Words of the Week: Moments vs Things

A few weeks ago, my dad and I were talking about people we know that spend ridiculous amounts of money on totally unnecessary things. It turns out those people are all around us.
During our conversation we touched on the fact that having things, at the end of the day, does not make you happy. At least, it doesn’t make us happy. No matter how many Lilly Pulitzer accessories I have or no matter how many nice watches he has, it doesn’t truly fulfill us.
Instead, what remains at the true base (and top, bottom, middle, and means) of our happiness are the people we love an the memories we make and share with them.
Don’t get me wrong, I love things. I love shopping and having nice clothes and accessories. I love having books on my shelves and makeup in my purse. To be honest, I have more things than any one person probably ever should.
Despite my love for and abundance of things, though, they’re not what shape who I am nor do they make up my happiness. I’ve never gone to bed with a smile on my face because I got a new pair of shoes, but rather because I spent the whole day being silly with my sister. I’ve never felt uplifted from a new scarf like I have a hand written card from anyone I love. And I certainly have never laughed so hard I had tears running down my face from having a new iPod or purse or cardigan or new anything. Those moments of pure joy that inevitably turn into memories are the moments I spend with the people I love. The moments I’m giggling over anything and everything with my best friend. The holidays I spend with my family. The nights I’m in the kitchen cooking dinner just chatting with my mom. The car rides home from school I have with my dad. The sleepovers I have in my sisters room where we laugh into the night.

moments
Those are the moments ill always remember. Because at the end of the day I can have a closet, a room, a house, or even a mansion filled with the very best things. But if I didn’t have those moments with my friends and family my life would not mean anything.

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Words of the Week: Each Moment

Last week I was in Florida and felt so relaxed and as worry free as I could possibly be (and for me, that’s saying a lot). Usually I have so much stress and anxiety over silly things, but during my vacation I was able to sit back and actually enjoy what was going on around me, what I was doing and the people I was with.

I feel as though over the past year and a half I’ve spent so much of my time rushing around. Rushing to finish that paper. Rushing to be ahead of all the work I need to do. Rushing from her to there on errands around town when I’m home. Rushing to meetings and constantly rushing to please everyone and do everything. It is seldom that I sit back and enjoy the moment that I’m in and much more likely that I’m in a rush. 

rush

My sister always makes fun of me when I rush before I leave the house. She says I get frantic running up and down the stairs because I forget everything. When I rush through life, it is kind of like that. Although I don’t seem constantly frantic and frazzled, I find myself forgetting to be appreciative of the moment I’m in. Forgetting to be happy and actively aware of how great that moment I’m in can be, because I’m way too busy thinking of what I’m going to do the next moment, and the one after that, and so on.

After having such a great vacation and truly realizing how important it is to value the moments and be present to them, I feel as though I need to prioritize doing that more often. I know I can’t change the way I live with a snap of my fingers, but I need to take more time to enjoy the little moments of my life and stop worrying about things ahead.

I can do this in so many ways, and so can you. Try to enjoy each moment by:

Disconnecting from the virtual world

Reading a good book

Spending time with a friend

Taking a walk (preferably on the beach)

Calling someone you love

Painting your nails

…the list goes on and on

Make this moment count before it gets away from you!

Words of the Week: The Little Things

Lately I feel like time has been moving so quickly – it’s crazy! Before we know it, the school year will be over, which is a really scary thought. Every day is filled with tons of work and assignments and running around, and it leaves little time to sit down and really think about life and the things that it is filled with. Like…the things that matter.

I was thinking, though, the other day, about all the great people and things I have in my life. I have an amazing family and friends that feel like family. There are so many people that I know would do absolutely anything for me, and not everyone is lucky enough to have that in their life.

As I was thinking about this, I began to think about the little things that make me smile. Recently my boyfriend randomly surprised me with an Edible Arrangement and it made me so happy. Things that are seemingly insignificant to the world but that are important to me are the things that make everyday life better and make me happy.

A fun phone call with my mom and sister. A nice text from my dad. A silly tweet from my boyfriend or a laugh filled with giggles with friends.

Those things are small and simple, but probably the best things in my life because they are raw and real and…nice. Think about the nice things people have done for you that have lifted you up and made you feel special, important, and – most importantly – happy.

No day is filled with all happiness all the time. But it’s the little things that get us from one smile to the next.

little things

Beauty Blitz: Operation Beautiful

Last fall, I watched a presentation given by the founder and director of Operation Beautiful, which is a truly amazing campaign.

Caitlin, the founder, explained her mission to end the negative self talk that women so often place upon themselves. When you think about it, our lives are filled so frequently with negative thoughts about ourselves, such as – “I’m too fat,” “I wish I was taller,” “I wish my hair was straighter,” or, “I wish my legs were thinner”. We have all had these thoughts and put ourselves down a million times, vowing to change ourself in some way, shape, or form because it’s what we think we have to do to meet society’s expectations of beauty and what it means to be “pretty”.

It is rare that we come across women who are comfortable in their own skin. Caitlin shares her knowledge and experience of the power of being positive and how sharing that affirmation and positivity among strangers can empower them as well.

Operation Beautiful promotes random acts of kindness where you post a note somewhere public – for example a public women’s restroom – that contains a message as simple as “You’re beautiful,” or, “Smile!” in order to promote self confidence and overall happiness in women.

This is such a powerful movement that can really change the way someone sees themselves and the world around them. You never know what someone is experiencing or what they’re thinking – especially about themselves. It is also impossible to understand how hard people are on themselves for millions of reasons. Caitlin’s story and mission helped me to understand the constant pressures we all face – from celebrities, the media, and those around us – to be different than we are. These pressures often occupy so much of our minds that we forget to be simply happy with ourselves.

Never forget the power of positivity and how far a small compliment can go in enhancing someone else’s mind, life, and happiness.

operation beautiful

Words of the Week: Don’t Compare

There are so many times that I find myself stuck on what someone else is doing or comparing myself to how I match up to another person’s successes.

Even with my blog, I’ve found myself feeling down that other bloggers are so much more advanced than me, have already thought of topics I wish I had, or have a bigger following.

But then I realize how silly it is so compare myself to someone who has been doing something for years when I’m just starting out. They’re in the middle of the race and I’m at the starting line.

It’s definitely natural for almost everyone to make comparisons between themselves and others. In school, careers…even fitness routines. I mean, sometimes when I’m in the first 10 minutes of my workout I glance over at someone else’s elliptical stats as see they’ve burned 160 calories while I’ve only burned 15 and feel an initial wave of severe discouragement. But in the next breath, I realize they’re in the middle of their work out while I’m in the beginning.

The reality is that in every aspect of life, everyone moves at different speeds. Everyone begins and ends at different times and it’s totally okay to move at your own pace.

How many times have you thought, “I wish I was as successful as so and so,” or, “I wish I could do this and that like so and so can.” I know I’m guilt of doing that all the time. But then I realize I’m on a totally different track and path than anyone else. Wherever I’m at in reaching my goals, finding my successes, and understanding my passions has nothing to do with where anyone else is in the track of their life.

This is something everyone has to realize in order to feel confident in their journey. I read recently that “comparison is the thief of joy” and I can’t think of anything that is more true.

don't compare

Words of the Week: Happiness

Over the past semester and especially over this break, I have been thinking a lot about the “self-inventory” I must do on myself in order to assess what I want to be doing and where I most want to be for the rest of my life.

My professors last semester consistently talked about finding what makes you happy – what town to live in, what people to surround yourself with, what job to go to every day – and made it clear that unless you find those things, you will not reach your full happiness potential.

At first, I was so unsure of what would make me happiest. It seemed so overwhelming to be thinking about all those things right then and there. I had and have no idea where I want to live the rest of my life or what exact job I want to go to every day. I am definitely a planner, but having to choose all those things with my future happiness impending seemed so, well, scary – much like many other aspects of senior year.

But also like being a college senior, so many aspects of making these decisions are also exciting. I think this is particularly exciting to me because I love the idea that I get to choose what I will be doing and where I will be. I, above anyone else, have the power to make myself happy.

Understanding the fact that I have that ability is probably the most important step towards that happiness for me. For so long, I felt so wrapped up in the need to make everyone else happy that I forgot my personal happiness was the most important thing of all. Once I worked towards pleasing myself instead of solely others, everything else seemed to fall into place.

I thought that this Audrey Hepburn quote was a great way to sum up how I feel in making these choices or even thinking about them:

happiness

The more I think about the decisions that I will eventually have to make for myself, the more I realize that there are so many different paths I could take that would all make me happy. When I think about that, though, it also makes me realize that no matter what choices I make, I will always ensure that I am filled with joy and always enjoying the ride of life.

Enjoy the Little Things

Everyone has those things that make them so happy yet they are so simple.

Life’s simple pleasures are some of the greatest things because they spur so much happiness but are so, so tiny and little.

There are tons of little things that make me happy on a daily basis, and following suit with my personality, most of them are really, really weird. Of course, I love the typical things like everyone else does – finding $5 in your jean pocket, for example – but I also get pleasure out of other semi-insane things. See below:

simple pleasures

  1. Seeing animals – I always used to make fun of my mom when she would get so excited when she saw a deer (I mean, we live in New England and they’re all over), but I am the exact same way. I get so happy when I see a deer and if I see a bunny, I absolutely freak out (but really).
  2. Prank calls – I have absolutely no idea why and it’s completely immature, but I love prank calling people. My sister and I think it’s so hilarious as do some of my best friends. I just can’t resist it and I enjoy every single second of it.
  3. Nice texts – this is one of my more normal pleasures. I love getting nice texts that make me smile, laugh, or remind me how great life is. They can truly make my day. As simple as that!
  4. Finding favorites – I have so many favorite products that were long ago discontinued, but every once in a while I stumble across them in a store. For example, there is this one chapstick that I absolutely love but can never, ever find anymore. Last spring, though, I went to the outlets and found it and bought about five sticks! What a find and addition to my day!
  5. Footbaths – the Christmas during my freshman year of college, I really wanted a footbath for Christmas. Everyone in my family thought this was so weird, but I was so happy when it was under the tree. I love doing footbaths and having makeshift spa nights with my sister. It is so simple but so relaxing and fun and it always makes me happy.

Simple pleasures are such great surprises and additions to life. I mean, any way that allows you to be almost effortlessly happy has to be great!

Like the Zac Brown Band song says, it’s the little things in life that means the most. What could be more true?!