1) The Past
You want a surefire way to be the thief of your own joy? Live your life consumed by your past. How much fun you had in college, how little pressure you felt before becoming financially responsible, how amazing that ex was (news flash – they really weren’t!). The past is the past. The door is closed. While memories carry over the years and last us a lifetime – that is precisely what they are. Memories. Isolated events that have shaped us to become who we are today. Rather than running back to toxic friendships/relationships just because they're familiar, embrace the unknown of the future and let yourself live in the present moment. The uncertainty can be terrifying, but so is continuously giving time to things that no longer exist.
2) The “Perfect” Relationship
As amazing as I’d like to think I am, I’m not perfect (although my sarcasm is on point!). So why should I expect to find someone without faults of their own? Call me cheesy (or a realist, perhaps), but I believe there is no perfect person, but a person perfect for each of us. I have some quirks – I lick my q-tips before I put them in my ears, I snore and occasionally drool. I don't dry off after showers and leave sopping pools of water around the house. Sometimes I feel the burning desire to plan life days/weeks/months in advance. I’m sure these traits could drive some men nuts. But the right man? He’ll let me drool on his shoulder, jokingly make fun of me as I pull out my planner, and find all of my other idiosyncrasies downright adorable. This goes for all of us. Stop thinking you need to be perfect, and they need to be perfect. There’s a reason Seinfeld was single. He had completely unrealistic expectations of a partner and a relationship. The lesson? Be picky, but not unreasonable. Life isn’t all unicorns shitting rainbows, and life can become mundane. If you’re looking for a woman to be your arm candy, or a man who wines and dines you – you’re in for a rude awakening once the “honeymoon” phase is over and “real life” sinks in. An evening-long House of Cards marathon should sound as appealing (if not more!) than getting dolled up for a fancy evening out. Find someone who brings a smile to your face and contentment to your heart. Find someone who you miss when they’re not around. Find someone you want to lay next to, talking about everything and nothing all at once.
Have you heard of the “lottery curse?” Time Magazine wrote an article a few years ago chronicling tragic stories of past winners – and how playing (and winning) turned out to be the worst decision of their lives. My point? Money isn’t everything. We’ve all known someone, dated someone, or loved someone who poured all they had in to work. They were their jobs. And other than the money in the bank, what did they have to show for it? This brings back memories to an event that occurred two years ago – I woke up in the middle of the night with the most extreme chest pain I’ve ever experienced. Given the fact that both of my parents have suffered life-threatening heart conditions, I immediately panicked. I felt my chest constrict and my breathing was so shallow, it felt like I was taking in shards of glass with each inhale. I drove myself to the ER at 4 am and was rushed back for immediate, invasive tests to rule out emergent conditions such as a heart attack. The good news? I didn't have a heart attack. The bad news? My blood pressure was dangerously low at 70/40 and I couldn’t take a breath without screaming out in pain. I was diagnosed with double pleurisy in both lungs and immediately admitted to the hospital. Alone. Once the team of physicians stabilized me, I didn’t call my parents or friends. I took my iPhone out of my purse and emailed my boss. That’s right. I emailed my boss and co-workers to inform them I wouldn't be making our 9am meeting. I drafted a lengthy email, updating the team on my projects and requesting meeting minutes so I could stay abreast to project timelines. How sad is that. G-d forbid something really awful had happened to me that day, who would have been more devastated? My co-workers or my parents? I had a light bulb moment that day, laying in my sad gown in a cold hospital room alone. Success is great. Striving for a powerful career is wonderful. But let’s not all lose sight that when we come to the end of our lives, it won’t be our co-workers surrounding us. It’ll be our friends and family. So be fiscally responsible, but don’t ever let those you love (and love you) become anything less than your top priority. You can’t take the money with you – but love will last forever.