It's the first Sunday of Advent and I can't help but going into old lady mode and getting all nostalgic and reflective about the year that has passed. Time is such a weird thing right? It's so easy to get caught up in all these mundane little things that suddenly another year has passed and you're left wondering what you've done all year.
There are a few pieces of advice that I've been given over the years that I often think about when I'm feeling philosophical and pondering about the important stuff in life. I'll share them with you so that you too can enjoy some profound moments of self reflection in these times of hot chocolate and cosy blankets.
Listen to your inner whispers
A year and a half ago I graduated from the Theateracademy in Helsinki and was asked to hold the students speech, an exciting but also terrifying task. Of course as I was writing the speech I hit writers block almost immediately. The pressure of saying something wise and profound stifled all my creativity, and so I ended up watching quite a few more graduation speeches on youtube than I'd care to admit... (It's a highly addictive youtube video genre, I warmly recommend it if you're ever feeling betrayed by life or just needing an inspirational pep talk.)
Among all the advice of experienced brilliant minds I stumbled upon a speech by Steven Spielberg, the man behind the movie that made me fear that sharks would bite my feet off whenever I entered any pool of water well into my teens.
Anyways, he said something that has stuck with me (and something that I ended up using in my own speech too). He urged the students to listen to the quiet soft spoken whispers in their minds. We all have those loud voices in our heads screaming at us what we should be doing. Those loud voices are all the expectations that are put upon us by ourselves and by others, and the guilty feelings and preconceived ideas and norms of how we should live our lives. But behind all that noise lies the hidden desires and true inner callings that are just waiting to be heard. Of course those are the ones you should be listening to!
Don't let them drown in the orchestra of arrogant shoulds and bossy expectations. Listen to what your inner whispers are telling you, they have the secret ingredients to your perfect sauce.
Always be a bit nicer than necessary
This is a thing my Dad taught me from as early as I can remember. He always told me and my sister that no matter who you meet you will always get further in life by treating them with a bit more kindness than necessary.Like anyone else my Dad has a lot of quirks, but he's absolutely the kindest person to strangers that I've ever met.
Often when we leave a restaurant he says goodbye to the staff in a way that makes you think that they've just saved his entire house and family and belongings from drowning under a horrible flood. Yup, that is how many times he says thank you and nods in a polite and warm manner when we leave the place. It gets to a place where my down-to-earth Mom almost feels embarassed by his overly thankful gestures. Parents are just the funniest creatures.
You never know what one thing might lead to
This is a saying my Mom always whips out when I feel like nothing is happening in my life or that something I wished for didn't happen. She is always quick to remind me that you never know what lies behind the next corner. I try to remind myself of that every time I feel like I'm stuck, you never know what tomorrow will bring.
Don't overthink it, just do it
This is something my old ballet teacher used to say. You can try to analyze and think your way through that pirouette or jump, but in the end you just have to go for it. Same goes for life in general I think. It's all just one big process and taking the next step, or leap, is really the only way to get further.
Wear your fancy dress on a weekday
I read an article a few years ago where very old people were asked what things they most regretted in life. One lady said she regretted not having worn her fancy dresses more often. She said life is too short to keep all those pretty dresses in the closet waiting for the right moment to bring them out. Life is here and now so enjoy it today instead of always saving your favorite clothes for a special day. Make this day special.
I sometimes put on a really nice dress on a weekday and I can feel how it affects my energy level and outlook on life. It's kinda silly but wearing something that makes me feel pretty instantly makes me happier. And come to think of, that isn't so silly at all.
Do you have some pieces of advice that you've been given that you find yourself returning to over and over again?
I would genuinely like to hear them, I'm always interested in filling up my head with more pearls of wisdom.