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I read a lot. I'm not necessarily saying I sit around reading novels all day; my attention span is less than stellar, and I generally fall asleep unless it's something wildly gripping/entertaining. But I read. Websites, magazines, books... I've been this way as long as I can remember. I want to know everything- to absorb as much of the world around me as I can.

My parents read books to us as kids and one of my favorite memories is of my Dad reading these silly little books except he would change the words so they were suddenly absurd and hilarious. He's always been my favorite person in the world, partially for that reason.

I also read a lot of advice columns and blogs. Relationship advice, philosophical quotes about life, that kind of thing. Which is sort of interesting since advice tends to be something you already knew... and maybe that's why it rings so true. It's familiar.

As a result of my endless meanderings, I've got a pretty great collection of quotes and advice. So... I want to share some of it with you. Lots of it pertains to relationships, but then again I guess I'm sort of a secret romantic so it makes sense that these things would be the ones I remember. Nonetheless- here you go. This is a list of the 10 best pieces of best advice I've ever gotten:

1. Who you are today, and who you will be 35 years from now wont be the same thing. And don't let anybody tell you it's a straight-line course. It isn't where you are at any given time; and it certainly isn't where you've been. It's where you're facing that matters. -My Dad. 

I love this quote because it's so true. You'll notice how much stock I take in this statement because I frequently compare who I have been 1, 5, and even 10 years ago to who I am now. But at my core, I've always tried to be the same person. I've tried to face the right direction. I believe that it's who you are at your core that makes you; it's the person you strive to be that is who you really are.

2. Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in: forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. Begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense. -Ralph Waldo Emerson.

A friend introduced me to Emerson a few years ago when I was going through a hard time. I identified with this quote so deeply, because of how imperfect I am. I say the wrong things and I make the wrong choices. I mess up and I make mistakes when I ought to have been stronger. And then I beat myself up, emotionally, for these imperfections. I had this quote on a sticky note on my computer at work for almost a year, reminding me that tomorrow is a new chance to be the person I know is in there, somewhere. It's good to let go of the self-doubt and regret.

3. The measure of a man's real character is what he would do if he knew he would never be found out. -Thomas Babington Macaulay

I love this as a reminder that good deeds don't neccesarily need to be announced. Just do them for the sake of doing them. If you're a good person, you needn't announce it to the world. Just BE one.

4. Always be a lady, and no matter what- things will be fine. -My friend's grandmother.

This was actually advice given to me by my high-school boyfriend's Grandma. We had broken up and she pulled me aside and told me that no matter what- I should always be classy; never crazy. I proceeded to be incredibly immature about the relationship anyway (give me a break, I was seventeen)- and it's one of my greatest regrets. No one wants to be looked at after a breakup and thought of negatively. If you behave yourself to the best of your ability, and don't act like a complete jerk- you'll always look back on things in a positive light. The only regrets I've ever had in relationships have been not being the bigger person when I knew I had it in me.

5. The way I see it, whenever a bad thing happens in my life there are two ways I can go about it. I can sit around and be sad. I can eat bon bons and be lazy and be pathetic. OR, I can pick myself up and go DO something. Do yoga, get a new outfit, whatever. I can either get sad, or I can get awesome. I think I'm just going to get awesome instead. -Yours truly.

Why wallow? How logical is that? I'm a firm believer in not staying stuck in an unhealthy place, emotionally, for one second longer than I have to. There's too much good out there to waste time feeling bad.

6. A true soul mate is probably the most important person you'll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, the come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then leave. A soul mate's purpose is to shake you up, tear apart your ego a little bit, show you your obstacles and addictions, break your heart open so new light can get it, and make you so desperate and out of control that you have to transform your life. -Elizabeth Gilbert. 

I agree with this to a certain extent. I don't know if I'd call these people "soul mates," but the people in my life who have challenged me the most have been my greatest blessings in disguise. There are probably 5 people I can think of who are some of the most difficult for me to even deal with because of what happened there- but if it weren't for them opening me up and making me really see who I am (and who I want to be)- I would be much less of the person I need to be.

7. When faced with two choices, simply toss a coin. It works not because it settles the question for you, but because in that brief moment when the coin is in the air, you suddenly know what you were hoping for. -Unknown 

Because your really DO always know.

8. What you've been doing- hasn't worked. So why not try something different? It may be uncomfortable, and you may have to focus harder on controlling your initial reactions/wants. But if you can't have control over yourself... what's the point? -Katie Wexler

Katie told me this when I was having challenges in my previous relationship. It was long-distance and I was worried that I wasn't going to be able to make the distance thing work because I am, by nature, kind of a needy person. This really put it in perspective for me because I was tired of trying the same thing and getting the same results. And I was tired of not having self-control and allowing myself to be run by impulsive decisions.

9. Be yourself. Just because somebody else is being a jerk- that doesn't mean you have to lower the standard of person that YOU are. -Kenneth Welch

Again- this was a self-control thing. I don't want someone else's actions to dictate my behaviors. I'd rather be proactive than reactive.

10. To make a mountain of your life is just a choice (...) Always love, hate will get you every time. -Nada Surf.

Because you make your own life more difficult by filling it with negativity  Choose to love your life and the people in it, no matter how misguided or wrong you think they are. My new credo is completely applicable here: How other people choose to treat you is evidence of their character. How you choose to respond is evidence of yours.

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