It’s all the same.
During December, I’m going to share 30 small affirmations/mantras/whatever you want to call them to help people feel good during this time of year. I love the holidays, but I also know it can be fraught with stress and anxiety and not-so-great tidings. I hope these help you. You deserve it.
It’s okay to not be “in the spirit” as soon as December rolls around. You don’t have to immediately be in the ‘deck the halls’ mode, nor do you have to compete against anyone else for how important the holiday season is. You do you, at your pace. You get to decide what this all means, ultimately.
Before the holiday sets in, I’m taking the opportunity on both of my blogs to acknowledge things for which I am grateful. This year has been rough, and I can’t even just say that in the greater sense. I’ve been working all year. My social life has suffered because things have been constantly busy. I lost 2/3 of my rat boys. But every time I stop to say, “Fuck this shit, I’m out” I also consider things for which I am grateful. Specific things. Like…
- The friends I’ve made online this year. In January, I posted a fun little story on Tumblr. Eleven months later, over 1200 people are reading other fun little things I write. And I consider a lot of them real friends, and that is freaking awesome.
- Pokemon Go. Silly, I know, but it’s been real fun, coming together and bonding with people over a game that was a part of so many childhoods.
- Art. In spite of everything, I’m still making it happen, a little bit each day.
- Good shows, good books, good games. And good people who make both.
- New York. Yeah, yeah, I know, broken record. You don’t understand how much I needed to spend two days alone in the most crowded place on Earth.
Take a moment to consider what you are grateful for. It’s hard to find the gold hidden in the pile of dung, but try. You’ll be glad you did.
Literally wrapping this up at the time when, 32 years ago, my mom decided that she had gotten through all her favorite shows and would go have me already, even though frankly she didn’t know what the big deal was about.
17. Take care of your teeth as much as you’re able to. And on that note…
18. Forgive your genetics. There’s nothing you can do about it. Take it easy on yourself.
19. Choose happiness now. Don’t wait until you’re in another place or ‘until I accomplish this thing’ or ‘until I am finally doing that thing.’ Make your happiness a priority this instant, even if it’s not easy.
20. Stretch. Take deep breaths.
21. Surround yourself with things and people that you love. Even if people try to tell you that you shouldn’t, or people disagree with your tastes. It’s your space. You get to choose who you let in it.
22. One day, you’re going to realize that your parents are just like everyone else. And that means you get to choose what your relationship is like with them, especially when you are making your own decisions.
23. Try not to burn bridges. You may want to cross them later. But if you do, grab a boat. Swim if you have to.
24. Always get your feet wet. This isn’t actually a metaphor; like, when you go to the beach, put your feet in the water. Jump in the pool. Never say no to hot tubs.
25. Never be afraid to laugh or cry or be excited or be down. Your emotions will always be there. If you internalize everything, you’ll explode.
27. Ask for help. It’s never easy. It never gets easier. But do it, when you’re able to. You don’t deserve to suffer in silence.
28. Sing in your car. Dance in the grocery store.
29. Stretch. I swear by this, actually. As much as you are physically able to, even if it’s while you’re sitting down or lying in your bed. Move.
30. Read self help books, but know when it’s time to write your own book. Not everything will work for you the way it works for other people. Just keep trying until you figure out what is effective, and then develop yourself from there.
31. Nobody is perfect, and everybody has been at a point where they have no idea what they’re supposed to be doing. Maybe it’s something big like LIFE™ and maybe it’s just taxes. Don’t be afraid to find someone you can talk to and ask if they can walk you through it start to finish. Ask questions.
32. You are awesome, and you deserve love.
So, tomorrow is my 32nd birthday. And I thought it might be fun to share 32 lessons I’ve learned during the span of my lifetime to this point. I like doing lists like this anyway, but I hope maybe it will be interesting for people who follow me or read my stuff. I’m dividing it into two posts: 16 today, 16 tomorrow. Enjoy.
1. Travel, when you can. Even if it’s just within your own city. Check out places you’ve never looked before. Wander. You don’t have to talk to anyone. Just experience the world outside of your home.
2. It’s always easier to say ‘no,’ so say ‘yes’ whenever possible. Try everything. Open yourself to new experiences, even if they seem inconvenient or uncomfortable.
3. Everything makes a good story. Even the terrible shit (especially the terrible shit).
4. You don’t owe anyone an explanation about yourself. Never be ashamed of your interests or the things that make you who you are. So long as you aren’t hurting anyone, do what you want. On that note…
5. Be nice. It takes little effort to be kind. You can disagree and dislike someone or something without being a jerk. Show some compassion. You could literally save someone’s life.
6. Enjoy solitude when you have it. Be comfortable with yourself when you are alone. You’re always going to be stuck with you; might as well make friends.
7. It’s never too late to apologize, if you want to.
8. This, too, shall pass. Depression, anxiety, crises. Pure joy, happiness, sleep. It’s all temporary.
9. Make the things that you would like to see more of. Don’t produce content because it’s what you think you should do. If you don’t like what you’re doing, you’ll wind up resenting it.
10. Say ‘please,’ ‘thank you,’ and ‘excuse me.’
11. You cannot control how people think or feel. The only thing you can do is decide how you’re going to let them affect you. Don’t take their baggage personally.
12. You’re never too old to appreciate cute animals.
13. Nobody else gets to decide your relationship with the universe. Pursue a faith and spirituality that speaks to you, from your heart, and not out of any sense of obligation.
14. You are made out of stardust. Your existence is magic. You are a miracle. Every day you are living is a day more than so many other people. You are literally awesome.
15. Be honest. With everyone. With your family, with your friends, with strangers. But honesty doesn’t have to equate with dickishness. Tact is your friend.
16. Surprise others. Keep people guessing. It’s really, really fun.
So I have certain go-to books to help me when I’m in a funk. And, granted, I’ve read a lot of self help stuff, but these ones I come back to on a somewhat regular basis.
- The Happiness Project and Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin — Gretchen left her job in law to become a full-time writer, so that immediately got my attention. But the amount of work and study she has put into what happiness is (and isn’t) has really opened my eyes to figuring out what that means for me, too. Her book on habits has also been very, very helpful for me in figuring out how to set new desires in motion.
- Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert — The Eat, Pray, Love author brought out this fantastic book last year that focuses on the creative spirit and combined both memoir and advice, making it both an entertaining read and also very enlightening.
- Steal Like an Artist and Show Your Work by Austin Kleon — More books on creativity and how to be true to yourself. I also follow him on Tumblr. Very smart and interesting guy with, hands down, the least offensive weekly newsletter.
- How to Be Interesting by Jessica Hagy — a fun read for the Venn diagram lover in everyone that somehow manages to also remind me that I’m not as boring as I think I am.
What are your favorite self help books that have got you through difficult times? Tell me about it on the Facebook page or in the comments!
- There’s somebody out there who is doing worse than you right now.
- If you’re concerned that you’re not as good of a person as you think you are, that puts you ahead of the game (keep exploring that).
- In a whirlpool, if you panic, you die. Relax. Ride it out.
- Give yourself a little bit of mercy now and then. You’re the only one hearing you say ‘uncle.’
- Touch your own heart. Feel it beating. Remember that you’re still here.