Take a deep breath

Do not let your to-do list rob you of joy. 

I’ve said this 50,000 times today while hyperventilating….

There is a list of small things that need to get done between now and my move. 

There are also a lot of people who are more important than my to-do list. 

I do not want to be so task oriented that I am not enjoying my time with friends and family. 

So, I’m going to take several deep breaths and prioritize….and I won’t need a brown paper bag to do so. 

I say all of this to encourage you to not be bullied by your to-do list.

Don’t allow anyone or anything to steal your joy. 

Life is way too short for that kind of nonsense. 

Put the matches down

Integrity is what you do when no one’s watching. 

My 8th grade English teacher, Ms. Blackmon, taught me that definition. 

She gave us an example too. 

You’re all alone on a stretch of country road late at night. You approach a red light and no one’s around. Do you run it? Or wait for it to turn green? 

Your decision, she said, is the true measure of your integrity. 

This little story has always stuck with me. During times of temptation I catch myself. 

What about my integrity?

We’ve all had friends and family fail–and not the ones we expected either. 

They were so nice!

Their lives seemed so perfect!

What you do, who you are when no one’s looking really matters. 

I think that’s why sincerity is such a hot commodity these days. 

“Just be real,” we say, “Be honest about your struggles.”

I’m all for it too! Goodness knows that I screw up a lot. 

But we need to be careful. 

Asking others to be sincere means we can’t burn them at the stake.

This is true when a friend or relative makes a mistake or even expresses an opinion that differs from your own. 

Self-righteous witch hunts are what drive people to wear masks. 

The root of integrity–and all good character for that matter–starts when no one’s looking. 

Maturity is a process, so don’t hide your struggles. 

And, lastly, don’t be so quick to strike a match. 

Let’s Look Past the Differences

I spend a great deal of time reading. For this reason, I am always open to book and article suggestions. Something I have come to learn, however, is that most people are not this way. This realization astounds me for many different reasons. I do not want to waste my time discussing the disadvantages of the close minded, but I often wonder if constant aversions to change only add to the growing problems of developing friendships.

How can you get to know someone if the mountain of differences makes conversation impossible? I understand that everyone on this planet knows at least three people who make them cringe when they walk into the room. However, if I find offense with everyone I meet, I will be a very lonely person.

Lots of people want to label race, religion, or sexual orientation as the boundaries that separate the masses. While it is true that these factors do lead to obvious differences, I strongly believe that the true problem lies within each and every one of us: fear. We do not want to expose our own weaknesses or, if I may be frank, ignorance. Let me help you out: There will always be someone out there who knows more than you or is better at something than you.

This is a good thing. I find that I am challenged to do better, to be better by my friends. It is not always a verbal, “Get your act together, girl!” but I have learned a lot through observing my friends’ successes and failures.

I am not asking anyone to compromise their beliefs or commit major crimes. All I want to do is encourage others to not let differences become insurmountable. We have a lot to learn from each other and whether you want to believe it or not, we all need each other as well.