Guest Post: Lighten Up!
Seattle may be known for its coffee and Portland for the rebirth of microbrews. Well I’ve found a town bursting with great, interesting blog writers, Toronto Canada.
Yesterday’s post came from a young lady from Toronto. So I thought I would fish the Toronto pages again for another one of my (new) favorite bloggers, Alex from “Don’t Stop, Don’t Puke.”
Being a runner I knew exactly what she meant by her blog title. Sometimes, when I raced, I never stopped, ran as hard as I could and then….well, you saw the name of her blog. Its very honest.
Actually, Alex has just started this blog I believe. This blog journals her various workouts in preparation to compete in a marathon in October. True to her blog’s name, she and her legs aren’t talking to each other right now as she pushes them so hard.
But behind every driven athlete is a driven person, whether sports, professionally, or hobbies. And Alex is no different. She’s a Math major professionally racing ahead in the business world. The drive to start this quest to conquer a(nother) marathon stems from the urge to not sit on the side lines and get old and stressed as life went on without her. So she pushes her fitness to stay sharp. She made a positive life change that she can live with.
Similarly, she she was thinking about making other positive changes in her life lately to help her happiness continue to prosper. She’s decided to Lighten Up! And with that idea I give you Alex from Don’t Stop, Don’t Puke, another great Canadian blogger:
I went to grab lunch at my favourite takeout restaurant yesterday. It’s a little eatery where they cook everything in-house. It’s the only organic and vegetarian eatery that I’ve found that has flavour and you’re not hungry half an after you’ve eaten. I eat healthy but I’m not a vegetarian and I rarely eat organic foods, but once in a while, I go here when I feel that my body needs nutrients. I was trying to order 2 of the items on the menu and scared of pronouncing their ethnic names (I live in Toronto after all), I pointed to the dishes in front of me and asked for the Perisian Stew and the Lentil Stew. The server looked at me, smiled and said, “Why don’t you take a stab at pronouncing them”. So I did…I asked for the “Ghorme Sabzi” and the “Gheyme Stew” (try saying them…) He congratulated me on my sort-of-accurate pronunciation, taught me how to pronounce them correctly and we smiled and chatted about the rest of the names on the menu.
Walking out of there with a smile on my face, I wondered what kept me back from pronouncing the names…and I figured it was being scared that I would get them wrong. And that’s when it hit me that I need to loosen up a bit. It’s a little sad but very true that we all take ourselves way too seriously. Most of us can lighten up when we’re in the company of children or animals but what about the rest of the time? Why do we find it so hard to let go, why not have a little bit more fun with life, even at the risk of looking foolish.
So, I’ve decided that I need to make an effort to lighten up and change some things in my life…
- Focus on the positive – Andy said this to me a couple of days ago and I think it’s brilliant. He said that an old boss told him to try to find people doing things right instead of focusing on all the things they did wrong. I think that’s brilliant and probably one of the biggest keys to happiness…in relationships, at work and in general. When I think of how much time I spend harping on the negatives during a day I’m exhausted! I can only imagine how the people around me feel having to listen to them. So from now on, I’m going to try to keep quiet about the small things that aren’t done the way I would like and instead focus on the things that are done well!
- Relax – things never go as planned…EVER. In fact, the only thing I can control is my attitude and how I react to what happens everyday. The rest, try as I might, is out of my control and I need to relax and accept that. Making a huge deal out of every little thing that goes wrong during the day doesn’t help make them right, it just causes more things to go wrong as I get distracted, frustrated and annoyed. Instead, I’m going to let it go, not let what happened annoy me, stay relaxed and move on. Hopefully the next thing I do in my day won’t go as badly as the first 🙂
- Laugh – there are so many times when I hold back my laughter. When I’m reading something funny at work or on the subway and I don’t want to make a scene so I fight so hard to hold it in. But what would happen if I just laugh. At work I’m sure people would ask me what I was laughing at and come join me in watching it..and they’d laugh along. On the subway, I might annoy a few crusty people, but anyone with a sense of humour would smile…
- Don’t get insulted – this is a hard one for me. When people tell jokes about me or poke fun, my first instinct is to get my back up and I get upset. I know it’s not logical as these people are my friends, care for me and are not out to get me. I should be laughing along and having a good time, instead of getting upset and quiet or worse, confronting them about it.
- Try new things – New restaurants, new activities, pronouncing things…I’m going to try doing things that are out of my comfort zone. This is an easy one in Toronto as we’re so multicultural and have a plethora of restaurants to choose from. And most of these things are unpronounceable! From a menu order, to a street name, to someone’s last name…I’m going to pronounce everything. The next time I order out, I won’t use the numbers besides the items on the menu, I’m going to pronounce the full name of the meal. I might end up ordering something completely different than I intended, but I was planning on trying something new anyways!
So that’s my plan, reading these 5 things over doesn’t sound that difficult, it’s not like I’m vowing not to eat chocolate or anything but I know that if I can do them, they’ll make a huge impact in my life and on those around me.
I’m sure there are a million more things I could add to this list, so I’d love to hear all your suggestions.
Thanks Alex! Great advice. I think we all know people that take themselves way too seriously. I was one of those until someone ‘urged’ me to lighten up. And they were right. I try to interject some self-deprecating humor to help keep my ego in check. Laughing, or laughing at one’s self helps keep everyone ‘light’ and happier. I too get too insecure, hence, insulted when things are happening around me and I am not current on the idea. And, my wife will tell you, I have no idea on how to relax. So I am going to keep that point and all these other great points in mind. We can never be too happy after all.
Thanks again Alex. If writing makes you happy or know someone you know, let me know and leave a comment. Come on, lighten up! I welcome your good ideas here in 3D as well and you may be a guest blogger.
Thanks Derek. I will send you an email…..
I would add that you can control your actions also. But, the point on things not going as planned is well taken. These last few days have gone different than expected, but better than I thought too. So, I guess things turn out.
If you want, give me a topic and I will write something up. That could be an adventure for us all. Your blog, you decide. 🙂 (hey that sounds like a campaign slogan)