"The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved." -- Victor Hugo
1. Thus I've learned that happiness is not defined by what we have in our lives, but who we have in our lives. Make sure those you care about the most, know it. In this case, actions do speak louder than words!
2. You're never too young or old to say "I love you," leave mushy notes, give flowers and shower your sweetheart and yes, god forbid, your family with continuous random acts of kindness. A strong foundation best weathers the storms that will eventually come your way.
3. That being said, accumulate only toys that you're willing to share with those you love. Selfless is a better trait than selfish. Besides, toys wear out quickly, but shared memories last a lifetime.
4. Give willingly, whatever you need the most of, be it time, money, compassion, empathy, friendship or love. I promise you it will come back to you in waves far and above what you could ever hope or imagine.
5. If and when children come along, remember who was here first and never, ever put their needs ahead of your significant other. Kids are adaptable and resilient. They will survive and they will thrive in the glow of a healthy and happy relationship. Don't let anyone tell you different.
6. All people fail, especially those you revere the most. And when they do, it will hurt immensely, sometimes tearing you to the core. Pedestal perching is a trait that comes with youth and naivety. Sadly, it's an unwelcome lesson to learn the first, second and third time through.
7. Be willing to forgive those that hurt you and mean it. Have you ever screwed up? Nuff said. Carrying that burden too long will destroy the good and endless possibilities the future could bring. Lastly, remember the good times. Build on those. Slough off the bad.
8. Repeated rejection will eventually destroy even the best relationship. Learn to say no, not now in a way that lovingly conveys "later, please... I LOVE YOU!" Your wants and needs do matter. Between you, timing is everything. Learn to give and take in love.
9. Money, as you've come to learn, is not endless and going in debt, drowns. Out of every dollar, give a dime, save a dime and try to live on less than 80. That meager difference you spend below the eighty will be play money that you'll relish and appreciate when you spend it.
10. You will eventually fail miserably at something. Your defining moment will come when you admit it was your fault, get up, shake it off and move on. Remember why you failed and press forward, confident you will not make the same mistake again. But S*#T happens. And you might fail twice more. Learn to let failure not be a drag anchor, but a brace to push yourself out of the muck.
11. Never stop dreaming big dreams. Some you will attain, many you will not. Share those dreams with those you love. Their unwavering support will sometimes carry you further than you could ever go, alone.
12. Never lose Hope. Hope to be the best today. Hope for a better tomorrow. Hope makes life worth waking up for. And hope is contagious.
13. Never take yourself too seriously. Laugh often, even at yourself. God, too, has a sense of humor. Look at me!
14. Communicate with your friends and family as much as possible. Keep your relationships strong. Attempt to make a call or write a note before you email or text. It's more personal and it will make someones day a little brighter, a little better. More than anything, just reach out.
15. Finally, remember where you came from and where you are going. Life is gloriously precious and but a training ground for grander things ahead. Pave the road well, don't fret over the bumps and holes. And always remember, there are others following in your footsteps attempting to be what you've become.
We've just published our latest novel in the Ride Series, Ride To Restoration. Recent book reviewers have humbly compared our works to E.L. James and Sylvia Day. I'm not sure if that's a good thing. You're welcome to read an excerpt and let me know. 18 and older please.