When I was younger, my step mom and I would frequently dissect social scenarios and discuss what it meant to simply be. As the child of two incredibly intelligent mathematicians, this was probably one of the most helpful things that she ever did – and, to this day, still does. I call her, sometimes more often than others, for both commentary and brainstorming solutions to the current conundrum, however big or small, I had at hand. Like my natural parents, my step-mother has a strong footing in math and statistics and like my parents – she’s incredibly nurturing, loving and supportive. The main difference being that she’s an empathetic extrovert and a social butterfly, whereas my parents fall more on the introverted side of the spectrum. Simply put, her advice makes sense; it sticks. But why? First, it’s because on an emotional level – we understand each other, and operate relationships in a similar fashion. But on a larger scale – as humans, we tend to not ask questions or seek advice that we couldn’t somehow manifest for ourselves.
Over the years, I’ve collected the advice – sometimes on scrap paper or text messages to myself, other times in journals – and I’ve kept it close to my heart all these years. And not just from her – but from my relatives, friends, teachers, blogs, Reddit threads, basketball coaches, college TA’s….you name it, I took their wise words to heart. I’ve always been told that ‘experience is the hardest teacher, because you get the exam before the lesson‘ but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that living vicariously through the rollercoaster of experiences – ups, downs and in-betweens – of my peers serves me just as well as if it had happened to me. Around the apartment, I have daily mantras scribbled on mirrors and from time to time – I stumble upon them and marinate for a minute to let the words soak in. So, I wanted to share some of the best advice I’ve ever gotten because, let’s face it, from time to time we could all use some.
(1) Anyone chasing a dream is bound to fail once or twice in its pursuit; passion is what picks you back up and urges you to try again.
Success doesn’t happen overnight, it’s a day in and day out struggle with who you are and what you want to achieve.
Let go of any preconceived notion that you should know what you’re doing and learn to live in the moment; after all, life’s about the journey – not the destination.
(2) “Never let your schooling get in the way of your education” – Mark Twain
I’ve learned more about social dynamics and street smarts in the five years I’ve lived in Los Angeles than I had in my previous 24 years. I’ve met people from different and exciting backgrounds and picked their brains on our differences and similarities in our lives. I feel privileged and honored that I have such an awesome variety of people in my life.
(3) What people think about you is none of your business.
(4) Marinate in the splendor that is alone time, it’s a beautiful thing.
I’m an only child, which means I know how to entertain myself – I’ve been doing it my entire life. As much as I love being a social butterfly, at the end of the day there’s absolutely nothing like curling up with my cats, some hot tea and a good book. If you can’t enjoy some self imposed isolation every once in a while, you might actually need to take some you-time to figure out why. Besides, if you don’t want to hang out with yourself – why would anyone else?
(5) There’s no perfect time for anything; but the best time for anything is always now.
(6) The beauty of life is that people fall together; cherish and appreciate them while they’re with you. The tragedy of life is that people fall apart; understand that we all have our unique path to continue on and it’s okay to go down ours alone.
(7) You don’t have to be friends with everyone, and not everyone needs to like you.
I had a problem when I was younger – I had this overzealous urge to be loved and not cause conflict. This made me quiet for a while, and this made me hide parts of my personality. Now that I’m older and have the confidence to be myself – I’ve realized that you can be nice to everyone without having to be friends with everyone, and it’s okay if people don’t like you. People don’t need to like you – just so long as they can still treat you with decency and respect.
(8) Never miss an opportunity to shut up;better a moment of silence than a lifetime of regret.
(9) “If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.” Lao Tzu.
More often than not, anxiety gets a hold of me and decides to make an awkward appearance. I’ll think about past grievances and what could’ve been done differently, then I’ll consider ‘every-case-scenario’ for the future and overwhelm myself. What I’m forgetting in those moments is that in the present, everything is okay. The past has come and gone, and the future hasn’t matriculated yet – firmly ground yourself in the present moment and you’ll free your mind
(10) The only expectations you need to live up to are your own.
As always, time is the best teacher and the best advice is something that you give yourself; what are your daily mantras that keep you keepin’ on every day?
(11) Being alone and happy is better than being miserable and in a relationship.
and, last but not least –
“Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.” — Buddha