Yesterday I posted about chasing your dream. Well, it really was more about how I’ve changed over the years and how I’ve tried to dish out advice to others on following their dreams. I ended that post by saying I would share my dream with you tomorrow. Well, it’s tomorrow. I know I haven’t been blogging much, but I made a promise yesterday and decided that it’s important to keep it.
Anybody that is friends with me on Facebook knows that I love Arbonne products. I’ve only been using them for about 10 months, but I love them. It started with an online Facebook party that I attended. I learned about the Arbonne products and their pure, safe, and beneficial ingredients. Arbonne was founded by Petter Mørck. You can read the story of Arbonne here. http://est1980.arbonne.com/our-story.shtml
The first week of March I became an Arbonne Independent Consultant. My goal was not to sell Arbonne, but just to continue making my purchases with a better discount. However, when I signed up, a box arrived. The box had 10 catalogs and 10 RE9 samples. I put the box away and went on about my business. In just a couple of days, after listening to that box call my name, I decided to just take the catalogs and the samples and see what happened.
What happened is other people were interested. Some people were interested because I had been talking up Arbonne on Facebook. Other people were truly looking for something. Maybe skincare, maybe nutrition, maybe makeup. What I’ve found in the last 60 days is that I can share my love of a product and maybe, just maybe build my own business.
It’s been kind of a whirlwind, roller coaster ride the last 60 days. One minute, I’m asking myself “What the hell are you doing? Why are you wasting your time?” For every one of those kind of questions, there were probably three comments to myself like “I can’t believe this!” “This is great!”
It’s working for me right now, because I am actively believing in my dream. What is my dream?
After becoming an IC with Arbonne and after beginning to actively share Arbonne, I began to become more acquainted with some of the people on my “team”. One of these sweet ladies sent me a book entitled “Where Will You Be Five Years From Today?”
Before I even opened that I book, I knew exactly where I wanted to be five years from today. Retired. Our plan is to retire in less than 3 years. Doug has given about all he has to give to his employer. He says that when he retires, I retire. But I’ve had questions about this retirement thing. Like – Insurance? In 3 years I will only be 58. I won’t be eligible for Medicare.
So when I looked at the pretty book tied up with a pretty white bow, I laid it aside and gave it some thought. What came to me was sort of a vision, really just a little glimmer on the horizon. Maybe, just maybe, if I work really hard and follow the plans that have been laid out before me by other women who have already achieved success, I could earn enough from this Arbonne thing to pay for my health insurance.
I’ve got a great learning tool with the Arbonne website. Everything I need to know as an Independent Consultant, I can find on the site. There is a wonderful team of women who have already walked this walk and they are willing to share, mentor, and encourage me. Plus I’m a smart girl, I have a few ideas myself.
One of them was to place a small display of the fizz sticks on my desk. (What are fizz sticks – click the link below
I also ordered a special glass for my fizz sticks. This is a conversation starter. People are in and out of my office all day. Some people notice, some people don’t. If they ask what it is, I explain what it is. If this opens up the conversation to skincare, makeup, or nutritional products, I pull out a prepackaged sample pack that I put together and hand it to them. I consider this an investment. An investment in myself and my dream. So far this is working for me.
Like any dream, I can’t just sit here and wait for the eager new Arbonne customers to come to me. I have to go find them. Hopefully, I will find others who believe in the products the way I do and I can teach them how to fulfill their dreams.
So if I call you, or text you, or email you and ask you about your skincare products, your makeup products, or maybe if you would like to learn how to eat healthy again, I’m not offended if you tell me you aren’t interested right now. If you say no to me today, please feel free to call me if you change your mind. Please be patient with me if I call you in a couple of months to share with you a new product that I’ve learned about and I thought of you when I saw it. If I ask you to host an Arbonne party either live or in your home, you aren’t obligated to me in any way, you aren’t obligated to purchase anything. But I will reward you for helping me. You help me by allowing me to introduce this wonderful products to your friends. Plus it’s a fun way to reconnect and meet new people.
All I ask is that you are open to me and willing to discuss your dreams with me. After all, I am a problem solver.
I am almost 55 years old and I have learned a lot in those years. Especially the last 30 years. The hardest lesson I learned is that I am responsible for my own happiness. What I really hope is that while I was learning this difficult life lesson, I wasn’t a whiner.
Nothing is much worse than listening to someone bitch about how unfair their life has turned out. One of the other things I’ve learned is to just walk away, keep my mouth shut. The whiner only wants to whine. They don’t want the truth or even help.
Just about every unhappy situation I’ve found myself in, I had a hand in putting myself there. Sometimes unhappiness is simply moodiness. So I wait a few hours (not days or weeks) and the feeling wanes.
But when the unhappiness is like a dark cloud following you everywhere you turn, it may be time to take a real look at your life choices.
I’ve worked jobs I hated because I needed a roof over my head and food in my belly. I’ve selected where I needed to live because I didn’t have a car and I need to walk to work. I’ve been fiercely lonely and scared when I made the decision to leave my drug addicted husband whom I loved with all my heart.
What I’ve learned is if I’m truly unhappy I need to look inward and ask myself some hard questions. Every difficult, unhappy situation I have found myself in was a direct result of choices that I made. Other people may have been involved. Other people may have made me promises. But life is a two way street. It all boils down to choices.
If you’re unhappy and you think “If only,” it may be time to put your big girl panties on and start making better decisions. If you’re unhappy take a long hard look in the mirror and then decide you are going to be happy. Make the changes that need to be made by YOU!
At work we have several volunteers that help us in the office. This week we had someone on vacation so we used volunteers to sit at her desk and answer phone calls. All of these sweethearts are happy to help and I love having them in the office. It breaks up the monotony of the day to day work week. I find myself drawn to these golden agers.
This afternoon we had an 80 plus year old helping. She had walked into my office and spotted my computer wall paper. “Oh what a beautiful bird. That picture is just lovely!!” She said all of this with her trace of New York accent. She has lived here for years, but the accent lingers.
The picture was a bird sitting on a apple tree branch. The tree was blossoming. She just stood there for a moment really taking in the photo and really appreciating the beauty captured.
Then she closed her eyes, smiled, and tilted her head back. The sun was shining though my floor to ceiling window and fell across her 80ish year old face and she began to recall:
“When I was a very young girl in New York my father would take us out into the country. It was out along an old dirt lane, that just rolled on. It curved and went up and down. We passed old fences that were falling down along the side of the rode. Then we would round the bend and there it was!” She opened her eyes and looked at me and said “The most beautiful apple orchard. Just rows and rows and rows. They seemed to go on forever. My father would ask the farmer, May we come in? The farmer would open the gate and let us in. My father allowed no running and screaming. There was no fooling around.”
She closed her eyes again and said, “When I close my eyes it all comes back to me. The beautiful canopy of flowers. Just a sea of beautiful pinkish white blooms. The chartreuse leaves, the golden sun spilling down through the branches. AND THE SMELL! Very pungent, but lovely.”
“We would walk quietly among the trees. A gentle breeze would come and the petals from the trees would fall like snow. It really was something. But you only had a short time to catch it. Some years we would ask, Can we go to the apple orchard? and my father would say, It’s too late. At the time I never realized how that memory would stay with me.”
She’s talked to me about her father before. He was a very hard working man that provided for his family. But there didn’t seem a lot of affection from him towards her or her sister. But the apple orchard was special to him and he passed that on to her.
Before she left my office, I told her “How wonderful that your father shared that with you!”
We’ve all heard and probably even said “If I knew then what I know now………” Sure, we can all look back and see things that we would do differently. If you’re like me, you probably even can recall someone telling you from their own experience that you shouldn’t do this or that at the time you were considering doing this or that. But like all the inexperienced before us and all of those who come afterwards, we have to learn from our own mistakes.
Which brings me to something that has been on my mind for a while now. What do you do when you see someone making life choices that you consider poor? Well, I’m keeping my mouth shut. Especially since I wasn’t asked for an opinion or any advice.
But it is hard. Particularly when someone has already made some less than stellar choices. But they are their choices. Nevertheless, it is hard to sit back and watch someone start down a road that probably has nothing but rough patches and heartache. Of course, I really don’t know how it will all turn out. But I do have my own lifetime of experiences to draw on. I may not have faced the same choices, but I did have similar choices or witnessed others making similar choices.
I guess working through failures is just part of being human. Maybe you have to really live with a mistake to learn from it. But I do question the intelligence of someone who keeps making the wrong life choices over and over and over. Then crying and wondering “Why this always happens to me?”
I guess you just have to sit and wait patiently for their maturity level to reach the point where they realize that they made the choice. No one forced them. I’ve come up with a short list of things I have learned. They may seem vague, but I believe they are important.
- I am in charge of me. That includes all of my actions and all of my feelings
- I can depend on myself.
- Regardless of how it affects others I will do what is best for me.
- I take ownership of my choices. The good ones and the bad ones.
- Life is not fair. It will never be fair.
- You cannot let your now influence your choices for the future.
- Nothing is ever as bad as it seems.
- Assume nothing. If you need to know for sure, ASK!!
- Don’t live in a fantasy world. You have to wake up at some point and it ain’t going to be pretty in 20 years, 10 years, 5 years, or maybe even the day after tomorrow. So you might as well face the facts.
- It really is darkest right before the dawn.
After working at this independent senior adult community for a few months, I have discovered some things and decided to make myself a list so that I don’t forget.
When I get very old:
1. I shall wear my phone around my neck on a lanyard.
2. I shall not brush my hair unless I feel like being fashionable
3. I shall proudly wear my glasses with a great big fingerprint on the lens
4. I shall arrive 2 hours early for all scheduled events
5. If food is served at an event I shall arrive 3 hours early
6. I shall call my list of loved ones each day and tell them “I love you”
7. I shall not drive over 20 MPH unless I’m approaching a stop sign. Then it’s pedal to the metal and a screeching, smoking stop
8. I shall buy a harness for my cat and walk her down the street
9. I shall wear bright red lipstick
10. I shall call everyone I meet sweetheart, darling, or sugar.
11. I shall go to the bank and chat with my young friends
12. I shall take long long afternoon naps
13. I shall show up unannounced on friends and relatives doorsteps
14. I shall look forward to doctor’s appointments as social events
15. I shall visit the burial spots of those I love and sit and think about the memories we made.
16. I shall be happy and not complain
17. I shall have very long conversation with children I meet
18. I shall not listen to others complain
19. I shall not care who knows my age
20. I shall only wear comfortable shoes
21. I shall buy lottery tickets and throw coins into wishing wells
22. I shall read and learn new things
23. I shall teach those who want to know the things that I have learned
24. I shall laugh at myself and the mistakes that I make
25. I shall stand at the end of the path and look back with fondness on the memories I’ve made.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
Some of you may remember my little story about poor Denise. If you missed it, here it is: Pardon My Rage. She felt trapped in a job that no longer suited her. After her blow up with the big boss several weeks ago, things did not get better.
So Denise decided to just take a look around and see what else was out there. She was no Spring chicken, so she was concerned about her age. She had received a raise several months ago, but it had been over two years or more since she had received a raise. So Denise decided to take the bull by the horns and see what was out there.
The last time Denise looked for a job, she used the local paper. She looked in the classified. But times have changed. In these current times, everything is done online. Over the years she had, from time to time, browsed through some job boards. There were tons of them.
Denise knew that if she was going to find a new job, she needed to update her resume. Being the thrifty girl that she is, she found a Groupon for a professional resume service. They provided her with a resume and a cover letter in a format that she could edit if necessary. This important piece of the puzzle was all that she was waiting on.
Denise set up accounts with Monster, Career Builder, and Glass Door. She even took her LinkedIn page more seriously. She posted her resume on these sites. But Denise didn’t just sit back and wait. Daily, she vigorously pursued any and all positions that she felt she was qualified for. She was kind of picky about the area of town, but other than that she was open to anything.
Within the first week of posting her resume, she received a phone call from a recruiter. Denise was leery at first. But after doing a little research on the company, she met with him at their office. There was a little mix up at their office and she sat down with another recruiter. About half way through the interview, the recruiter that she had talked to on the phone appeared and he was not happy. Apparently these recruiters earn their money from the companies where they place people like Denise. It seems they found Denise’s resume impressive and there was a very short and a very polite battle to represent Denise.
The new job that Denise ended up with did not come from this recruiting firm. But they did give her the confidence that she would find a job that paid as well or better than the job that she had.
Eventually Denise ended up with an interview for a company through another recruiting firm. It seem at first that it might be just a little too far for her. But she thought to herself “What the heck.” and went on the interview. The drive was actually about 10-12 miles more, but it seemed to be an easier drive. The job was located in a peaceful, beautiful setting. Denise was happy with what she saw.
Denise’s interview with the controller of the company lasted for 90 minutes. He grilled her verbally on her knowledge of journal entries and all things bookkeeper. He seemed satisfied. Denise returned to her current place of employment and held her breath.
The recruiting company contacted her and let Denise know that the employer was very happy with her resume and her interview. They would need to check her references and do a background check. They wanted her to know that the job was hers, unless something turned up on the background check or her references.
You know on Facebook there is no dislike button. There is a scam that gets going every now and then. I’m not sure if its just a run of the mill hoax or it there is some kind of virus attached to it. My general rule of thumb is I don’t click links on Facebook, unless I’m 100% sure I should. I think we all should be well versed enough with the digital age to know that we shouldn’t click on certain kinds of links found on Facebook, in emails, or on other internet sites.
This brings me back to the “dislike” feature that Facebook does not have. Some people think we should have a “dislike” option on postings. I for one, am glad that we do not. The internet has turned a lot of us into an argumentative group of individuals. Already you can post “It’s a bright, beautiful, sunshiny day!!!!” and some where along the way someone just might post something negative.
Just go to any internet site that allows comments and you will see what I’m talking about. It’s not so much the difference of opinions that I’m talking about as it is the rudeness. The belligerence, contentious, and combative replies. If I say “It’s a good day.” and you reply “It’s a bad day. Maybe tomorrow will be a better day for me.” Fine, that’s a difference of opinion. But if I say “It’s a good day.” and you reply “Are you out of your ever loving mind!!! What the hell are you talking about?? This is the worse day ever. You don’t know what you’re talking about. Haven’t you watched the news!!??” Well that’s just a tad rude. In my opinion.
“In my opinion.” That’s what a lot of commenters say. That’s sort of like “don’t get me wrong” or “I hope you don’t take this wrong.” or demanding (politely) some sort of reference to their “sources”.
I have found that the demands for sources usually surfaces in political or theological statements. Now we’ve all been told not to bring up politics or religion at the dinner table or sometimes even family gatherings. So when you post a political or religious statement on Facebook, beware. You have opened yourself up for a debate. This is when it can get ugly. Generally on Facebook it may not be your own friends that waylay you, but the friends of friends. If its your own friends that become rude, ugly, and begin the name calling, it may be time to reconsider your friends list.
When people request “sources” or “where did you get your information?” I must say, I chuckle just a bit. I think most of us know we can pull just about anything to support our “opinion”. Its funny to me to see people become some kind of self appointed expert in a particular area. I also think its hilarious that someone thinks that they can listen and read up on a political candidate and be able to discern the truth. At this time of the year in the political cycle and generally any other time, politicians (ALL politicians) say what they think their constituents want to hear.
I’m sick of the arguments about politics. Whoever is in the White House, whoever is in congress, whoever sits in the senate, they could care less about what is going on amongst the run of the mill working class American. The big corporations run this country and they run the world. We as individuals have relatively no rights as compared to the military industry, pharmaceutical, energy, agribusiness (just ask any family farmer), and the banking industry. These industries run the world.
Actually when I think about it, it’s really very depressing. We have lost all control. Politicians, all politicians, are in the pockets of these industries. I believe that there will have to be a revolution. I think eventually there will be. Maybe not in my life time. I sometimes go back and read this editorial by Steven Van Zandt. I think its well thought out, but you may have a different opinion and that’s okay.
Well, I really did not mean to go off in this direction. But I will let it stand, because that’s the way I feel. I started off with the absence of a dislike button on Facebook. What I wanted to say is, let’s just be nice to each other. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and their beliefs. Its okay to disagree with someone in a considerate way. But why try to belittle them? No one person has the right to condemn another human being because of their opinions or beliefs.
We’ve all run across them. Sometimes we stumble upon them by accident. Sometimes they turn out to be long time acquaintances or even family members. Sometimes they’re co-workers or maybe a friend of a friend. They can be either male or female. Sometimes we look in the mirror and find them. I’m talking about busy bodies, gossips, and drama queens.
It’s easy to get sucked into their vortex and be swept away in a rolling tide of emotions. At first you may listen with a compassionate heart. You may commiserate with their “troubles.” Then before you know it, the gossip starts to seep in. You’re “learning” things about people that you would never expect. They tell stories of all kinds, about all kinds of people. But you don’t know if they are true stories or even how this person has any knowledge. But you don’t say anything. You don’t stop the constant chatter. The conversations always start off innocent enough, yet somehow they always turn towards the behavior or attitude of someone else. Yet you sit and listen. Nodding your head in virtual agreement of what is coming out of this person’s mouth.
In your head you know that this is wrong. You know this person is proving themself to be a trouble maker. So you begin to distance yourself, just a bit. But you remain passive when confronted again with the gossip. Then this person begins to notice that you’ve distanced yourself from them. They confront you like you owe them an explanation and maybe you feel like you do. So you tell them, not in an angry way, but in a matter of fact way, that you are done. At first they try to make you feel guilty by telling you lies about themself’s and their life. But you aren’t sympathetic to their tall tales. You don’t allow yourself to get sucked back in.
You can’t change people. If a person is basically an unhappy person and only finds contentment in belittling or stirring up stuff with others then there is nothing you can do for them. Sitting and listening to there problems and tales of others just justifies their feelings in their own minds. We feed them by listening to them. They find contentment and validation in the apperance of our “compassion” for them. But really we just don’t want to rock the boat.
Sometimes I think back to how much trouble I would have stayed out of if it wasn’t for the fact that I just didn’t want to rock the boat. I didn’t want to challenge someone. I just let it go in one ear and out the other. I may be a slow learner, but I hope that in the future when confronted with gossip or just bad mouthing, I have the ability to say something to stop it, rather than just nodding my head and listening.
We all have a tendency to gossip and whisper. I think that’s human nature. None of us are perfect. But there is a type of person out there who we need to be wary of. They are basically evil, angry individuals. They seek their own fulfillment in the misery of others. They put on a mask of friendliness and fellowship. But their heart is black and their intention is wickedness.
There’s nothing like self censorship. I’ve had a lot of thoughts, opinions, and memories rolling around in my mind the last several weeks. But I’ve stopped myself from putting those thoughts down in black and white for fear of someone taking offense to them or even taking them out of context and twisting my words around into something I didn’t mean.
Sometimes my opinions don’t always roll along the same track as the outspoken majority. I say outspoken only because when I have conversations face to face with people I find that there are many more out there that think like I do. But regardless of whether people agree or disagree I am entitled to my opinion, my thoughts, and my memories.
Like everyone else on the planet I have my own thoughts and opinions. Sometimes they are in line with the majority and sometimes they’re not. Sometimes they are off the wall and way out in left field. But they are mine and I’m entitled to them. I take pleasure in writing about my thoughts and opinions in this blog. Sometimes I have something I feel like I need to share and this is how I do it. You don’t have to agree or even like it. That’s okay. Everyone has their own opinions and are without a doubt entitled to them. They also have a right to express it as well. But arguing with me about it is senseless. I’m not talking about an adult discussion of differences. I’m talking about calling me or anyone else with an opinion different than your own uninformed, stupid, or whatever. An opinion is an opinion. Its not fact. It neither right or wrong. It just is.
There are things that have happened in my life that I would like to share. Not because they are important or earth shattering. Some are funny, some are sad, some happy, and some are just crazy. But they are things that have happened that have caused me to become the person that I am today.
There are things that have happened within my great big extended family that I haven’t discussed. I censored myself by telling myself that I shouldn’t step on any toes. I shouldn’t drag that back up. I should let that go. I really just didn’t want to “start” something. But I’ve decided that as far as family events, if I want to write about it I will. I won’t argue with anyone about what I’ve written and I will try not to feel the need to defend myself. It is what it is. If someone has a different outlook or memory, let them write them down in their own way. In the future I will ignore those who try to intimidate me and to silence me. Like any family we have our bullies. I enjoy my great big extended family. I love to pass the day sitting with family at reunions and get togethers, reminiscing about past events and those who have passed on. But when it comes right down to it, the only family I need is Doug. I love all of my family. I would feel a little empty and do feel a little empty when I lose contact with someone. But one thing I’ve heard that is absolutely, 100% true is the say “You can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family.” So I would love to be “friend” as well as cousin, niece, sister, aunt. But in reality it isn’t always possible.
What I’ve learned since I began this blog in March of last year is that it brings me satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment. I think everyone should put their own thoughts, memories, and ideas down in writing. I know I wish my grandparents and even my great grandparents had left some kind of written diary for the future generations. Think how enlightening it would be to read what my great grandparents thoughts and trials where when they settled the Oklahoma territory. Or the thoughts of my other great grandfather as he traveled as a boy from Alabama to Texas because of a falling out with his family’s Baptist relatives.
I’ve received far more positive feedback than negative in the last year. But I have lost a couple of friends and a few family members. But looking back I think maybe the connections to those people weren’t so strong, positive, or uplifting. Maybe the tie needed to be cut. So I’ll start all over again, fresh. Unfettered with the fear of stepping on toes or offending someone. Its not that I’m about to embark on a series of stores or tales that are intentional mean spirited or offensive. Its just that I have learned in the last year that there are people out there that will take offense or for some reason really believe that I am speaking directly about them. The world is full of humorless people who carry a chip on their shoulder.
I’m starting anew with the knowledge that these things I write are mine. I owe no apology to anyone. I simply say to anyone that feels offended “Get a grip!! The world doesn’t revolve around you.” If I should write about a memory or event that involved you or your family, just remember, we all have different memories of the same event. It doesn’t make mine any less valid than yours. Its my memory and my opinion. I’ll be happy to listen to your memory as well.
After spending the day with my Mom on Friday I suddenly realized that my mother is reaching the juncture of retired go getter grandma and veering into elderly matriarch. I, on the other hand, am well advanced into mature, self sufficient, bitch stage. Bitch can be a bitter insult or a flattering compliment. It all depends upon who and how they are using it.
In today’s world, in my opinion, a bitch is any woman who stands up for herself and what she believes in. She won’t be quiet and she insist on being heard. She doesn’t require that you agree with her, only that you listen and value her opinion. I think any strong woman, no matter her position, has been called a bitch to her face and behind her back.
My thought, when I started writing today, was not to dwell upon the term bitch but to examine how different I am at 50 compared to what I was at 20. At 20 I was still young and innocent. Just starting out on this adult adventure called life. So many choices and opportunities spread out before me. So many paths I could have taken. Determined to make my own choices and my own decisions. Eager.
Its little things, innocuous things, major things, egotistical things. Events that I stumbled into, unprepared for. Things I caused, things that weren’t my fault, and things I had no control over. All of the things everyone experiences and it is called “Life”.
At 20 – I had at some point between 20 to 30 pairs of shoes. At 50 – I have about 6 pairs. I’m just happy when I walk out the door with 2 shoes of the same color and style on.
At 20 – My hair was long and I fussed with it for hours. One side must be exactly like the other side. At 50 – My hair is short and I spend probably a total of 5 minutes on it. I wash it, dry it, and muss it up with some control paste and then I don’t give another thought the rest of the day.
At 20 – I wasn’t happy when I was alone. At 50 – I appreciate time to myself and enjoy it.
At 20 – I didn’t want to rock the boat and kept quiet. At 50 – I don’t care how long we sail upon a stormy sea! I will throw my opinion out there. I’m not belligerent, but I’m not going to stand quietly by while someone else drones on and on about a subject that I feel strongly about.
At 20 – I didn’t like to ask questions. At 50 – I ask lots of questions. Sometimes I know that I’m being irritating, but I can’t stop myself. I just have to understand why someone thinks a particular way.
At 20 – I didn’t want anyone to think ill of me. At 50 – other people’s opinion of me generally matter very little to me. I know exactly who I am and what kind of person I am.
At 20 – I was afraid. At 50 – I am unafraid.
Life bends each of us and shapes us into the person we are today. As women we are a completely different breed than our grandmothers were. This is neither good nor bad, it just is.
Mary Anne Radmacher (author & artist) “Find your balance and stand with it. Find your song and sing it out. Find your cadence and let it appear like a dance. Find the questions that only you know how to ask and the answers that you are content to not know.”
And also “Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Appreciate your friends. Continue to learn. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.”