“Remember to breathe.”

So began a post last year on this very blog, a reflection into a few life lessons I had learned over what was, undoubtedly, the most tumultuous year of my young life.

Well, something about the falling leaves and the crisp autumn air have me in a bit of an introspective mood today. And, as I sit here with a cup of hot tea, cuddling with my beautiful Siamese and enjoying Mumford and Sons’ latest album, I again can’t help but want to share my humble insights from the past year’s journey.

Begin saying no to the people, activities, and habits that deplete your soul of joy.

Support your friends in their creative endeavors, even if you don’t personally like their work. Not everything is about you.

When you fall in love with that vintage orange couch with the swans, bamboo, Chinese motifs, and mahogany detailing, buy it–even if you have no place for it. It will become a conversation-starter, kitty’s favorite nap spot, and your most prized piece of furniture.

Think about the place on this planet where you’d most like to travel. And find a way to get there.

Live the kind of life that will give you stories to tell your grandchildren.

Take pictures. Lots of pictures.

It’s high time to start writing that book. Yeah, THAT one.

If you own a musical instrument, you have no good excuse not to learn how to play it. So learn to play it well.

Never let anyone–either by word or deed–diminish your self-worth.

Observe those leading happy lives. Study them. With what types of people do they surround themselves? What do they do for fun? What do they eat? And by all means, follow their Spotify playlists.

If your pet doesn’t like someone, trust them.

Digital media is a dangerous place to try and build and maintain a healthy relationship. Tone is lost, meaning is misinterpreted. A genuine smile, experienced in someone’s company, is a far better alternative to an emoticon.

If your schedule has become a battlefield, it’s time to start saying no to projects.

If you’re lucky, you’ll experience the kind of earth-shattering love that makes you weak and tingly all over at least once in your lifetime. But if you mess it up, don’t be fooled into thinking it doesn’t exist elsewhere.

Wearing your heart on your sleeve really is worth the eventual loss.

Even the best singer at the karaoke bar had to start somewhere. Stop making excuses and get your arse on stage.

Defend your right to not have to explain yourself.

If you’re a dude, you’re daft, if you’re a woman, you’re a little bit crazy. Stop denying it, just embrace it.

If you’re looking for love, stop. It’s really just about discovering that special someone that keeps your stupidity/insanity to a minimum.

If someone treats you with disrespect, remove yourself from the situation, and, if necessary, from the relationship. Life’s too short to spend its precious moments with someone who repeatedly hurts you.

Never, ever, ever make (or hold back from making) a substantial career-related decision based on a romantic relationship.

If you’re asked to participate in a fashion show, say yes. Even if you don’t think you’re attractive enough.

It’s OK to put up walls.

Getting a good night’s sleep is sometimes worth missing a party.

Your intuition can be trusted; It’s not an 8-ball, for goodness sake.

Don’t pass up an opportunity to listen to live music.

Find a picture of yourself at your happiest. Frame it, hang it on your wall, and look at it often. Strive for that kind of joy each and every day.

Never take for granted the privilege of meaningful work, or a decent-paying job, for that matter. There are a handful of individuals at the local homeless shelter that would give anything to have a stove from which to make their own soup.

That being said, a person’s worth is not gauged by their annual salary, the size of their home, or the value of their car.

Sometimes, no matter how much you care about someone, you must let them make their exit from your life.

Above all, love yourself first and the rest will follow.

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3 thoughts on “Still Breathing – 30 (More) Life Lessons

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