Life as Amber knows it

"An adventure in the making…"

Monthly Archives: January 2019

Forty-Two Things I’ve Learned in Forty-Two Years of Living

Okay, so I totally slacked on doing this last year. I fully intended to write out forty-one things I had learned. Then I got busy with HIIT training, a gift from a dear friend I made in Yoga Instructor Certification Training. And then another friend of mine made it a goal to do one hundred yoga practices in January of last year. And I was kinda watching it to get inspired and to support him, but also because that’s a really awesome goal, which ended with him getting one hundred and TWELVE practices in January, which is beyond impressive. There was the passing of a dear friend the week before my birthday. I fully intended to write the list “next week”. But then next week became the week after that, and when it comes to my own writing, occasionally, it gets placed on the back burner because three kids and paid work tend to take the lead in my life.

So here you are, Dear Reader: what I’ve learned in my life that stands out as I’m coming up on age forty-two. Or “Forty-Two’d” as my friend Geoff says, referencing my ability to stand strong with fortitude, no matter the circumstances.

1.) Stop apologizing for your joy. Whether it’s food, hobbies, music, people you spend time with, or movies you like to watch.

2.) Remember the little things. All those little things, those small moments of grace, those small moments of joy, of peace, of beauty, those add up to an amazing life.

3.) Walk away from people who try to change you to fit the definition of what they want you to be. You are who you are. Embrace it. Love it. Never apologize for it.

4.) You can walk away from situations and people that are painful to you or just no longer working for you without anger and hatred. You simply say “this is no longer working for me,” and exit with kindness.

5.) Don’t waste your energy on people who treat you like you’re expendable. Simply walk away. There are better people waiting for you, who will love you and treat you as you deserve to be treated.

6.) Treat people as they need and want to be treated.

7.) Love fully and without reservation and without condition.

8.) Never wait to say “I love you” out of fear.

9.) The people I love, admire, and respect most in the world are the people who treat all people with kindness and compassion.

10.) You have every right to feel whatever you feel in any given moment. It’s what you do with how you’re feeling that is what matters.

11.) We don’t only live once. We die once. We live every day if we do it right.

12.) Anything you want in this world, a healthier body, a job you love, good friends, and a healthy relationship to name a few, are worth the hard work it takes to gain it, and even more worth the hard work it takes to maintain it.

13.) Stop making excuses, and start doing.

14.) Stop telling the world how amazing you are and simply show how amazing you are.

15.) “K” in response to any message still pisses me off. Give me the half second it takes to hit “O” before you type in “K”.

16.) “Skinny bitch” is just as hurtful to hear as “Fat bitch”. I’ve heard both far too often in my journey to a healthy body.

17.) Ask yourself if you’re doing something because it serves a purpose in your life, or are you doing it out of habit.

18.) Be the type of friend you would like to have in your life.

19.) Sometimes, it’s more than enough to get up, inhale and exhale, repeat, then go back to bed at the end of the day.

20.) Never measure yourself by someone else’s yardstick.

21.) Try anything at least once.

22.) Sometimes, you just gotta flip a coin to make your decision.

23.) Take people at their word. If they tell you they’re happy in their line of work, have no interest in getting married, aren’t ready for a relationship, or don’t want a child, don’t attempt to change their mind set, or be offended when they turned out to be exactly who they said they were.

24.) If you present yourself as one way to the world, don’t be offended when you’re treated as such.

25.) I don’t care what you look like. I don’t care what your job is, where you came from, how large your bank account is, or what type of car you own. I don’t care about the labels on your clothing. What I care about is how you’ll treat the waiter or the person who empties the trash.

26.) Stop making excuses. Just do the damn thing you’ve wanted to do.

27.) You are under no obligation to apologize for your feelings. Feel what you feel when you feel it. You are however under the obligation to handle those feelings responsibly and not take them out on anyone else.

28.) You are not your past. What you did before, what you have survived to come out on the other side of, these are things that you did or went through, THEY ARE NOT YOU. You are who you choose to become.

29.) Be yourself. Always. The right kind of people will love you as you are.

30.) Listen to that little voice inside yourself that tells you when things aren’t right.

31.) Listen to that little voice inside yourself that tells you to take a leap of faith.

32.) If you woke up and are breathing, you’ve got good news, baby!

33.) Never allow those who are unkind to tell you your self worth and value.

34.) You can have as many plastic surgeries as you want, but nothing will change the date you were born.

35.) There is nothing as healing as unconditional love.

36.) If you’ve hurt someone, tell them you’re sorry.

37.) Give back to your community.

38.) I love those people who aren’t afraid to show their flaws. It makes them human, and therefore, possible to love.

39.) There are no mistakes. Only learning experiences.

40.) Eat the damn cupcake.

41.) No matter what the relationship is, abuse of any type is unacceptable.

42.) I finally know what I want to be when I grow up: Content.

Your experience is not my experience

Several months ago, a friend of mine met someone I was acquainted with. I listened to them go on and on about how amazing this person was, all the while biting my tongue.

The person in question was a huge factor in a dear friend’s divorce.

I’m not saying my friend’s now ex-husband was guilt-free; quite the contrary, he held just as much responsibility in the affair as the person in question did.

Yet, to my friend, this person in question is amazing. They’re funny, they’re carefree, have interesting stories, and are entertaining. He views her in a positive light. Me? My mind can’t seem to get past my dear friend calling me, crying hysterically to confirm her husband and the father of her children had been having an affair for several months with a woman young enough to be their daughter. My mind can’t seem to get past the hurt someone I know and love dearly experienced at someone’s choice to engage in an extramarital affair.

As yogis, we tend to try and live non-judgemental lives. We try and approach things with open hearts and minds, try to veer away from hard, angry words and actions. We try to find unconditional love and acceptance of scenarios, things, people, places.

Yet, I still struggle. Especially when it comes to those I love, especially when you watch the pain and hurt, not only with a dear friend, but that of her children who are missing their father. Of seeing a marriage and a life shatter into a million pieces when one of the people wielding the sledgehammer to destroy that marriage and life walks away after taunting and being cruel to one of the people in your life you love deeply.

I recently had a discussion with a friend regarding red meat, something I don’t indulge in due to how it affects me physically. “I can’t imagine not being able to have a steak. How the hell do you not eat steak?” he’d asked me, and I’d responded simply, “Your experience is not my experience.” For me, eating a steak would be doing to my body what that affair did to my friend’s marriage: I’d be a mess after, and it would be weeks before I’d feel like rejoining the world at large.

Another recent conversation with a work colleague involved them telling me that yoga just didn’t do anything for them. I was beyond confused momentarily, until I asked them what their experience was with it: 105 degree studios, instructors who barked orders at students like it was basic training, other students who had surly attitudes. And while I’ve had similar experiences to my work colleague, I had the good fortune of landing in a studio that is a love based community, where the instructors guide you, where the temperature is the optimal level to promote detox and relaxation. His experience was not my experience.

I bring all these examples up because I’ve been seeing way too much of “You’re wrong” and “I can’t believe you believe that” of late. And we need to try as a world to gain a bit more understanding, a bit more kindness, a bit more compassion. We need to channel our inner Phoebe Buffay and let people believe how they believe and feel how they feel, unless  it’s going to hurt us or others.

It’s not my place to tell my friend that his new friend isn’t how she appears to him, any more than it’s my friends’ place to force red meat down my throat in an effort to show me what I’m missing out on.

Be kind. Be understanding. Be compassionate. Be loving. Make this year the one you stop, take a moment, and try and see things from a different point of view.

Much love,


Amber Jerome~Norrgard.

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