The Glamour of Life: My DOs and DON’Ts

 

As a young teenager, I couldn’t wait to open the crisp pages of a new glossy Glamour magazine.  With my hands gliding gently over the latest high-fashion looks, I would become immersed in a culture of luxury, beauty and, well, glamour.  It was all so rich—the high-brow of the cityscapes, the glitz of Hollywood faces, young and plump with the glory of youth.  I loved it so much that I dreamed of the day when I could be a part of it.  The day in which I could write my own DOs and DON’Ts column. 

Soon, like my favorite fashion icons and industry idols, I will embark on my own adventure in the city of the unknown.  The bright lights and buzz of traffic are calling me, willing me to join the hectic, yet beautiful culture of the city.  While I am not ready just yet, I am preparing my life for a great transformation, starting with my very own DOs and DON’Ts of life column.  Life can be daunting, difficult and downright dreary sometimes; but, if you rely on your own belief system and stay strong in the amazing person you have become, life can be simply glamorous

DON’T settle.  Ever.  If all your friends jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge, would you? Sorry the booming voice of my father seeped into my thoughts… but the sentiment remains relevant.  Sure your friends are getting hitched or popping out babies, but sometimes in life we have to learn to stand alone and embrace the independence of it all.  Just because you haven’t met Mr. Right doesn’t mean you should dive into Mr. Right Now to ensure a date to your best friend’s wedding.  Be single and love every second of it.  You’re free and you have the rare opportunity to explore all the amazing things that make you you.  Chase your dreams and create your own Heaven.  Until I stumble upon a man that can make me feel as blissful as my work makes me, I refuse to settle.  I am happy to stand on my own.  Carrie Bradshaw said it best,“Some people are settling down, some people are settling and some people refuse to settle for anything less than butterflies.”

DO greet the world with the beauty of your smile.  According to Audrey Hepburn, “happy girls are the prettiest girls.”  I couldn’t agree more.  The warmth and beauty of one’s soul is reflected in the ease of a smile.  Allow the smile of a new day wash away the worries and cares of the previous and envelope you in positive energy.  Like attracts like, and who wants to be surrounded by the gloom and doom of Debbie Downer anyway?  There are times in life when it’s OK to fake it—this isn’t one of them.  To find happiness and inner peace, one must summon good energy from her own surroundings and learn to smile from her soul.  Take it from “Eat, Pray, Love’s” character Ketut Liyer, a Balinese medicine man:

Why they always look so serious in yoga? You make serious face like this, you scare away good energy. To meditate, only you must smile. Smile with face, smile with mind, and good energy will come to you and clear away dirty energy. Even smile in your liver.  Too serious, make you sick.  You can calling the good energy with a smile.

 

DO find something greater to believe in.  Whether it’s God, a higher power or a surrounding feeling of peace, it’s OK to look up and seek strength and comfort.  It is inevitable–life will always seem unfair and prayers or wishes may not be answered the way we hope.  But a belief in something, anything will sustain hope for a new day.  And sometimes, hope is all we have.  In “Have a Little Faith,” Mitch Albom wrote, “It is far more comforting to think God listened and said no, than to think that nobody’s out there.”

Too often in life, we take the easy route and believe that we know everything.  I mean it’s easy, isn’t it?  If we know everything then no one can cause us worry or inflict pain upon us.  We’re superior, we’ve figured this crazy thing called life out.  Life doesn’t work that way and instead of looking down, we need to look up and just believe.

I used to think I knew everything. I was a “smart person” who “got things done,” and because of that, the higher I climbed, the more I could look down and scoff at what seemed silly or simple, even religion. But I realized something as I drove home that night: that I am neither better nor smarter, only luckier. And I should be ashamed of thinking I knew everything, because you can know the whole world and still feel lost in it. So many people are in pain-no matter how smart or accomplished-they cry, they yearn, they hurt.  But instead of looking down on things, they look up, which is where I should have been looking, too. Because when the world quiets to the sound of your own breathing, we all want the same things: comfort, love and a peaceful heart. 

DON’T lie.  To others or yourself.  During the painful break-up of my last relationship, a good friend always reminded me, “What happens in the dark will come out in the light.”  As much as it hurt, her saying proved to be true and every betrayal my ex committed slowly found its way into the spotlight.  Sure learning of his lies and indiscretions repeatedly stabbed my heart like a sharp knife, but what hurt the most was realizing that he wasn’t the only one who committed betrayals.  I betrayed myself.  You’re supposed to be your own best friend but I wasn’t.  I was a jerk.  For six years, I had sinking suspicions and gut intuitions screaming at me that he wasn’t who I believed him to be, but I ignored them.  He couldn’t be that person, could he?  He was and I forgot during those years that my very best ally was me.  My intuition served me well; it was me who chose to ignore it, chose to continue the façade and with the crumbling of my relationship came the torture of my soul. 

As Madea said, “When you lie to people it makes people doubt everything you ever say from that point on or everything you ever said. All you gotta do is tell the truth.”  And I did.  I began with myself and tore down the façade I maintained for so long and stared the truth in the eyes.  He was an abuser.  And with the truth came the healing of my heart… and my soul.

DO make room.  Sure you may have the cutest boyfriend, the killer apartment or the most coveted job.  That Mercedes parked in your driveway looks pretty amazing and that new Fendi bag?  Delicious.  But don’t get too comfortable.  Life is tricky and just when you think you’ve got everything you’ve ever wanted, it comes and shakes up your reality.  It’s OK to be in love with your other half or your new position in the company.  But just because those things are amazing, don’t close yourself off from other people and opportunities.  Take it from me.  When I was dating my ex of six years, I closed my life off from making new friends and trying new experiences because I was scared.  Scared to death I would mess it all up.  In the end, what I had turned out to be less than a fairy tale and more like a living nightmare.  The moral of the story?  Always prepare yourself for change.  If you don’t answer it, you will never know what opportunity is knocking at your door.  Life is about the journey, not the finish line, so live it and all its wonderful experiences while you can.  And be sure to save some room for life’s unexpected surprises.

I look at the Augusteum, and I think that perhaps my life has not actually been so chaotic, after all. It is merely this world that is chaotic, bringing changes to us all that nobody could have anticipated. The Augusteum warns me never to get attached to any obsolete idea about who I am, what I represent, whom I belong to, or what function I may once have intended to serve. Yesterday, I may have been a glorious monument to somebody, true enough- but tomorrow I could be a fireworks depository. Even in the eternal city, says the silent Augusteum, one must always be prepared for riotous and endless waves of transformation.  — Elizabeth Gilbert, “Eat Pray, Love”

DON’T just listen with your ears.  Listen with your eyes.  It’s easy to get caught up in Time’s quick-footed nature.  Sometimes, we need to stop, engage and listen… really listen.

A little girl came home from school with a drawing she’d made in class. She danced into the kitchen, where her mother was preparing dinner.
                “Mom, guess what?”she squealed, waving the drawing.
                “What?” she said, tending to the pots.
                “Guess what?” The child repeated, waving the drawing.
                “What?” the mother said, tending to the plates.
                “Mom, you’re not listening.”
                “Sweetie, yes I am.”
                “Mom,” the child said, “you’re not listening with your
eyes.”

— Mitch Albom, “Have a Little Faith”

 

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