I found this post the other day — 12 People on the Advice That Changed Their Life — and it got me thinking about what advice changed my life. A few bits of wisdom that stand out:
When I was about 22 and working as a copywriter in a radio station and healing from my first really broken heart, a DJ whom I shared an office with, and who quickly became like a surrogate big sister, told me to give all future relationships four seasons before planning a future together or making any big move to be together (I’d been with my ex-boyfriend nine months). This would prove especially useful years later after I met Drew and we lived in different parts of the country. I’m glad we took time — a year and a half — getting to know each other before I upped and moved to NYC to be with him. I felt much more sure about my decision than I would have had I moved much sooner than that.
Drew’s grandmother once told him that one of the secrets to a long and happy life was to make two new friends every year. Once he shared that with me, I’ve made it a point to do just that. I can’t say yet whether it’s increasing my longevity, but I do feel happier.
The last couple of years were pretty stressful ones for a variety of reasons — house-hunting, parenting challenges, sleep deprivation, worrying about friends, dealing with some health issues. I know online I tend to be very “tough love,” but in real life I’m a lot softer, and, as an empath, I feel other’s feelings pretty deeply and get very caught up in trying to “fix” things for people and help them find happiness and avoid pain and hurt feelings, etc. This leads to be trying to be more available to people than I have the emotional and physical energy to be, which… isn’t great for me or my family. Over the course of months, Drew told me in a variety of ways to cut it out, to set clearer boundaries, to say “no” more often, to worry less about other people’s feelings and to honor my own first, and to quit doing shit I really don’t want to do simply because I’m trying to make other people happy or I don’t want to offend others. I’m still working on this, but I’ve begun implementing this strategy of self-care (self-preservation, really), and it’s working. The world isn’t falling apart — ok, well, actually it is, but not because I’m saying no more often — and I have more emotional and physical energy for my family and the people who are most important to me.
What’s some advice or bits of wisdom that has changed your life?