Tag Archives: New York City

ICYMI – My Annual “Lesson” Countdown on Twitter

4 Jan

I’ve had a tradition every Christmas for the last four years. This is the day I start my annual “life lesson” countdown on Twitter. I started this tradition after a particularly difficult year, determined to learn from my mistakes and start new. Call me crazy, but I truly believed if I put these lessons out into the universe by New Year’s Day, I’d given myself permission for a fresh start. It worked. As I conclude each year, I feel refreshed, purged, and determined to do and be better.

As years past, my “lesson countdown” acquired a following of friends, family, students, and strangers attracted to my “no fluff” approach to self-betterment. I’ve actually been asked why the advice is so raw. My answer is always the same: You can’t change anything about yourself until you are completely honest with yourself. The more you continue to ignore the tough stuff, the more things will stay the same. Do yourself a favor: Dig deep.

This year was my best list yet for a number of reasons, but mainly, it’s because I turned 30 in September. Yes, this makes me old, but it also makes me realize I don’t care about the same stuff I cared about in my 20s. Sure, I still want to be pretty, skinny, smart, funny, and the life of the party (who doesn’t?), but I also want to be the best teacher, employee, bridesmaid, best friend, and best potential wife possible. This means looking at life through a different lens and realizing sometimes I have to cut people out of my life to be all the things I want to be. It also means focusing on that work/life balance I never had. It means opening my heart to someone new, even if if it terrifies me (Or, I could be a cat lady. Is that so bad?).

So, in short, I’m taking this blog out of hiatus because 2013 made me stronger, wiser, and (of course) prettier, skinnier, smarter, funnier…

Your thoughts and comments are welcome! I love responding. You can also tweet me @OGradyKL.

Happy New Year!

Lesson List 2013:

#1: Tomorrow isn’t promised. Live each day like it will be your last. Have no regrets. Learn from everything you do

#2: Don’t overuse the term “bestie.” It can easily lose meaning. Save for those who you know will be in/at your wedding

#3: Embrace who you are – every positive & negative. The sooner you can, the sooner you can be truly loved by someone else

#4: Drama, pettiness, and immaturity ruin friendships. Understanding, kindness, and effort strengthen them

#5: If you aren’t a doctor, your daily job is not that stressful & the things you’re worrying about aren’t that important

#6: You can’t always accept people for who they are. This doesn’t make you a bad person. It makes you a person w/ limits

#7: Don’t underestimate the power of laughter. Its healing qualities are astounding and celebratory effects infectious

#8: Time does not heal all wounds. Some things will always feel like a punch in the gut, no matter how much time passes

#9: Dating is fun, said no one ever. Instead, dating is a chore until you meet someone who doesn’t make it feel like one

#10: A job is something that pays the bills. A career is something you can’t wait to do, even if it doesn’t pay the bills

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2nd Annual Countdown: Lessons of 2012 (via Twitter @OGradyKL)

2 Jan

For the second year, I’m counting down the top ten lessons learned in 2012. Lessons were originally published on Twitter (@OGradyKL). One lesson per day was revealed from December 22nd – January 1st. Lessons are non-scientific (at best) and based on nothing more than my meandering (yes, and comical) experience as a later-ish twenty-something.

Enjoy and Happy New Year! ūüôā

Lesson #10: If you want something, you need to ask for it. If you don’t ask, you can’t be upset when you don’t receive.

Lesson #9: There is a delicate balance between being labeled the life of a party or the party girl. The latter isn’t cute.

Lesson #8: My Prince Charming is out there somewhere, but that somewhere isn’t anywhere alcohol is involved.

Lesson #7: A broken heart can heal, but it’s not just about time and patience. It’s about forgiveness, empathy, and letting go.

Lesson #6: Mean girls don’t go away. Instead, they get worse (and more bitter) with age.

Lesson #5: Overcommitting yourself is just as bad as always saying no. Find a happy medium.

Lesson #4: Dating advice for the awkward: when in doubt, make out. It’s fun and you totally avoid uncomfy pauses or dumb convos.

Lesson #3: Don’t let your career define you. Remember, your life outside work hours is way more interesting.

Lesson #2: You can’t be best friends with everyone, but you can be the best friend possible to everyone. Life is richer with kindness.

Lesson #1: Live every single second like it was your last. Life is too short and unpredictable to waste a moment over-thinking.

Pressing Delete

29 Sep

It only takes one to set you straight, or so they saying goes.¬†Everyone (who knows me) knows I’m a¬†serial monogamist. I’ve been¬†in long¬†relationships for the past 15 years with three different men, all whom I loved in different ways. There was my high school sweetheart (He married my college roommate and, at the time, best friend. I wish them both well).¬†Then¬†my college boyfriend (We remain really good friends. His girlfriend of over three years is adorable and perfect for him). Then there’s the third, the one who set me straight.

Last August, with no warning, I had my heart broken into a million pieces. Although time heals all wounds, the residual effects of this breakup remain, and not in the way you may think. I don’t want him back, nor do I think about him much (When I do, I actually hope he’s happy and well). Instead, it’s the fear of moving on. If I move on, that means I have to meet someone new, and thus, this kind of hurt could happen all over again.

Post-breakup, in the game of packing up and returning each other’s items, he was the mature one. He only returned the meaningless things (toothbrushes, clothing, etc). I, on the other hand, was too angry to think rationally. I returned everything – from cards to photos – just so I could pretend our relationship never existed (P.S. – this strategy was a complete failure. I don’t recommend it).

Enter the folder on my desktop, the folder with every mobile, scanned, and uploaded picture of us. I never deleted it.

Trust me, I’ve wanted to. Why keep it? What’s the point? For rainy days?¬† You have no idea how many times my cursor rolled over the folder, just waiting for me to click. I always chickened out.

That folder, and the implications of not deleting it, is scary. It implies I want to remember all the good things and none of the bad. It also implies that my heart isn’t healed enough to let anyone else in. More so, it’s validation of how happy I am in relationships and how incomplete I feel when I’m not in one. I’ve played the “role” of girlfriend for¬†half my life. Transitioning to single life wasn’t exactly comfortable.

The reality is, I need to get comfortable. I need to move on and realize the one that set me straight doesn’t set the tone for the future relationships. I need to stop being afraid of¬†rejection and go for it. I need to¬†relax and realize the man I’m suppose to be with is out there somewhere, waiting for me to arrive. That man wasn’t him. In this, I need to look at my last relationship as a learning experience, and not in a bad way.¬†Learning means growing and growing means letting go.

I finally pressed delete.