As I grow older I’ve discovered and cultivated certain values I deem essential. While ice cream before bed each night is lovely, it isn’t a commandment I vow not to stray from. By making mistakes and pushing myself to learn from them, I’ve devised my set of “Ten Commandments” for the happiest, most well balanced me.
8 Hours of Sleep above all else!
Because there is no question I will be driving in the wrong lane of traffic like a delusional zombie if I am not well rested. I might be the boring friend who won’t stay out past 9:30 on a work night and leaves most parties by midnight even on Saturdays but I like being boring. I don’t like sleeping in until 10:00 am- it makes me grumpy, it ruins my day. So, eight full hours of sleep it is because I’m not exceptionally kind when I’m sleepy and I like to be a nice person.
Some things are better left unsaid.
As much as I strive to be 100% genuine, I’ve found myself wishing I bit my tongue more often than I care to share. Even among best friends there are times it is better to think first and speak second. Some difficult conversations are necessary while others are just petty and dare I say bitchy. It is important to learn the difference. (See also: That time I told my friend I hated her fiancé).
Find someone you can talk to about everything.
Whether it is your Mom, your boyfriend, your bestie or your therapist…it is SO important to have someone you can share your worries and concerns. I do not believe in keeping feelings cooped up inside of me and since I have so many feelings I need a few people to really talk to on a regular basis.
Growth is just as important as achievement.
I’m the first to admit I am nowhere near exceptional. My accomplishments are average. I’ve never won any sort of championship, my grades have always been normal and I have yet to receive any sort of reputable promotion. I am by all accounts mediocre. I live with the fact that I am (and most likely always will be) unexceptional by working towards growth every day. Just as perfect can become the opposite of “good enough”, the idea of being “the best” can really undermine one’s attempts to be better. I’ve stopped trying to be the best and it’s liberating. I can be a beginner. I can be bad at something but still enjoy it. I can start something new and I can abandon something I hate. Growth and evolotion are not necessarily represented by trophies or parties or gold stars.
It really doesn’t matter how many “likes” you get on Instagram.
As much as I adore social media for the creativity it has sparked within me and the connections it has added to my life, I have to be honest, sometimes it can turn me into a total monster. I’ve argued with my boyfriend over taking photos of me at ugly angles and felt bad about myself for not posting frequently enough and compared myself to other girls. I’ve had to step back, take a deep breath and remind myself that the quality of my relationships and my experiences is infinitely bigger than the glimpse of my world I portray on social media. I might not make all of my posts pin-able or use the right combination of hashtags on Instagram or optimize my posts perfectly for SEO…but I’m still here. My heart is still beating. My world is still intact. And NO ONE noticed that I didn’t use Insta for three days in a row. Unplugging occasionally is crucial.
Surround yourself with people who treat you like you’re worth it (because you are)!
Life is too short to waste time around people who don’t understand your brand of wonderful. I’m quiet and weird and socially awkward. Understandably a lot of the people I encounter on a daily basis aren’t instantly inviting me to cocktails or begging me to come to their next party. It is SO easy to get caught up overanalyzing why people don’t want to be your BFF but who wants to play that sort of mental mind game with themselves? It’s pure torture! Accept that not every guy will fall head over heels in love with you (oh well), not every girl will want you in her squad (move on) and learn to be okay with not always being the hottest commodity in the room. Then, surround yourself with people who appreciate your weird sense of humor, your quirks and understand your dreams, those people are worth holding onto!
Gracefully admit when you are wrong.
We all loathe the person who can’t say they’re sorry and refuses to admit they’re wrong. Unfortunately we’ve all been that person at one time or another too! Over the past few years I haven’t stopped making mistakes but I have learned the value of admitting my faults. I’m not always a perfect friend, but I want to be a good one overall. When you are able to swallow your pride and say “I handled that incorrectly” or “you were right” or “I was being a total brat”you earn so much more respect than you do insisting your way is always right.
Get a little bit of fresh air & exercise every day.
Even on the rainy days I make myself go on a walk. On the days that are too hot to run outside I’ll run at the gym and eat lunch outside. When I can’t force myself to really work out, I meet with a friend and walk around Green lake or grab Jordan and force him into a hike. Without fresh air I start to wilt and without exercise I grow lethargic. I think we all should prescribe ourselves at least a few minutes of fresh air and exercise each and every day.
Be Good to people.
Hold the door open for a stranger, send your bestie across the country a care package, write your Grandma a handwritten letter, volunteer just because, compliment your coworker’s new haircut, praise your significant other on their achievements, surprise someone, just smile! Earlier this fall, my favorite barista at Starbucks bought my coffee on her last day working at the coffee shop. She told me she was going back to school and I was one of her favorite long time customers. As I left sipping on my vanilla latte, I instantly started tearing up. I am so shy and antisocial and awkward around strangers the smallest gesture of kinship from an acquaintance means the world to me. Brightening someone’s day often takes so little effort but you never know how meaningful your small gesture may be.
Think critically & Read!!!
As much as our Facebook feeds would like us to believe that we live in a world filled with slug-brained peers, I truly believe most people are capable and intelligent. You have brains in that head of yours now don’t let them rot! Fact check that viral Buzzfeed article your friends are sharing, ask WHY a rule is in place, look for gaps in logic, search for an author’s credibility. So often I see people blindly sharing anything and everything they read on the internet and I admit I’ve been guilty of lazily believing false information but I KNOW we are smarter than that. Beyond fact checking, I believe in the simple power of reading. Read children’s literature, or classic novels or poetry or self help books. Read the newspaper daily or greek tragedies or the biography of your favorite reality star. Just do it okay? I swear reading for fun is one of the most valuable skills out there.
I’m sure my “commandments” will evolve over time. I mean, if I ever have a baby I’ll surely have to learn to live without my sacred eight hours of beauty sleep. I’m beginning to think life is all about learning a valuable lesson and then learning the inverse of that lesson is also valid. Do you have any “commandments” you must abide by? I would love to hear!
Happy Friday gorgeous readers! I’m taking a personal day to head to a few appointments and take care of my horrid roots. By the end of the day I’ll be able to present myself in public once again, but no promises I’ll actually do such a thing. Have a wonderful weekend lovelies <3