Saturday, December 17

The Abc's of Life

Finally, I have some time off and can get back to my one true love, blogging.  Unfortunately, my creativity has come to a stand still and I cannot think of interesting topics to blog about!  (Suggestions please).  I figure I will blog about what I know.  As I attend my second year of University as a twenty-four year old, I spend my days with friends who are typically five years younger than me.  I love them to death, but often I find myself feeling old.  Looking back, it seems as though those five years were a time of growth that I never realized were even happening, until now.  When I think back to what I knew about life at the age of nineteen, compared to how I view it now, my opinions of the world have changed considerably.  Here is what I know...

A is for Activism 

We have all heard the sayings 'power to the people' and 'be the change you want to see in the world', but how many of us actually act upon them?  Activism is the effort to bring about social, economic, environmental, or political change.  There are countless ways one can be an activist from something as simple as writing letters to newspapers or politicians, sharing a link on your facebook page, or even blogging, to as intense as political campaigning, boycotts, rallies, and street marches or strikes.  If you believe in something and want to make a difference in this world, the only person stopping you is you.

B is for Body
Did you know that eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia are mental disorders?  Our world has become so consumed with personal image that people are driven to extreme measures to find content with themselves.  Take pride in your body.  You are beautiful the way you are- and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.  Beauty does not mean a size 2, and it cannot be defined by colour, gender, race, or age.  Beauty is confidence in who you are.

C is for Children
I have probably blogged about this before, and chances are I will a hundred more times (considering my career path), but our actions around children are more important than one could possibly understand.  Every single thing we do or say around them influences them in some way or another.  Use your imagination, be creative, act goofy, let them laugh at you, compliment the smallest successes, correct manners, be joy in their life.  Encourage reading and crafts over video games.  Children are ‘growing up’ at younger and younger and ages these days, when all adults wish they could do is be a kid again. 

D is for Dating  

Lord, I could give my opinions on dating for hours.  I supposed the number one rule of thumb: dating is supposed to be fun.  It is funny to see how often people forget that and find themselves in intense relationships full of debate and struggles, yet stay in them.  Why would you want to be with a person who brings you down?  Don’t settle for anything less than the best that you deserve.

E is for Education
Ha!  It has to be said:  do not worry about knowing ‘what you want to be when you grow up’ the second you think you’re growing up.  Explore.  Discover.  Decide.  Change your mind.  What has education taught me?  Who I do and do not want to be.  Education is fun, interesting, and exciting.  GET ONE. 

F is for Family

Your family loves you at your worst and celebrates at your best.  Don’t take them for granted.  There may be times when you are battling to the death with one another, but in the end you will always need them and they will always need you.  It was interesting to see just how much I relied on my family once I stopped living under the same roof.  Too often we take our family for granted, luckily there is always a balance of give and take.

G is for Goals 
Oh my gosh, I am such a goal geek.  I make goals daily, weekly, monthly, yearly.  At some level I am sure we all do- whether we realize it or no.  Setting goals gives you something to work towards and the reward of achievement.  You cannot help but feel proud of yourself after reaching a goal.  Besides, if you aren’t working towards accomplishing something, then what are you doing? 

H is for Home
Nothing feels better than home sweet home.  Whether you live with your parents or on your own; take pride in your home.  You never know how much works goes into the upkeep of a home until you have your own to keep, and let me tell you- it is a LOT. Appreciate it, make it your own, and enjoy your time there.     

I is for Identity
So often I see girls ‘fall in love’ in a few short days and have already given up their identity to someone else.  STOP IT.  The reason people love you is for who you are.  You cannot be afraid to let your true colours shine.  Don't forget who you are to make someone else happy by being what they want you to be.  Be yourself; everybody else is taken.

J is for Judgment
I look back at who I spent time with in High school and how we acted and I literally shudder.  The number of times we sat around talking about our peers and judging their every decision in life was truly sickening.  It came to a point where I just did not want anything to do with some people anymore, because I did not want to be associated with such callous.  Then last night, I was sitting beside a couple of girls I had never met before, and eavesdropped on them negatively talking about all of the people they knew around us.  I could not believe the things they would say about their ‘friends’.  At one point they began talking about one of my friends, and described her in a way I would NEVER have pictured her. I would not have even had known it was her they were describing without hearing the name.  I was seconds away from interrupting them and correcting their shallow views, until I remembered that it is people like this that are simply insignificant to me.  For that, I embrace others’ decisions and as much as possible, put myself in their shoes.  You are not better than someone else, just different.

K is for Keep looking forward
I know what it feels like to be overwhelmed with stress.  I know what it feels like when you cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I know what it feels like to want to quit.  Remember to keep your chin up, things can always get worse, but eventually they end up getting better.  No one can go back in time and make a new beginning, but anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.

L is for Life
I have so much control over what I make of my life. Growing up I had a fairytale view that I would go to college, get a job, be married, have babies, and everything would just unfold as it should.  It has been a rude awakening going to school for the 6th… 7th… (?) course I thought I wanted to spend my life doing, not married, no children, and not at all where I thought I would be at twenty-four.  What I have learned?  Do what YOU want to do, travel if the opportunity arises, try something new- even if you don’t really want to.  ‘Live life to the fullest’ is an overused saying that we hear all the time and disregard without a seconds thought.  But seriously- LIVE this LIVE to the FULLEST.  What have you done lately that was exciting?  Laugh more, gripe less, ignore critics, say yes, order dessert, love life.

M is for Money
Ugh I cannot stand talking about money.  I instantly feel my anxiety levels rising, my body temperature rises, and I can feel my heart beat start to race.  When I was younger, I wish someone would have said to me – stop wasting your money on shit: you will need it one day for something that is actually important.  They would have been correct.  Money comes and money goes.  Try not to waste it!  That’s all I will say before my stress level gets so high I pass out.

N is for Never Lie

Nothing grinds my gears like catching someone in the middle of a fib.  I ask you, what the hell is the point?  The truth will most likely come out at some point or another, so you might as well stick with it from the start.  I have an ex-boyfriend who would like about absolutely anything, even what he had for dinner that night.  Look how well that worked out.  Lying will only hurt the person you lied to and yourself in the long run.  Tell the truth and stay honest.

O is for Opportunity

Grab life by the horns!  If life gives you lemons make lemonade!  If an opportunity presents itself to you- say yes!  Sometimes in life we are given chances to try something we may not have otherwise attempted, and we should do it.  Don't sit back and watch life pass you by, you never know what surprises you may find.    

P is for Promise

Be the person that you would want to turn to with your most secretive stories.  If you make a promise: keep it.  Follow through on your word.  A good friend is one we can rely on.  If someone tells you a secret, keep it to your damn self.  If you make a promise you better do you best to keep it.

Q is for Quiet your mind
Take time to yourself everyday.  Even if it is just thirty minutes watching your favourite tv show, make sure you are scheduling time to give your mind a rest.  If not, you will find yourself burning out much faster!I understand working hard and wanting to accomplish as much as you can, but don't forget to take care of yourself in the process.

R is for Read
Nothing beats losing yourself in a good book.  If a book truly captures my attention, literally hours can pass before I set it down and return to reality.  It is healthy for your mind to move into a land of fantasy for a little while, creating new worlds and characters along the way.  Reading books trumps watching movies every time, because the vision we picture can never be duplicated by anyone else.  It is how we interpret what we read and no one can take that away from us.  

S is for Smart 
Honestly, someone starts to hit on you at the bar and one of the first things you think is either 'think one's a dumbass' or 'dang this one's got class'.  Acting like a ditz isn't cute, not knowing how to spell isn't forming your own version of slang, and dropping out of high school was never the cool thing to do.  I once saw a sign at work that said "OUT OF ODOUR".  Seriously?  Using your brain will result with you gaining more credibility, others asking for your assistance, and instill a sense of confidence in you from others.  Smart is sexy, and its the only kind of sexy that lasts.

T is for Talk 

We all have smart phones.  In fact, most of us will never be found without our cell phone within arms reach.  The question is, how often do we actually make a call to SPEAK with another person?  The art of communication is slowly dying, but the most chats with friends are the ones you can hear their voice during.    

U is for Unleash Strengths

Don't hold back!  If you're good at something then do it!  Who cares what society may think of you or if you're given an unfavourable label because of it.  If you have a passion- indulge.  I'm not the greatest blogger of all time but that isn't going to stop me from making more posts.    

V is for Vent 

Most of the people I know need a moment every now and then to vent.  What I have learned?  Venting about someone else via your facebook status is not clever or a sneaky way to take the high road.  It shows off immaturity, gets more people involved than need to be, and honestly just makes your Facebook friends roll their eyes at you.  The number one rule I learned during my MSN years was to NEVER, ever, ever write something that you do not want repeated, printed, forwarded, or copied and pasted to the 'wrong' person.  Vent to someone you can trust, either on the phone or in person.  The entire world does not need to know or care about your daily issues.  It is extremely important to get your troubles off of your chest, but do it like an adult. 

W is for Watch the sunset 

My dad always reminds us that life is made up of moments.  Our lives today are filled from the second we wake up until the minute we lay down in bed.  Often, we forget to stop and appreciate everything we have.  Sitting on my parents deck, enjoying a hot breakfast, discussing what is going on in our lives, and staring out across the lake is one of my favourite ways to spend my summer Sundays.  Taking a moment to sit back and take everything in makes it all the more special.    

X is for xo

Share as much love as you have to give.  The saying 'love as if you've never lost' is very true.  To give all that you can is important because you never know when you might not be able to anymore.  

Y is for Yell less

Ahh, so many people are uptight and high strung these days!  Loosen up!  Life is too short to spend it angry and bitter.  Hell yeah get mad, and then get over it.  It may take longer sometimes but nothing is worth staying so mad at that you cannot function in your day to day life.  If there are people in your life that are constantly bringing you down- stop talking to them so much!

Z is for Zap Negativity

Bring on the joy!  Negativity is contagious and can consume you!  Take negativity out of your life as much as possible.  I know I have the tendency to be a bit of a 'hothead', but I have been consciously trying to take a step back and view a situation in a positive light.  It is amazing how much changing your thoughts can effect your life.

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Lauren Kent

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