Another Year to Be Thankful.

     We all know that birthdays come around once a year. It doesn’t matter if you’re the type of person who lets everyone in your path know its your special day, or if you pretend the next one doesn’t exist in an attempt to skip the aging process. Even if you have ever felt like Molly Ringwald in Sixteen Candles when everyone forgets.

    Now my inspiration for this may be a little biased seeing as I just had mine yesterday, but there was a brief moment that was urging me to capture the thought into writing. I was finishing up my traditional birthday dinner when the very busy but effortlessly pleasant waiter, plopped down crème brulee in front of me. As I stared down at the treat, I jokingly looked up at the people around me and said, “Hmm guys, what should I wish for?” The second the words crossed my lips I realized how silly it was because I already had everything I needed right there in that moment. Although I was born with approximately 32 sweet teeth, I’m not referring to the crisply tart dessert sitting there with a burning candle on it. It was my mom, my niece, my sister and brother in law, and my boyfriend. Alongside those amazing humans in my life were the less physical joys that I remembered needed to be cherished as well. I had my health, supportive figures, a bit of money in my bank account, a car that runs, the ability to think and move freely without any restrictions. The list could run on like a rhino on rollerblades.

    It’s in the moments of greed (c’mon, we all have them) and endless amounts of material products shoved down our gullets on an hourly basis that we forget to appreciate the fact we even get to have another birthday-- another day to cherish the fact that we are lucky enough to be on this earth. I read a quote yesterday that was something along the lines of, “Even when you have a bad day, you get to try again tomorrow.” Now I didn’t read this in a book somewhere, I read it on a framed picture on the wall of a family friend. It was one of the many insightful and inspiring quotes from a man who passed away from cancer way too soon in life. He was a brother, a son, an uncle and a partner—who was thrown SO many hardships in his time here but was consistently able to be positive for others with his encouraging words and his genuinely lovely spirit. As I sat there in their house on my day of birth, I couldn’t help but think how many times I hear people complain about turning forty or fifty, and how badly this man would have wanted to experience just one more with his family and friends.

     Although this was an emotional way to come to the realization I had last night, I felt that it would be an important one to share.  So the next time a grey hair pops up or the calendar inches closer to another year of age, appreciate the fact you are here and well and celebrate those laugh lines.

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Written By: Hayley Sutherland

Posted on September 28, 2017 .

Choose Those Who Make You Happy

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      As humans, we like to think of ourselves as individuals who are in full control of who we become. But there is a factor that we may not realize has such a crucial role in contributing to the bits and pieces that make us who we actually are. It’s those people that we surround ourselves with who have such a large impact on our character.

     “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with,” says American entrepreneur and motivational speaker Jim Rohn.

     When I read this, the first thought that plopped into my reflection zone was, “Who are those people in my life?” The second thought to arrive there was whether or not those people have traits that I’m okay with adopting.  We all have those friends or coworkers that have viewpoints fully capable of making you cringe and nod your head to avoid conflict. We generally stand by and don’t see this behavior as harmful, because we are not the ones directly dispersing those energies into the world. But when you think about it, the more that we are exposed to those negative things, the more desensitized we become to them—thus the more likely we are to continue to engage in behaviors we don’t necessarily agree with.

    So what our job should be is to become the hiring managers of our social circles. In some cases, I’m thinking becoming the firing manager may be the way that this process will need to begin. In other words, in order to keep your garden fruitful, you need to weed out the plants that are detrimental its growth first.

     There are many groups of people who have already caught on to this positivity domino effect. They have chosen to slide head first into communities that weed out the bad before it can even start to root itself. CrossFit EP and PL are a perfect example of this. The “Work Hard, Be Nice Project,” was able to thrive so quickly because it was an obvious choice for a gym motto where everyone involved could truly relate and stand behind it.

     This is just one example of how choosing to place yourself around those who lift you up and motivate you to be better for yourself and for your community can allow you to grow. The reality is, we will never be able to escape the negative people that we encounter on a day-to-day basis, but what we can control is whom we let into our world when we are enjoying our free time. Seeing someone digress because of a toxic relationship is truly heartbreaking and it’s even harder when that person is you.

     Challenge yourself to break away from comfort zones and gravitate towards people who you would be more than happy to let it rub off on you. Because after all, there are enough negative influences in this world, and there is only one you. So make your choices wisely.

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Written By: Hayley Sutherland

Posted on August 29, 2017 .