It’s amazing and awful how life can change in a split second and nothing is ever quite the way it was.  But still, through some character-testing trials and uber-embarrassing errors, it’s somehow turned out all right, at least for now.  I thought I’d put some time-tested instructions into words so I can go back and look at them the next time I’m backed up against a wall, all caged and fearful.  It’s way too easy to forget where we’ve been and where we’re going when we let ourselves get sidetracked, but then again, as long as we eventually find our way again, sometimes getting sidetracked isn’t so bad after all.

So here, in list form, are a lot of little things I’ve had the privilege of doing… and in the future, I have a feeling I’ll be using it like a to-do list to keep myself on track. Feel free to try it all yourself… it’s completely worth accomplishing.

Go far, far away from home, just to see what it’s like.

Eat new things. All the time. Even if they’re gross. Because what if they’re not?

Be the first to say “I love you,” just once, instead of waiting for someone else to spit it out.

Feel your stomach flip during takeoff and appreciate how quickly you’re ascending.

Make friends with karma, because it’s mean when it’s mad but sweet like honey when it smiles.

Stay awake for 24 hours straight and document the delirium.

Drink too much coffee. You’ll sleep when you’re dead.

But sometimes, sleep way too late… because yes, it’s delicious.

Adopt an adult dog from a shelter (or an adult cat, but let’s be serious: dogs rule).

Practice random acts of kindness without expecting something in return.

Learn to let go of the people who do not deserve to be in your life.

Get a tiny bit lost in a country where you barely speak the language. (Not kidnapped; just lost.)

Remember what made you happy when you were little, and get after it like it’s bacon.

Stand up for yourself.  There’s no need to yell, but no excuse not to be strong either.

Apologize when you’re wrong — no half-assing it. Say you’re sorry and mean it.

Learn how to balance self-confidence with humility… tricky, yes, but doable all the same.

Do something that scares the ever-loving crap out of you… then do it again & again & again.

Read until your eyes fall out of your head, but don’t forget to live your real life too.

Let someone break your heart… then put it back together for yourself, by yourself. You’re the only person capable of ensuring its structural soundness.

Learn how to see through the hype, trust your gut, and know what’s real.

Practice goodness, not because it’s cute, but because it’s the right thing to do.

Actually care about the answer when you ask someone, “How are you?”

Ride a motorcycle… maybe just once.

Sing to yourself, even if you’re so bad you make the dog whimper.

Try hot yoga and refuse to worry about how sweaty and silly you think you look.

Don’t let fear paralyze you. Let it propel you instead.

Stop and look up at the sky sometimes.

Don’t let the world get to you… there’s so much more to it than the parts that make you frown.

Become your own best friend and let yourself enjoy your own company.

Be at home in your own skin without apologizing for the “imperfections.”

Look at what your family does right and emulate it with your kids, if you have them.

Look at what your family didn’t quite get right and make a choice not to replicate the patterns.

Know which people and things are worth giving your energy to and which ones aren’t.

Never, ever steal. Borrow if you must, but ask first, give credit, and return everything in the end. With interest.

Be your own person — an original, not a copy. 

Don’t get angry with people who are rude; feel sorry for them instead.

Be grateful for the good things.

Learn to overcome the bad things.

Make the most of what you have.

Discover joy… it’s closer than you think.

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