Thursday, April 17, 2014

Old Soul

As I get back on here, I will be sharing more about the move to Charleston and then a bit about my next move which will be happening in a few months.  It is indeed a lot of transition!  I am old-fashioned and I am proud of it.

As I reread my last posts and enjoyed the wonderful and thoughtful comments, I giggled to myself.  I was really describing a life from the past.  The truth is that I would have been fine living before modern technology and sometimes when I daydream, I think about life in a different time.  I know this seems CRAZY and I love my hair straighter and Bravo, but I liked life before all of this computer jazz (even though I love sharing my blog) and I know I could have been satisfied in a time when people enjoyed a bit more solitude and privacy.  I think the idea of real people (reality stars) becoming celebrities has sprung this whole subculture of over-sharing.  I get annoyed about it.  My reactions are not the norm.

Have you seen the movie Midnight in Paris?  It is one of my favorites because I like the idea that everyone has their own "perfect" time to live in this world.  I don't know what time mine would be, but I was very obsessed with the entire Little House on the Prairie book series. What always got me was how quiet their life was.  I wanted that.

I was the last one to get a cell phone, the last one to activate a personal email account, the last one to join Facebook (and the first one to quit!).  Don't think I am high-tech because I have a blog.  Blogging involves about as much computer knowledge as sending an email and I can do that.  Over the past few years, I was hiding from life because it was what I needed for me to heal from the Awful epidemic.  I missed out on the Facebook, Twitter and Instagram crazes and I don't see myself wanting in on any of it now.

As a highly sensitive person, I struggle with approval.  I want everyone to like me and it kills me when I am not included (even if I didn't want to attend whatever it was that I didn't get an invitation for).  All of this online stuff is a bit much for me to handle and it gives me horrible anxiety and gets me depressed.  I think, "why wasn't I invited to that wedding, why didn't that person tell me they are pregnant, when did THEY become friends, why are they still friends with my ex" and it just isn't healthy for me.  I take it ALL personally, even when NONE if it involves me.  The news has always been there, but it just wasn't so in my face.  I am fine hearing about something way after it has happened, its just the real time stuff that I have a hard time learning how to react to.

I don't want to live my life having to calculate my next move online to be this person that I probably never will be offline.  A very common comment I get now is that, "I should rejoin Facebook because I currently have so much to brag about" and that makes me want to stay away more.  Because then I will be playing this game that I don't believe in.  I don't think I won because I have all of these things now.  I am still struggling with my personal happiness and until I don't care about what anyone thinks about me, I will never be truly victorious.  Let me say this though, I may be forced to rejoin Facebook because I don't seem to be able to connect with anyone in a new place without it.  I hate the idea of this, but it seems like there are more people who use it than don't (I am the exception here).  If I do get back on, I will be posting a very limited profile and I will just use it for messaging as it seems like sharing an email address is even too much work for some these days.  The hypocrisy of my life.

Online, I see people posting these perfect realities (including couples that could hardly pay for their weddings and then jet off to 5 star honeymoons when I KNOW that their credit cards were fizzled out the day before) and then I hear that they are getting divorced and it hurts my heart.  Why can't people just be the people they really are?  It is one of the reasons why I decided to stay hidden after I played around with the idea of posting photos of myself on here.  If I told you who I really am, I wouldn't be able to tell you how I really feel and I want to tell you how I really feel.  I understand the importance of an online presence in this world and the struggle to look good or be real.  I just can't seem to get myself to be a part of it.

As I just started to share recently, one of the real breakthroughs for me this year has been realizing that I am highly sensitive (this article I linked to was a huge eye opener for me).  Because with this knowledge, it makes sense why I just can't handle some things that other people can and why I take loyalty so seriously (I plan to share thoughts on that soon).  Sometimes I wish I could be a person who could be comfortable online as me, who was fine being acquaintances with many, who didn't care about an invitation to a party…..I make things WAY too exhausting than they need to be.

Off to make coffee now in my coffeemaker….maybe if I got my dream to go back in time, I could bring it with me!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Charleston of My Dreams

Charleston is a great place to visit.  A grand one.  Every single time I came for a stay, I was smitten.  It has all of the components necessary for a terrific getaway: amazing restaurants, quaint hotels, a charming downtown, lovely stretches of beachfront, tons of history, plantations (my newest obsession other than my Fitbit) museums and even a pretty lively nightlife.  I have many visitors coming down in the next few months (YAY!) and I can't wait to whoop it up like Vicki (I was waiting for the Real Housewives of OC to come back all winter) with them.  

Charleston is the perfect getaway. Beyond a few jam-packed weekends, site seeing and eating, lies real life.  The days that happen between bursts of fun and fancy.  This is the Charleston I am getting to know. 

Charleston is HOT right now.  Everyone is moving here in droves.  Students and grad students that come for school and never leave, young professionals looking for a faster or slower pace (depending on what direction they may be moving from) and retirees.  Tons of retirees.  My fiancĂ© says that Charleston has been a transient city for some time now.  There are always people coming and going. I have encountered an equal amount of people not from around here as southerners.   I am from Chicago and I was born in New York, so I am used to living around many different types of people.  I associate this melting pot idea with the concept of a city and Charleston is rapidly expanding. There is change occurring at every corner (literally, there is a TON of construction) and I can feel Charleston bursting at the seams.  Traffic is heavy; you can’t even find a parking spot at Publix.  Maybe, this is just America. We can’t fight the mass developers from turning even the most historical places, like Charleston, into Anywhere, USA.  Where there is money, there is this inevitable cookie-cutter assimilation.  I have started to see it when I visit other cities.  Everywhere is starting to look vaguely familiar. 

I hear accents from New York, New Jersey, Ohio and Michigan more often than I hear the soft drawl of Charleston.    I don't mind this, especially since I am an outsider myself.  The people not from around here are the ones that seem to want to help me find a job and actually respond to email (more on this in another post).  Charleston just isn't what I expected.   Tourists came to visit and were charmed into relocation.  It all makes sense.  But, where are my belles and gents? 

You see, I dreamt of Charleston as some kind of magical fairyland.  I imagined that all the ladies would look and speak like debutantes and they would smell of honeysuckle and jasmine.  Men would pull my chair out and compliment my hairstyle and tell me I was "real sweet" just like Crush does.  I only wanted to see Lilly Pulitzer and seersucker.  I thought I would be invited to the finest parties and drink mint juleps and sweet tea and wear ball gowns and gloves.  People would be envious of my figure and poise.  Everyone would admire my ability to make lovely conversation and my big city ways.  I would be referred as "very cosmopolitan!"  I thought that I would learn how to shag and that someone would show me how to set a table properly, using only the finest china and silver.  Down South, I wanted to believe that I could eat all the fried chicken and biscuits I desired and then I would slip on my bathing suit and head to the beach looking as pretty as a picture.  This is my fantasy, dammit.  There are no societal boundaries or calories. 

I set myself up for something that doesn't even exist.   I do this a lot.  I get stuck on how something should be without processing how it really is.  Then, I get disappointed that life isn’t what I imagined.  Exhausting.  And even worse….sometimes my over sweeping generalizations come from TV, movies or books.   WTF?   Nothing is how I wanted it to be.  WHAH WHAH.  The weather, the people, the service, the job market, the common courtesy, the social life, the parties, the food….it was ALL supposed to be different!

 I made my move into what I needed it to be.  It gave me hope and positivity and motivation.  It made me excited.  It got me through a very tough time in my life.  My idea of Charleston may not be where I am living now and that is okay.  My Charleston is a place of fantasy, magic and whimsy.  It is a figment of my imagination that I depended on to give me the strength and courage to leave everything I was once familiar with.  I will always be grateful that I loved the idea of Charleston before I even moved here because it shows me how much I trusted and believed in my relationship with Crush.  And, if anyone knows of a city that allows anyone to join every club (even people like me, who had a grandfather who owned a deli and NOT a plantation) and where I can eat biscuits by the dozen and still lose weight, please let me know…I will buy a one-way ticket and get on the next flight!

PS: Thank you for the wonderful, thoughtful and kind comments yesterday!  They really made my day and I appreciate the terrific feedback.  Also, sorry about the post fonts looking inconsistent, sometimes when I copy and paste (like I have with the last few posts)  I cannot get the words to take on the default font (I am not very tech savvy).  

Monday, April 14, 2014

Being Highly Sensitive is BAD for Business

I have been hiding from this blog.  I have been scared to share this because I wanted and wished for so much more than has been happening lately.  I know with my past personal focus and great hope, I found Crush.  Now, I have to work on all of the other areas of my life that require deep concentration.   

I am horrible at transitioning and I am still processing a bunch of change.  Lately, I have been enjoying my time here in Charleston. But, do I love it?  I actually don’t.  I like it very much, but I am excited about moving to a smaller place where I can hopefully feel a bit more a part of things.  My feelings about Charleston have been hard for me to accept and it has been a bit of a let down. Embracing the reality of life versus what I imagined it would be is a tough lesson for me to muddle through.   I take everything hard and extra personally.  I am over feeling attacked and like a victim at every turn. 

I struggle with being happy.  I don’t always feel good about myself.  Recently, I have accepted that I am highly sensitive.  It is just the essence of who I am.  I don’t see the world the same way most people do and I am trying to use my fragility as a tool to help me be a better person.  I have always reasoned that I have an issue with being too sensitive. It wasn’t until I ventured into the raging waters of owning my own business (and broke up with Awful and then had a breakdown) that I truly accepted how thin my skin is.  This is an area that has been holding me back my entire life and I am sick of not being able to be a present and active part of this world because I am so afraid of not being liked.

As a wedding planner, one of the main things I have to face is blame. Clients want to blame vendors, vendors want to blame clients, brides/grooms want to blame their in-laws and in-laws want to blame their child for putting them in a situation that they often would like to stay out of.  The cycle of blame continues through families like a raging forest fire until it gets to me.  When all of the blame has been shifted and allocated and there is still a bit left, it becomes my problem.   I once got blamed for the City of Chicago doing construction five blocks away from a host hotel.  The client thought I should have told them that there was construction “in the area” because they wanted to take their families on a walk and the streets “didn’t look nice.”  Because of the construction, they threatened not to pay me.  This shit is real.

I get exhausted all over again just thinking about how I once let myself be roped into madness.  As a way to appease the crazy, I almost always bended over backwards and did not keep my limits.  I wasted thousands (like $20,000 at my last accurate count, thank you taxes) of dollars paying for blame (mostly created by clients) that I didn’t create. This included such shenanigans as clients contracting vendors independently of me (like finding the vendor themselves and wanting to use this person/company, often because of a low price) and paying a deposit directly to the vendors and then hating the initial product (photography and hair and makeup often come to mind) and looking at me to fix it.  Hard to admit, but sometimes the vendors wouldn’t return the money and I would pay the client out of my own pocket to look like the client got their way.  I just wanted my clients happy and I sometimes needed peace.  There often wasn’t enough time in my day to debate $500.00 relentlessly and listen to empty threats from both parties, so I paid it to shut everyone up. I created little monsters by not sharing reality.  I made my clients think the impossible was possible.  I just didn’t have the balls to confront things head on when they were small and then I let the avalanche of missteps bury me whole.  I would grow resentful of clients I felt taken advantage of and it showed.  When I got wind of bad client practices (they exist just like how bad business owner practices do, it is all a 2 way street) I didn’t want to call the client and have the tough conversation of ending our contract and parting ways.  I waited for them to call me out on something and then I folded time and again.  I people pleased my way back in, even when I wanted out. The few epic clients disasters that happened to me….often I had a hand in creating because I didn't cut the cord when the cray first came into light.  Where was my common sense?  My pride?  My integrity?  My ability to stick up for what is right and just and sane?

This has been super hard for me to come to terms with and it was a terrible and maddening way to do business.  I WAS NOT THINKING CLEARLY OBVIOUSLY.  Please know that I have changed every single detail in the way I now do business and I updated it all: business plan, contracts and most importantly how I charge and collect payment.   I realize that creating limits brings respect.  I have to take my business seriously and practice a strict standard of practices without exceptions or it will never work. 

Here I am complaining about Charleston, my sensitivity and my business.  What do they all have in common?  I feel like a failure.  I feel like I don’t have what it takes to be the person I should be.  I live in fear of the few people I should have never gotten involved with, including Awful.  I am sick of hiding out, but I am also terrified to put myself out there again.

I guess I wanted to tell you how AMAZING life is here in Charleston.  How I am popular, thin and wanted.  How getting a job has been easy.  Aside from my incredible relationship with my man, things here haven’t been a cakewalk.  I have few friends and all of the “let’s get togethers” never turn into anything more than unanswered emails and texts.  I feel like a huge outsider.  Job rejection is my norm.  I have lost over 20 pounds, but I still struggle with binging (even if I don’t do it much anymore, the compulsion to do it is a daily battle) and I still can’t get into my pre-Awful clothes although I am getting closer. I am dragging my feet to get back to planning because I am scared, even though I know I am good at it.  Even though I know that the mistakes I made, I mostly brought on to myself for not being stronger. I give too many people too much power over me.  I agree to costly things just to feel accepted and wanted and don’t even realize I am being used, until it has already happened.  I did this again only a few months ago and it was a costly and annoying mistake.  I vowed to myself that this was the LAST time.  I take a lot more time than most to process important decisions and if I feel pressure, it is because I am being pressured.  I should always trust my instincts. 

I WILL learn to deal with the sensitivity.  I have dealt with so many other struggles these last few years: my honesty, my happiness, my food addiction, emotional abuse and being true to myself.  Putting yourself back together isn’t instant.  I want to live my life on a deeper level than most and I am learning that I hold myself to a different standard, too.  All part of the sensitivity cycle.

I thought that everything would be perfect when I met the man for me, just like how I used to think that being thin was the answer to all of my problems.   Life is so much more than a perfect engagement ring (I LOVE mine, but I would have been fine without it) and single digit clothing.   I guess that when you finally find the prince you have always been searching for that you forget that life isn’t really all a fairy-tale.  Some things are harder than others.

Everything is not okay and that is okay.  No one is judging me. Are they?  No one thinks about me as much as I imagine they do.  I know this.  I want to find the balance between love, happiness, personal fulfillment and honesty.  I need to change a bit more to get there and I don’t know how exactly.  But, let’s start with really sharing my life again, all of the good and all of the bad.

Here goes…..

Thursday, March 20, 2014

My Loyal Companion

I haven't been up to much around here, but I recently realized that I have something that has held me back all of my life.  I am a highly sensitive person.  I am textbook.  Just knowing this has made these past few weeks very emotional because now I know why I do the things I do.  I plan on posting about this soon.

I believe in always working towards being the best person I can be and my way of accomplishing this is through personal discovery and self reflection.  I want to know why I feel "different" and as an "outsider" all too often, even through if you met me you would NEVER know it until you really got to know me.  Only a few people really know me and as I am getting older, I realize more than ever that I am still a fan of quality over quantity.  A real friend is worth the friendships of 1,000 friends who you can't really open up to.  I come across as self assured, confidant and easy-breezy, BUT, I am the farthest thing from this much of the time.  Now, I know,  I am highly sensitive and I just can't handle many things that other people don't even think more than a few seconds about.  Facebook is a prime example for me.

Lately, I have been getting sick (sore throat, slight fever, exhausted) about once a month.  It tends to come around the time of my period and I am getting really tired (literally) of being down a few days a month.  It knocks me out of my good eating and workout routine and makes me feel a bit worthless.  I would rather never be sick because it depresses me.  I think I may be getting it from my workout studios (spinning and barre) and now I am going to make a conscious effort to wash my hands before and after class and bring my own towels (both places provide them, but I think maybe I am highly sensitive to germs, too?!?!?).

Last night, in the midst of trying to fight the sore throat that has been creeping up on me for the last 24 hours, I fell asleep on my couch.  In front of the TV.  Fully clothed.  The irony is that I was JUST chatting with a girlfriend about how we do this.  And for years, this was my standard sleeping pattern.  My eating AND sleeping, yup, both disordered.

When I came to at about 4:00 am, I noticed that the TV was off and that I had a fluffy pillow under my head and that I was all covered by a few of my throw blankets.  Then, I looked down and saw that Crush was sleeping right next to me on the floor.  Like a dog.  I woke him up and said, "let's go to bed like people" and we did.

This morning, as I opened eyes, my first thought was how fortunate I am to have a man who loves me as much as Crush does.  He will literally sleep at my feet.  I asked him why he would sleep on the floor and not get in the bed and he told me, "I didn't want you to wake up and be startled and alone because I know you are sick and feeling down lately."  He loves me.  Really loves me.  Truly loves me.  I feel the same way.  I have been given my best gift ever with this relationship, the ability to love and trust again.  No one has ever treated me so kindly and sweetly before.  I can remember waking up alone at 4:30 am to an empty house some nights when Awful would be out drinking with his friends on his sailboat and that emptiness, well, I would never want to ever go back there.  The stillness in the middle of the night used to fill me with rage, distrust and above all, want.  I wanted someone to want to be with me, especially at 4:30 in the morning.

Love is many things.  And, not every day is a walk in the park.  I miss many things about my single life, especially because I NEED my downtime (a part of being highly sensitive is needing to spend a lot of time alone to recharge) and Crush likes to be right next to me all of the time.  But, I appreciate that there is someone who treats me like I am precious.   There is nothing better than feeling appreciated.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Been Too Long, Some Updates

I am alive.  I am very sick with the flu this week (it started with a stomach thing and now I can't swallow and my face hurts and I have a fever) and I want to go outside because it is sunny and I can't move.  I miss blogging.  There is no excuse for my absence.  I am getting busy with my new life here and all that, but there is always time to write, just like how there is always time to do something (doesn't have to be the gym) active.  Here are some updates and SORRY FOR ANY TYPOS, I am on medicine and kinda out of it today.

  • CRUSH UPDATE: Crush traveled with me to NYC a few weeks ago for a family event and met a lot of my Dad's side of the family.  They loved him and it felt great to introduce him to many of the "characters" (crazy people) I am related to and observe his reactions.  I smile just thinking about it.  Priceless.  He is now "in" on some of the jokes I have with my sister about my Dad's cousins and I am enjoying our still on-going group texts about the conversations he was cornered into with people who are beyond entertaining and don't even know it. 

  • WEDDING UPDATE: Our save-the-dates just went into the mail.  OY.  Getting all of the addresses together was not fun.  It never is.  Our list is epically out of control and my parents (my dad specifically) doesn't want to fight with Crush's parents about the guest list.  My dad is paying for the ENTIRE wedding, well everything other than the rehearsal dinner, and he is being insanely generous.  He had money set aside for my wedding (I am lucky that my parents did truly believe that I would one day get married, even if I didn't ever believe it myself!).  The guilt about how much money he is spending has kept me up a few nights because honestly, I would be happy with a lot less, but the wedding seems very important to Crush's side and their generosity with me has been so unreal that my dad just wants to keep the peace which I agree is a smart thing to do.  Crush's folks pretty much gave Crush and me our new house (Crush technically inherited it and it EVEN comes fully furnished….it needs some work, but still….I am beyond appreciative to have been given a HOME).  You have no idea how many families I have seen become broken (like the 2 sides end up HATING each other) over petty things during the engagement process.  My dad wants to avoid fighting at all costs.  So, currently 350 people are on the guest list.  AND, I have been the one who has cut her list by leaps and bounds and not everyone I want will get a save-the-date.  Also, if I haven't spoken to someone in over 2 years,  I cut them off the list and I am feeling a bit guilty about it, but I also feel weird  inviting people that I don't talk to anymore.  As far as I can control my invites, I really only want the people I love and adore to be at the wedding.  When push comes to shove, having too many people to ask is a good problem to have.  It makes you realize how lucky we (Crush and my families) are. 

  • DIET & EXERCISE UPDATE: I started barre (I do a local brand here called Barre Evolution) which is in the same family as Bar Method and Pure Barre and only 8 classes in, I can already see a difference in my body, specifically my arms and thighs.  LOVE IT even though much of the class I flounder on the carpet and trip over my toes at the bar.  It is indeed tough, but that's how you get results. I am down 20 pounds since I moved to Charleston and working out and counting calories is my mission each and every day.  I try to either go to spinning or barre classes as much as my schedule allows because it is crunch time and I am getting married in 8 months!  My binge eating is still an issue, it will always be a daily struggle, but I am conscious of it.  I have my engagement party dress and it is a smidgen too small, but I know that in 2 months (my engagement party is 2 months away….eeeekkkkkk) if I keep doing what I am doing, that it will look great! 

  • LIFE & FRIENDS UPDATE: I now have a part-time job and I have a few friends here.  More to come on both of that in another post. 

  • ANXIETY & DEPRESSION UPDATE: I realize that my social anxiety is holding me back.  I have this odd issue where I think everyone hates me (for no reason) and my self-deprecating thoughts are not healthy.  I am trying a few new strategies to move past this personal insanity and I am thinking that getting back on Facebook may be a good first step.  I have nothing to hide and I realize that I am limiting my potential to meet new people by being so private.  I wish I lived 100 years ago before computers a lot of the time because I think I would have enjoyed it better.  It's 2014 and I have to embrace socialization and sadly, most of the people I "know" choose to spend the majority of their time socializing online.  If you can't beat them, join them?  

Have a great weekend!



Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Respect the Beach

The beach has always been my happy place.  My earliest memories of childhood were spent at the Jersey Shore (before Snooki and the gang swooped in) building sandcastles, splashing in the waves and eating soft serve vanilla ice cream cones.

As the years passed, the beach has always been a constant for me.  A day spent in the sand and sea has extremely healing powers for both my mind and body (sun and saltwater are great for my psoriasis, too, so BONUS!).

I see the beach as holy.  It is full of miracles, big and small.  A place where water, land and sky meet.  It is mysterious and huge, but it still feels safe to me.  The beach is the place where I make wishes and feel most connected to life beyond this world.

One of my favorite things to do in a time of despair is to send a letter out to sea (to the universe) asking  for love, forgiveness and clarity.  I did this when I was desperately seeking love and Crush came to me only two months later.  Recently, I write letters and send them to sea when old issues (my weight, Awful, nasty clients) sneak up to bother me from time to time.  I have discovered that if I identify the issue, go to the beach and wish on it, the problems just melt away.  I can actually feel the stress and worry leaving my body (as weird as it sounds).  Mind over matter.

I highly recommend heading to the beach in a time of need.

Lately, I have been heading to the beach often.  It is chilly here, but nothing like Chicago, so I slap on a few layers and take a walk in the afternoon sun.

Sometimes, Crush even joins me, too!

I am to the left, my shadow curves give me away!

I love the walk from the car to the beach.  The anticipation gets me super excited.  It's been the same since I was little, I remember getting in big trouble for running right to the beach without waiting for my family.  For real, how scary must it be to have an almost lost five year at the beach....

Carolina coast! Wheeeee.....I am at the beach!!!!!!!!

A little gem we found:

A perfect starfish!  He actually found it, so less we and more he in terms of the discovery.

Charleston has many beaches and I like them all for different reasons.  Folly Beach (where these photos are from) can be very loud and hopping in the summer which isn't always my scene as I become grumpier older.  But, it is perfect for long winter walks because there is a lot of beach!

I made the mistake of heading up there to see the fish they catch right off the pier (my dad made me go see) and let's just say that they are NOT cute little fish like Nemo.  I am fine swimming with marine life all around me, but if nothing ever brushed my legs, I would be VERY okay with that, too! 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

What I Read Twice A Day

Two years ago, in the height of my depression, my mom and I would often Marshall & Max (wander Marshalls and T.J. Maxx) to buy things we didn't need.  My mom finds the best stuff during these hunts.  She is a designer label bloodhound.

On one of our regular Fridays night runs, I wandered into the home goods section, tears streaming down my bloated cheeks, crying that I no longer had an apartment or home (Awful did own a pretty cute single family home in Lincoln Park) to decorate.  My life had all of a sudden boiled down to 20/20 and bargain hunting on Fridays with my mom (whom I LOVE to INFINITY AND BEYOND TIMES A TRILLION MILLION, but nonetheless, it wasn't all ideal) instead of seeing friends, attending parties and chowing down at restaurant openings. As I strolled by the wroght iron mirrors, mismatched candle stick holders and half eaten gourmet treats (WHY DO PEOPLE ALWAYS PARTIALLY MUNCH AT MARSHALLS AND TJ MAXX?!?!?), my peepers landed on this:

This is your life.  Find a passion and pursue it.  Fall in love.  Dream big.  Drink wine, eat great food and spend quality time with good friends.  Laugh everyday.  Believe in magic.  Tell stories.  Reminisce about the good old days, but look with optimism to the future.  Travel often.  Learn more.  Be creative.  Spend time with people you admire.  Seize opportunities when they reveal themselves.  Love with all of your heart.  Never give up.  Do what you love.  Be true to who you are.  Make time to enjoy simple things in life..  Spend time with family.  Forgive even when it's hard.  Smile often.  Be grateful.  Be the change you wish to see in the world.  Follow your dreams.  Try new things.  Work hard.  Don't count the minutes could the laughs.  Embrace change,  Trust in yourself.  Be thankful.  Be nice to everyone.  Be happy.  Live for today.  And about all.....make every moment count. 

My heart skipped a beat.  It was a sign.  A sign, sign.  This was everything I needed to tell myself.  So many of my favorite mantras all rolled into one.  I had to have it.   I found my mom across the store and showed it to her.  She read it aloud and her eyes filled with tears.   Mom told me, "Read this everyday.  Follow the advice and I know good things will come in due time." 

I brought it home and set it on my childhood dresser, so I could read it everyday.  It reminded me to work on my weaknesses and cultivate my strengths.   

When I moved to Charleston, I hung it in my bathroom.  It's the place I spend way too much time in and head to right when I wake up and right before I go to bed.  Now, every morning and night, I read my magic sign and find peace.  I strongly recommend finding a sign like this or a quote you love and displaying it in your personal space.  It will remind you of the person you truly are every time you pass by.  Take the time to read it and watch the positivity come your way.