Favourite Advice

Tonight we rounded up the first session of summer camp – the first month of camp is officially coming to an end, and the first lot of campers go home soon.

It’s been a long day. But a wonderful day.

The sun has been shining, people are smiling, I learned about a game called Greased Watermelon (think rugby… in the water… with a watermelon covered in grease as opposed to a rugby ball… and add in two teams of feisty females. It was intense)… I even snuck in a much needed power nap after lunch.

The end of the night, however, we had a huge ceremony to wrap things up, and as with all ceremonies, there were speeches. Inspiring, beautiful speeches celebrating diversity, accomplishment, feminism, individuality, fear, vulnerability, and all the good stuff that enriches our lives.

But one point in particular stuck out to me: when a speaker asked “what was the best advice you’ve been given?”

When I was 10 years old, I read this so-bad-it’s-good trashy teenage novel called “Hot or What” that I first adopted my favourite saying from: “love many, trust few, always paddle your own canoe”. It’s cute. But since then, I’ve been given bucket loads of advice from many people.

“Like every piece of diamond or stone; you are just as precious, yet just as unique” – a guy I used to play poker with
“What you put out, comes back threefold” – Wiccan law
“Be very careful – and don’t talk to anyone” – random dude in Springfield, Massachusetts
“Don’t eat yellow snow” – Frank Zappa (haha)

But seriously – I lose count of how many times people have wanted to impart their wisdom or advice on to me. So as I was thinking about the best piece of advice I’ve been given was, it kind of just hit me. I’ve never really been GIVEN any specific piece of advice that trumped anything else, but what I HAVE received are life lessons.

When my ex boyfriend committed suicide, I learned the importance of love, of reaching out, of communication, of recognizing bids for attention, how important it is to talk, ask for help, and allow yourself to feel. I learned that drug use – whether medication or “recreation” is not always the best way to deal with things; that a hug can have the same effect as a drug, and sometimes that’s all that’s needed. A shoulder to cry on, to trust, to rely on. I still think about Andrew often, and wish there was something more I could have done to help him help himself.

When my surrogate brother passed away from diabetic complications brought on by (literally) overdoing it, I learned the importance of taking time out, of resting, relaxing, that wasted time you enjoy wasting is not necessarily wasted time at all. I learned the importance of self care, and of not working yourself into the ground. I learned that health trumps money, and taking control of your life sometimes means putting yourself first. But more than that. Fraser was a hugely talented drummer who idolized Motley Crue (namely Tommy Lee), and would have done anything to live the rock n roll lifestyle to fulfill his dreams of music, of rock, of craziness, so his death taught me to stop being so selfdoubting and trust more. Life is short, and could end tomorrow, so why do I insist on holding myself back? Fraser is a huge reason why I decided to move to America – because if he can’t do it, I’m sure as bloody hell will; for me and for him. Keep dreaming, keep hustling.

When my surrogate dad passed away from alcoholism, it taught me to never let the dream take over. To always stay grounded, humble and – again – ask for help when and if I need it. Ritchie was a crazy man, and I’m incredibly privileged to have had him push me, support me, believe in me when I was growing up… I just wish he’d believed in himself more, and not so much in a vodka bottle.

So those are the pieces of advice that I’m holding on to. It might sound morbid, but I feel like there’s a positive to every negative situation. The balance of life; the yin and the yang. Every day is an opportunity to learn and grow; what’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

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