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1. If you find a project you want to work on, or a job you’d like to have, or a movie you want to be in — but for some reason, you can’t work on that specific project, or have that job, or be in that movie — make your own. Don’t give up or change your dreams or goals just because they are not readily available or simple or easy, and especially don’t rely on someone else to make them happen!

2. People are not going to live up to your expectations — ever — whether that be for good or for bad. That’s just part of what makes life so interesting… and also difficult.

3. Speaking of life being difficult (this is a cheery post, eh?)… You know those difficult situations/problems that arise in life, that you struggle to overcome, and once you’ve dealt with those things, you feel like a stronger person? Until, of course, you find yourself in the same situation again later, and realize you haven’t really learned yet how to cope with it. I guess that in itself is a learning experience.

4. I’ll admit it… sometimes the universe seems like it’s either playing a joke on us… or helping us out in major ways. Crazy, right?

5. Don’t feel bad for wanting more.

6. Write down the quotes, words, and/or blips of conversations you hear that mean something to you. Collect them. Keep them in a jar and read through them when you need to.

7. Do the stuff you don’t want to do first, that way it’ll be done and over with and you can get on with the stuff you like/want to do! This is like the opposite of what happened when you were a kid and had a pile of green beans left on your plate after dinner.

8. I’m an introvert, and as an introvert, I totally understand the not wanting to talk to people thing. It’s just so much easier to stay quiet and just listen. However I’ve come to find that talking to people is another way of listening — if you can get people to talk, they just might turn out to be an interesting story. I think introverts have the right idea — the whole not blabbing on the whole time thing — we just need to take that perspective and use it to interact with the outside world.

9. Bad things happen sometimes. A lot of times. Every day. But good things happen just as often, maybe more often. The trick is to accept that both the good and the bad are going to keep happening, and learn to live with this roller-coaster of a thing that is life.

10. Sure, your smartphone can tell you what the weather’s going to be like for your birthday in three years, and it notifies you the second someone likes that picture of your dog that you just posted on Facebook, but don’t let all that take away from how amazing it is that there are tiny cells in your body keeping you alive.

Speaking in front of large (or small) groups of people? Presentations? Oh god no.

I now present to you, my seven stages of presentation anxiety:

1. The excited, naive Jenni.

Oh, yay! This presentation topic sounds interesting. 

Oh, look – I can use that picture on my powerpoint slide! I’m sure the audience will think it’s as hilarious as I do!

What color scheme should I use? Blue? Red? Black and White?

This is going to be so great. They are going to love this! I am so funny. They are going to think I’m so funny!

2. The increasingly shaky Jenni.

Oh, god. My presentation is in an hour!

Are my hands shaking? My hands are shaking.

This sucks. I don’t want to do this. Can I get out of doing this, in any way possible? No. I have to do this. Crap.

Are my hands shaking? Yep, still shaking.

Ok, You’re going to do fine. Calm down. Calm down.

3. The inner peace Jenni.

Ok, deep breaths.

What does this online article say to do to relax?

Ok, deep breath in. Hold for 3 seconds. Exhale.

Yep, this is working. Calm down… It’s all gonna be OK.

Maybe this weird yoga pose in this bathroom stall will help. Ah, yes. Calm. I am calm.

4. The incredibly un-calm Jenni.

Oh, god. Oh, crap. No. Please, no. Why?!

My heart is beating so fast. Sheesh, why is my heart beating so fast? Am I getting a good cardio workout out of this?

My hands are shaking. I’m not even going to look at them. I’m going to pretend this is all perfectly normal body behavior. Yup.

Deep breaths? Is that a joke? Yeah right. Crap. Only 15 minutes until my presentation. 

5. The deathly calm Jenni. 

Calm. So Calm. Was I ever worried? I feel fine. 

My presentation is going to be fine. I know every word I’m going to say. I have my notes right here – they’ll be right in front of me while I’m talking.

So calm. Deadly calm. 

This will be fine. I’ve got this.

Calm.

6. The presenting Jenni.

Am I talking too loud? I don’t know how loud I’m talking.

Did I pause too long just then? Crap.

Am I going too fast? 

Did I just stare blankly into the audience? What does my face look like right now?

Am I turning red? I’m turning red, aren’t I? Crap. Every time, man.

7. The I-am-super-great-at-presenting Jenni.

I did so good. Look, they’re clapping for me. Yeah.

Did I talk too loud? I don’t know if I was talking too loud.

Ok, my face feels really warm. How red did it get up there, anyway?

Are my hands shaking? Yep, still shaking. But, it’s OK because I’m done!

Until next time…