Emily Articulated: Seven laws of life

By Emily Erickson
Reader Columnist

This last week of sunshine has prompted feelings of springtime in me. And springtime, in addition to a distinct inability to regulate my body temperature, prompts a desire to clean. This desire, however, isn’t to clean my apartment, my car, or any of the junk I’ve accumulated in the small corner of my garage (that’s absurd), but rather, to clean my mind and life of all of the bad habits I’ve acquired over the cold months (like reaching to pour myself that fifth cup of coffee).

Emily Erickson.

In pushing the reset button on myself for impending spring and reflecting on all that I have to reorganize, I’ve realized I have very little figured out. But, despite the ignorance that comes with my age, I’ve managed to boil down some of the most important rules by which I strive to live, and think they are relatively universal. No matter what I’m doing with my life, if I’m abiding by these rules, I am doing alright. So here they are – Seven Laws of Life: Emily-Unqualified Edition. I’ll let you be the judge.

1. Don’t Be a Dick.

The golden rule. It seems basic, but choosing not to be dick can be difficult, especially because people continually push the boundaries of creativity in how they can be the ugliest versions of themselves. Often, it’s a product of circumstance, but checking in with yourself regularly, choosing kindness as often as possible, and viewing the world through an empathetic lens is a great place to start. Not sure if you’re being a dick? Here are some examples:

Have you ever consciously parked someone in? Thrown trash next to the receptacle? Stiffed a bartender? Left regular negative YELP reviews? Assumed someone was “less than” you in any capacity? Then you’re being a dick. Knock it off.

2. Drink More Water.

I’m dehydrated, you’re dehydrated. Mix in another glass between iced coffees already, would ya? 

3. Spend Time Outside.

Being outside makes you happier and healthier. There’s a reason taking a walk in the park or getting a breath of fresh air makes you feel better. Recent studies across the world are proving that when your exposure to green spaces and beautiful vistas increase, your mental health, stress levels, and social interactions improve. Also, when you’re outside, you’re likely being active, which as we all know, is beneficial.   

4. Assume Less, Learn More.

In a world full of things to learn, cultural intricacies to navigate, books to read, instruments to play, and subjects to explore, the reality is; we know very little about most things. And that is exciting. When we recognize our own ignorance instead of assuming we already know enough, the world becomes a prism of opportunity to grow and learn. Even more exciting is that the ways in which we can learn are becoming more accessible and varied by the day. Not a big reader? Try a podcast. Visit a museum. Listen to the old man on the barstool next to you. Pick up a guitar. Cook a paella. The possibilities are truly endless.

5. Prioritize Your Time.

We have 24 hours in every day. That means, even if eight hours are dedicated to work and eight hours are dedicated to sleep, there are still eight hours in every day that we get to fill with the things we choose. It’s so easy to get caught up in being busy that we forget that we have one life, and how we choose to spend our days is how we choose to spend our lives. So if you want to be an underwater basket-weaver, grab your snorkel and get weaving already. 

6. Laugh More (especially at yourself).

Laughter is one of the greatest keys to life. It is how we communicate affection, express joy and maintain social bonds. When we laugh honestly and without inhibition, happy chemicals, or endorphins, are released in our brains and make us feel good. We also use laughter to communicate comfort and security within friendships, and as a tool to navigate social situations in which we want people to feel valued. Then, my favorite form of laughter is the kind directed at ourselves. When we don’t take ourselves seriously, we unlock endless opportunities to have fun and to connect with the people around us. Because we are all dorks at our cores, and that’s beautiful.

7. Pet More Dogs.

Dogs are better than people in every conceivable way. They deserve each pet they get and more. 

*Cue tail wag*

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