Life is short!

As we drove to the triangle area this weekend to celebrate my father-in-law’s birthday, I found myself thinking about the first boy I ever fell in love with. He was cute, funny and nice and I was 16, so that’s all it took to sweep me off my feet. You see, two years ago as we drove to visit my in-laws for my FIL’s birthday, my phone started buzzing with texts and Facebook messages telling me that my sweet Scott had died in a car accident.

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Those words felt like a sucker punch and my breath was totally taken away. Now, at that time, I was madly in love with my husband and hadn’t talked to Scott in almost a year, but it didn’t lessen the hurt. I dialed my best friend’s number, while crying hysterically and shaking my head to my my (now) husband as he mouthed, “Do I need to pull over?” When Brittney picked up she just said, “Oh Ash…. ” and let me cry. Because that’s what best friends do. When I had finally calmed down my crying to a whimper we said goodbye, and my mom called. I think moms have a sixth sense for when daughters are crying from hundreds of miles away. I broke down again.

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My mom had listened to me cry over him for years and had also seen the way I lit up when I was around him. He left for the Marines when I was 17, breaking my heart for the first time. There were many more times, and many more reasons, but I always held out hope for us. I even told one guy on our second date that we probably wouldn’t work out and I’d end up with Scott. We even ran into him that night and he told that guy that if he hurt me he’d have to answer to him. I loved talking to him. He could make me laugh over the stupidest stuff. We ended up with a really great friendship and he asked me when I started dating my husband if it was serious and upon hearing me say “yes”, he decided to let me be happy and not interfere.

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I realized at some point that day that I had been called twice the night before by a number I didn’t recognize. The sinking feeling in my stomach told me it was him, and after a few quick messages to mutual friends, it was confirmed. I didn’t have his new number. I ignored the calls (it was 2 AM) and he didn’t leave a message. I would never know what he wanted when he called. And I don’t necessarily need to, but life is short. We don’t have all the time in the world to talk to people (or do all the things we want) like we think we do. We should make a point to reach out to people before it’s too late and tell them that we love them, catch up, stay current.

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I have sorority sisters all over the country that I need to do a better job of keeping up with (I am thankful for Michelle in Charlotte and our dates every few months). I need to make more plans to see friends and family or take the time to schedule a phone chat (Erica, me + you this week!). My BFF and I realized the other day we haven’t seen each other in MONTHS and we only live 2.5 hours apart.  While I think relationships/friendships should work both ways, we shouldn’t be scared (or too stubborn) to be the first one to reach out. You never know when it will be your last chance to talk to someone. I’ve heard so many crazy stories lately (heart attacks, fire ants, hit by a car while running…) that you just can’t assume you have time.

Not to sound all gloom and doom, this is more to prompt you to reach out to that college friend you loved so much but haven’t talked to lately, or cousin who moved to Ohio and you don’t get to see as often as you’d like, or your childhood BFF who now lives in San Diego and is 8 months pregnant. It’s so easy to send off a text, an email, or set aside 30 minutes to call someone. I challenge you to make plans to catch up with 3 people over the next 3 weeks. I bet you have a great chat, find out some new things and you might even make their day.

Let it go

Sorry for all you Frozen fans, this post will not be about the beloved movie, but I do have it on my list of films to watch. Letting things go can make you a happier person. It seems pretty simple, but we all tend to harbor a little resentment about something, maybe hold a grudge over something that happened years ago, or can’t shake that angry feeling after being cut off in traffic. Unfortunately, even though you may be right in your feelings at the time, it doesn’t impact the other person the way it does you.

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My husband says I will die on my principles. He also says that sometimes I spend too much energy trying to prove a point. Anyone else do this? When I know I’m right, I want to make sure that others do, too. In fact, I rarely shout out answers unless I am 150% sure that I’m correct. But when I’m not listened to, not given credit, or someone argues (when I KNOW I am right), I tend to get ready for battle on the subject and continue trying to prove the point. I am also a sharer. Over the weekend, I shared a terrible experience with a local Charlotte Photographer. This photographer asked me to model some poses for her so she could practice them, and in exchange she would give me free headshots. Felt like a good trade-off at the time. I spent almost two hours in her home studio on February 23, 2014. I waited until March 3rd to ask her when I might get the photos and she responded that I would have them by the weekend (3/7). Without going through all the details and multiple times I attempted to contact her after that without response, I decided to share the story on social media. Upon doing so, I found others who had similar experiences with this photographer and also found reviews online of her poor communication and terrible customer service. The social media got her attention (as it often does). Within an hour, I had 9 shares of one tweet to almost 2500 followers. How’s that for a PR nightmare for a small business? My goal was not to cause the nightmare for her, it was to bring attention to how she was treating me (and other customers), and to get her attention on the subject. She responded (threatening legal action for my libelous truthful comments) and told me that she had lost my images and wouldn’t be able to provide them. She did offer a new session and that I could sit there while she edited the photos and get them then and there. A) I don’t have time for that B) I don’t care to work with her and C) I don’t think her work could be that good based on the rest of her business practices. The point is not about the photographer here, the point is about how much time and energy I wasted on this person. Time, reviews and word of mouth will sink her business, and I didn’t need to spend part of my weekend putting forth the effort I did. My husband told me to let it go and if I still wanted headshots, go to someone who is a little more professional and just pay fo them (great idea!).

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It’s not just with the photographer that I do this. If I have a bad day, I tend to think (and over think) what happened, who was involved and who should be responsible. I think we’re all a little guilty of this on some level. In order to be happy, we have to let go of those moments that steal our happiness. Let go of bad days, angry phone calls with your cable company, that driver who swerved in front of you, the TSA agent who slowed you down, and be more forgiving overall. Try to understand where others are coming from before you get worked up or upset. A lot of times we interpret things differently than the person speaking to us meant them. Maybe that text that said “fine” actually meant “that’s a good plan. I’m fine with it!” and not that they hated the idea. Trying not to jump to conclusions can help with our attitude and level of happiness. Try to assume that people always have the best intentions (without being completely naive), and see how that effects your outlook. Try to let go of any grudges you may be holding onto. Forgive people, especially for those things that really no longer matter. The longer you hold onto something, the more important it seems, but in reality, it’s just a tiny blip on your map of life. Just has happiness trumps money, happiness wins in the attitude arena. Take a deep breath, stop proving points until you’re short of breath, forgive, spend your energy doing something you love instead, and let it go.

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