Life Mottos: writing challenge # 1

I have a very close knit group of college friends who I have the best time with! Even though its been about 13 years since we've graduated from college, we're all still very close. I've shared some of the best times of my life with them. The best tear-jerking, side- splitting laughs I've had are with these friends. 

For a long time now, we've been talking about starting a writing club amongst us. We'd pick a topic peridically, write, share with each other, and vote for the best. Winner then gets to pick a dinner out compliments of the losers. 

So, last week we finally committed. The topic is: Life Mottos. Instead of having each other vote, we decided to let the cyber-world vote for the best. So, take some time to read the four entries below and in the comments at the bottom, choose your favorite! 

Thanks for reading!

Entry #1: “Pay Attention”

​There are many things we pay for; groceries, bills, and the most essential—attention. Every moment of our lives requires us to “pay attention.” Attention is a payment we give and receive, but often forget that it is the utmost need. Whether we are listening in on a deep conversation, driving or operating heavy machinery, about to stumble or fall on a slippery surface, or even knowing the slightest details when it comes to a loved one; these are all things we need to pay attention to. We often endure these moments in life that can catch us off guard and make us unprepared, but by simply paying attention to the matter at hand, it can be the difference between life and death. To pay attention is a behavior that is innate, the basic way to communicate, and the ability to participate…in life.

​“Pay Attention!” Surely this is a saying you may have heard directly or indirectly, but it is these two words that can make you stop, think, and react. As children, we may not have paid as much attention because our innocence and ignorance prevented us from being too attentive. Some common scenarios for children to be reminded to pay attention include: talking excessively in class, listening to a speaker, watching an instructional video, knowing how to assemble a multi-step art project, and using the crosswalk on a busy intersection. All of these scenarios require a loud and index pointing “Pay attention!”

​Now in our much present sense, being able to communicate our needs and reciprocate the needs of others; requires our full and undivided attention. Unfortunately, in this age of technology, our attention is divided into small compartments due to the multiple applications on our smart phones, tablets, and televisions. It would be considered amazing if we could fully provide our attention without these distractions. Certain scenarios would include: talking on the phone while walking, texting while driving, and playing “Angry Birds” during an important meeting at work…all of these scenarios require an obnoxious “Pay Attention!”

​In the future, we hope to participate in activities that would make our life full of meaning and purpose. When it comes to our health, we need to pay attention to making better choices. The ability to participate in life events, work, school, and with family and friends requires the utmost attention. We tend to pay attention when things are out of the ordinary or extraordinary, but we should intend to pay attention to even the normal everyday moments like greeting others with a smile, picking up something that somebody dropped, and simply moving aside to let others pass. Moments like these where it leaves you happy and satisfied are evident of a paying customer that does not require a refund. When it comes to paying attention, there is no refund, but instead a receipt for being there when it counts the most. So whether you are rich or poor, the best payment you can ever give is to pay attention.

Entry #2: Things I know to be true. In my opinion. In list form.

1. I miss Oprah on daytime tv. Her Favorite Things episodes was always about giving than receiving. And the audience members were hilarious.
2. Everyone wants to be validated.
3. Needing to be liked or obtaining others' approval is not a priority. Raise your self-esteem.
4. Cooperation is more valuable than competition.
5. Though I cannot control every given situation, I can control my reactions to that situation.
6. Hearing my students laugh when I play sharks and minnows, dodgeball, handball, or any other PE activity with them makes me smile. See #9
7. I choose not to engage nor enable people's poor behavior.
8. People need to talk less. Silence leads to peace, reflection, and clarity.
9. Smile. Fake it if need be. And do it everyday.
10. Regular physical activity and maintaining a healthy weight are two of the most effective ways to prevent Type II Diabetes. Lower your risk.


Lao Tzu once said, “Care about what others think of you and you will always be their prisoner…” A wise saying but how do we incorporate this edict into our present lives when everything we do and say impacts our present and our maybe our future.  As adults, aren’t we teaching our kids to always hold true to themselves and be individuals?  What about the adults?  Do we follow that edict or are we hypocrites because we are ever conscious of our words and actions for the fear of offending others.  No?  Really?  You’ve never embarrassed yourself?  Wow. . . Maybe for the rest of us, we can benefit from the ARE YOU EMBARASSING YOURSELF? Flow Chart. 

We should always remember there is a time and a place to express ourselves.  If you find yourself in a questionable situation, use the chart.  For example, you’ve been drinking at a work function.  You are so drunk you end up motor boating a colleague.  OH NO!  You don’t remember what happened.  STOP. . . think. . . check the flow chart.  Let that be your guide for your next steps.  Remember, it’s okay to be different and be yourself.  Just don’t embarrass yourself in front of others to show just how different you are.  

Entry #4: YOLO, Everyday, Everyday, Everyday...

YOLO: YouOnlyLiveOnce - The saying popularized by the Twitter hashtag #yolo and catchy lines by rapper Drake "You only live once, that's the motto, nigga Yolo. We bout it every day, every day, every day..." has become a reminder to many to live life to the fullest. 

What does YOLO really mean? 

YOLO is lifestyle. Some post drunken party pictures on Facebook with the caption "YOLO!" as they have a drunk in one hand and a hot stranger in an embrace in the other. Others do extreme sports and yell "YOLO" as complete feats of fitness. YOLO is the lifestyle of people who travel the world with a backpack and have their dreams lead them to where ever they may go. Thoughtful daily prayers are a constant for those who truely believe YOLO and lead their lives in service to God. 

YOLO is motivation. Using an education to build a productive life, working hard in a fulfilling career, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and "keeping up with the Jones' " are all ways people use the life they are given to YOLO. Although individual motivators differ, the motivation itself to do something, to take action, or to want something encourages people to do the most with the life given them. 

YOLO is happiness. Laughter, hugs, smiles, family , and friends give meaning to YOLO. Yes, we all only live once, but we share that life with manu differnent people. We choose to surround ourselves with people who give us love, care, and support to guve the life we live  meaning and purpose. 

As Drake says, be about it every day every day every day. YOLO everyday. Make the most of everyday. No regrets.

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Swagger and Swoon