Michelle's 28 Recommendations on How to Live Life Well:
1. Travel. May I recommend Italy? Personally, I want to be a traveler in my life. I want to constantly learn something new and indulge in the excitement of "discovering" a new place and its culture. And then I get to talk about it as an expert afterwards. I also know that exposure to places other than your hometown broadens your mindset. Instead of thinking something is "weird" abroad, is it really simply "foreign?" A well-rounded individual accepts that there are many ways to live and appreciates that the world is wonderfully diverse. ...and endlessly interesting to a curious observer like me. Get out there!
This is actually a hidden treasure in Venice that was shown to me by a local.
2. Do not accrue credit card debt. Live within your means. Lots of debt can be a huge obstacle in getting what you want out of life. It really sucks, trust me; don't do it. Or pay it off as soon as possible! A budget helps you afford the (fewer) things you want and need so that you can get through the tough times. I adore Suzy Orman; do whatever she says.
3. Be open to learn and improve yourself everyday. Every second of every day is an opportunity to take a chance and make a major change. Also, knowledge is power.
4. Do not follow trends, instead cultivate your own personal style. Not only on your person, but also in your home. Have fun with it. Plus, trends tend not to flatter everyone, and I want everyone to look their best!
6. Be courageous and confident enough to say who you are and what you want ...and be it. I am most attracted to people who are truly comfortable as themselves. Confidence is an extremely attractive quality. Be the person you want to be, now. Life is too short not to. I understand that it is difficult to be/ not be/ want/ not want something mainstream. Who cares what other people think? Being true to yourself is such a reward in life.
12. Nurture your relationships with others. I'm the friend who calls/ keeps in touch with 98% of my friendships. I am happy to do it and I'm good at it, but since I'm the one who makes the effort in nearly all my relationships, I advise you to give your friend like me a break and call/ text/ email/ mail/ visit. How about now? This list will be here when you get back. Life gets in the way, I know, but make time, put it on a "to do" list if you have to! Life is richer with others (and variety) and those relationships take work. This also applies to your relationships with a significant other, family, coworkers, roommates and even pets.
13. Get out of any relationship you need to. Some people simply do not make your life happier/better. I am the ultimate friend and find it very difficult to consciously choose not to continue or formally end a friendship, but have for the sake of my own happiness. Life is also too short to stay with a significant other you do not see a future with, even if you are terrified by being alone. If it's abusive in any way or measure, you definitely deserve better, the best, in fact.
14. Eat good food. Savor good food. It's so worth it. I love to eat. Don't waste much time on cheap junk, you know it's unsatisfying. A specific junk food that is your occasional indulgence is okay.
15. Attend college. Not exclusively online either. I had such a great time in college and wish it for everyone. And while you're at it, study abroad. May I recommend Italy?
17. Dress up. Personally, I highly recommend a little black dress with rich red peeptoe pumps, jewelry and a clutch. Dress up at any and every occasion ...or a totally random day just because you feel like it; elevate the everyday to an experience, a true experience in living well. Ladies, are you ever stumped about what to wear to a particular event? I love Nina Garcia's Look Book: What To Wear For Every Occasion for a recommendation that is just right.
18. Always bring something to a party, including a dinner party however casual, and even if it's just for the host. I mean in addition to any obligatory gift for the occasion. My recommendations are: a homemade dessert, a bottle of wine or a bouquet of fresh flowers. A considerate contribution or gift is truly the best. I know attending a party with a busy schedule is hard enough, but put some thought and/or effort into it.
19. Fare la bella figura. Always put your best foot forward. Look nice everyday. Behave yourself too.
20. Celebrate ...the little things, the big things, life. Elevate the everyday. Have fun.
21. Be optimistic.
22. Recognize your inner strength and potential to overcome obstacles. You can do it. You deserve to live well following hardships.
23. Cultivate such a full life that you do not have interest, time or energy for unnecessary drama.
25. Take care of your health. If generally healthy, when was your last physical? Make an appointment as soon as possible if it's been years.
26. Consciously choose to be happy and make it happen for yourself. Depend on no one else for this. For the healthy individual, I do really believe that happiness is your choice, your attitude, your actions. Life is what you make it. Do things that make you happy everyday. They can be little moments lasting just a few minutes too, like going slightly out of your way to walk in the sunshine, listening to a good song, or reading a few pages while your morning coffee (hopefully a cappuccino or espresso!) is cooling down.
27. Making something a habit is helpful in making a permanent change and sticking with it. Even if it's a habit like depriving yourself of spending money on a certain thing in order to save money, it becomes less painful with practice and time. Cultivate good habits. Practice makes perfect. Showing up is often half the battle; show up once and then repeat, repeat, repeat.
28. Be passionate.