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Posts Tagged ‘Life Lessons’

Oh my goodness! It has been a week-and-a-half  since I have written a new blog post – I most sincerely apologize for the delay! Last weekend, one of my best friend’s left her home in the Capital City for a few days to come visit her ole friends in her previous home down in the Dirty South. The whole gang had a wonderful weekend catching up over delicious meals (except for Saturday – I contracted a stomach bug or had food poisoning and was out of commission for the day/night), and I was sad to see her go come Sunday 😦 I am comforted, however, by the fact that Jenny (“Little Jenny” as I fondly call her) is following her dreams – she lives in her dream city and has her dream job and is continuing to tackle her dreams one-by-one. I am so proud of her, and although she isn’t around for last minute trips to the mall and Wednesday night margaritas and cheese dip, I can’t help but be happy for her that she can wake up smiling knowing she’s on her way to living the life she’s always dreamed. This got me thinking – isn’t this what we should all be doing? Shouldn’t we all be chasing (and getting closer to catching) our dreams everyday?

Changing your life in order to follow your dreams is scary. Trust me – I know. I’m scared to death right now. I am leaving a group of extraordinary friends, a city with more to do than I could ever imagine actually getting done, a state I’ve lived in for the past 8 years, and a lifestyle and schedule in which I’ve grown quite accustomed in order to pursue my own dreams. Unfortunately, my dreams can’t be realized in the city of Atlanta, so I must venture out of my bubble to the unknown (first stop – University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) and, essentially, start over.

If you know me at all, are my Facebook friend, have read my “About Me” on this blog, or all of the above, you pretty much know by now that I try and live my life based on the following quote from Erma Bombeck:

“When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say, ‘I used everything You gave me.'”

For the past three years, I haven’t been pursuing my calling. If I died tomorrow, I wouldn’t be able to stand before God and truly say that “I used everything You gave me.” I didn’t use the positive aspects of my personality in my advertising/search marketing career, and although I learned a great deal about the business/advertising world, I realized that it just isn’t for me. I don’t want to shake hands with it ever again, and I don’t think it really wants me to return.

I am giving up my life sitting behind a computer and fixing websites in order to pursue a career where I feel that I will matter. I am going to begin graduate school this summer to obtain a Master’s in Library Science with a specialization in School Library Media in order to become an elementary school librarian/media specialist. I know that my unique talents include the abilities to make people laugh/smile, to truly listen and learn from children, and to creatively teach others how to expand their minds through reading and obtaining information. I want to go into work excited for the day and leave work feeling like I made a difference. I want to use my talents in order to give back. I truly believe that a life that is not spent helping people in one way or another is a wasted life. To give as much as you can – whether it’s your time, support, money, help, encouragement, etc. – that is to have succeeded. That is to have lived a full life.

I’ll say it again – chasing your dreams is scary – there is nothing more nerve-wracking than giving up the known in order to venture into the unknown. When I start to feel my chest tighten, my heartbeat race, and my stomach tie up in knots, I think about all of my family, friends, and mentors who have taken a dive into their own unknown abbyss – only to come out stronger and happier on the other side. We are too young to live only a life of contentment – let’s try and live a life of pure happiness filled with soul-enhancing and life-changing experiences. Although I leave my beloved Atlanta in less than a month, I am looking forward to the future and to capturing my dreams head on and, of course, to the day that I will get to smile at God and tell Him that “I used everything You gave me.”

Every morning you have two choices - continue your sleep with dreaming or wake up and chase your dreams - the choice is yours.

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One of Japan’s most read and best-loved authors, Kenji Miyazawa, once said: “We must embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey.” I am unfamiliar with many of Miyazawa’s works, but his quote resonates in my soul, and I am sure many of you will remark its relevance in your own lives. Each one of us is fighting our own battles – at war with people, ideals, thoughts, diseases, our own minds, etc. At any one moment, we are working to overcome various adversities in our lives so we can hopefully discover, at the very least, contentment, and at the very most, pure and utter happiness.

To say that the road to happiness is “difficult” is an understatement. It is full of perils, unexpected obstacles, and, sometimes, lessons you were hoping you never had to learn. But what is a journey without all of these obstacles? Well, I would argue, it’s not a “journey” at all. Yes, in the literal sense, a journey is an “act of traveling from one place to another” (thank you Merriam-Webster), but in the mental, physical, and emotional sense, a journey isn’t just another word for “trip.” The dictionary forgets to mention the hard work, perseverance, despair, heartache, sadness, accomplishment, and every other emotion in the realm of possibilities when it belittles the word to its simple one-to-two-line(s) definition. Getting from the defined “one place to another” isn’t easy, and we have to come to terms with all of the physical and emotional roadblocks along the way. But as painful as the journey can be, if we embrace the pain and we use it for fuel, we can keep on going – keep on chugging along no matter the pace.

We are constantly journeying through life in an effort to follow our dreams; at times along the way, we’ll take two steps back, and other times, we will have leaped ahead three. What’s important is remembering that the journey is where we find out who we are – where we realize the fight we have within us and the will to never give up. What kind of life is worth living if you are always walking through the raindrops? What sense of accomplishment do you glean from being handed your goal – from never having to work to achieve your dreams? Embrace the individual rain that pours down on each of you – the rain that drenches your perfectly planned life journey – and just get wet once in a while. See the adversity. Relish in the disappointment. Really feel the heartache. Envelop yourself in the pain. Then try and overcome it – burn it as fuel – the victory will taste that much sweeter, and the journey will mean that much more.

In the end, the destination is not really the reward…

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Yesterday, my wonderful friend Keeli (whom I miss dearly, because she has been living in Seattle for a year-and-a-half now – I think she got stuck on the Space Needle and just hasn’t been able to get down…it’s my only justification for my constant state of dissaray as I anxiously anticipate my next dose of ‘Kee Kee’ 😉 ) sent me an email entitled “Handbook 2010.” Keeli knows me oh too well as she so poignantly stated in her personalized note: “This is right up your ally! :)” As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I find immense inspiration in quotes and axioms – a few short, too-the-point words can put your whole life in perspective (and they are easy to remember – always a plus!). So when Keeli sent along these “instructions for life,” I immediately reveled in their wisdom and felt a new sense of hope for this upcoming year. We may already be halfway into the first month of 2010, but it’s never too late to start a resolution or to change your life for the better. You can find inspiration in a variety of forms – in a child’s smile, a good cup of coffee, an early morning sunrise, a refreshing walk, a motivational sermon, and the list goes on and on. I hope you’ll find some sort of inspiration and unending hope for the year ahead in the words signified below; remember – “We are made wise not be the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility of our future” (George Bernard Shaw).

***I bolded my favorite lines that have provided me with much-needed inspiration and/or are words I strongly believe in, and I also provided a little life instruction of my own for #40 – Enjoy!

Handbook 2010:

Health:
1. Drink plenty of water.
2. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a beggar.
3. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants.
4. Live with the 3 E’s – Energy, Enthusiasm, and Empathy.
5. Make time to pray.
6. Play more games.
7. Read more books than you did in 2009.
8. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day.
9. Sleep for 7 hours.
10. Take a 10-30 minute walk daily. And while you walk, smile.

Personality
:
11. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
12. Don’t have negative thoughts on things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive, present moment.
13. Don’t overdo it. Know and keep your limits.
14. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
15. Don’t waste your precious energy on gossip.
16. Dream more while you are awake.
17. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
18. Forget issues of the past. Don’t remind your partner with His/her mistakes of the past. That will ruin your present happiness.
19. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Don’t hate others.
20. Make peace with your past so it won’t spoil the present.
21. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
22. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class, but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.
23. Smile and laugh more.
24. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

Society
:
25. Call your family often.
26. Each day, give something good to others.
27. Forgive everyone for everything.
28. Spend time with people over the age of 70 and under the age of  6.
29. Try to make at least three people smile each day.
30. What other people think of you is none of your business.
31. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.

Life
:
32. Do the right thing!
33. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful, or joyful.
34. GOD heals everything.
35. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
36. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up, and show up.
37. Always remember that the best is yet to come.
38. When you wake up alive in the morning, thank GOD for it.
39. Your innermost being is always happy. So, be happy.

Lastly:
40. If you are touched by these words, share them with someone you care about – always spread love and fill other’s hearts with joy as often as you can. MAKE yourself a better person by just BEING a better person and be ready to relish in the unremitting happiness that follows.

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