A few weeks ago I told you about Cadence, a little girl of maybe three or four who confidently introduced herself outside of a mall bathroom, “Hi, I’m Cadence, and I can do anything.” In ways she could never imagine, this child and her gotcha-world stance stuck in my head.
I aspire to adopt Cadence’s attitude toward life every day.
Then there are days I end up sending my daughter texts suggesting the life of a prairie dog could suit me just fine. Whenever the world starts to royally freak me out (I get flipped off by a road ragey driver, or I make the mistake of watching the news for too long) I begin to fall seriously in love with the idea of never stepping foot outside my home again. Prairie dog living sounds ideal. Hide out, then pop up from time to time just so everyone knows I still exist. That pretty much defines how I’ve handled social media lately. After my confessional text to my kid about wanting to be a prairie dog, within seconds we both shot each other an identical GIFs. #wildfun
Here’s the truth: I’m not merely an Anything Girl wannabe. She’s inside me, and like the prairie dog analogy, how I remind the world I haven’t petered out in some hole somewhere, the Anything Girl pops her head up from time to time. It’s a welcome surprise. I like her. She’s ballsy, uninhibited, and
her voice matters. (I’m enjoying addressing myself in 3rd person a little too much. Stopping now.) In time I’ve learned how to coax the Anything Girl out of me on a whim. If you’re intrigued and tempted to show the world the Anything Girl in you—pay attention.
The following are all things I’ve learned to create the best environment for the Anything Girl in me to thrive—
- The sooner you embrace life is a tangled knot of pain and joy, the better off you’ll be.
- Learn how to not take rejection too personally.
- Establish a circle of trust (nod to Robert De Niro in Meet the Parents). Stick close with the people who encourage you through hard times, celebrate your accomplishments, and those who’ll remain loyal to you through all things. At all times.
- Laugh at yourself as frequently as possible.
- Don’t stuff your emotions.
- Don’t embarrass easily.
- Be willing to try new things and adventures even when they (not if because they will) scare you or you’re afraid.
- Do not—by any means—ever—compare your life and losses and insecurities and dreams and wants and hurts and chin hair or knobby knees or cellulite to anyone else. We are all supposed to be different. And only you can do you (feel free to make a T-shirt with that on it…giving you full permission here).
- Try hard not to control or judge others. Reflect upon and seek to improve your own sloppy ass life first before you rattle on about someone else’s mess. Even better, don’t entertain yourself with rumors or gossip at all.
- Swear occasionally. (See don’t stuff emotions above.)
- Get with your spouse often (you’re welcome, SGM).
- Don’t let the past or your idea of what the future is supposed to look like have more power than your present.
- Find something to be grateful for every day, even if it’s just that you didn’t have to clean toothpaste art off the granite countertop in the kids’ bathroom for once.
- Practice kindness with strangers. And loved ones.
- Seek to understand. All people. All things. And consider staying quiet until you reach a point of deeper understanding.
- Do not consider anyone of a higher or lower worth. Treat everyone with an equal measure of compassion and love.
- Admit faults readily, but use discretion online. Trolls will slay you. Even people who are otherwise reasonably cordial have a tendency to grow claws when their fingers reach the keyboard. Guard your heart. And your head space.
- When your thought life gets exceptionally ugly remind yourself of the limited time you have on earth. I often hear Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman in my head telling me it comes down to a simple choice. Get busy living or get busy dying.
- Don’t be content with who you were yesterday. Every day strive to improve.
- Understand—I mean really understand that your worth does not come from others’ impressions of you or how tidy or messy your life is.
- Know you will be tempted more times than you could possibly conceive to give up on a dream—that thing inside you sense you’re on earth for. Don’t give up.
I’m sure I’ll be writing more posts like this one. I hope the list above inspires you to be an Anything Girl (or Guy). The world needs more thoughtful and purpose-focused people leading others toward effective and healing change.
*My prairie dog kid ready to hit the dance floor at prom this past weekend—an Anything Girl in training. And if you look closely, you might spot the shadow of a rare enormous prairie dog on the left.