The Gift Of: Fitness

I finally blended my blogs together into one – this one, that you’re reading right now.

Welcome, oh ye few.

Most people who follow me here actually know me from “real life” but I still have quite a few fellow bloggers that never met me in person that might be wondering just what in the heck is going on with me. I mean, to change my website from From Fit To Figure to The Joyful Celibate with absolutely no warning is a little strange. Well, good news is, I answer most of this question in the “About” page right up there at the top of the screen.

Before I go on with my post today, just so everyone is aware, despite the name change, my fitness posts are all still available here and searchable. So if you’re looking for something regarding meal planning or workouts I’ve done or diet tips I’ve written about, simply search!

My website for online coaching will also remain linked here and above. And I’m still available by email at fromfittofigure@gmail.com.

As for today’s post, I thought I’d debut my new site with what I believe to be one of my gifts: Getting people in shape for life.

First of all, I did not start my own personal training business thinking I’d be “set for life” financially. On the contrary, I knew this would be a huge pay cut from working in a health club or gym. In fact, shortly before starting my biz, I was trying to find ways to detach from material objects, and money was the first to go! And the service I wanted to provide never changed – I wanted to help people. But I wanted to do it on my own terms, such as:

  • I could be picky about who I would train: I wouldn’t have to sit in front of people and try to “sell” them on something they had no interest in, as this was common at the gyms where I worked. The members usually wanted a tour of the place and be on their way. They were not about to pay extra for training, especially if they were already investing over $100 a month on a membership they could barely afford. I really wanted to train people that actually meshed well with my personality and training style.
  • I could charge a rate based on the client’s budget without de-valuing my services and without the pressure of hitting a monthly goal: Finally, no more pressure from my boss as to how much money I was bringing in this month. No more dialing for dollars in a last ditch attempt to hit a goal. Yes, goals are necessary, especially in sales. But that was it: I didn’t want to be in sales! I wanted to be content with the amount that I had in the bank. (Hint: I am.)
  • I could be honest and direct with clients without worrying about toeing the company line: The biggest need for fitness professionals, I have found, has been addressing the behavior and mental aspect of dieting. But many gyms, celebrity trainers and coaches come out with fancy heart rate monitors or apps or quick fixes just to make money and promote themselves, ignoring the underlying issues of their clients. If we are to be taken seriously, trainers should be willing to say, “Not all diets work for all people. The best diet is the one that you can adhere to without feeling restricted and still see results. So let’s figure out what that looks like for you.”
  • I could make my own schedule, allowing plenty of time to focus on the most important people in my life: It should go without saying by now, that God, my family and my faith are my priority. And when you have a flexible schedule and do what you love, and you detach from material things (this was key for me, personally) you start to see life differently. I started to look for more chances to be a gift to others. Sidenote: Being single really turned this from an opportunity, into a priority for me.

While the blog served its purpose for a long time, I am finding the passion to write about health and fitness growing a little stale. I still need to promote myself, but I would like to do it mainly through referrals and word of mouth. So this meant for me (because this might not be the best idea for others) no more progress pictures on display, no more Facebook or Instagram and no more YouTube videos. These were becoming distractions and a hindrance to more than anything else.

So there you have it. That’s what I aim to do with this blog: To show how I can be a gift to others. And not just with fitness. That was just the teaser for you. There will be more posts about how I plan to do this. Because we all have gifts.

And when readers find themselves here, I also hope to show them how THEY can be a gift to serve others as well.

I plan to provide the gift of fitness and health to my clients as long as I am able.

Think on it: Who do you know that needs the gift of health? You don’t have to be a fitness guru or dietitian to provide this gift to someone. Keep it simple. How about the gift of mental health (relaxing day at a spa; renting a movie at home and staying in); spiritual health (giving someone a book that helped you grow in your spirituality; taking someone to daily mass that normally can’t make it); physical health (a fitness DVD to do at home; making someone a healthy meal who can’t afford it), etc. Endless possibilities!

 

The Birthday Blog Post – 37 Life Lessons

Last year I wrote this post for my 36th birthday which included 36 life lessons. I just read it again and I must say, not much has changed. I agree wholeheartedly with all of them to this day. So, here’s to being consistent!

But as I mentioned last year and it bears repeating: We are always learning, are we not?

With that, I give you 37 NEW Life Lessons:

  1. You don’t HAVE a body, you ARE a body. (shameless plug for my last blog post which discussed this from a fitness standpoint)
  2. Having a goal of writing a book is so much more daunting than I ever thought possible. So much to say, but no idea how to say it. But I keep plugging away!
  3. Setting an alarm on your phone is perhaps the best advice I ever gave myself and anyone else. The alarm can be anything from “Cook your dinner now!” to “Everything will work out fine.”
  4. Since evil is the absence of good, I want to avoid evil at all costs. I ask myself if I’m working towards that which is good prior to taking any sort of action.
  5. I worry less and less about the physical flaws and worry more and more about…nothing!
  6. Fasting once a week is a great way to appreciate how lucky you are.
  7. When people told me, “You’ll change your mind,” in response to my decision to not have children, I realize now that they were right. I did change my mindSET. I still don’t desire to have them, but I probably love them more and appreciate them more than I ever have.
  8. Being thankful everyday you have breath is a great reminder of how awesome life is and how blessed we are each day to be alive to witness this miracle.
  9. Seek advice from those who do very little talking. Those people are the best listeners.
  10. Nutella is a drug. The side effects include ecstatic happiness and a constant state of euphoria. Eat sparingly to avoid eternal bliss.
  11. There are living saints among us. I call them Mothers.
  12. This past year I found my lats. This means after many many many lat pulldowns, I finally was able to activate the muscle that is supposed to be working during this exercise. Just further proof that the mind is a powerful tool when it comes to bodybuilding.
  13. When you take the blindfold off your eyes, amazing things begin to happen.
  14. Face to face contact is still my preferred form of communication. Sadly, not to many people care enough to make the effort to engage in this kind of contact anymore. It’s considered “archaic.” I would also add that no one seems courageous enough for face to face interaction.
  15. I will probably never have good handwriting. And I will continue to blame my left-handedness as the reason even though it probably isn’t.
  16. Changing your heart is one of the best side effects that comes from changing your mind.
  17. The gym is the best place to people watch.  It’s also kinda gross to see how much people sweat on the elliptical without wiping it down.
  18. Thinking of 37 life lessons gets more difficult after number 15.
  19. I wish more people would take the time to get pictures developed instead of just sitting on your phone/computer for no one to enjoy.
  20. Babies are awesome to look at but if you stare too long the parents will think you are a little weird.
  21. Sometimes kids take forever to grow up into mature adults. Give them time. Like, 37 years.
  22. The reason people do stupid things is because they mistakenly believe those stupid things will make them happy.
  23. The biggest lie I believed for a long time was in order to be a productive member of society, I must always be doing something. Nope! There is beauty in being still.
  24. Multi-tasking is NOT a skill.
  25. It gets even harder to think of 37 life lessons after number 24.
  26. When I think of what I wanted for my 30th birthday, I cringe. Someday I’ll write a blog post about it.
  27. Speaking of writing, everyone should keep a journal. It’s awesome to see your thoughts from years gone by.
  28. The word terrific actually means terrifying. But no one uses it in that way anymore. Which is terrific and terrifying to think about how the english language has changed.
  29. I did just learn this year that dilemma is really spelled that way.
  30. My love/hate relationship with social media continues but I’m proud to say I’ve practically discontinued use of Instagram, Twitter and Periscope. Some things just don’t need to be shared.
  31. If you’re ever tempted to send a text while driving, throw your phone in the backseat.
  32. If you’re ever tempted to speed while driving to get somewhere, think of how much that speeding ticket will cost you.
  33. I try and carry enough cash on me to give some to the homeless guy on the W 150th exit ramp. But if I don’t have change, I try and just smile and look him in the eye. It’s not much but if you look someone in the eye instead of looking away, I think that leaves an impression.
  34. Miserable people HATE associating with happy people. They will do everything they can to make you as miserable as them. Love them anyway. Sooner or later, your happiness will either rub off on them or they will flee from you to be with their miserable cohorts.
  35. No matter how many times I cheat on my diet, I still think, “I’ll do better tomorrow.” Sometimes I do…Sometimes i don’t. But many times just saying it and believing it helps me to TRY to do better.
  36. For my fellow PT’s: Don’t ever give away personal training for free. There’s value in what you do.
  37. A blog post under 1,000 words is the best way to ensure you readers will read all the way until the end. Tell your readers to comment and share their life lessons.

The Body is a Sign of the Divine Mystery

If you’re just joining us, be sure to read my last post to get “caught up.”

“You are made in the image and likeness of God.”

This statement was implanted firmly in my brain starting in Freshman Religion class. I remember thinking “I know this is true, but I’m still not quite sure what it means.”

I don’t think my 14 year old brain could process it. And this is probably true of a lot of teenagers.

I knew my life was a gift from God, but I also remember thinking, “But what does God have to do with my parents conceiving me?” In other words, what do Sex and God have in common? I literally had no idea the two were connected, as strange as that sounds to me 23 years later.

Now, after reading TOB, something finally clicked.

Human nature is both spiritual and physical. We aren’t spirits “trapped” in our bodies. The Church has always maintained that we are embodied spirits, or spiritualized bodies. Through the profound union of body and soul in each of us, our bodies reveal or “make visible” the invisible reality of our spirits. But it does even more. Because we are made in God’s image, our bodies also make visible something of God’s invisible mystery.  TOB For Beginners

God has revealed his innermost secret: God himself is an eternal exchange of love, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and he has destined us to share in that exchange. CCC 221

And here’s where this all comes together –

God created us male and female so that we could image his love by becoming a sincere to gift to each other. This sincere giving establishes a “communion of persons” not only between the sexes but also-in the normal course of events- with a “third” who proceeds from them both. In this way, sexual love becomes an icon or earthly image in some sense of the inner life of the Trinity. TOB for Beginners

Whoa.

Have you ever heard anyone describe sex like this? Yeah. Pretty awesome right? It gets better.

As St. Paul says, quoting from Genesis, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ This is a great mystery, and I mean in reference to Christ and the church” (Ephesians 5:31-32).

This passage from Ephesians 5 is a key text- perhaps the key text- for understanding the body and sexuality “theologically.” Christ is the one who was sent by his Father in heaven. He also left the home of his mother on earth. Why? To give up his body for his Bride (the Church) so that we might become “one flesh” with him. Where do we unite sacramentally with Christ? In a most profound way in the Eucharist. TOB for Beginners

Confused? Don’t be! It’s simple really.

When all the confusions are cleared and the distortions are untwisted, the deepest meaning of human sexuality – of our creation as male and female and our call to communion – is “eucharist.” John Paul II describes the Eucharist as “the sacrament of the Bridegroom and of the Bride.” God created us male and female right from the beginning to live in a “holy communion” that foreshadows the Holy Communion of Christ and the Church. In turn, the gift of Christ’s body to his Bride (celebrated in the Eucharist) sheds definitive light on the meaning of man and woman’s communion.

The Spousal Analogy

The Bible begins with the marriage of the first man and woman and it ends in Revelation with another “marriage” – the marriage of Christ and the Church.

And here is what we learn from the Pope’s Theology of the Body: God wanted this eternal “marital plan” to be so plain to us – so obvious to us – that he impressed an image of it in our very being by creating us male and female and calling us to become “one flesh.” TOB For Beginners

So two things to take away from this:

1. God is a communion of love

2. We are destined to share in that exchange (God wants to “marry” us – Hosea 2:19)

There is so much more to be discussed here but it is my hope, my dear readers, that you now have an idea of what it means to be created in the image and likeness of God. I understand it’s a difficult idea to wrap your head around, and one that is never going to be understood completely due to our limited brain power, but that’s why it’s called the “mystery.”

Fitting in My Faith: I look at Eucharist differently now that I have read TOB. Now I understand why it’s a sacrament. Now I understand why marriage is a sacrament. Now I know why the Church takes it seriously, and now I appreciate it even more when I hear the words, “This is my body, given up for you.”

I also appreciate life, my own life and the lives of others, much more greatly. I don’t think of how we are created as just “sex between two people who love each other.” And 9 months later, life. It’s much more than that. It’s a sacred union. It’s not gross or disgusting or bad. It’s awesome and it’s miraculous and it’s a small, tiny, itty bitty taste of what heaven is going to be like. No, we won’t be having sex in heaven, 🙂 We’ll BE in heaven, we’ll be in UNION with God! We’ll be married to Him!

This is the purpose of sexual union in the divine plan: to prefigure in some way the glory, ecstasy, and bliss that awaits us in heaven TOB For Beginners

I don’t know about you, but understanding why we were created, makes me have greater faith of the heaven that awaits us all.

to be continued….

-Michelle

Theology of the Body – Where Do I Begin?

I attended a retreat put on by Theology of the Body Institute called TOB1 – Head & Heart Immersion Course this week. It was located in Quarrysville Pennsylvania. But it might as well have been heaven. Because I seriously feel like that’s where I was. Not because of the location itself, although Black Rock Retreat Center is amazing and peaceful. But because of the material that was taught and the experience I had was definitely not of this world.

I think I lost about 2 pounds in tears. These were tears of redemption and joy, tears of sadness and mercy, tears of grace.

It was a literal transformation in my mind and in my heart. It’s very difficult to articulate. Especially when people are asking me, “So how was your retreat?”

The best I can do is what Christopher West, the author of various books on TOB and the leader of this course, suggested to all of us 120 students:  “What is Theology of the Body in 5 words?”

“God wants to marry us.”

Unfortunately, this explanation doesn’t suffice. It just gives you a small taste of what the message of TOB is.

“What does it mean God wants to marry us?”

“Is this about heaven?”

“Is this about death?”

“Is this about sex?”

I would say a resounding YES to all of those questions and more.

But I suppose to explain how I discovered TOB, I would have to start at the beginning. But even if I start at the beginning, it would take a book to write it all down. The good part is that I plan to write a book about this. But since that might take more than a year, and I want to get it all out, I plan on blogging about my journey to TOB here. Just as I documented my “Journey to the Stage” in my first figure competition, I plan to blog about my TOB journey as well on this site.

Both of these transformations are ongoing. However, this was the transformation of my heart which has made me see life through new lenses. It’s amazing and wonderful and scary and agonizing. All at the same time. I plan on revealing quite a bit about myself because, you see, for whoever reads this, has to know how this has changed me. And in order to know how it’s changed me you have to know me. As much as you could possibly know about me through my experiences, my childhood, my adulthood, my friendships, my relationships, my family, my everything.

I suppose my goal with these posts will be to introduce TOB to the reader in the hopes that they themselves pick up one of the books and begin to read them and become part of the TOB family.

When I started blogging about my fitness journey, I got a ton of messages from strangers, friends, family and fellow trainers that said I inspired them to workout more, or eat better, or run a 5K, etc. If I start blogging about my TOB life, it’s entirely possible someone could be inspired by my words and have the same life changing experience as myself.

An Apple Versus A Doughnut: How Science Helps Me Avoid Junk Food

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Back when I started studying to become certified as a Personal Trainer, I came across an article that sparked something in me.

Ever have that feeling? Have you ever read something or saw something or heard something that struck a chord in you or resonated with you in such a way that you never looked at anything the same way again?

Yeah, for me, with regards to junk food, it was this article.

Now, I’ll be the first to tell you I hate science. I’ve never had a knack for understanding science, math, chemistry, pretty much anything with numbers and letters. 😉 But food? I understand food.

So when I read this article, I remember thinking it was a tad too “science-y” and so I had to read it about 3 or 4 times to truly get it. For those of you who aren’t into this whole biology thing, I have summarized the main takeaways. My point with today’s post is that perhaps those of you who are addicted to things like donuts and all around crappy foods and can’t seem to stop, maybe if you READ or UNDERSTAND how these foods differ, you’ll be more likely to make the healthier choice.

  1. An apple contains good nutrients like Vitamin C but also has calcium, phosphorus, iron, Vitamin A and a healthy dose of potassium. An apple skin contains a compound called quercetin, a powerful antioxidant that reduces cardiovascular risk.  The flavonoids and phytochemicals that it contains seem to help fight against cancer. AND the skin contains lots of fiber, which helps to improve bowel function and reduced cholesterol absorption. Woohoo! Lots of good stuff right??
  2. A doughnut contains none of these nutrients.
  3. The doughnut is loaded with saturated fats, trans fats and refined sugar and is largely devoid of any nutritional value, other than energy, which it has in abundance.
  4. The digestion process of the doughnut is quite lengthier than the apple. Healthier fats generally are absorbed via the liver, whereas saturated and trans fats pass through the villi and are converted into triglycerides, the main form of fat storage in the body. They are also coated in cholesterol (from the liver) and hence the fats in a doughnut will raise the bad (LDL) cholesterol and reduce the good (HDL) component.
  5. Trans fats do even more damage. They have been shown to wreak havoc with the body’s ability to regulate cholesterol and massively increase your risk of heart disease. They also get into the outer lining of our cells, causing them to harden.
  6. We shouldn’t be too harsh on the doughnut, some of their trans-fat containing friends are deep fried foods, such as French fries, cakes, cookies, biscuits, some breads (especially croissants and pastries), processed foods (especially pies, sausage rolls etc), snack foods (potato chips, some muesli bars) and margarine.

I would be lying if I said I haven’t had a doughnut since reading this post back in 2008. But I can honestly say I know I have had 3 in the past 7 years. Why? When I was presented with the option of having one, I ALWAYS remember this article. Like I said in the beginning, it was one that resonated with me. Maybe it will make an impact with you or someone you know that you think MIGHT take Doughnut Sunday at church just a little too far. 😉

As for the progress that’s been made since this article came out, the USA has taken steps to ban trans fats in most foods so it’s not as popular as before. But you can bet not ALL those popular doughnut chains are trans-fat free. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration allows companies to round down to 0 g in its nutrition facts label even if the food contains as much as 0.5 of a gram per serving. Some popular donut companies use the words “Trans Fat Free!” in their advertising legally even though they DO in fact, contain trans fats.

That’s just an FYI for you. I’m not the food police but trans fats are not something anyone should be eating on the regular. If you care about your body and your health, take the time to research what you’re eating.

In good health,

Michelle

P.S. I recently did a consult with a woman who found me through my other blog that has little to do with fitness. In case you wanted to read what truly matters to me, you can read my ramblings there too.

We Believe

Acts 1:8

“But when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you will be filled with power, and you will be witnesses for me in Jerusalem, in all of Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

This verse reminds me of a conversation I once had with a friend of mine. He is not a believer in God and asked me why “religious people” like myself were always trying to get people to believe what I believe in. He put me in the category of a disciple I suppose and assumed since I go to church regularly I must be one of “those” people who evangelizes often.

I was slightly embarrassed to admit that I actually wasn’t the type to try to get people to convert. I left that to the people who knew more about Christ than me. This friend of mine was actually irritated that “people like me” were always preaching their beliefs to non-believers and it was irritating and annoying to him.

I recall not knowing what to say to my friend after that in regards to the conversation. I do remember telling him that as a Catholic, I knew it part of my faith spread the Good News but that I wasn’t very good at it (This was back in the summer of last year, before starting this blog).

This verse is a reminder that I don’t have to be a preacher, a priest, a minister, a nun or anyone considered to be an expert in my faith to still be a good witness to others. I hope to have this conversation with my friend again and it would go a lot differently. My response this time around would look something like this:

Friend: Why are you always trying to convert people to your religion? Why can’t we all just believe whatever we want?

Me: You can believe in whatever or whoever you want. You have free-will. But as a Christian, I have this gift that I would be selfish to keep all to myself. I would never force someone to convert or force anyone to listen to me. But if they want to know WHY I believe in God and WHY I’m so confident in my faith, I would point out resources to them to read and I would invite them to my church for a mass so they can see why I love it so much. I need to be a witness to others because my life changed shortly after my Mom died. I saw how strong she was in her faith and I wanted to live my life like that. I also saw someone I love die right before my eyes and of course that makes you take stock in your own life. I want to live my life filled with faith, not hate or neutrality or “I know I’m a good person so I don’t need to worry about life after death” type of mentality. I want to spread the word of how I TRY to live a good life filled with faith because of course, I’m not perfect nor expected to be. Others who don’t know about God SHOULD at least get to hear from me so they can make the decision on their own on whether or not they want to live their life the way they have been doing it, or if they want to live their life with a purpose for God.

Fit In Your Faith Today: Do you selfishly keep God all to yourself? Have you ever “witnessed” or discussed why you believe what you believe with someone who asked you? Try not to brush these questions off. Remember, we don’t all have to be wordsmiths or preachers or pastors in order to give advice or discuss our faith with non-believers. Just tell someone your story. You might be surprised at how they respond. You could change their life!

36 Life Lessons

Tuesday is my birthday and I’ll be 36.  Since I’m big on numbers (and low on blog ideas) I thought I would babble share 36 things I’ve learned. But we are always learning aren’t we? I suppose we never stop until the day we take our last breath.  So here’s what I believe to be true. Some are funny, some are serious, some are fitness related, but most are not. All are very random.

1. When given the choice, I will always eat my calories instead of drinking them. Gimme a cheesecake over a Mojito any day of the week.

2. Cleveland is the best and the worst city to live in during football season.

3. Friends are temporary, family is forever. Treasure them while they are here. Don’t decline or ignore their calls and messages. One day you won’t hear their voice anymore and you’ll wish you had listened more.

4. Speaking of friends, let go of toxic relationships. The people that claim to be friends with you unfortunately will disappoint you and maybe even hurt you. Once or twice is understandable. But if they mock what you do, or don’t understand you or gossip about you or just plain bring you down? Time to say goodbye. And it’s okay.

5. Spend time alone. 10 minutes or 10 days or 10 weeks. Read alone. Go the movies alone. Have your morning coffee alone. Too many people spend so much time joined at the hip with someone (spouse, partner, kids, co-workers). How can you really get any downtime if someone is always in your ear? Oh and before I get accused of being Sad and Lonely Single Gal, alone does not equate lonely.

6. Weighing yourself on the scale everyday is a quick path to obsession with your body, and weight, and numbers. It’s not a representation of what’s on the inside. And if teenage girls (and boys) learned this from a very early age, it would save so many tears. And years of therapy. Seriously.

7. Don’t do things just so you can post about it on social media as a way to brag and boast. This is not to say all status updates and tweets and IG photos should be profound or inspirational or serious. But I always (TRY) to think before I tweet “Is this something anyone is even going to CARE about? Will it bring a smile to someone’s face? Will it make anyone think differently perhaps?” My point? Make it mean something. If you want to babble about mundane things, start a blog.

8. Creamy Peanut Butter trumps Crunchy Peanut Butter every day. Don’t even try and get me to like your crunchy crap. It’s basically WHOLE PEANUTS wrapped in Peanut Butter! What is the point???

9. You can live off PB and J on white bread for 18 years everyday for lunch and still be okay. I’m living proof.

10. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. I was afraid of raising my hand in class when I was in grade school. I don’t really know why or how it started, I just remember faking stomach aches more times than I should have at a young age. I was petrified of asking something stupid. I was afraid of being called on for answering any questions too! I should have asked more questions. I was a big coward and it really messed me up academically.

11. Be selective and picky about major purchases as well as relationships. I’m talking everything from a car to a husband. Do research. Read reviews. Choose…wisely.

12. Forgive those who do you wrong. And don’t hold it above their head. You may not forget very easily, but forgive people who don’t even forgive you.

13. Don’t wait for a certain age or time in your life to do something you’ve always wanted to do. Do it now. Why wait?

14. Money doesn’t buy happiness. I don’t know this for sure, however, since I have never had a lot of money. But I know it doesn’t buy happiness because I’m happy now and have been for quite some time. I’m probably the poorest I’ve ever been in my life…but I’m quite content. Weird!

15. People say don’t be afraid to fail. I think that’s true, but I don’t think you should ever AIM to fail. I think you can have miniature failures in order to be hugely successful. And by the way, what you think and define as successful, is probably way different than someone else’s definition. I’ve already had 3 mini successes in the past 24 hours. 🙂

16. If you say it, you become it. If you’re always telling yourself that you’re unhappy, or ugly, or fat, or angry, guess what? You ARE that person. You BECOME unhappy and fat and ugly. But if you wake up and say “I’m not thin now, but I’m going to be” or “I’m not super happy at this moment, but I’m not doing too bad.” I think people start to SEE that in you. I’ve seen it myself and I’ve been there myself. It’s a fact. There is power in the words you use to describe yourself. Use the good ones, stop saying the negative ones.

17. Social Media is a time suck. I’ve had a love/hate/love/love/hate/hate/love relationship with it for what seems like almost forever. On one hand, we can’t seem to live without it to get our news and stay in touch with people. On the other hand, it can really damage our REAL relationships. Someone posted recently: “If social media ceased to exist, how many people would lose their identity/their business?”  Food for thought.

18. Speaking of food, take time to learn how to cook 3 good dishes. 3 things that you cook REALLY WELL. They don’t have to be extravagant or something that would be found in Epicurious. Just something you do really well and that you are totally proud of. Then tweet it out. 😉

19. The DVR is the best invention of my lifetime.

20. The Smartphone is the second best.

21. When someone breaks your heart it’s the worst feeling in the world. But that feeling when you wake up knowing you have moved on and you are over them? Damn that feeling is so good. And then the feeling of being HAPPY for that person because you realize you were both meant to take different paths? That’s the BEST feeling!

22. There are no such things as coincidences; everything happens for a reason.

23. Don’t speed. Don’t text and speed. Don’t text and drive. Don’t drink and drive. Just don’t. If you’re tempted, picture the youngest relative you have crossing the street in front of you and not being able to stop in time. Sounds horrific doesn’t it? That’s the point.

24. Back to social media – If someone posts something you disagree with, you can either skip over it and ignore or it start to debate. If you’re going to debate, debate. Don’t ever mock someone or make them feel small by ridiculing what they are saying. I guess it goes back to #10. No one wants to feel stupid, so don’t do it. Take the high road. Every time.

25. Skinny jeans are the worst invention of all time and while every BODY is different, not every BODY should squeeze into those. I’m just sayin.

26. Try not to judge. You really don’t know what someone else is going through. Why are certain people just plain jerks? Who knows! But maybe they have issues that you can’t even begin to understand. Give them the benefit of the doubt.

27. Don’t knock it before you try it. I did this recently with golf. I hated it. I hated watching it. I thought it was stupid and boring and I couldn’t believe people got paid millions to play this silly game. Then I tried it. Then I started watching it. Then I started practicing. And now I love it. I still hate it, but I love it. And I appreciate it.

28. Don’t give gifts unwrapped. Presentation is everything. I’m a horrible gift wrapper so I resort to gift bags usually. Giving a gift as is says “I don’t really care.” Wrapped gift says: “This gift might not be too expensive, but at least I wrapped it in pretty paper to make it look expensive.”

29. If you ever want to feel old, watch re-runs of Law and Order when they had to call the precinct from a Pay Phone. And they refer to the internet as the World Wide Web. It’s…hilarious.

30. Speaking of Law and Order, you can never watch too many episodes of L&O. If there’s a marathon of that show on, settle in because you are going nowhere for hours!

31. Do your dream job. I’m a big believer in doing what you love. The best book I ever read was “The 4 Hour Work Week” by Tim Ferriss.  I quit my job 6 months after reading it. I loved it so much I gave it to two other people, who quit their jobs less than a year later and are now totally happy as well.

32. Stop worrying about what people think of you. I did this mostly in my 20’s. It’s such a 20’s thing to do isn’t it? Care about what people think?! Nah. Not anymore.

33. Cursing is not an attractive quality. I have a hard time with this one but I notice how much I curse when I hear others curse and I think “Oh no, that doesn’t sound very good at all. Shit, is that what I sound like? Oh shit I just cursed!” Yep, it sounds bad. It doesn’t make us bad people, but, we should try and cut back, ya know?

34. Timing is everything. It can be the right time for you, but the wrong time for someone else. That’s just how it goes.

35. Write more. Real writing, like, by hand. And send them in the mail. Like the real mail. People love getting mail that isn’t junk. Don’t they?

36. Always hit the SAVE button when writing a long blog post. I had to re-write this all over again because I forgot I wasn’t logged in to my site. And my first reaction?  Laughed…a lot. Which is a great way to end this:

Laugh more. At everything!