Cheers to Almost 40…

Pardon me while I stand on this soap box and give you advice the only way I know how….unless of course, in true Aries fashion, I’m giving you some kind of aggressive pep talk, which I’ve been known to do.

Recently I was asked, “What is advice you’d give kids these days?”. After thinking long and hard I came up with a list. Six bullet points that resonate with me. Some I’ve lived by for many years, and some are newer to the list.

If you don’t enjoy my long winded diatribes on life – I’m not sure why you’re here – BUT, if you find my ramblings amusing and don’t mind a good old fashioned aggressive pep talk…stick around. Plus I color coded it like the rainbow, so if nothing else…there’s that!

1) Know your audience

2) Know who to trust

3) Know yourself, love yourself, like yourself (GET THERAPY)

4) Be impeccable with your word

5) Never assume (ass-u-me)

6) Don’t take things personally

Now, for the elaboration.

Know Your Audience

Clear, to the point. We, as humans, must know how to fit into certain scenarios. We can’t always be our same selves, this is a simple fact of life. I don’t get to act the same way with friends at a bar as I would at work, right? We conduct ourselves based on the situation. There are also entire friendships you may treat differently than others. I may have a friend who enjoys my abrasive pep talks and another who has feelings and I need to check myself when they ask for advice. I very easily can do this, partly because I’ve collected so many people along my walk of life, I simply have been exposed to just about every personality. I learned a lot of people skills at a very young age: eye contact, firm handshakes, manners, and the list continues. Over time we discover what works. My point is, be appropriate, but also, always be you. It’s YOUR ZEST that brings people back for more, don’t lose it, don’t pretend to be something your not, just appropriately use the tools in your tool belt.

Know Who to Trust

Probably the most important on the list. As I said, I’ve collected many people on life’s journey. My bestie used to tell me she’d come to visit and I’d introduce her to new people every time she was here because I had a “new group of friends”. This is true, and a little embarrassing, I promise I don’t have commitment issues or something, haha. Truth is there’s not much grey area with me. I used to make friends around every corner and THINK I had to give a certain amount of energy to that person. Finally, after many many many years of heartache and disappointment I’ve realized my friends who I’ve had for 20-30 years, my husband, my family…those our the people who get THAT amount of my energy and time. The rest….you get what’s left. Not to say new friends don’t deserve my full attention, they do, but I’m less willing to take from what is already solid to disburse energy elsewhere. The BIGGEST hurdle with my collection of friends is – I am an open book. There’s no guess work when it comes to me, and this can cause a heap of issues. I also am someone people want to talk to. Sounds simple, and like no big worry, right…but it is. When you know a lot of people you turn into a girl some folks might come to for dirt….don’t gossip. People’s stories are their own to tell. Don’t share another person’s secrets. And by all means, keep some of yourself a mystery. If you do need to vent, know who to talk to. Talk to someone who already knows. Talk to your spouse, talk to your mom. Don’t talk to just anyone. Trust the right people….often times we trust first. Rylan always told me to learn, then trust….it took me far too long and a trail of tears to listen. Now, I do…and this is so important.

Know Yourself, Love Yourself, Like Yourself (GET THERAPY)

I have an entire blog written on therapy, you can read it HERE. I won’t elaborate much on my feelings in therapy other than, if you are breathing and reading this, you need therapy. I love it and I wish everyone would treat themselves to it. There, unfortunately, aren’t enough GOOD therapists out there – if you’re looking for a career, consider it.

Years ago my stepdad gave me some advice which earned its place on my list. “You are the only person you have to live with forever, treat yourself accordingly”. It’s true. As I got older I’ve realized I don’t have kids, I have no one who will be by my side with absolution till my last day. I may live longer than my husband, and if I do, I will die alone. This isn’t some pity party, it’s a fact my friends. I’ve tried to tell my nephews “whoever treats me best gets everything….” turns out their love isn’t for sale I don’t think…haha. I digress, for this advice, I’m thankful. I have spent years in therapy learning to love myself. I have heaps of people in my life who love me too, some who have loved me in the recent years when I didn’t love or like myself. Some who showed me we all make mistakes, no one is the picture of perfection, it’s okay to fall apart. My gosh I’m grateful. Ultimately I had to get myself out of that slump. I had to see my own worth. Thankfully, I did. Now I take about zero shit from anyone because of it, and it has proven to be good, almost always, and bad some of the time. The reality is, if you can’t respect me as much as I respect me, why are we even wasting our time with each other. Present day Andrea who loves herself has hard conversations. She tells people when her feelings are hurt and she lets people know when their feelings should or should not be hurt, when something is intentional she will tell you and if it is not intentional, she will right the wrong. She reaches out when there is miscommunication and doesn’t just assume (we’ll get there soon enough) things will pass. I love this version of her. I like her too. She’s still fun to be around but has more time for people who stuck around…and that, my friends, is the BEST. (Maybe went a little too far on the third person, but hey, it worked). Bottom line is I know what I bring to the table and I’m not at all afraid to eat alone, because some day, I probably will, and I won’t live fearfully looking toward that day. I’m damn good company…know it, or get out.

Be Impeccable With Your Word

It goes without saying – don’t be a liar. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Stand up for yourself and have tough, uncomfortable, awkwardly beautiful conversations. If you make a mistake, fess up. The old saying goes – if you don’t lie, you don’t have anything you have to remember. Live that. You’re the only person you have to live with forever, so make sure you’re worth living for.

Never Assume (Ass-U-Me- Rule)

Rylan taught me this YEARS ago. Not long after we first met. I was maybe 17. He said “when you assume you make an ass uh me….” Meaning…I’m making an ass out of myself when I make an assumption. GENIUS. I married such a wise guy…haha.

Don’t Take Things Personally

Guess what, it’s probably not ABOUT YOU. Something I loathe about social media is what I’ve dubbed as “vaguebooking” it goes across all social platforms, not just facebook. I simply believe facebook is where people air out their dirty laundry – hence why I don’t have facebook. There are people on many social sites who will share some kind of cryptic meme or message about loving themselves more, making changes, hating on this that or the other thing…it happens every day…but, unless they directly tag you or contact you or say something to you, I promise, you’ll be a LOT happier if you don’t ASSUME it’s about you. It could be, but if people make you feel prickly, reach out, ask them, the big issue here is NOT ENOUGH CONVERSATIONS ARE HAD! Period.

Newsflash to anyone who knows me…anything I do or say, unless I say it directly to you, it’s probably not at all about you. It is about me or my husband, and that’s usually it. Him and I are who I do everything for – travel, self care, life choices, etc. If something is about you, mark my words, I will tell you before I share some cryptic nonsense about it. If something is about you we will have a conversation (or I’ll at least try to have that conversation) – before I’d EVER share something publicly. Usually, my shares are things I find interesting, or things going on in my life I think others may find interesting. I’m over here just knowing my light and trying to share it with the world….I don’t ever want to spread a blanket of darkness over the people who care enough to love me. I will have hard conversations with anyone first, always.

So…the bottom line….

We are all beautifully different people. We always should love ourselves and stay ourselves. There’s so much hate and anger out there we don’t need to try to light more fires. Be you. Love you. Take care of you and those who deserve your light. Have a backbone and a heart and stand up for what you love. Care for one another. Spend time alone and learn to accept yourself. Don’t blame your past for your present. Live now. Live fully. And, love hard.

Till next time friends…stay beautiful.

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