Friday, July 11, 2014

12 wrong ways to live your life

This post has been sitting around for months. So I decided to just let it go. So here it is.

There's no right way to live, but there are lots of wrong ways.

Wrong way #1: Living someone else's dream
You know this old nugget: follow your bliss. For real, do it. Other people don't get to tell you how to live. Not your kids. Not your parents. Not your spouse. Not your boss. Not me.

Wrong way #2: By the book
I know people who are always saying things like "I can't" or "I shouldn't", because whatever the idea or activity is falls outside some proscribed way to be alive, dictated by a mythology/religion, gender norms, cultural baggage or just straight-up fear. That's crap. You can do whatever you want with your life. There really is no one true path. There are zero rules. There is wisdom. There are good ideas. But there are no rules.

Wrong way #3: Only for other people
Other people are so awesome. I know some I love almost as much as I love myself. It's like thisclose. My kids. My mom. My closest friends. You have them too. But I don't live my life for any of them. I live my life for me. And the byproduct of me living my own life is that I'm happier, more able to be present with the people I love. I can also be an example of someone who does her thing. And you can do your own thing while being a responsible, ethical, and dependable adult. These ideas are not mutually exclusive.

Wrong way #4: With a never-ending to-do list
Put down the list, ladies. For realz. Holy hell. Here's some TRUTH for you:
You will never do everything on your list. And that's ok.

I love a good list. I make a short to-do list everyday but rarely pay much attention to it afterwards. Lists are my way to think through the day and maybe prioritize, not the map for my life. Because there are things that I will never write on my lists that are more important than calling the dentist: sitting with my little guy and cuddling, texting a friend who needs a smile, grabbing a beer with a buddy. You know, life stuff. Life is not a list. It's an activity.

Wrong way #5: Holding a grudge
Let it go. Seriously, that anger and hurt is just weighing you down. It's not doing one thing to the other guy. Seriously, stop wasting your life focusing on the past. Let it go.

Wrong way #6: Too safe
It is way too easy to play life too safe. It's easy to listen to the conventional wisdom (which is often wrong, by the way). It's easy to fall into the grooves and traps of adult life. Don't do it. Take a risk once in a while. Get a new haircut. Buy the red dress. Change jobs. Go salsa dancing. Whatever. Just go do something new and exciting.

Wrong way #7: Quietly
Speak up. Take up space. Do not apologize when you speak up. Do not minimize yourself. You have a right to take up space. Be big.

Wrong way #8: Waiting
What in the hell are you waiting for? "The right time"? It's never coming. It will never be the right time to get married or have a baby or change jobs or learn French. Sure, you have to think about things like an adult, but after a certain amount of planning you just have to go for it. Or else you never do. No one is prepared for the big stuff, but once you're in it you figure it out.

Wrong way #9: Taking it personally
The best advice I can give you is that it is almost never about you. When people are assholes to you, its just them venting some hurt. You are just a target. Sometimes they are afraid of you. Sometimes they are jealous of you. Sometimes they are just assholes. Don't internalize their bullshit. You have enough of your own hurt to deal with. Let the haters hate, but don't ever think they are really talking about you.

Wrong way #10: Without gratitude
Be grateful everyday for this life you have. It is a miracle to be alive. Don't just say the words. BE grateful. Your life will expand and light up in so many ways.

Wrong way #11: Passionless
A life without passion isn't really a life. If there is nothing or no one who captivates you, makes you want to just eat them up, nothing that stirs your curiosity, well then get to it. Start trying things out. What would you do if you could do anything at all? Go do it, in whatever way you can. Make time for your writing, your art, your volunteer work, your lover. Seriously, schedule that stuff in there between the gym and the dentist. You NEED it.

Wrong way #12: In another time
Be here now. There is no other place to be. 

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Thanks for sharing your thoughts.