1. I read a quote in elementary school that stuck with me: “what you dislike in others take care to correct in yourself.”
2. It’s important to have faith in something intangible. In North America, people equate happiness with what is tangible: a large house, a luxury car, a girlfriend or boyfriend or spouse or family, a corner office. Most often, when one of these things are taken away, people don’t know what to do with themselves. My parents have taught me to believe that if everything was taken away from me tomorrow, I’d be okay. Maybe it was their training. In any case, I’m not afraid to lose what I have and I live more freely because of it.
3. Give gifts or thoughtful tokens to the people you love. I’m the only child and my parents were never really big on gifts (I always got the envelope and cheque) so gift giving was never really something I learned to put any effort into. One Christmas I didn’t even get my ex-boyfriend a card to go along with his present; he seemed pretty taken aback. I’ve tried harder ever since.
4. Eat a lot of leafy greens and whole grains. You should be going to the bathroom at least once a day. Three times a day/after every meal is best.
5. Stretch and learn to relax. We’re usually connected all day: phones, computers, tablets etc. Disconnect and take a breather. You’ll usually have a better sleep if you stretch before bed.
6. Fight very rarely with your friends. Life’s too short and too full of bs to fight with your friends. Enough said.
7. Your gut feeling does not always reveal the truth. Like that time my gut feeling said to me, “that boy totally has the hots for you” then I asked him out only to find out that he actually doesn’t like me? Yea, your gut feeling was wrong Christina, your gut feeling was wrong.
8. Be yourself even though the world (and your bosses) refuse to accept it. Apparently I talk too much and I’m too happy. You can’t please everyone.
9. (To the women of the world) women are your best friends, they are not your enemies. Red flag: women who can’t be friends with other women.
10. The greater the risk, the greater the reward (it’s worked for me so far anyway). I quit my first full-time job for a title change and job that was going to pay less money. My supervisor at the time thought I was a complete idiot. Through the new job, the opportunity came about at my current company; an opportunity that utilized more of my skills and paid more than double the salary of my first job.
11. It’s important to love yourself before you can love any one else.
12. Learn how to eat out alone. You’ll have to do it at one point so you might as well enjoy it.
13. Learn how to live with people other than your immediate family. Pre-marriage prep including but not limited to: being capable of doing your own laundry, cooking, grocery shopping, budgeting, managing conflict, learning the art of “considering others”.
14. Accept your significant other as they are, or let them go. If he’s a picky eater today, he’ll be a picky eater 10 years from now…And how am I going to deal with that when I’m eating boquerones en vinagre in Spain next year and 10 years from now?
15. Great sex is necessary in any romantic relationship. If you don’t think about their private parts when they’re not around, you’re probably not having very good sex. On to the next one!
16. People are more accommodating when you’re well groomed and well dressed. I think it’s about being your best self - always. If you feel a certain way inside, the rest of the world should see the package as you believe it to be.
17. I don’t understand men as a species.
18. As much as men (and women) are superficial, people with a full life also gravitate toward people with A FULL LIFE. Interests, in other words.
19. There’s nothing worse than a “Negative Nancy.” Complain, complain, complain, complain… “My life isn’t interesting, I need to go to the gym, I don’t have any money, I’m so old” …Enough already! Go do something about it!
20. Overly competitive people are so annoying. You can spot them at a party, in a group of friends and at the office. The last thing you want to be is that person…
21. People find it hard to feel sorry for you if your negative emotions are self-inflicted. Pity parties are not a fun kind of party.
22. There will never be only one thing that makes you fulfilled. At different points in life, there will be different things that will make you feel like you’re fulfilling your life’s purpose. In elementary school and high school, I was a singer. Now, I’m a writer. Someday, I might be a producer, or a wife or a mother. I think it’s important to gravitate toward what you’re akin to and once you find it, do THAT as much as you can.
23. Your parents will (usually) love you no matter what. Sometimes I forget to take advantage of their knowledge while I can.
24. Travel lots. There’s nothing better than the understanding that there are cultures, people and things that exist outside the realm of what we know. My dad recently told me that he has a coworker who is very depressed. This coworker is divorced and feels as though he has no money to retire. “I told him to take his money and go to the third world” my dad says. “He can retire and be happy there with the amount of money he has. But he always says, ‘no Freddie, I can’t go over there.’ Why can’t he go there? He’s never even been to the third world! He’s never been outside of Toronto!”
25. Opinions are valued but not when you feel that your opinion trumps all others. That’s called ignorance.