People always comin’ up to me and askin’ “Ben, what’s your secret? With all you do, your attitude just seems to be so good. How do you keep it?” Oh wait…that’s not me, that’s Dolly. Let’s appreciate the Queen for a moment, shall we?
Sweet Buddha, don’t you just love her? I do. I hope she tours around here soon because I need to see her. I think I’ve seen every country singer that ever opened their mouths in the nineties–just not Dolly. I don’t know how many times I went to Fan Fair. I also don’t have a single memory of it. Something’s coming…LeAnn Rimes. I saw her. Isn’t she hilarious now? She’s a hot mess. I don’t like saying that phrase because it’s overused, but she defines it. Dolly, though, I need to see her. She’s a national treasure. I just adore her and her cheerful attitude. She seems to be one of the most genuinely nice people that are in the entertainment business. I like to think that I share her positive attitude, so I’ve decided to share some tips with you for living a cheerful life.
Am I qualified to give you any information? Hell no. Does that stop Dr. Phil? Nope. Many kids at work call me Dr. Phil anyway, so I’m basically licensed. I don’t recall what prompted me to write this post, just popped in my head like all my magnificent ideas do, but I’ve been putting it off. The world is such a grumpy place these days and seems to be getting gloomier every day, so I decided to offer up these helpful nuggets of inspiration to make your life better. Some are easy. Some are hard. Some aren’t even attainable, but trust me, if you’re anything like me (and good for you, if you are!) they’ll cheer you up. Being upset or depressed or gloomy serves no purpose and is just a waste of time. There are better ways to waste time: eating, sleeping, watching television, the Internet, reading trashy novels, etc. So, let’s get going. I’ll start off simply.
1. Check Your Email:
Before you go to bed, each and every day, make sure that you have emptied your mailbox. There is nothing worse than being flooded with messages and newsletters. (Unsubscribe to those, by the way, none of us read them.) I don’t get a ton of mail each day, but when I ignore it for a couple days, I’m overwhelmed by the amount of things I need to sort through: Facebook messages, new Twitter followers, blog comments, coupons, spam from Dr Dre, my beloved Daily Lit book segments amongst other things. I can’t sleep now if I have email. If you have to stay up a little longer, do it. It’s worth it.
2. Make Your Damn Bed:
I am alarmed by how often people don’t put their beds together before getting on with their day. Admittedly, I don’t do this every day as it’s an act of God each day just getting me out of bed, but there’s nothing more depressing than heading to bed and seeing it in a state of disarray. Laying down on wrinkled sheets and a smashed pillow just sounds sad. Making the bed is easy for me because I hate blankets. I have one very light one from IKEA, which I love very much. Buy it here.
Half the time I don’t even use that. I have my bedroom at a constant seventy-five degrees and it’s marvelous. So, I just get undressed and lay on the bed. It’s great, I like the air on my skin. I also suggest you start sleeping naked. It’s good to see what your body looks like. If you’re always covered up you might not realize you have a mole or your thighs are giant or you have an unseemly patch of hair. Anyway, when you wake up, take a minute and put your bed back together. You’re welcome.
3. Always Have Reserve Cash:
I’ve always been poorer. My family isn’t poor, we just spend all of our money on trips and restaurants. I didn’t work in High School, so I never had any money to do anything. I wasn’t all that bothered, though, but now as an adult, I find the thought of having no money terrifying. So, I now have two bank accounts. One is for buying whatever I want and the other is savings for bigger things, like crumbling brick houses, African safaris, and emergencies. I like knowing that if I need to go somewhere quick or if I need something or if I need a bit of retail therapy, I always have a nice bit of cash tucked away that I can use. I feel a bit guilty using it sometimes, but honestly, it’s worth it. There’s comfort in knowing there’s always money if it’s needed. I suggest you start a secondary account immediately. It really doesn’t take long. I read about a few different techniques people use: save all your change and deposit it in that account, put all the fives you get into the account. I don’t use cash, so that doesn’t work for me. I put all my bonus money from baking in that account and about a third to one half of each paycheck there. Sometimes more, oftentimes less. It’s not a science. It’s just a safety net that will certainly cheer you.
4. Plan A Trip:
Always have someplace to go. It doesn’t matter if it’s a trip to Europe or if it’s to Minneapolis. Travelling is very important for my mental health, I need to always know I’m going someplace. After a vacation, I immediately begin planning the next one. It helps me get through the boring in between time that exists from one trip to another. You don’t have to book anything or plan anything official, you just need to collect information. I’ve been planning my 2013 summer vacation since I returned from Paris and London last month. I’ve gone from spending a couple months in Villefrance-sur-mer to a month in London to Melbourne and am currently looking into spending a good chunk of time in Cairo. I don’t speak Arabic and I don’t know a lot about the culture, but that’s not important. Knowing that I’ll be going someplace soon makes being at home not so dreadful. I’m always working on making my home feel like a vacation rental home–something that the rest of my family seems to be resistant to, which baffles me. There is nothing greater than going someplace that isn’t yours. There is no clutter, no overwhelming abundance of possessions, there are only a couple place settings in the cupboard, it’s just nice. I want to purge and purge and purge our house, and I’ll do it eventually. Anyway, if I weren’t planning a trip to Egypt, I’d be awfully bored. Will I go? I don’t know, but planning on going has already made me learn a lot. You have to pay extra to go into the Mummy Room at the Egyptian Museum. The Egyptian Pound is confusing. There are hotels on the Giza plateau. Traditional Egyptian breakfasts include falafel! Plan a trip. Stop whining about your boring life.
5. Dress Nicely:
So many people leave their homes looking like this. It should be a criminal offense. They look sloppy, lazy, and lacking intelligence. Though, I admit, these fellows look much better than the dimwits I usually see huffing their way through the mall. I don’t understand why a person would want to be seen in public like this. I don’t care how you dress when you’re home. Wear sweatpants. Wear your underwear. Walk around naked. I couldn’t care less, but when you’re out and about, give it a bit of effort. A pair of jeans and a sweater or a tshirt or a blazer is infinitely nicer than a hoodie. It’s upsetting how ugly people are dressing when they could look like this:
Those are just a few examples of images I’ve collected of smartly dressed men. I dress like them when I go out. I don’t want people to think I’m sloppy or lazy or hiding a pudgy stomach. You feel better when you look nice, too, that’s science. You feel important and gorgeous. Do it. Buy some clothes that fit.
6. Learn A Language:
Languages are one of my favorite things in the world. They’re a lot of fun for me. I can say a few things in lots of languages and that’s a great amusement to me. I can’t speak a lot or get my point across, but the fact that I know a little is a delight for me. I can speak English, French, a bit of Spanish, a few phrases in German, and a bit of Czech. Learning Czech was so hard, but worth it. I’m part Czech, so I feel it’s important, but it’s also a crazy language. Lovely to listen to, but a devil to try and pronounce. I’m going to start learning Egyptian Arabic very soon and I’m quite excited for that. I only know how to say…nothing so far. Merhaba is something. I think it means hello. See, this goes back to my trip planning bit. Learn a foreign language, make yourself useful. And if you’re one of those people who think that you don’t need to learn a foreign language because you’re an American–screw you. You’re an asshole.
7. Cook Real Food:
Cooking is not hard. People who say it is are whiners. Of course there are some complex recipes, but making yourself soup or a pasta dish could not be simpler. It’s cheaper and it’s a lot healthier when you know what you’re consuming. Going out to restaurants is great fun and I do it often, but I also know how to make myself a good meal. It’s nice not relying on shit in a box. I still can’t believe that people actually make Hamburger Helper and that people use food in the freezer aisle as actual food, not as an emergency situation. It’s just repulsive to me and my sensibilities. While you’re at it, start eating good things like grapefruits and new kinds of cheeses, and stop eating meat. It’s bad for you, not always great, and just mean. I’ve been a vegetarian for over two years and my palate has become very adventurous. I used to be picky, now I’ll try anything. At least do meatless Mondays. It’s not that difficult. People who whine and say they would die without meat are assholes. Don’t be an asshole.
8. Be Thin:
Somebody is going to bitch to me about this one, but I’m going to be honest–being skinny is great. You don’t have to look like a model, you don’t have to have 1% body fat, you don’t even need abs, but you don’t need an extra person hanging off your gut. When you’re a healthy weight, you feel better about yourself. It’s very simple. I was fat at one point and I didn’t like it at all. I felt gross, and when you feel gross, that comes across. So, I lost sixty pounds. I gained about ten pounds back. It was hard to maintain those ten pounds for some reason. I feel so much better being a healthy weight. I don’t have abs or muscles (not for lack of trying) but I do like my body. It’s really good to like yourself. Losing weight is not hard unless you have some kind of condition. If you do, sorry. You just have to move a bit and eat a bit less. You can make it easy or you can make it hard, it’s all in your head really. Also, hating on skinny people won’t make you any thinner. I get sick to death of people getting mad about skinny models. Sure, some of them might have an eating disorder, but not all of them do. We also need to stop glorifying fat people as normal. It’s not normal to be obese.
People hate Kate Moss for saying that, but it’s so true. It feels great to be skinny. Try it out, you’ll like it. And before you start complaining, skinny people still eat. I had a chocolate tart for breakfast, I’m having a potato pasty for dinner, but what I learned is moderation. I don’t have to eat everything even though somedays I do. I still eat a lot. The biggest problem, I think, is in our brain, I had to reprogram myself to really understand what hunger felt like. Download Lose It! and start drinking more water. It’s easy. Trust me.
9. Tidy All Your Rooms:
Does your house look like this? Probably not, but it probably would not take too long for it to become this hovel if you don’t keep tidy. Though, I really don’t understand why they have a thing of Hershey’s cocoa on a footstool. Being a slob is gross. It isn’t hard to keep everything clean. Getting things clean to begin with can be a struggle if you have a mess and that’s where most people give up. Don’t. Make your home a place you’d like to be, not just somewhere you live with your waste. Once everything is clean, it’s so simple to stick to a schedule and make sure you don’t live in a mess. Every morning, I tidy my bedroom, every Friday, I water my plants, every Sunday, I vacuum, every couple days I sweep and mop as necessary. If I see something that needs to be put away, I just go do it. It’s so easy. The only problem I have is dishes. I effing hate dishes. They’re the worst things in the world. My mother promised me a dishwasher for my birthday this summer, but I’ve seen no evidence. She claims that we need to get new cupboards first. I’m okay with that, but let’s speed it up. Pick up your shit, Lazy, you’ll feel better.
10. Have Lots Of Animals:
Animals are honestly the greatest thing in the world. I love them so much. I can’t imagine how I’d make it through my day if I didn’t have my cats. They’re wonderful and they love me and I love them. They’re like stuffed animals that you can interact with. I don’t trust people who don’t like animals. There is something off with their brains. It’s always a shock when you’re talking to somebody you like or respect and they drop that bomb–you just can’t think about them the same way as before. Also, being an animal lover is incredibly sexy. Just saying. Here’s a website full of proof. If you’re feeling blue, go get a cat. Get it from a shelter. If you can’t have an animal, go volunteer at a shelter. What could be more fun?
11. Be Your Biggest Fan
Another important tip: be your biggest fan. Love everything you do. What you do is the best. Everybody else is just jealous of how attractive and clever you are. Stop whining and love yourself. I don’t know of anybody who loves me as much as I do. Even if you end up alone with your cats, you’ll still have yourself, and if you hate yourself that won’t be any fun. Start liking yourself. If you don’t–change. It’s not hard.
12: Stop Caring So Much:
People who are always serious are such a bore. They must have awful lives–always worrying about work or their relationships or what they’re going to eat or what movie to see. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t care about everything, but you must stop worrying so much about it all. We’re all going to die, just calm down, relax, have a bit of fun. So what? There’s always tomorrow, unless the world ends, and then, who gives a crap about what they didn’t do or achieve. We live in a society that is always trying to make you feel worthless. Stop buying into it. I haven’t for years and I’ve never been happier. Yeah, I still live at home and work at the same school that I went to…whatever. I ain’t even bothered. I’m not saying to just sit at home and drink all day, but you need some you-time. Trust me, you don’t want stress wrinkles.
13. “What other people think of me is none of my damn business.” –Ru Paul
When I first heard this quote, it shut me up. I sat down and had a good think about it. Preach, Miss Ru. This phrase has since become my motto and is really quite useful. I don’t understand why people get so bothered that people are thinking of them. At least they’re being thought about. It’s so unimportant what others think about your actions or your beliefs or the things you say. You are yourself, do whatever it is you like to do. You like singing, but can’t sing? Go for it. Listen to this song for inspiration:
If you want to put on a wig, do it. If you want to go to church, go ahead. If you want to wear something shiny, please do. If you want to kiss a boy, go for it. Stop being afraid of other people. They don’t matter. And if you don’t want to hear it from me or from Ru, read Coco’s advice:
So, that’s all the advice I can think of. I hope it was helpful. I guess it all simmers down to: be a fierce bitch that laughs a lot and clean your house before blowing your money. I think that’s remarkable advice, and all for free. You’re welcome.