3. Look at your life though the eyes of your 80-year-old self. I once traveled through Guatemala with a 76-year-old Canadian rancher in our group. I was 23 at the time and very worked up about the airport losing my bag. My frustration with it all nearly ruined my first week there. He told me that when he was young, he let simple things like that bother him, but as he got older, he let little stresses in life slide. When we’re young, life seems infinite. But death doesn’t discriminate and it could happen to anyone anytime. So, you have to look at life in the grand scheme of things and realize that we get way too wrapped up in so many petty things. When we’re old and looking back on our lives, we won’t remember some date that didn’t call us back when we were 23 or a spat between a coworker over stealing our apple from the fridge. When we’re 80, we aren’t going to care about people who didn’t like us. We have to take every obstacle we face and ask ourselves if it’s really going to matter a day, a week, or a decade from now. The majority of the things we stress out over are not worth it.
5. It is not your job to convince men to like you. Friends, relatives, magazines, coworkers, and men who love to chuck unwarranted advice my way have pointed out time and time again the things I do “wrong” with dating. I talk too much. I way too open and honest. I leave little mystery. I “put out” too soon. I fill in them in on my risqué writing and of course, that gives them the indication that should be treated like the whore I am. Boys will be boys, right? Guess what. Because females have gained financial independence, it is no longer our job to strategize and entrap men into matrimony. Every relationship I’ve been in was built on a foundation of good-spirited manipulation. That’s how far too many romantic relationships start. As Taylor Swift stated in Blank Space women tend to, “Find out what you want and be that girl for a month.” (Yes, I totally just quoted Taylor Swift). But would you rather a man fall in love with you or an illusion that’s bound to fade away? Be yourself. And if you’re remotely interesting, you’re bound to face a lot of rejection. Tons. About 90% of the men I’ve been with have left me- not the other way around. And I’m okay with that. I believe that the right man will fall in love with every quality that scares the rest of them.
7. Don’t be an asshole. Nothing good ever comes from being an asshole.
8. Be about something. There is going to be a time when you feel like the world is ending. People will betray and abandon you. Loved ones will die. You may lose your money. You may lose yourself. So, you need a reason to live- a passion that will be there for you when people are not.
10. Do things alone. The majority of my traveling has been solo. If I waited around for other people to be ready to go with me, I’d never end up going. Plus, going places with people requires compromise and also robs you of a lot of opportunities to meet new people. I’ve gone to concerts, movies, restaurants, and foreign countries alone. And those experiences have been equally as gratifying as sharing them with others.
12. Your true passion in life is what you’d be doing if somebody handed you 100 million dollars.
13. Your loyalty, love, and devotion must be earned. My emotional priorities have been completely out of whack. Even though he never treated me well, I always put my stepfather on a pedestal and glorified every scrap of kindness he tossed me. I was always the one person in the family who called every cousin, aunt, and uncle for their birthday. In the Navy, I spent every day of my leave visiting a family that I later found out didn’t really like me. I blew thousands of dollars on plane tickets to see parents that ditched me on Christmas for romantic getaways, never took time off work to spend with me, and had my “farewell dinner” before departing for my ship without me. I remember having to practically force friends to go out with me for my 21st birthday. The ones who happily came were the ones I took for granted. Love interests were even worse. My ex boyfriend always told me my expectations of him were too high. But the fact is, I loved him more than he loved me. I was willing to do more for him than he was for me. Since then, I’ve learned to read people. I’ve learned to take a step backwards and allow them to show what kind of relationship we are going to have. I’ve allowed them to earn what they want from me and that defines what I reciprocate.
17. Have morals. This doesn’t mean to follow the Ten Commandments or not have sex before marriage because your grandmother told you it was right. But have your own understanding of right and wrong. Set boundaries and stick to them.