Friday, September 27, 2013

My Promise to My Children: The Kind of Mother I Will Be

After writing this, I realized this is a much deeper blog than I usually write. I wanted to publish it though, as I think it's important. Let me know what you think. 

My Promise to My Children

The Kind of Mother I Will Be

I will not set a curfew for my children. Not because I don't care about them, but because I DO care. Because I will teach my children how to check in with me. Because each situation is different, because I'm not going to insist on an 11pm curfew on Prom Night. Because I will trust my children to be intelligent enough to be responsible for their hours. Because I know teenagers need to push limits, and the last one I want to have is one about time, because I understand that without a specific time to be home they will be less likely to need to stay out late pushing an envelope that isn't there. And because I will make damn sure that they know if they're not home at the time they've told me or if they don't check in, I will be calling the police, knocking on doors, and otherwise raising hell until I figure out where they are.

I will read them piles of books. I will take them to the library and teach them that story time is magical. I will introduce them to Harry Potter and Katniss Everdeen and Frodo Baggins and Robert Jordan and George Orwell and David Wong. I have them meet Bill Peet and Dr. Seuss and Roald Dahl. I will never make them read See Spot Run to me. I will teach them about classics and how some of them are bollocks. Because to love books is to love what humans are. Because when you are curled up with a book you can feel infinitely alive. Because reading makes you smarter. Because there are more worlds than you can ever imagine and the only way you can visit is through books. Because imagination will always trump the big screen.

I will make them eat oatmeal for breakfast. I will make them eat spinach and green beans and quinoa and whole wheat. Because there are better things in this world than ketchup and mac & cheese (namely, creme brulee). Because they need to know that nutrition is important and they need to be concerned about what they put in their bodies. I will teach them how to eat the things they don't like, because they need to know how to do this to not hurt their future mother-in-law's feelings (and mine on bad cooking days).

I will make them get a summer job. Because they need to learn to be responsible. Because the only way they will learn about money is by having some. Because I will not give them an allowance. Because I will be working too and will need a break.

I will teach them how to chew with their mouths closed. I will teach them to keep elbows off the table. I will teach them to swallow quietly, not lick fingers or plates. I will teach them not to slurp. Because good manners are the last surviving bits of royalty in our blood and so when they are grandparents they won't be sucking on their fingers and embarrassing their grandchildren. Because they will likely marry someone with the same table manners as them (having driven away any potential suitors with better manners).

I will let them go visit their grandparents for a week without me. Because they need to visit their grandparents and learn how to love them. Because their grandparents are my parents, and will always be wiser than me and have more experience about raising children. Because I will enjoy a week to myself. Because they will enjoy getting spoiled for a week. Because both parties will be glad to return to normal after that time frame.

I will teach them to run. I will teach them to love the thrill of exercise. I will show them how to care for
themselves, how to be fit. Because through running, you can find yourself. Because my children will not be ones that sit on their rears all day and break into a sweat walking from the house to the car. Because the zombie apocalypse might come and they need to be able to run faster than their friends.

I will teach them how to have dreams. I will teach them how to reach for them and support them. I will teach them to be acheiver's. I will teach them to love learning so they can go anywhere they want. I will have dreams and reach for them. Because dreams are the stuff that make life worth living.

I want to be the kind of mother who teaches her daughters about skin care so they don't have to go through the same pain that I did trying to figure it out on their own. I will take them to dermatologists and teach them how to wash twice a day and leave pimples alone. I will show them how to love themselves even on 'bad skin' days by doing that myself. I will understand the crippling fear and shame that comes when your skin is so broken out you don't even want to look people in the eye. I will teach them how milk and sugars can make acne worse, and how gentle olive oil face washes can make it better. I will teach them how to care for their skin. Because I wish my parents had known more about this and hadn't avoided talking to me about it.

I will teach them who Benedict Cumberbatch is. Just because.

I will teach them how to make good choices in music. I will teach them how to have opinions in what they like and dislike. I will teach them that country music can be enjoyed, and that some rap music has a message.  I will teach them to adore indie rock and Weird Al. I will teach them to appreciate more than shallow pop music, and I will dance along with them to the current heartthrobs that are permeating pop airwaves. Because they need to know how not to be swayed by the ever-changing top-40's chart. Because they shouldn't have to wait until they are 40 to learn what good music is. Because to love music is to love life itself.

I will talk to them about sex. I will love them enough not to be embarrassed or cry when they come to me with proof that their bodies are maturing. I will teach them to love their bodies as they grow and change. I will be the kind of mother they can ask those frank and embarrassing questions to. I will not laugh when they ask me what a donkey punch is. I will be the one they aren't afraid to ask so they don't have to learn the hard way from their friends or be confused when their roommates start talking about things. I will not be accepting of loose morals, and I will teach them how to stay true to themselves. Because children need someone who they can trust to talk about these things, otherwise who are they going to turn to?

If I have a son or daughter who is homosexual, I will love them. I won't be a parent who shuts them out, tries to pretend that part of their life doesn't exist. I will love them, accept them, and be there for them. Because in doing this I will be the parent that they need, not the parent that religion or the world or fear says I should be.

I will love my husband. I will marry a spouse who knows how to listen to me, and who will talk to me about the hard things in life. I will choose someone who is gentle, smart, nerdy, and loving. I will marry someone who is strong in the gospel. I will marry 'the nice guy' who knows how to be his own person. Who isn't clingy, but isn't so independent that he doesn't consult me about important things like who we're inviting along on our road trips. I will be true to him and make him happy. Because by loving my husband and choosing someone who makes me happy, I will be showing my children by example how to choose a good spouse.

Most of all, I will love them. Because I'm their mother, and that's what mothers do.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Food Poisoning and Social Skillz

On Tuesday I was struck with a bout of food poisoning, something that hasn't occurred since I was 12 and ate a weird sandwich from a now out-of-business chain known as Blimpie's.
What's that?
They're not out of business you say but thriving? Even here in Utah?
Perish the thought, all Blimpie stores should burn to the ground for inflicting such pain on a 12 year old.

This time however, something besides an unsuspecting sandwich caused my pain.
It was a combination of waffles made by eager FHE boyz, homemade syrup, and generic brand Nutella. I'm not sure which exactly caused it, however SOMETHING I ate there caused it, because after I ingested the awesomeness I ate nothing else until the disaster struck my insides. I ate, went to sleep that night feeling slightly weird, awoke the next morning and went to work.

By noon I was starting to get chills. By 1 aches were adding themselves in and vaguely flu-like symptoms began to assert themselves. I decided it had been because I didn't eat breakfast and resolved to get home and fix that. At 2pm I got home, ate a bowl of cold cereal, and was immediately struck with such aches and pains and bubbling the likes of which you have never experienced before. I didn't quite know what was wrong with me but when the diarrhea started then I knew.

I'd been POISONED!

What kind of food poisoning you ask, only strikes once the food is half-way through your large intestine? I have no idea. I have an awful time puking, to the point I think my stomach is invisible, it tries to hide from the food I randomly introduce to it. So the rest of the day was spent in achy pain near a bathroom, with only sad liquids for company.

The next morning I felt somewhat better, but still shaky and pretty dang awful. I resolved to stay in bed and work on my new computer, doing nothing in particular but recovering and eating absolutely nothing. A few Vitamin waters, tons of real water and Vitamin C Tangerine supplements, but no real food. Couldn't even look at the stuff actually.

It would have been fine if  I really didn't have to do anything all day, except it was Wednesday. Nicklemania Night. Also the last night I was probably going to go to Nicklemania for a month due to impending work at Nightmare on 13th. So when I got the text saying: 
"Holy mother of nickels it's Wednesday. You down?" ...
...I of course texted back....
"Heck yes! Carpool?"
Why did I say yes? Because I'm dumb and somehow thought I would magically be better by the night and that being social was way more important than my body still being held in the 'purge cycle'.
Four clicks to the right and now we are the little used purge cycle

I then promptly forgot about it and curled up into a ball in my bed and started watching Season 8, episode 4 of Dexter, waiting for the text that always came saying, "We're coming!" or "You still need a ride?" I rationalized that if I didn't feel 1000% better, I could just beg off and continue watching my beloved Dexter try to patch things up with his sister.

Well, I got sucked in to watching Dexter track down the Brain Surgeon, so at 8:15pm when a knock came at my door.... I didn't even hear it.
That's okay, my grandma did though, and she came running up to my door with a big grin on her face.
"Charlotte! You're boyfriend's here!" she whispered conspiritorially at me.
Boyfriend? When did I get one of those? What's going on!?!?
Then it clicked that instead of texting me, my group had opted instead for showing up to take me to Nickelmania. This was my thought process...
Crap, not ready. Do I feel better? Sorta. Can I wear this...NOPE, different pants! I think I have a fever...but they're here! Get going! Okay, shoes on, purse, GO!
And out the door I went, super excited and slightly flattered my friends had remembered me without my texting around and begging for rides.

The night started off really fun. I'm a whiz at the 55" plasma screen that's been turned into Fruit Ninja. At least, I like to think I'm good at it.


However, 30 minutes in...
This was a bad idea...

I rested my head against the cool and slightly grimy tile in the bathroom, willing my heaving stomach to subside. The worst part was I couldn't even beg off early and go home, because I had ridden WITH people. Curse these saving gas tendencies. Literally and figuratively. I started thinking;
"Is the amount of fun and the nice moments I'm having with these people balancing out the amount of physical distress I'm in? Yes, yes it was."
So, I sucked it up, raised the ceiling on my pain threshold, and went back out to kick butt at Fruit Ninja. I actually managed okay the rest of the night. I'd just go find a nice place to sit every once in awhile to give my poor body a break.

So....Theoretical part of this blog. Is it worth it to overcome actual physical pain to hang out with people? Depends on who those people are. I obviously made a choice in a moment, but I don't regret it. Didn't regret it. Well, only regretted the 15 minutes that were spent in the bathroom and another 5 bemoaning my ragged and slightly peaked appearance.

My social skills lack somewhat, so I try to make up for it by being available to hang out and spend time with people, and while I don't regret Fruit Ninja'ing it up at Nickelmania while suffering intestinal distress,  I won't be doing that again. That is, unless Benedict Cumberbatch comes along. I'd muscle through the Black Plague for him. Although I'd have to arrange to get over it first or contract it later (like, when I'm 103 years old) so I don't infect him too... okay, I'm done :)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Benedict Cumberbatch and Haunted Houses

Sunday morning I was lying in graceful repose after a lovely night of scaring unfortunates that happened upon my person. And I started to think, why do I scare people? Can it be helped that they chose to walk into my personal space whilst was minding my own business?
In a dark room?
In costume?
With music and lighting?
And a couple of zombies as backdrops?
They were begging for it; not my fault that a few peed their pants and one couple got so scared they bolted through the exit and into the night... Nope, not my fault at all :) Just to be warned,  I'm one person you never want to encounter in a haunted house.
See! Who could be scared of that adorable face!

Saturday night I learned quite a few things though while performing. Some of them were quite surprising. Here's a few of the things I learned:

1. People treat you with a lot more respect if they think you're a guy.
2. They treat you with even more respect if they think you're about to beat them.
3. Benedict Cumberbatch isn't as smooth in real life as he is in Star Trek, (and is somehow the cooler for it.)
4. I still haven't learned how to keep my voice from being shredded afer 5 hours of screaming at people.

People treat you with a lot more respect if they think you're a guy.
This was interesting to find out. You know, for my entire life I've been a girl. Even my attempts at dressing up like a male are usually given away by my facial bone structure and curves in other places. People just look at me and know that I'm female.
Saturday night I acheived my best cross-dressing ever. (Note: It's not that I want to be a guy, just that this is really fun to do sometimes :). Nothing lets you know exactly how feminine you are like having a makeup artist try and contour masculine features onto your face! So, I had my eyebrows brought down, a stronger jawline drawn on, contouring to create a male cheekbone, and some other magical makeup stuff to make me look a bit more scary. Then, I put on a suit, tied up my hair and hid it under a hat, and voila!
Meet Durtle, the grave-digger who takes serious selfies...
Okay, so I look like a girl with lines drawn on my face. However, under the lighting in the haunted house I looked like a 16-year old boy pretending to be a creepy old guy. I made my voice all harsh and weird, and when the first people walked through my room I laid into 'em! Best part was when one of them said,
     "Let's go through this door (there were 3 to choose from) that dude seems to know what he's talking about." (emphasis added)
Dude! Guy! It was strangely empowering. The makeup, costume, and most of all voice acting had convinced a few people that I was a guy! Success! I launched into my role with even more enthusiasm.

As a guy, here's what I noticed. People tended to give me more space, as if my personal bubble had become suddenly 2 feet bigger. They listened. They jumped harder when I came after them. Some were genuinely creeped out just by the fact that they couldn't quite tell if I was a guy or girl!
As a girl working in a haunted house, people will walk into your space more unless you are genuinely scary. Some jerks try to mess with you by touching your face, tugging on your clothes, asking for hugs or your phone number. As a 'guy', none of that happened. I had a few girls tell me I was hot, (which was weird) and one girl was like, 'Heey there...'. None of them tried to touch me though, as if I was personally more intimidating and thus deserving of respect.

That's kind of a sad cultural commentary. Not going to get into that but yeah... Sigh, maybe this'll change one day, but at least it's recognizable now.

They treat you with even more respect if they think you're about to beat them.
So, while I giggle to myself about this one, let me explain. I had a cane that night, a lovely shiny metal cane and a lovely, shiny metal coffin that I could hit with the lovely, shiny cane. I had an exquisetly fun time just creating a tremendous racket. Some people came in and wanted to touch the coffin, so I'd let them. Of course, once they were in close I would hit said coffin, making it sound like the occupant was trying to claw his way out. One group in particular I lured in, getting them all to rub the coffin at the same time. Once they were all in really close I whacked the side of the coffin, startling the heck out of them (to the point that a few actually fell down!)

About the fear of beatings = respect, I established to people that I was capable of beating things with the cane, and most of them avoided my space as much as possible. One stupid 15 year old decided to take things a little farther, show off for his friends and whatnot. He started to dance towards me, saying,
'I'mma show this guy who's boss in here'.
So, I took the cane, raised it over my head, and took a few lurching steps towards him. He screamed of course and ran off. People are amazing wimps when it comes to the promise of physical pain.

Benedict Cumberbatch isn't as smooth in real life as he is in Star Trek, (and is somehow the cooler for it.)
Maybe I didn't learn this while working at the haunt, but I did learn it!
Simon Pegg Talks about Benedict Cumberbatch!
Click on said link to YouTube for more information on the subject. Also enjoy a picture of this gorgeous, talented man.
You're welcome :)
I still haven't learned how to keep my voice from being shredded afer 5 hours of screaming at people.
Yeah, It's September, soon to be October. This girl sounds like someone who's been smoking since they were ten, alternated with a prepubescent boy. Squeaky and hoarse all at the same time. Upshot of that though, I sound like a mouse when I'm laughing. Which makes me laugh even harder. Which makes people look at me weird. Which makes me laugh even harder than that. Okay, 'nuff said :)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Computer Lady

I was at the library today and I was reminded of how some people react when things aren't going their way. Here's a basic idea of what happened.

I sat down at a computer to do some typing to my missionary siblings. Things were going pretty good, when suddenly my chair is jolted by a lady tripping over me. How she failed to see me I am not sure, but she tripped and started to fall. As she was about to smack face-first into the printer, I did the (gentlemanly?) lady-like thing and caught her, asking if she was okay. In return, I was given a massive glare and was shaken off. This lady then plopped her stuff down at the computer next to mine and started 'working' at a furious pace.

I decided to watch this strange creature. She was pacing back and forth behind her computer, and every once in awhile would lean forward and type furiously on the keyboard. The computer would respond with an <error> message and a stubborn beep. At this she would swear at the computer, and resume pacing while shuffling through a huge sheaf of papers. This repeated two or three times.

After the third time she attacked the computer and got the same response, I was so intrigued that I couldn't help but ask if she needed any help.
Me: "Excuse me, can I help...?"
Angry Computer Lady: *Poisonous Look*
Me: Alrighty then, I'll just be invisible for awhile...

This is almost an exact representation.
She continued to alternate between swearing, typing, and madly shuffling through papers. After a bit I divined that she was trying to get something to print. A quick glance at her screen told me that she was setting it up as a fax document instead of a word document, and the poor abused computer couldn't make sense of her demands. I debated offering to help her one more time and risk dying of evil glares, but at that moment she stormed off to the information desk to bring back a long-suffering librarian. The librarian was, of course, able to fix it, and the crazy computer lady madly printed off several papers, gathered them up, and in a flurry of awkwardness and pervasive stress, dissapeared.

Whew, glad she's gone. I thought, Now I'll just finish typing and go on pinterest for a bit...
I'm used to strange people, the world is peppered with them and I seem to encounter more than my fair share. I thought this was just the latest in a string of strange encounters. However, little did I know this encounter was not yet complete.

10 minutes later, the crazy computer lady returned, and this time actually sat down on my other side. She opened up the computer, and then proceeded to mutter swear words under her breath as she furiously clicked away. A few unsuspecting boys came in, seeking a past-time of computer games. Little did they know, crazy computer lady was there to stay. These two innocent blonde kids started whispering furiously about the latest MMORPG they were involved in, trading hints and secrets as they shared a computer. They were down the row from my own and the crazy computer lady's area, but that didn't stop her from rising and hissing at them. "SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
Everyone in the entire library was silenced by the echoing of crazy computer lady's hiss. The two boys retreated into their shells, throwing glances at her that seemed to say, Harry Potter is right, grown-ups are wicked mad and can't be trusted. 
The crazy computer lady then resumed working, seemingly unaware that her swearing was louder than the boy's whispers had ever been. Much worse for the ears too.

At that point I'd had enough, I scrapped my work for the day and gathered myself up and out the door. You are expected to put up with a certain amount of crazy in public areas, but this was ridiculous. Not harmless ridiculous like the guy on the bus that wears stuffed anime characters pinned to his hat, but drunk guy hanging around the supermarket dangerous ridiculous. She had absolutely no clue of how she was appearing to the people around her, so caught up in her whirlwind of real or imagined stresses that she was permeating the entire building with bad attitude.

I thought about that on the way home, few people are as unaware of their self-image as to be that rude. It was also interesting to me that she refused offers of help, choosing instead to bring other people into her stress and angst instead of letting it be solved. Then, I found some peaches and cream and forgot about it.

Next morning I popped down to the library. As I don't have a computer, I have to use the library for all my work, including typing this. If you remember, I also didn't have a chance to finish my missionary letters. I sat down and guess who walks in not 10 minutes later. Crazy computer lady, as full of vitrol and swearing as she had been the previous evening. She swore at her computer, clumsily banged into things, and told off an unsuspecting patron who had the audacity to answer a phonecall in her vicinity. It was then that I decided to take action, and penned this note:

Dear Angry Computer Lady,
I noticed you here at the library last night and you seemed rather upset. I don't think you noticed me, but you tripped over me once and when I offered to help, you pretended you hadn't heard. I'm sorry you're having such a bad day. I also couldn't help but notice that you hushed everyone around you, but then kept swearing at your computer. 
How about this, I'll help you out with your computer problems next time I see you, and you don't hush people in public and put a lid on the swearing. I'm also going to just leave this note and run, because I'm worried you'll glare at me again. Don't worry, I'll come back on a less stressful day. 
Just want you to know, it's going to be okay and there are people who do notice and want to help. 
It gets better,
Quiet Computer Girl

Halfway through the writing of this, crazy computer lady got up and left, quite suddenly. If she returns I'll give this to her, but if not, that's okay.

And just so you all know, watch your thoughts, actions, and words. You never know who is watching and what sort of effect you are having on them!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

9 Ways a Theatre Degree Trumps a Business Degree

Reblogging this from, because it's amazing and I think all theatre people need to see this.

9 Ways a Theatre Degree Trumps a Business Degree

Some of you may know this about me, some may not. Despite having spent the last 15 years as a PR & communications professional, my college degree is in theatre. I have never in my life taken a marketing class, or a journalism class, or a business class. Yet, by most measures, I’m enjoying a successful career in business.  ”So what?” you ask… read on.
I was having a conversation with a friend this week. She’s an actress. Like most actresses, she also has a Day Job that she works to pay the bills between acting jobs. This is the reality for most working actors in LA, New York and the other major centers of the entertainment industry. She was pointing out to me that she viewed her theatre background as a weakness in her Day Job career field, and that it was holding her back. She asked for my advice.
My advice? There IS no weakness in having a theatre background. There is only strength. Here are just a few skills that a theatre degree gave me that have served me enormously well in business:
  1. You have advanced critical thinking and problem solving skills: taking a script and translating it into a finished production is a colossal exercise in critical thinking. You have to make tremendous inferences and intellectual leaps, and you have to have a keen eye for subtle clues. (believe it or not, this is a skill that very few people have as finely honed as the theatre people I know. That’s why I listed it #1).
  2. You’re calm in a crisis: You’ve been on stage when somebody dropped a line and you had to improvise to keep the show moving with a smile on your face, in front of everyone. Your mic died in the middle of a big solo musical number. You just sang louder and didn’t skip a beat.
  3. You understand deadlines and respect them: Opening Night is non-negotiable. Enough said.
  4. You have an eye on audience perception: You know what will sell tickets and what will not. This is a very transferrable skill, and lots of theatre people underestimate this, because they think of theatre as an ART, and not as a BUSINESS. I frequently say (even to MBA-types) that theatre was absolutely the best business education I could have gotten. While the business majors were buried in their books and discussing theory, we were actually SELLING a PRODUCT to the PUBLIC. Most business majors can get through undergrad (and some MBA programs, even) without ever selling anything. Theater departments are frequently the only academic departments on campus who actually sell anything to the public. Interesting, isn’t it?
  5. You’re courageous: If you can sing “Oklahoma!” in front of 1,200 people, you can do anything.
  6. You’re resourceful: You’ve probably produced “The Fantasticks” in a small town on a $900 budget. You know how to get a lot of value from minimal resources.
  7. You’re a team player: You know that there are truly no small roles, only small actors. The show would fail without everyone giving their best, and even a brilliant performance by a star can be undermined by a poor supporting cast. We work together in theatre and (mostly) leave our egos at the stage door. We truly collaborate.
  8. You’re versatile: You can probably sing, act, dance. But you can also run a sewing machine. And a table saw. And you’ve probably rewired a lighting fixture. You’ve done a sound check. You’re good with a paintbrush. You’re not afraid to get your hands dirty for the benefit of the show. In short, you know how to acquire new skills quickly.
  9. You’re flexible: you’ve worked with some directors who inspired you. Others left you flat, but you did the work anyway. Same goes with your fellow actors, designers and stagehands… some were amazing and supportive, others were horrible and demoralizing to work with (we won’t name names). You have worked with them all. And learned a little something from every one of them.
These are the top reasons I’ve found my theatre degree to be a great background for a business career. What are yours?

Saturday, September 14, 2013

What Love Is

I read this poem from the fourteenth-century Sufi poet Hafiz and it simply touched my heart.

All this time
The Sun never says
To the Earth
"You owe me."
What happens
With a love like that.
It lights the 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Reasons I Want To Be A Hobbit

When I was eleven I read Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit for the first time. I immediately decided that I wanted to be transported to the Shire and if I was any race I would be a Hobbit. I then slept with the books under my pillow for three months hoping that would happen. It didn't, but here's why I still want to be a hobbit.

1. You get to eat like, 7 times a day.
2. You're short and cute.
3. It is perfectly acceptable to be chubby.
4. Hobbits can go unseen or unheard if they wish (basically miniature ninjas).
5. They have that certain 'something' that makes them necessary in a major adventure.
6. The Shire is beautiful.
7. Perfect curly hair.
8. Can walk around barefoot

I see no downsides to this whatsoever. I'm going to be a hobbit when I grow up!

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Amazing Stupendous Sisterator‏

O the amazing sister, sister how fine you are indeed
with tyrany you rule us the master of the clan of kids
with a tricky mind you spin a game of dating your future groom
and with a laugh and a smile and laugh
you  terrorize the village people
you read the tales of mighty heros
and vow to be like them
dear sister please sister
please stop biting my leg

An accurate representation of myself.
As written to me by my wonderful missionary brother. I laughed until tears came to my eyes, I don't know where he gets his sense of humor but I really want to be like him some day :)

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself

When you stop chasing the wrong things you give
the right things a chance to catch you.
As Maria Robinson once said, “Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”  Nothing could be closer to the truth.  But before you can begin this process of transformation you have to stop doing the things that have been holding you back.
  1. Stop spending time with the wrong people. – Life is too short to spend time with people who suck the happiness out of you.  If someone wants you in their life, they’ll make room for you.  You shouldn't have to fight for a spot.  Never, ever insist yourself to someone who continuously overlooks your worth.  And remember, it’s not the people that stand by your side when you’re at your best, but the ones who stand beside you when you’re at your worst that are your true friends.
  2. Stop running from your problems. – Face them head on.  No, it won’t be easy.  There is no person in the world capable of flawlessly handling every punch thrown at them.  We aren't supposed to be able to instantly solve problems.  That’s not how we’re made.  In fact, we’re made to get upset, sad, hurt, stumble and fall.  Because that’s the whole purpose of living – to face problems, learn, adapt, and solve them over the course of time.  This is what ultimately molds us into the person we become.
  3. Stop lying to yourself. – You can lie to anyone else in the world, but you can’t lie to yourself.  Our lives improve only when we take chances, and the first and most difficult chance we can take is to be honest with ourselves.  Read The Road Less Traveled.
  4. Stop putting your own needs on the back burner. – The most painful thing is losing yourself in the process of loving someone too much, and forgetting that you are special too.  Yes, help others; but help yourself too.  If there was ever a moment to follow your passion and do something that matters to you, that moment is now.
  5. Stop trying to be someone you’re not. – One of the greatest challenges in life is being yourself in a world that’s trying to make you like everyone else.  Someone will always be prettier, someone will always be smarter, someone will always be younger, but they will never be you.  Don’t change so people will like you.  Be yourself and the right people will love the real you.
  6. Stop trying to hold onto the past. – You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading your last one.
  7. Stop being scared to make a mistake. – Doing something and getting it wrong is at least ten times more productive than doing nothing.  Every success has a trail of failures behind it, and every failure is leading towards success.  You end up regretting the things you did NOT do far more than the things you did.
  8. Stop berating yourself for old mistakes. – We may love the wrong person and cry about the wrong things, but no matter how things go wrong, one thing is for sure, mistakes help us find the person and things that are right for us.  We all make mistakes, have struggles, and even regret things in our past.  But you are not your mistakes, you are not your struggles, and you are here NOW with the power to shape your day and your future.  Every single thing that has ever happened in your life is preparing you for a moment that is yet to come.
  9. Stop trying to buy happiness. – Many of the things we desire are expensive.  But the truth is, the things that really satisfy us are totally free – love, laughter and working on our passions.
  10. Stop exclusively looking to others for happiness. – If you’re not happy with who you are on the inside, you won’t be happy in a long-term relationship with anyone else either.  You have to create stability in your own life first before you can share it with someone else.  Read Stumbling on Happiness.
  11. Stop being idle. – Don’t think too much or you’ll create a problem that wasn't even there in the first place.  Evaluate situations and take decisive action.  You cannot change what you refuse to confront.  Making progress involves risk.  Period!  You can’t make it to second base with your foot on first.
  12. Stop thinking you’re not ready. – Nobody ever feels 100% ready when an opportunity arises.  Because most great opportunities in life force us to grow beyond our comfort zones, which means we won’t feel totally comfortable at first.
  13. Stop getting involved in relationships for the wrong reasons. – Relationships must be chosen wisely.  It’s better to be alone than to be in bad company.  There’s no need to rush.  If something is meant to be, it will happen – in the right time, with the right person, and for the best reason. Fall in love when you’re ready, not when you’re lonely.
  14. Stop rejecting new relationships just because old ones didn't work. – In life you’ll realize that there is a purpose for everyone you meet.  Some will test you, some will use you and some will teach you.  But most importantly, some will bring out the best in you.
  15. Stop trying to compete against everyone else. – Don’t worry about what others are doing better than you.  Concentrate on beating your own records every day.  Success is a battle between YOU and YOURSELF only.
  16. Stop being jealous of others. – Jealousy is the art of counting someone else’s blessings instead of your own.  Ask yourself this:  “What’s something I have that everyone wants?”
  17. Stop complaining and feeling sorry for yourself. – Life’s curve balls are thrown for a reason – to shift your path in a direction that is meant for you.  You may not see or understand everything the moment it happens, and it may be tough.  But reflect back on those negative curve balls thrown at you in the past.  You’ll often see that eventually they led you to a better place, person, state of mind, or situation.  So smile!  Let everyone know that today you are a lot stronger than you were yesterday, and you will be.
  18. Stop holding grudges. – Don’t live your life with hate in your heart.  You will end up hurting yourself more than the people you hate.  Forgiveness is not saying, “What you did to me is okay.”  It is saying, “I’m not going to let what you did to me ruin my happiness forever.”  Forgiveness is the answer… let go, find peace, liberate yourself!  And remember, forgiveness is not just for other people, it’s for you too.  If you must, forgive yourself, move on and try to do better next time.
  19. Stop letting others bring you down to their level. – Refuse to lower your standards to accommodate those who refuse to raise theirs.
  20. Stop wasting time explaining yourself to others. – Your friends don’t need it and your enemies won’t believe it anyway.  Just do what you know in your heart is right.
  21. Stop doing the same things over and over without taking a break. – The time to take a deep breath is when you don’t have time for it.  If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’re getting.  Sometimes you need to distance yourself to see things clearly.
  22. Stop overlooking the beauty of small moments. – Enjoy the little things, because one day you may look back and discover they were the big things.  The best portion of your life will be the small, nameless moments you spend smiling with someone who matters to you.
  23. Stop trying to make things perfect. – The real world doesn't reward perfectionists, it rewards people who get things done.  Read Getting Things Done.
  24. Stop following the path of least resistance. – Life is not easy, especially when you plan on achieving something worthwhile.  Don’t take the easy way out.  Do something extraordinary.
  25. Stop acting like everything is fine if it isn't. – It’s okay to fall apart for a little while.  You don’t always have to pretend to be strong, and there is no need to constantly prove that everything is going well.  You shouldn't be concerned with what other people are thinking either – cry if you need to – it’s healthy to shed your tears.  The sooner you do, the sooner you will be able to smile again.
  26. Stop blaming others for your troubles. – The extent to which you can achieve your dreams depends on the extent to which you take responsibility for your life.  When you blame others for what you’re going through, you deny responsibility – you give others power over that part of your life.
  27. Stop trying to be everything to everyone. – Doing so is impossible, and trying will only burn you out.  But making one person smile CAN change the world.  Maybe not the whole world, but their world.  So narrow your focus.
  28. Stop worrying so much. – Worry will not strip tomorrow of its burdens, it will strip today of its joy.  One way to check if something is worth mulling over is to ask yourself this question: “Will this matter in one year’s time?  Three years?  Five years?”  If not, then it’s not worth worrying about.
  29. Stop focusing on what you don’t want to happen. – Focus on what you do want to happen.  Positive thinking is at the forefront of every great success story.  If you awake every morning with the thought that something wonderful will happen in your life today, and you pay close attention, you’ll often find that you’re right.
  30. Stop being ungrateful. – No matter how good or bad you have it, wake up each day thankful for your life.  Someone somewhere else is desperately fighting for theirs.  Instead of thinking about what you’re missing, try thinking about what you have that everyone else is missing.