Sage Words of Wisdom to Myself. Today, a little over 13 months later, I went back and re-read what I wrote. Some of the things made me laugh (I really do write like I talk/think) and some made me stop and think. I'm so glad I did this a little over a year ago, I decided that I would make it an annual post. Enjoy!
Dear 30 year old Andrea,
You've made it through almost an entire year of being 30. It wasn't that scary, was it? And I bet some pretty amazing things have happened over the course of the last year. So in honor of turning 31, here are some reminders for you.
1- Be patient with the freshman, even when you haven't had your coffee. Growing up into an adult isn't easy, usually takes a long time, and includes some bumps along the way. Give them patience, but also help them as they grow and show them the way.
3- Failures are successes in learning what not to do. Don't let a failure discourage you...use it as energy to encourage you.
4- Love. This is one from your letter to your 29 year old self. Turns out at 28 you were kinda smart when it comes to this kind of thing. Don't ever be regretful for loving someone. Even when those feelings aren't returned romantically. People are what really matter in this life, and everyone needs to have love in it.
5- Be flexible. People appreciate this more than you know. You'll know this because so many people aren't, and they'll be really thankful that you are. Go with the flow.
6- Along with #5, stand your ground when necessary, but be thoughtful and gentle when doing so. It's not your way or the highway. We're all on the road together. The things you do should be an encouragement to others along the way.
8- Electronic detox. You didn't do very well at this in 2013. Keep trying. Start small...one hour a week. work up to turning off your phone for an entire vacation.
9- TAKE A VACATION. Seriously. One that includes the beach and sun and not much more. It's called mental health...and you NEED that. You'll thank me later.
10- If you haven't, finish your masters degree already.
11- New York is a place where you feel alive. Go visit Hannah already. Lovebuckets have to stick together.
12- Naan and humus make a super tasty dinner. Enjoy it.
14- Don't ever forget about your girlfriends. They're there through it all. They constantly help you back up when you fall and skin your knees.
15- Practice simple acts of random kindness. One person can make a difference and change the world.
16- Wash your car regularly and vacuum it out. Grandma car needs a good cleaning every now and then. Plus it will make you feel like you have your life more together than you actually do.
18- Keep writing one of these every year that you're alive. Share it with the world.
19- You still need to take that trip to Paris. Get a jar. Start saving. Don't let anything make you dip into the jar.
20- Get your Target card paid off. Once your balance is gone, you are only allowed to spend what you can pay off each month. The interest rate is ridiculously high. Don't let them take your hard-earned money like that.
21- Take five minutes of every day for yourself. It's not that much time, and if you can't find five minutes to do something you love, your life needs some re-adjusting.
22- There's always tomorrow. Work hard today, but tomorrow is a fresh start every day.
23- Try. You know what I'm talking about. It's gonna be hard. But you need to try to try. Even when you don't want to. Just keep trying. Someone much higher up never gives up on you. So TRY.
25- Do the best you can. Be gentle on yourself and others.
26- Read. This is another thing that you love to do. You should do it more often. Try to.
27- Don't bottle up relationship frustrations. Learn to let go and let God. He's got it in control. That doesn't mean stop using your brain. It just means stop trying to control what you can't control. Use all the opportunities that you have right now in their fullest capacities.
28- Defy expectations. Show love to someone when they don't deserve it. Show patience when you've just about run out. Show compassion when the frustrations are seeping out your temples. Defy the expectations.
30- You age is a number. Just like your shoe size. Or your weight. Or your height. Don't let it (or anything else) define how you feel about yourself. If you feel good about yourself, feel that. And be strong in it.
Live. Laugh. Love.
Monday, November 18, 2013
Friday, November 15, 2013
Have you ever wondered what your life looks like from the outside. When other people look at you, what do they see? Is that an accurate reflection of what's really on the inside?
With the rise in prominence that Facebook has taken over the last nine years (can you believe it's been that long?), it has truly changed the way that we interact with one another...across the world. Of course, it's really just one piece of the social media puzzle.
Twitter, Vine, Instagram, Tinder, Yahoo, Flickr, LinkedIn, and the list goes on and on. Everyday they shape our perception of reality.
When I was growing up (which is about to make me sound old), cameras used film. You had to be selective about what you took pictures of because to see each picture, you had to pay to get it developed. If your shirt was untucked or hair looked lopsided or your smile was weird, you wouldn't actually discover that until you had your film developed. And this was usually several weeks after the event occurred, preserving your imperfections just as they were.
Now? Digital cameras. Photoshop. On the go photo editing. You can have that perfectly white smile (that you don't really have) with a quick swipe across the screen. The wind made your hair look weird? Don't worry, just retake it (because you checked to make sure it turned out as soon as you took it). That angle made you look like you had a double chin? Just take it again and hold the camera higher. And then...facebook it. Or Instagram it. Or tweet it. Now that you have achieved what you perceive to be a socially acceptable representation of what's going on it your life, it's time to share that with the world.
Where is the honesty of reality in all of this?
I've always promised to be honest in my blog posts. Even when it's uncomfortable. (See the one where I got fat) And if I'm being honest, I know I've done most of those things at one point or another. Readily admitting it. I'm not any better than anyone else. And you know what? When you passively aggressively post, most people will passively aggressively ignore you. Or confront you...and it won't be pleasant. And when you post crude things, people will attribute crudeness as one of your character attributes. And I can't say for sure, but I think people are generally attracted to positive people.
What's the first thing you do in the morning? I usually reach over, turn off the alarm on my phone, and then open up Twitter for my morning news. In less than five minutes I know the headlines from the New York Times, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and Today's TMJ4. I know what the weather is going to be like for the day, who won the football game from the night before, and what my cousin is wearing today (thanks Snapchat). At this point I usually roll onto my back, delete my junk emails, and scroll my Facebook feed to see what happened overnight. And we've all had that moment. You know the one where you see that a certain someone "liked" one of your pictures...and it makes your morning. Or maybe you see a picture of your friend's toddler who "made their first poopy in the big boy/girl potty...and breakfast no longer seems like such a good idea. I've been awake for ten minutes, the smell of coffee percolating is starting to dance from the kitchen to my bedroom, and the tone for my day has been set by people's posts on what I perceive to be their reality based on what they've shared. All without even leaving the comforts of my bed. And how I feel is very real.
I'm not saying I'm any better than anyone else. I'm not directly this blog post at anyone. I'm directing at me. I'm directing it at all of us. People are fragile and resilient and beautiful and flawed and confused and excited and everything in between. And it's ok to share that. And like it. And tweet it. And favorite it. That's real.
Reflections are scary. You can't fake a reflection. What you see it what you get. Are you being honest with what your reflection shows? What does your reflection say about you?
My favorite pictures are the blurry ones. It's when people are the most real. The blur. The laughter. The movement. The double chins. The slightly discolored teeth. The messed up hair. That's real. And scary. And as Bruno Mars so aptly puts it...that's what makes you beautiful.
Live. Laugh. Love.
Thursday, October 24, 2013
I don’t understand.
I don’t understand why people feel the need to do or say something that they know is going to intentionally hurt someone else.
The look that you give someone that is going to make them question what they wore.
The picture on Facebook because you know it’s going to hurt someone who sees it.
Completing an assignment with an air of arrogance about it, as if you couldn’t possibly have anything to learn from your teacher.
Making a situation appear to be something other than what it really is to play mind games with someone.
Calling someone’s opinion stupid because it’s not yours.
Using a disagreement with someone as excuse to form a void in your relationship.
Instead of leaving it alone.Instead of not posting it.
Instead of thinking outside the box.
Instead of showing kindness.
Instead of opening your mind to new ideas.
Instead of working through it.
Life is too short, too fragile. People are too important. The saying sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me is crap. Words do hurt. And they stick with you a long time.Memories last a lifetime. Can we fill these lives with good ones? Can we stop hurting each other and start helping each other? Can we stop giving each other nasty looks? And stop being passive aggressive on Facebook? And start being respectful of those in authority over us? And be honest with each other about what happens? And build each other up, even if that does mean someone else looks better than you? And stop letting our disagreements get in the way of our friendships and relationships?
Can we just be patient? Kind? Encouraging? Respectful? Forgiving? Truthful? Trusting? Hopeful? Persistant?
That's love. All of those are ways to show love to the people in your life. We all have our faults and our struggles and our hardships. I most certainly am not any better than anyone reading this. But let’s stop hurting each other, and start encouraging each other.
Live. Laugh. Love.
Monday, October 21, 2013
The funny thing is that almost all of these are things that I remember from my childhood that didn't
Now normally when I come home from a day of work, I get home around 8pm (keeping in mind that I left between 6 and 6:30am). This is usually just enough time to eat something if I haven't already, packed up the bag for the next day, wash my face, and crawl into bed. Despite there being several books on my nightstand, the last thing that I want to do is read. The truth of the matter is, I've been reading emails or work for the majority of the day and I'm probably going to fall asleep within ten minutes and not remember what I read anyway.
But today? Oh, today was different. You see, today...I had the day off. This is my first day off since August 12 when we started school. Weekends don't count...everybody has those (and I usually put in 12-16 hours of school work anyway). And any additional time off has been filled with teacher conferences or meetings of some sort. But today? Today was different. I didn't have to be at school for any meetings. I knew I wouldn't get called into school as tech support because there wasn't anything else going on. Today was mine.
The Storyteller. (Sidenote: Although intense sometimes, I'd highly recommend, especially if you have any interest in the Holocaust.)
There was a part of the book that really struck me as I was reading it. Two of the characters, Leo and Sage, are not a couple, though they keep getting approached and treated as one by a variety of people from the small town that the two of them are visiting.
*The following passage is from an excerpt from Jodi Piccoult's book The Storyteller. I do not own the content. Copyright 2013 Jodi Picoult
Twice more we are approached and asked if we've just moved here. The first time, Leo says that we were going to go to the movies but something was playing so we came to temple instead. The second time, he replies that he is a federal agent and I'm helping him crack a case. The man who's been chatting with us laughs. "Good one," he says.
"You'd be surprised how hard it is to get people to believe the truth," Leo tells me later, as we walk across the parking lot.
But I'm not surprised. Look at how hard I fought Josef, when he tried to tell me who he used to be. "I guess that's because most of the time we don't want to admit it to ourselves."
"That's true," Leo says thoughtfully. "It's amazing what you can convince yourself of, if you buy into the lie."
You can believe, for example, that a dead-end job is a career. You can blame our ugliness for keeping people at bay, when in reality you're crippled by the thought of letting another person close enough to potentially scar you even more deeply. You can tell yourself that it's safer to love someone who will never really love you back, because you can't lose someone you never had."
Do you remember the movie Along Came Polly? If you haven't seen it or have forgotten, here's a little reminder...
Risk is scary. It means that there is the possibility for loss. But it also means that you have something or the potential for something that is worth losing. And I don't know about you, but I don't like to live with "what ifs." Sometimes you just need to try...jump in head first. I think of this every time I get into the pool at the gym. I know the first minute is going to be a little uncomfortable or shocking to my system. But I know the reward (in this case, sexy toned arms) are going to worth the risk. I think the same is true for lots of things in life, but especially in relationships. Sometimes you just need to jump in. Try it. Challenge yourself. Yes, there is the potential for loss. Or hurt. Or heartbreak. But these are the experiences that make us who we are...and who we are becoming. They are the experiences that are preparing us for the reward. And sometimes? Sometimes the reward far outweighs the risk.
Live. Laugh. Love.
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Anyway, somewhere along the lines I fell in love with writing. I can't tell you any of the rules behind, but I love to do it. And if you use to, too, or two incorrectly (along with their, there, they're...not to mention you're and your) it'll drive me bonkers. Just don't ask me to tell you what anything is beyond the basic parts of speech. But I digress from the topic at hand...what was that again?
Ah, yes. Writing. It has become my outlet. Especially in the last couple years. I really enjoy blogging.
Wish I had time to do it more often. It's so honest. Well, it can be. It can also be a load of crap, just like anything else. But when I write my blogs, I try to keep it real. It seems like people crave honesty these days. Sometimes I wonder if I'm too honest. *pausing to think about that* You start to wonder what people are thinking when they read your blog posts. Can the readers relate to me? Do they think I'm crazy? Does this post sound
I guess there are two main reasons I write (can you tell I'm in teacher mode? I'd make the kids highlight or underline here...)
- I write to get it out. Sometimes some of this thoughts swirl around and around and around in my head and drive me CRAZY. If I can get the thoughts out of my own head, I have a better time being able to deal with them.
- So people don't feel so alone. Physically, emotionally, spiritually. There a saying about how you should be kind to everyone that you meet because everyone is fighting a great battle. Each person is unique and different. Each person has stressors in their life. Example time!
The Infant: "HUNGRY! WAAAAHHHH!"
The Second Grader: "Is *insert best friend name here* going to play with me at recess today? If they don't play with me, who will? Why did they invite all the other kids over for a pool party and not me? I don't want the teacher to call on me to read out loud because I don't know some of those words. I lost my sidewalk chalk today and I can't find it anywhere. I miss the days when I got to stay at home with mom all day."
The Middle Schooler: "The popular kids don't talk to me. They were supposed to say something nice about me in class and they told me I clashed clothes well. I wish I could just fit in. I miss the days when everyone just played together."
The High Schooler: "I'm stressing out ALL the time. My homework is so hard. Why don't I understand it? I don't want to disappoint my parents. I need to get good grades so I get into a good college. But I need to have activities too. I'm just running out of time. I want to spend time with my friends. I'm afraid I'm going to lose my friend to a guy she likes. I know we don't have money, but I'm so sick of eating spaghetti for dinner ALL the time. I miss the days when losing your sidewalk chalk was your biggest problem."
The College Student: "Work, school, social life. I feel like all I do is the first two. No one tells you that once you get into a good school the work is just beginning. Now I worry about how to pay for school, how to pay for food, and getting good grades so I can 'rise above the rest' and get a good internship and get a good job. I miss the days when you went home after practice and there was dinner waiting for you, even if it was spaghetti for the third time this week."
The Single 20 Something: "Everyone is married. Everyone is having kids. Everyone is buying homes. Everyone is paying off their loans. Everyone that is, except for me. Here I am, living paycheck to paycheck. Just trying to stay ahead of the next round of bills. I'm tired of being alone at night. I'm sick of not having anyone to talk to when I go home. I miss the days of college when you lived in the bubble of work and school, all your friends were there all the time because you lived with them, and your biggest problem was which packet of ramen noodles you were going to eat."
The Married 30 Something: "I'm so jealous of all my single friends. They can do whatever they want to, whenever they want to. I love my kids. I love my spouse. But somedays, I just want to eat the last Oreo myself. I don't want to share my popsicle. If I want to vacation in Mexico...I buy a ticket. I miss the days when I just had some alone time."
The Empty Nester: "The kids are gone...what do I do now? How do I fill the time...the void? Sometimes I feel like my spouse is a stranger. We got so caught up in 'life' that we lost ours. I miss the days where the silence and time was filled with laughter and memories instead of reruns on Nick at Night."
Can you find yourself in any of those situations? Are you currently living one of those scenarios? One of the mistakes I think that we make as we get older is that we have the temptation to look at that second grader and think "they don't have it so bad." But at the time, those problems are very real...and very significant.
But I don't write to focus on the problems. (Problems are the first part...the getting it out part.) I write so we can recognize the problems...but encourage each other to see beyond them. To know that you're not alone. To encourage each other to work through the tough spots and focus on the good things. We can turn every one of those scenarios around to a positive. Don't just stop with the focus on the troubles. Acknowledge them, but instead of letting them define or defeat you, use them as encouragement for yourself and others to continue to press on. Let them become the fuel for your fire. Money will come and go. Things are just things and can be replaced with other things.
People are irreplaceable, and are what really matter. Be gentle with yourself and others. And when in doubt...