Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Note: this post was previously published on A Plus "a digital media company co-founded by Ashton Kutcher that features stories that make a difference and create positive change."
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Ten things I know for sure

Lessons learned on love, laughter and life

The older I get, the less I seem to know. But after 35 years of bumps and bruises, laughter and love, there are ten things that I know for sure.

1. The most important things in life can't be bought-a glass of wine with good friends, sunsets and sunrises, laughing until tears roll down your cheeks, a perfect day at the beach, family that loves you unconditionally, sitting under a tree on a sunny day, holiday dinners with family and friends, playing with your pets, giggling with your children, giving to others, the list goes on and on. No person will lie on their deathbed and say "I'm really glad I bought that fancy couch to impress my neighbors."

2. The only person responsible for your life, is you- While you can't control everything that happens to you, you can control how you react to it, what lessons you learn and whether you allow life to make you weaker or stronger, softer or harder. The world doesn't owe anyone anything, but you do owe it to yourself to create a life you love. Don't be a victim. (Note: some days it's OK to curl under a blanket on the couch, with Netflix, ice cream and wine, and feel like a victim for a few hours. Then get up and dust yourself off).

3. What other people think of you is not your business-Sure, it would be nice to be liked and loved by everyone, but when it comes to making major life decisions, everyone will have an opinion. Politely thank them, and carry on with what is right for you. Those who genuinely like and love you will do so anyway. Those who have nothing nice to say, probably won't regardless of what you do.

4. Nobody likes a complainer-If you don't like something, change it and don't bring problems to the table without bringing potential solutions. We all have good days and bad days, and it's healthy to express emotions. But if you're never able to come up with anything positive to say, or you're angry all the time and attacking others, it may be time to sit down, have some silent time with yourself and look inside to see what's driving your unhappiness. Life is too short to be unhappy.

5. Hate can't be fought with more hate-Responding to hate, with more hate, is a futile struggle. The only cure for hate is love. It's impossible for hate to survive in an environment filled with love. Impossible. Hate spreads like the flu. You can let it engulf you, and spread it to others, or you can be the person that lights up the room. It takes more work to be the light, but it comes with far greater reward.

6. Travel is important-I've done a fair amount of traveling. From watching polar bears stroll through town to watching crocodiles swim down a river; from ocean to mountains; from northern lights to corn fields. Learning about the world, and all that inhabit it first hand, gives you a perspective that you can't learn from a book or in a classroom. Get out and see the world, whether it's two hours away or across the ocean. It will change your life.

7. You have to think for yourself-No matter what you hear, read, see or are told, don't take it at face value. It's almost impossible for humans to be completely objective and everyone has an agenda, no matter how harmless it may be. Check facts, find sources to validate the sources. Question everything and come to your own conclusions. You have a world of information at your fingertips, don't let anyone tell what you should believe, take the time to decide what you believe.

8. Your ego is a dangerous thing-It's what tells you that you're right and someone else is wrong. It's what tells you that one person is better or worse than another. It's what blocks empathy, stops you from saying "I'm sorry", ends relationships. It's that little voice that tells you that you aren't good enough. You can never make it go away completely, but you can make it fade. Meditate, spend time outdoors, do things that you love with people that you love. Don't be afraid to say you're wrong or you're sorry. Don't be afraid to care, to risk, to make mistakes, to get hurt. That is what living is about.

9. Don't take one moment for granted-Time will pass quickly. You will lose people you love. Overuse "I love you".

10. Fear is a useless emotion-when you're fearful, you aren't living in the moment, and this moment is all we have for sure.

Allison Currie is a full time public relations and communications professional who also does freelance writing. She calls Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada home and you can find her on Twitter @AllyLCurrie, on Instagram @ACURRIE34 or on her blog thesilentmajorityrules.blogspot.ca where she writes about this, that and the other thing.

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