Because Brett Asked Me To Blog

Here’s a blog post I promised Brett Fink (soon to be Boston College grad) that I would write.

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I haven’t blogged in a while. That’s a problem! I used to blog all the time and my writing skills were great (or at least I thought so). Anyway, a lot has happened since last summer and fall and life has changed a ton. Here’s the briefest of brief overviews of my life in a nutshell.

My Mom & Vacation

Fall going into winter was tough. Work wise, things seemed to be moving slow because the weather dictates energy level in the Northeast. It’s a busy time of year before Thanksgiving and Winter Break. I then learned that my mom wasn’t doing well, so I actually few to Thailand. I met with my sister and family and visited my Mom everyday over the course of almost two weeks, but my mom was unconscious the entire time. Doctors explained she had a number of ailments–heart problems, kidney problems, infections–on top of her diabetes. So, everything she didn’t do to take care of herself was catching up quickly. We knew that it was a matter of time until she would pass, but we could not stay in Thailand. So, my sister and I had to head back to the U.S.

Winter break began and again, I wondered when my mom would pass. I knew my family would keep us updated on her condition. Meanwhile, I knew my life had to move forward. I decided to take my first legitimate vacation to Disney World and Universal Orlando. I knew I needed to get away and just have fun, because if anything, my mom’s ailments told me life is short and that it was always my dream to go to Disney World. This was a time I could actually afford it, so I decided to make the trip with Luis. All in all, it was a fun experience and just a good time to just focus on myself while experiencing what vacation really feels like. I realized that people go on them because it really is relaxing. It’s a privilege, for sure, so I’m not saying everyone should go on vacation, but that if you can, do it. It was my form of self-care among everything happening in my life.

Thankfully, my job is full of wonderful people and people who understand situations come up. When I returned back to Boston, I learned my mom had passed. I quickly had to come up with money to be able to make the trip back to Thailand (going twice in a month is really expensive). So, I eventually came up with the funds and made it back to Thailand. Although the time before felt a little more like vacation, this time, it was for a lot of funeral services and my mom’s cremation ceremonies.

Thai Buddhism consists of a lot of praying, but a lot of celebration, too. Leading up to the cremation, lots of people come out and pray every night with the family. Food is served and services don’t last long, but it brings people together multiple times. Once the cremation happened and we took my mom’s bones and ashes out to sea (in a beautiful spot), things were just a lot happier. Everything is just more beautiful in Thailand and doing something like this in the U.S. wouldn’t have been the same, so I’m thankful my mom passed in Thailand and not in the U.S. I think the entire experience just provided closure and I know my mom is resting. Life was just hard these past couple of years and I know she’s in a better place, wherever that is.

My Job & Weather

Like I said, weather dictates my mood and energy levels. It’s been hard-working through an entire day without being tired or wanting to take a mid-day nap. I hate winter and I can’t wait for actual spring and summer and even fall! Warmth. I need sunlight. I think this year has been such a learning experience and is going a lot quicker than I had ever expected. As I start a day, it’s the end of the day and it’s a new week and new month. I can’t believe it’s already March (as I’m writing this). It’s been great to learn how to do my job and learn to do it better each day. I know I entered not knowing a lot about residential life, so all I can say is that I’ve learned a lot and I’m hoping as I end my first year, I can reflect on how to do the job even better.

When the summer heat comes, I’ll be in training again (maybe this signals the most productivity in terms of learning for me).

Everything Else & Nothing Else

It’s always interesting to go through each new stage of life. People come and go all the time. People I think I’m supposed to be friends forever with one day just stop talking to me or walk away. I can’t control that anymore than anything else in life, but it’s just so interesting. I was asked by a couple of people over the last few months to blog, and this time it was Brett who asked me to write about my life and experiences, and so he gets the credit on this one. Tory gets the credit on the last post (which was months after the last post before it).

I plan to run the Boston Run to Remember Half Marathon again this year over Memorial Day Weekend and I’m hoping to sign up to run the Disney World Marathon in January 2016. I think of all things I have been thinking about, it is how I need to get healthier. I don’t want diabetes, heart problems, kidney problems, or high cholesterol. I don’t want to be over weight and sick all the time. I don’t want to die before the age of 70. So, it’s true when I say my mom taught me a lot about what not to do.

So, I’m taking names of people who totally would make the trip down to Disney World in January to run the marathon with me! Seriously. Do. It.

The First 90 Days (In My First #SAPro Job)

This was a post I submitted for the CSDA Alumni Newsletter. I don’t know if it was ever used, but I figured I should post it on my personal blog, since I haven’t blogged in awhile.

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It’s officially 90 days past the start of my first job out of the CSDC program here at the University of Vermont, so it’s a perfect time to reflect on the experience as a new #SAPro.

Being a Residence Director right out of grad school was not in my 5 year plan. It was not in my life plan at all. However, I still remember back in January when I decided to attend the Placement Exchange (TPE) in Baltimore before the NASPA conference, I had to be open to the possibility and opportunities that presented themselves. I still remember the list of things I was looking for in my first job: a challenge to me professionally and personally, a department that values social justice, a job that changes day-to-day, the ability to supervise a staff (possibly a grad), the ability to facilitate or teach a class, a department committed to my professional development, a fun and caring work environment with people who actually want to get to know me, and a fair salary and benefits for the amount of work I would perform. My list seemed like it had a lot of things, but I was determined to find where I needed to be, with the assumption that I would have to give some things up along the way.

As I did my search and decided to apply to jobs, I started to not focus on every little thing on my list and looked into jobs within residential life. Eventually, I interviewed and was offered a Residence Director position at the University of Vermont. I was thrilled to even be employed, but I realized that the job I took had all of the things in my wish list. Looking back, it was when I opened up myself to any functional area that met my criteria that I was able to find what I was looking for.

90 days in (at the time of writing), I will say that I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at UVM so far. I will say that I have been challenged personally and professionally. I have had to learn what it means to work in residence life and had to hit the ground running. After a month and a half of summer training, I realized that my cohort while in the CSDC program really informed me of what my job would entail. Through informal conversations and class conversations, I was able to hear about the challenges and everyday job functions of those who had graduate assistantships in residential life. I have also found that the Law & Ethics in Higher Education course has been one of the most useful classes that I feel the application of the material every day in my job.

So, I realized I did not have to give up anything on my wish list when it came to finding my first job. What I did have to do was open myself up to working in residential life. I’m glad I made that decision because I’m really enjoying the various aspects of my job. I have the chance to develop and supervise a staff of 12 resident advisors in a building that is composed of over 50% international students from all over the world. I currently facilitate an 8 week RA course geared towards develop understanding of identities and how they play into social justice. This class is a challenging course because it asks new RAs to reflect on their own lives and experiences and learn from each other. We have this course because of UVM and the Department of Residential Life’s commitment to social justice and diversity and inclusion. I feel very blessed that the Division of Student Affairs here really “talks the talk” and “walks the walk” when it comes to diversity and inclusion. Last of all, I actually have coworkers who I genuinely like and I am friends with. I think I have been able to form some kind of community and really like who I work with.

My advice to student in the CSDC program is to remain open. Acknowledge the things you want from a job, but be open to positions you might not ordinarily consider and be open to many functional areas in your job search. If you focus too hard on the wish list, you may feel like you’re not getting anywhere in the search. If you don’t have a wish list, you may be wandering aimlessly through tons of job postings. Even if you don’t end up applying or interviewing for a position, at least give everything a chance to interest you. Once I opened myself up to many functional areas, I found the job I was looking for, even though it was in a functional area I didn’t plan to work in out of graduate school. The last piece of advice is to use connections to further your search. Ask people you know about the things they know about functional areas, positions, and institutions and ask them who they know for even more connections.

Now that I’m past my 90 days as an #SAPro, I’m excited to see what comes next for me in my position as a new professional and I’m excited for all the learning opportunities that present themselves! In my first 90 days, I’ve learned that I do like this job and functional area more than I thought I would. It took some risk taking to get here, but I honestly feel like I have gained so much already from this job.

The First 7 Days of My #SAPro Life

Even though I’ve been in Vermont for 20 days, today is officially my first 7 days of my #SAPro life. That means I started training and all that jazz! I thought it would be nice to reflect on my transition so far as it related to my personal and professional life in hopes of making sure I take a pause to think about everything that has happened, as well as allow myself the opportunity to hopefully keep this perspective somewhere for myself when I transition into my second job one day, as well as help others (if they decide to read this).

Leaving Boston was very hard. I spent nearly 4 full years in the city and really got used to the day-to-day life I was living. Two years of AmeriCorps/City Year and two years of graduate school at Northeastern University made me feel like I had structure. I knew what I was doing and everything was convenient. When I moved on July 1st, I felt sad about moving for the very first time in my life!

I admit that I cried once before moving. What made me the most sad was that I was leaving my friends that became my family over the course of 4 years. I also started to realize how convenient everything was in Boston. The bus and T shuttled me everywhere and mostly everything was walking distance. But, the big move came and went and here I am in Burlington, Vermont!

I have to say that moving in was relatively easy. I had help from my Compass (returning RD) other RDs, and grads. I truly appreciated this because I have a lot of stuff from the past 4 years of my life. It took a couple days to get things unpacked and for me to feel like I’ve settled in. I think coming into a completely new environment made me feel a little like I was on vacation. I sometimes went to sleep and thought I would be waking up in the middle of Boston with the sound of cars driving by outside. But, that wasn’t the case. I woke up to students walking the halls or silence (seriously, it’s so quiet in the summer to the point it feels loud).

I’ve had the chance to hang out with Mike Prinkey, who works at Champlain College, meet the other ACs (Area Coordinators) he works with, as well as check out the ArtsRiot Food Truck Rally! I got to check out the Burlington Farmer’s Market and walked around the different malls and Church Street.

On work side of things, I had my New Staff Orientation at UVM, which was really helpful. I did lots of paperwork over the last couple of weeks and met lots of people. Overall, I’m really liking everything. I have missed a true university/college campus feel, and UVM definitely does not disappoint on that end. Everyone has been super nice and helpful to me as well, which has been great!

My building, Marsh-Austin-Tupper Complex, or MAT, is nice. It has the traditional ResHall style corridors with singles, doubles, and triples, and my building houses the Global Gateway Program, so I’ll have lots of international students among the general population that makes up my complex.

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My building, Marsh-Austin-Tupper Complex (MAT)!

The first full week of work has been filled with lots of different training sessions and meals to get the RDs together, which has been really nice! I also got to meet my grad and Assistant Residence Director (ARD) Atiya McGhee! We had lunch (from Wings over Burlington, which I had no idea there was even one here) and started our conversations about the year! It was nice to have an informal time together before we start the year with training!

This past weekend, we had our RD Retreat at Jay Peak, which was completely what I needed! It really was rejuvenating, even though we were all so sore and tired by the end of the first day! Jay Peak Resort has a water park called the Pump House. There are various slides, a lazy river (which is not so lazy, more active than you’d like), pools, an indoor wave machine, and hot tubs. This was my first time in awhile going to a water park, and my first time going on a water slide!

We got in, and because I had researched the park before, I knew there was a scary slide called La Chute (the red slide). Basically, you climb up the stairs and go to the highest point that juts outside the rood of the building. You enter a chamber and the door closes. The operator turns the key to lock you in while starting a countdown. The voice inside the chamber counts down from 3 and then the floor drops below your feet. Before you know it, you’re plunging down a nearly vertical slide (and it feels like you drop rather than slide). Your stomach feels like it goes into your throat and you feel like you just fall through a hole. Before you know it, you’re shooting up a large over-banked turn/loop and you’re sliding down (while water rains down within the slide) and you splash down.

The whole thing is over before you know it, but it’s pretty thrilling to say the least. So, what happened was, we got to the park and decided to get it over with and walked up. So, I thought there was going to be some kind of line. I was totally wrong. A couple of the RDs went first and then it was my turn. There was literally no time to think and off I went. Well, I got it over with and I had enough of that. I will say that La Chute is scarier than any roller coaster I’ve been on! I just feel like water slides are scary in general because you can flip or get stuck.

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Anyway, we had a great day overall! We headed back soon after to our condo to take showers and make pizzas for dinner. The food was absolutely delicious. After that, we played some board games to get to know each other more, and you know how that goes! I will say that the Game of Things is probably now my favorite party board game compared to Apples to Apples.

After we all woke up, we cooked breakfast and left to our meeting space at the main resort hotel. They had signs for us and everything! Our view was absolutely incredible as well! After a really good talk, we got back into the cars for our ride back!

I think I’m warming up to Burlington. I have to remember that I grew up in a regular city and didn’t always used to have things so conveniently placed. I do enjoy the food in Burlington and the relatively lower numbers of people in general around town. I also became a Vermont Resident on July 18th when I converted my out of state license to a Vermont license. I waited about 40-45 minutes from walking in to leaving (with my new license in hand). That is amazing compared to the 2-4 hour waits that are regular in California!

So far, it has been a really great first 7 full days in this new job! I have a lot to learn and this year will test my ability to think on my feet and navigate a completely new environment. But, I’m trying to remain confident in myself that I will both get the support I need and that I can do my job. I probably will want to recap this next week or so with RET (Residential Education Team) training beginning, then come back again after RA training! Until then…

More to come from my new #SAPro life! The journey continues!

The Journey Takes Me To Vermont

I haven’t blogged since March, but the journey has been filled with some really great things! The last time I blogged, I was in the middle of interviews for jobs. After some on-campus interviews, I landed a job at the University of Vermont as a Residence Director in a very social justice oriented department!

When I entered the interview hall at the Placement Exchange in Baltimore, I was not very confident. How would I succeed and land a job amongst the thousands of people in this building?  I won’t lie. I thought it was impossible! Well, behold, I am one of TPE’s successes and managed to snag a position. I am very grateful and lucky in many ways. Yes, I knew some people at UVM on the ResLife staff, all of which made the interview process at UVM very fun and enjoyable, but I saw many people get their names called to interview at TPE, so the fact that I got the job in the end is just amazing to me.

I think it’s also funny. I entered the job search not really wanting to do Residence Life all that much. But, when I interviewed, I realized how much I wanted to see what ResLife is all about! I also think it has some great transferable skills. I turned down on-campus interview offers relating to service/leadership in the process, which I have to say, shocked me at the time. They were great institutions and  great jobs, but I think for my first job, I needed something that would expose me to a variety of things and experiences.

If you’re reading this and want help with the job search, I’m all ears. I feel like I asked so much people for help and assistance on my resume and cover letters, as well as advice on my search process, so feel free to ask!

So, what else have I been up to?

Well, I graduated with my Masters of Science in College Student Development and Counseling from Northeastern University! Finally! It was pretty glorious. Finally done with school (at least for now)! My mom and sister made it out to my commencement ceremony with my bestie Yaa! I was also mentioned in the President’s speech, which took me by surprise! I really enjoyed all the love I got for the two years of hard and tiring work. My multiple jobs and internships definitely paid off, because I walked across the stage with a job in hand and a future ahead of me! After Commencement, I had a lovely dinner with family and friends, which was really awesome because my group of friends come from all different parts of my life. To have them all sit at the same table was just great for me to see.

After that, I did the impossible. I served as a Cluster Facilitator for the National Session of LeaderShape for Boston. It was a very great experience and I had an amazing group of students who named themselves Captain Jack’s Pirates (named after yours truly). Right after this, I went home and napped, because I went to Boston Calling. The next day, I went to Boston Calling again! I was very tired when I got home, so I went to sleep and woke up very early to run a half-marathon.

That’s right. I was exhausted as hell and went to run the Boston’s Run to Remember Half-Marathon for the 2nd year in a row! Amazing stuff. I have to say, I had zero confidence that I would be able to run it. But, I ran the entire thing with Alyssa and I pretty much got almost the same time I got last year (with even LESS training than last year)! Once again, I proved that you can do anything you want to do if you just figure it all out and just do it.

Okay, so I continued to be crazy and that night after the half-marathon, I went to Boston Calling for the final night. Amazingly, I was able to stand with little to no soreness. I massaged myself, iced a lot, and rested before the night of standing. Luis was more sore than I was at Boston Calling.

The next weekend, I went Sky Diving in Pepperell with Kledio and his friend Mike. In one word: AMAZING. It really was. Bucket list item has been knocked out and I would do it again in a heart beat.

I then went away to do another session of LeaderShape, again with MIT-SUTD like I did last year. I served again as the Cluster Facilitator and this time, had two of my friends from my program serve as Cluster Facilitators.

So, in all of this, I befriended this cool guy named Luis. The funny story is that we live near each other and I noticed him on the T one day back in September, but didn’t meet him until February of this year. Anyway, we did everything together the past couple of months, including the Imagine Dragons concert, Six Flags, OneRepublic concert, Amaluna (Cirque du Soleil), Boston Calling, and countless days and nights of eating and watching Game of Thrones. He will hate that I am writing about him in my blog, but I’ve never had a friend or any other human like him who I truly love to be around 24/7. He can kill me later for writing this, but I don’t care.

What saddens me about everything is that I just moved to Burlington, Vermont for my position. I left all my friends behind and Luis. This really makes me sad, but I know I need to start my career, especially that I just finished graduate school. I know they are all still just 4 hours away, but I’m still sad. This is probably the first time I have ever felt sad about moving and leaving people behind. I hope to get a car in the next couple of months so that I can travel to Boston to visit and so that I don’t have to walk everywhere in the snow when winter hits!

Anyway, that’s my update for the past couple of months! I hope to blog a little more regularly without months in between each post.

Below is a gallery of photos from the MIT-SUTD LeaderShape Institute!

An Update on the Journey

I haven’t blogged since January. That’s really weird to think about because I know I like blogging, but I haven’t devoted the time to do it. There’s so much to write about, but I have let myself live and experience life for a bit. I will admit, I haven’t put time aside to just sit and reflect in writing. I am not going to write about everything that has transpired over the last three months, but I at least want to break my blogging silence.

The past months have been both rough and great, sometimes at the same time. In really happy moments, I think I have found myself crying. In days that have brought me joy, I think that I have felt sad or hurt. That’s all part of my journey though. Professional and personally, I don’t think I am where I am because of the pure happy moments or the purely sad moments, but a mixture of the two.

From friend break ups to my sister’s wedding, I have had the most perspective gaining and introspective past couple of months. On the professional side, I’m starting to realize my potential to be great and do well in the field of higher education/student affairs. Personally, I’m making deeper connections to the people in my life.

The scary part about my journey is the unknown. I have no idea what job I will be in and where geographically I will be living. I am usually very excited about the future. For once, I am actually truly scared of the future. I find myself having mini-anxious moments when I start to over think things. I think I fear the unknown because it means sacrifice of the things that I have come to love about living in Boston. I have been blessed to have a network of people who support me. I’m afraid to let it all go. But, the journey isn’t supposed to be easy and is supposed to challenge me. It’s not supposed to be comfortable.

This is the first time in my life I actually do not want to leave people behind. I’m afraid that I won’t be able to make new connections with new people like I have here. It has taken me almost 4 years to create some of the friendships and relationships in my network and I can be super honest that I am afraid to give this up.

Being in Boston has given me the most convenient access to a wealth of cultural activities that I think sometimes I take for granted. I’m able to attend really great concerts, go to Six Flags, eat at world-class restaurants, live near Fenway Park, run on beautiful paved paths around the city, see amazing free concerts in the park, and hop on the subway or bus to any destination I please.

Even with all of this, the journey is the journey. I can’t dictate what will be, but I can control how I feel about it and digest it all at the end of the day. Two years ago, I can still remember when I faced change in the face and refused to accept it.

Maybe, this is the time, once again, to look it in the face and say, bring it!

I don’t know. We’ll see what happens and I’ll have to post about it again soon. For now, I just have to see what happens! With school finishing up very soon and on-campus interviews ramping up, I’ll just have to take each day one at a time and see where things go.

The Morning I Decided I Need To Skydive

Photos of SkyDive Pepperell, Pepperell

This photo of SkyDive Pepperell is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Last night, I spent the night with one of my greatest friends I’ve met at UC San Diego who moved here to Boston this past Fall. Allison Potter and I were co-coordinators of the Alternative Breaks@UCSD program! Last night, we talked, watched movies and YouTube videos, and looked up Groupons that seemed cool. Within our search for Groupons, I stumbled upon something awesome. So, here goes some reflection that happened in my head over the past 24 hours and about the last 7 days, which have been a series of trials and tribulations.

I sometimes come off as a very busy person who overworks himself. I find happiness by making other people feel happy or by finding ways to make positive change in this world. It’s a lot of selfless giving and nothing in return.

Let’s change that.

There are few times in my life I have felt truly alive. I just reflected on this and thought about the time I finished a half-marathon, the time I played the Iroquois “fish game” with my alternative break service team in the middle of the Smoky Mountains while barefoot in frozen grass, and the time I sat upon Mayan Ruins and hiked 16 miles to caves and waterfalls in the jungles of Belize. Those were some of the times in my life I felt alive and realized my existence in this world and that the world is not just a scary place, but a beautiful place.

A lot of things have happened in the last 7 days. When life happens, I forget to live. When bad things happen to people I love most, I forget to live. When people walk in and out of my life, I forget to live.

I need to live.

I need to be alive. I need to be present with what’s here and see that there is much to live for and many things to experience. I need to remember how alive I am and be reminded of the life I need to live. I only have one shot to make it amazing and to fill it with once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

This morning, we had a retreat for our Graduate Student Government at Northeastern University. We were sitting in the room before the retreat preparing for the day, and I was just thinking about the Groupon I found. The Groupon I found was a discounted price of a Tandem Skydive Jump. I asked my friend Kledio Bacci (another VP within the Grad Student Government) randomly to do this with me, and he amazingly agreed in about 10 seconds. We kept talking about the dangers and the risk involved, but how we both wanted to do this and that this was the moment to commit to it. Within minutes, we both purchased the Groupon and we plan to do this when the season opens back up, hopefully in May! So, this was the morning I decided I needed to skydive and I finally made the commitment to do it. Life is way too short to not do the things you need and want to do.

Right now, life is testing me. It’s definitely showing me that life isn’t permanent. Before #YOLO became a thing, we used to say that you only get one life to live. I really do realize now that life is given to us, but can threatened to be taken away at a moments notice. I know this feeling personally because I have had my left threatened and thought I was going to die. It’s that moment when your life flashes before your eyes. You hear about it, but it’s another thing to actually have it happen to you. And now, I am once again tested because I am in fear that I will actually lose someone I love.

If there’s anything I have learned so far, it is that I need to find ways to enrich my life with awesome experiences before it’s too late. I think I have done a good job at that, but I also think I have stopped myself in recent days from realizing the amazing things I have done and the things that I have yet to experience.

So, I post this here as an open invite for others to join in to cross off one of my most-feared yet most-awesome bucket list items. It’s happening sometime in May after I graduate.

Get this Groupon before it goes away! $159 for a Tandem Skydive Jump (a $235 value)!

Now, cue up “What Doesn’t Kill Us (Makes Us Stronger)” by Kelly Clarkson. You better believe I’m actually going to add a Bucket List to my blog as a new tab!

Reblog: 30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself

So, I found this post off of Bucket List Publications’s blog and thought it was really good! I think I often find myself doing the things this article says to stop doing. I’ve read different things saying that maybe we should all set affirmative goals and things we should start doing, but really there comes a time when you realize you are doing a lot of things that aren’t productive or positive and need to stop. I think this puts those things into a neat list of 30 things!I am tempted to attempt making progress with some of these things in this list. Some of thees things are very difficult, though. Just look at #1. In the past couple of months, I have eliminated people from my life or have been eliminated from people’s lives. I’m pretty sure I can write an entire blog post about #1. Anyway, read the post below!

30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself

I read this post this morning and loved it! I don’t often share the work of others on the blog but this post was definitely ”share-worthy”. Creating a bucket list lifestyle encompasses treating yourself right and learning from your mistakes. This post is a great reflection of those lessons.

Is there one of these that you do often? Are there several? Let’s let the good things catch up. 

Written by marcandangel

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.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  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 likeeveryone 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 curveballs 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 curveballs 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.

Photo by: Rob Brucker

About Marc and Angel Hack Life
Passionate writers, admirers of the human spirit, and full time students of life, Marc and Angel enjoy sharing inspirational advice and practical tips for life on their popular personal development blog, “Marc and Angel Hack Life.”  Currently the site contains over 600 articles on happiness, productivity, emotional intelligence, relationships, and general self-improvement, and has attracted over 100 million page views and 100 thousand subscribers since its inception in 2006.