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…kids worked.

#1 Cheap labor, #2 lots of endurance and #3 they love hard physical activity.  I’m kidding. Well, kind of. My parents didn’t make me work-for a looooong time. They definitely encouraged it however, when you encourage an adolescent, they do the opposite. That’s why you need to get them young. Children are sponges and no matter how small a moment or insignificant a lesson might seem, to them-it’s life changing. Not to mention, routine is so important. The repetitive activities are what create their memories of their childhood, creating their safe nostalgic zone. So, when they grow up and become the adults they are meant to be they usually incorporate those same things their parents did with them. It’s in the groceries they buy, the way they wash their dishes or what they do before they go to bed. The thing is, if you give your kids little jobs to do around the house, things that are a part of the routine, they’ll learn that those things are just things you do. Today, so many people have no idea how to make a bed, do their laundry, cook a decent meal or even grow a plant. Allowances can be added but maybe for bigger jobs because it’s important to learn how all work isn’t work you get paid for (that’s still one that I have a hard time with).

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Went it comes to certain things, I’m kind of a baby. Spiders, mountain lions, ghosts, mind control, etc. The thing is, I’m usually afraid of the intangible. Unless, it’s a wild animal. It obviously has to do with control and for some reason, if anything bad were to arise where I had to defend myself (except for a wild animal) I believe I would come out on top. Again, I have no idea where this confidence in protecting myself against a serial killer or a drive by shooting but I have it and whether it’s false or not, I love it. The thing is, fear so many times stops us from living our lives to the fullest. This is when regret happens and when regret occurs resentment and bitterness are not too far behind. I don’t ever want to be an old bitter bitty so I have to do the things that scare me, like old Eleanor said. Every single time I’ve ever been scared, not only have I been thrilled and learned something new but I’ve also changed and grown more into the person that I want to be. I used to be scared of being alone until I drove cross country by myself without knowing if I had enough money or not. Everyone’s fears are different but whatever yours might be-whether it’s socializing, speaking up for yourself, hurting yourself, being rejected, embarrasing yourself-embrace it and charge at it. Don’t let fear stop you from believing in something different, living your life to the fullest or becoming the you that you are supposed to be. Your happiness and freedom can make this world a better place.

I LOVE animals. Sometimes I get nervous I might squeeze them to death because I love them so much. I’m definitely that girl that stops and asks if I can pet your dog and then talks to it in a creepy, deep, baby voice. However, I don’t have any pets and there’s a few reasons why:

#1 Billions of humans in our world are starving to death. Animals have the means, natural instinct and motivation to hunt and feed themselves. We should be feeding those that can’t feed themselves.

#2 I feel as though our culture has gotten so involved in a codependent, dysfunctional pet/owner relationship. Animals don’t talk-they can’t complain, they don’t have an opinion, they love the hand that feeds them, most of them liked to be snuggled/pet, you can leave them and come back without a fight, etc. It’s a justifiable selfish relationship.

#3 Animals are animals. They need to run, hunt, be chased, catch their food, eat gross things we don’t like to see or touch, get dirty, clean themselves. These are things they don’t get to do when domesticated.

#4 In 2001, according to the Census Bureau via homelessnessinamerica.com, 35 million Americans were without homes. How can I coddle, support and spend money on something that could live and survive on it’s own when there’s human beings out there struggling like that? Whenever there’s a natural disaster, thousands swoop in to rescue the animals. But…what about the babies, children, families, homeless people, etc.? I get that it’s a lot easier to adopt a pet rather than a child or a family however, it allows human neglect to be acceptable.

#5 Owning a pet is another thing that perpetuates the idea of consumerism, which has messed this country up so badly. Your dog needs a cozier, bigger bed to sleep on, your cat needs a house to climb in or your goldfish needs a new tank setup so you swipe your plastic, putting yourself a little further into debt so your pet can…not thank you (because they can’t talk and don’t understand the concept of gifts)?

I have extreme points and I don’t think no one should have pets. I just wish everyone would assess what they spend on their pets, whether it’s love or money, and compare it to what they give to humans (i.e. loved ones, those in need).

So, instead of buying your dog a bed buy a homeless man one and I guarantee the goodness, love and appreciation you will feel will be much better than what you feel after buying an extra treat for your pet.

This is kind of a big one and is obviously very dependent on where you might live. However, whether you’re in an urban, suburban or rural environment you definitely have options. I live in Southern California and am pretty fortunate to have local, organic everything at my fingertips however for those of you in different climates you may be closer than you think to a farm. The thing is: there are so many benefits to eating locally.

#1: Helps your local economy.

#2: Knowing where your food comes from gives you a sense of pride, confidence and control.

#3: It’s healthier.

#4: It can be a lot more fun than waiting in a long line to purchase a bunch of processed, mass produced products that perpetuate unhealthiness in America.

#5: It is something small you can do to promote a greater change within our communities and our world.

#6: It just tastes better!

Google search “farmer’s market”, “vegetable farms”, “eating local” within your area and see what’s out there. If you have kids, make them a part of the process as well. They love to be around dirt, pick things they can eat off trees and talk to real farmers who have grown the food they get to eat. The choices in your area may be restricted however if there was a higher demand-the options would grow (literally). We are stronger in numbers! Also, it doesn’t have to be limited to finding your local farms but this goes for local markets, local restaurants, basically anything that is independently owned and is not a chain.

Growing up I loved to cry. No matter if they were fake or real tears, I felt as though it gave me so much power. Power to control what people could give me. A soccer coach that would end up not making me run as much because of my tears, a teacher so they wouldn’t yell at me about missing my homework or my parents so they wouldn’t ground me when that teacher called home about the missing homework. I did it to friends, boys I had crushes on, babysitters. It was obnoxious. I finally learned, somewhere in high school/college, what was happening. I was making myself look weak. Friends and my parents were beginning to treat me differently, as if I was fragile. That was the biggest insult and that’s all it took. I stopped crying. I stopped needing people. I stopped the damsel in distress phone calls. I pushed everyone I loved and that loved me away. I became tough. Serious. Independent. I felt so strong and as if I could accomplish anything for the first time in my life. However, as good as all of the newfound confidence felt, I still had an urge to cry. But, I suffocated it. I wouldn’t allow it. Even alone in my own room, I would fight against it. I didn’t want to be that girl. Awhile later, everyone began to mention to me how cold, guarded and isolated I was becoming. It wasn’t just the tears that were gone but my sensitivity towards others had been lost as  well. A piece of me was gone. So, I started crying again. By myself and only in front of others sparingly. It felt so good to allow myself to be comforted, get out my frustration and sadness which then would allow me to leave it. Once the tears had escaped, I could move on. Strengthen and grow. So, cry. In the mirror to yourself, into a pillow or to a friend and then laugh at yourself for having so much pity for yourself.

I get a lot of flack because I’m kind of known as a best-friend-slut. I don’t really have a lot of acquaintances so if you’re my friend at all, chances are you’re one of my best friends. They all contribute something different but there is one consistent attribute they all share and that’s honesty. Whether it’s how inappropriate a short dress may be, an obsessive love interest (meaning me being obsessed with someone not vice versa) or a new idea for a future endeavor (i.e. to travel the world as a homeless person for a year)-none of them ever hesitate to give me the truth. It may be delivered in different ways from a gentle suggestion to a blunt, harsh statement but it’s all given with the same intention-love. Right? At least that’s what I tell myself…

If everyone took a half hour to an hour or so out of their for a little quiet time our world would be a better place. Most of us get up around 7am-8am and don’t find ourselves in bed until 10pm-12am. That’s a minimum of 14 hours of talking, exercising, stressing, working, drinking and countless other small, tedious and energy zapping activities. And if you think, “Oh, well, I realax in the evenings when I catch up on my DVR”, that’s not real. TV and movies are tricky because although your body is in a resting state your mind is actually being over stimulated with all sorts of, let’s face it, crap. Just like we reserve time in our day for talking to certain people, eating meals, e-mailing, going to the bathroom we should also dedicate some time to sit, be quiet, close our eyes, take deep breathes and literally relax.