Live Your Best Life

Good morning, Dear Readers. The last 48 hours have been challenging for me; how about you? I was irritated by the weather and being forced inside by cold temperatures was frustrating. I wanted to be outside throwing rocks in Pomme De Terre lake or at a bare minimum, simply walking the trails of Lake Springfield. In other words, I have been a tad bit crabby for two days because I was forced to be a grown-up when I just wanted to play in my new car. My son is at his dad’s this weekend, and I usually try to stay super busy on those days, but the cold weather wasn’t conducive to car camping and only led to too much wine consumption and Ben Affleck movies. Ben Affleck. Man. A tortured soul with too much talent. I can relate – wink, wink.

Anyway, we take a quick break today from the Bad Money Habits series to check in about authenticity. Today, I attended an online event hosted by some friends out of Kansas City about being more authentic in relationships. Halfway through, it struck me that the number one fear I have in ALL my relationships stems from my hesitation to be 100% authentic. I learned today I’m not alone. It seemed as though most of the folks in a class were afraid of this very thing, too. Most shared that by being authentic, they had been hurt. I can see that. Me, too. But, at the end of the day, isn’t being inauthentic more hurtful? After all, who are we really lying to when we aren’t our true selves? Them? Nope. Ourselves. Those other people can’t help it if they fall for, and consequently, end up hurting, a version of us that really doesn’t exist. Right? It struck me, as others shared, just how much we all desire to be recognized and loved for our authentic self…but have been so (and this word is a bit extreme but…) abused by others when we try to be just that. Do you know what my takeaway was from today, Dear Reader?

Fuck it. Yep. Fuck it.

Time to show up and be real. Time to live your best life, Friends. Life is short. Seize the day. I was so inauthentic for so long that I attracted into my life people who can’t be authentic one tiny little bit. It’s safe to say that my inability to be true to myself brought people of like mind to me, and I am absolutely done with all of that bullshit. It’s time to tell you an ugly truth…

Yes. I like this Taylor Swift song and listen to it multiple times a day. There. I said it out loud.

I also like cheeseburgers, and dive bars a crap-ton more than putting on pantyhose to please the masses at the fancy restaurants. I prefer cotton pajama pants and a men’s XXL t-shirt to lace and thongs, and I damn sure like expensive whiskey more than expensive wine. I like living on the edge more than living in comfort. I like trusting other people and knowing they have my back more than trusting myself and hoping I don’t chicken out. I am free to admit I’m scared and I’ve stopped being concerned with who will laugh at me. And I am both fierce and soft every minute of every day.

This leads us here today, Dear Reader. A blog post that formed during a conversation with my best friend when I asked, “How soon did you know that Bill was the one?” (For those of you unaware of Bill…you can get up to speed here.) Like most conversations about Bill, this one induced tears. I just cannot, even after six months, keep myself together when we talk about him.

Some background: Bill was a remarkable human being. I can only hope that when I no longer walk this Earth people talk about me the way they talk about Bill. He was amazing to so many people, but here’s who Bill was to me:

He was both a father figure and the ‘perfect guy’. As my girl friend says “He was not perfect but he was perfect to me.” I believe her. After he passed away, I wanted nothing more than to find someone like him and find the kind of love he and my friend shared. He was a man who would say, to my face, “What the fuck were you thinking?” and immediately follow it up with something like “You are so much better than this.” He was both a cheerleader and an offensive coach. He was a soldier and a guardian simultaneously. Disappointing Bill was disappointing to me.

Dang. I miss him.

So today, after a tough emotional day, I called his wife, my best friend. And I cried. I said, “I know he was your husband and I feel weird even saying this but…fuck, I miss him. I am so angry that he didn’t get to see me get my shit together.”

She replied, “He sees you. Rest in that.” I have weird beliefs around the paranormal so, yeah, I believe he sees me…but it would be nice to see him wink at me and give me a thumbs up when I show him the results of my target practice at the shooting range. I went recently and when my ‘instructor’ wasn’t listening I whispered “Hey, Bill…turns out I’m a pretty good at this.” I’m almost certain I heard him reply “I knew you would be, Silly.” The day just got better and better after that.

So, as we set our intentions today – our minds off of our ridiculous lousy money habits – can we agree to focus on the kick-ass hero Bill was in all of our lives? Trust me. Even if you didn’t know Bill Culley…he was rooting for you. I promise.

Today, can we agree to live our best lives as I imagine Bill did every day?

Okay then. Grab a drink and settle in. Let us all channel my dear friend Bill Culley and decide to live in ways of which he would be proud. After all, the man fought in several wars to enjoy this freedom of speech we have. And, after talking tonight with his widow, I think I have an idea of what Bill would do. He’d kick some fucking ass – he wouldn’t mope around all day.

So. Got that drink? Good. Here we go.

1) Know that you are your only competition. I can compete against others at work, and I can compete against others in the blog-o-sphere. The truth is, I am my only competition. No one is living this life that you are living. No one else has experienced loss the way you have. No one has experienced fear and powered through the way you have. Everyone’s experiences are a tad bit different. You only need to be concerned with being a better version of yourself than the one who showed up yesterday. Did you fuck up yesterday? Okay then. Do better today. Bill didn’t dwell on the past. He lived in the present.

2) Avoid negative people. Life is too fucking short to spend it with people who criticize you regularly. You need to act like the cheerleading squad of your life lost its funding. You are your own cheerleader. If other people can’t at least raise a pom-pom once in a while, cut them from the squad. I have one person in my life who loves – absolutely loves – it when my life is not operating at 100%. Do you know the phrase “Misery loves company”? That’s her. So, my advice? Stop. Going. To. The. Circus.

3) Go after what you want. If you don’t go after what you want, you will definitely never get it. Additionally, if you don’t even know what you want, you will be on the edge of disappointment every second of every day. Until recently I couldn’t figure out why the men I dated were all so disappointing. It turns out…it wasn’t them. It was me. I was dating people that didn’t check any of the boxes. Make a list of what you want (This is true for anything, really. A job, a home, a relationship, in yourself) and STOP. FUCKING. SETTLING. Who is to blame here? Them? NO. You are to blame. Make a list. When presented with new opportunities, see if the boxes are being checked. End of story.

4) Don’t fear failure. People, people, people…(sigh)…If you aren’t failing, you aren’t trying. Please, for the love of all things good and holy, stop seeing failure as an end. Yes, it’s okay to say “I quit,” but it isn’t an option to simply give up. Quitting and giving up are two completely different things. Quitting means, essentially, ‘to leave’. Giving up means that you’ve stopped trying.

5) Our habits decide our future. I recently decided to do a 30-day detox and let some folks know that I wanted them to NOT offer me any wine for a while. (I do this occasionally to clear my head and show my liver a little love.) I mean, nothin’ against wine or alcoholic beverages in the least. I want to be the captain of my ship, and I get to decide my future. Do I drink when I’m alone…or do I write? Do I drink wine, or do I go to the gym? You might be better at the “Just say no” lifestyle. Me? Wine begets slothfulness and frankly, both are pretty enticing. You get to choose how the day goes, despite how the past week has been. Your habits define your future. So…Ice cream or broccoli? Another episode of Yellowstone or another chapter of that motivational book? (The correct answer is…YELLOWSTONE!) Another night of meaningless sex…or waiting for the Universe to give you the one person who checks all the boxes? Shrug. (I have no attachment to the outcome of your life. I’m just a blogger.) Wink

Am I rambling? Maybe. It’s been a day of non-stop Taylor Swift songs (I’m really worried about her scarf. Damn, Jake, give it back for Pete’s sake.) and I haven’t stayed busy enough to keep the thoughts from swirling. And I’m okay admitting to you: I merely occupied space on the planet today. I contributed 0% to the greater good. (Wait. I took my glass to recycle, though. Redeemable?) I wanted to be/do more today, but I wasn’t/didn’t and I’m okay telling you that…because I’m fucking authentic. Wink.

Nonetheless, all that said, I think my friend – Mr. William Culley – is looking down at all of us and saying, “Hey, dumbass…get your shit together.” I, for one, don’t want to let him down. How about you?

Here’s your song today, Dear Reader. (Don’t worry…it’s not T.S.) Go on and live your best life. Be authentic. Do the best you can 100% of the time – even if you aren’t doing a thing. I do not doubt that you can get up. You can dust off. You can move on. Remember our motto this year, Love: Chin up. Tits out. You got this.