February 1, 2013

what I know for sure (so far)

I have hit 40. That's right, I hit it. You don't smoothly slide into 40. You kick the door in and say, "I'm here Mother#*($(s!"
I was thinking about how Oprah used to always ask her guests, "what do you know for sure?" so I thought I would pass on a few things I've learned thus far in life:

When you know better, you do better.
 One of my first jobs in the workforce was a receptionist. When it was slow, I would sit at my desk and read magazines. "Sorry, I'll be right with you, I'm just finishing this in depth article on why Brad Pitt is this year's Sexiest Man Alive." Older, (wiser?) me cringes at this unprofessional behaviour. Now if work is ever slow, I research information about my industry. No facebook. No people.com.
The same can be said about relationships. When you determine what works for your life and what doesn't, you adjust accordingly.

Surround yourself with funny people.
I'm really lucky to have an amazing crew of funny people as friends. We were travelling as a group once and someone said, "I've never heard a group laugh so much, are you guys drunk?" It was 10 am. Just to clarify, we weren't (yet).  But I took that as a huge compliment. Life can be tough, you need a sense of humour for resilience. If you can make me laugh, I will undoubtedly have a crush on you and value your company. But not everyone's humour is the same. If you find shows like Arrested Development, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Seinfeld, Modern Family, Extras, Parks and Recreation funny, chances are we'll get along. If you think shows like Home Improvement or Two and a Half Men are hilarious, then we might not see eye to eye. And that's ok.

Everyone needs a purpose
Find a job you love. Volunteer. Raise a family. Write a book. Compete in Triathalons. Whatever it is that makes you tick, dive in and embrace it whole heartedly. Don't compromise on your passion and don't apologize for it. I thoroughly enjoy writing and snapping photos, which has led to this little site. Each day over 100 people check it out. To some of you that seem like a small grouping, and to others it might sound shockingly large given my content, but I find it so touching that people take a moment out of their busy lives to peek into this hobby of mine. Do what you love. You're only here once (supposedly) - so make the most of your time. The best advice I ever got was to think if you only had a year left to live, what would you most regret if you didn't do.....and follow that. For me the answer was always, I'd regret if I didn't have children, whether they were my own or adopted, because I deeply believed that I was meant to care for kids. Don't compromise on your dream.

You are what you eat/how much you move
There are no clever diets/cleanses/magic pills. Just eat healthy, balanced meals and move your body.
It's not rocket science and yet people make a fortune promising the world to those looking for a quick and easy fix.
Eat foods in season as much as possible. Avoid processed foods. Vary your workouts. Drink lots of water. Repeat.
By no means do I say this because I am in peak physical condition. I just say this because I know the answer is simply discipline. Don't waste your money on diets or fad books. If there was a magic solution, don't you think Oprah would have bought it by now? (No offence Oprah).

Don't worry about something until you really have to
How many times have you wasted energy worrying about how something was going to go, and it never transpired?
I remember when the doctors told me my baby's head was measuring small during ultrasounds and that they were going to monitor it, I put myself in a tizzy with worry based on all of the awful advice readily available on the internet.
I'll bet 99% of worrying is wasted energy.

Actions speak louder than words
People show you the most about their character through their actions. People can say the most amazing things, but if there are no efforts, words become hollow. What's the last nice gesture you did for someone? When my hubby and I were first dating, my dad had to go into the hospital for heart surgery. Craig visited him on his own, even though he didn't know him very well.
That is character.
Oprah used to always say that people show you who they are. I really know this to be true.
Be wary of selfish people, they will drain you.

Don't underestimate the value of facetime with friends and family
In a society that is supposed to make the world smaller with instant messaging, texting, facebook, email, we're losing touch. A quick coffee catch up, a shared meal, a hike, a fun night out, go a lot further to speed up connectedness. Why do you think so many customers want to visit clients when they come to town? There's value in putting a face to the name and creating a relationship that simply isn't as strong if left to emails.
Relationships really are like plants. We have to feed them and nourish them or they will wilt and wither.
People who say relationships don't take any work, probably have a partner doing all the work/compromising.

No one really cares that much, so don't sweat it
The funny thing is, we're all very interested in our own lives, and sometimes we think others must be too. But honestly, people are so busy being interested in their own lives, that they really aren't focussed on you. "How am I going to show my face at work now that I'm divorced?" "People are going to think I'm fat, so I better not go to that party." "You know what I mean, those self defeating thoughts that you project onto the masses. But guess what, no one is noticing. And if there is buzz about some gossip, it lasts all of five minutes then people move onto the next thing. So just live your life. Kill the inner critic.
I say this like I'm super cool and all evolved. I know this one isn't easy sometimes, but it's worth reminding ourselves.

Make sure your home is your sanctuary
I love coming home from work, seeing my little love and big lug.
I feel 100% myself and feel very peaceful and happy in this space
If you are avoiding going home, walking on eggshells or living in a battleground, ask yourself why and fix it

Take pleasure in the simple things
A glass of wine with friends, a delicious latte and a new magazine, a sunset walk on the beach, a  dinner around a giant dining table with family or friends, playing with my little girl, an amazing movie/book/album, a hike through a gorgeous park - I adore all of these simple things. If you keep it simple, then it won't matter if you are rich or poor.

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