I’ve been living in Colorado, hundreds of miles away from anyone I know, for over a year now.
There is nothing like extreme independence and financial chaos to teach you some life lessons – and I want to share!
Perfect your handshake
I’m laughing to myself as I write this because this seems like such a stupid cliche movie thing to say but I still want to put it on the list. I shake people’s hands on the daily and I find myself making snap judgments if people have a bad handshake.
What do I mean by a bad handshake? If, when I shake your hand, it feels like I just squeezed the life out of a malnourished jellyfish…your handshake sucks.
- Have clean, dry hands if possible
- Firm but don’t try to crush their bones
- Make eye contact and smile
- Don’t be weird
It’s always possible to save money
I have basically been living paycheck to paycheck my entire time in Colorado but it is still possible to save money. It doesn’t have to be a significant amount. Don’t feel like you have to save $100 from every paycheck and then skip out on groceries.
Start with $5 or even $1 and then build on it whenever you can. One tactic I did to save money is having a “no spend week.” I would pick a week where I don’t have much going on and I would decide that I am not spending any money that week. It wasn’t easy, especially when Chinese takeout might be calling your name, but it is worth it at the end of the week.
Be your own accountability partner
It sounds weird but sometimes you have to play a second role in your own life. If I was just allowing myself to be comfortable I would probably never leave my house and be miserable and alone watching Youtube and Netflix 24/7. But I decided to put on a second hat and force myself to do things I wouldn’t normally.
Don’t get me wrong, I still spend a lot of nights in my apartment miserable but I also spend some time on hikes, bowling with coworkers, and I am even looking at signing up for pottery classes.
Care less about pleasing people, care less about being embarrassed, care less about people who don’t matter. This sounds cruel and, of course, there are exceptions to the rule. You should still be kind, do your best, etc, etc but cut yourself some slack. Some people don’t deserve all the grief that they cause you. Life is short. Who cares if you did something stupid in public? Take a break from caring so much about everything and just relax.
Practice standing up for yourself
Like everything else in life, standing up for yourself takes practice. Start small. If a restaurant gets your order wrong, ask them to fix it with confidence. Try apologizing less.
Soon you’ll find that you are standing up for yourself in situations that you normally would have cowered in. I asked a man not to interrupt me a couple of weeks ago. It seems small but it was a big moment for me.
Life is hard and it is easy to let yourself enjoy some self-pity for a little too long. Cry it out if you need to but then suck it up when it’s time. Everyone has tough shit they go through. You aren’t special. I caught myself doing this recently and I really had to check myself.
Life sucks sometimes but you can do this. That’s the whole point anyway.