That's right! I wrote a life lessons book with the help of my wonderful husband.
Here's a quick introduction:
We started writing these stories at the respective ages of 27 and 28 years old. By no means do we feel that we should be giving advice on how to live your life since we really haven't been around that long. You might expect lessons learned in life to come from a wise grandmother or someone who has lived for many generations. They are great sources by the way, so we do encourage you to talk to them as well. Nonetheless, our experiences range from great joy to great loss and we want to share our life lessons with the world. Thus, this book was born. We hope you enjoy our personal anecdotes and find our advice useful.
Who the hell are Nealey and John and why should I take life lessons from twenty-something year-olds?
Great question! Nealey is a professional organizer from Texas, and John is a political scientist from New Jersey (read more about us in chapter 1). It's a pleasure to meet you!
There's no manual for entering the real world...until now! This life lessons book is our "manual" for life so far, and it has some really great teachings in it. Yes, we are young, but we've been through some pretty hairy situations and have come out on the other side standing tall. Learn from our experiences and use them to benefit your life.
What will you learn from this life lessons book?
Chapter 2: How To Be Mental (In A Good Way)
Your outlook on life is everything. It affects your attitude, how you think about things, and how you handle good and bad situations. Life is hard, but what matters is how you deal with it. In this chapter you'll learn about 7 ways to be mental (in a good way).
Chapter 3: How To Share A Living Space
It's one thing to have a roommate, and it's quite another to live with a romantic partner. Many couples break up after the move-in stage in part due to difficulty sharing their living spaces. In this chapter, you'll learn how John (history buff, loves books) and I (professional organizer, neat freak) make it work.
Chapter 4: How To Communicate
Communication is key to successful relationships. John and I communicate absolutely everything, so in turn we don't have that many disagreements. When we do butt heads, because every couple does, we work through it by communicating! This chapter outlines the keys to our success in this area.
Chapter 5: How To Celebrate A Jewish Christmas
More and more families are interfaith these days including John and me. He's Catholic and I'm Jewish. Rather than letting this drive us apart, we've taken the opposite approach and embraced it. In this chapter, you'll learn how our interfaith relationship works wonderfully and without offending each other in any way.
Chapter 6: How To Be Organized
Being organized is more than just sorting your things and purchasing storage products. It is a way of life, and it stems from how one thinks. This chapter outlines the principles of organized thinking and can be applied to any area of your life.
Chapter 7: How To Raise A Puppy
This is a lot harder than it sounds. Puppies require constant care and supervision. They must be loved, played with, taught, and disciplined. Pets require time and money! Are you ready for that? This chapter breaks down some of the important variables related to getting a puppy.
Chapter 8: How To Plan A Wedding
Bridezilla? Try familyzilla!!! Oy. This chapter is not about how to pick a venue or where to buy your dress, but rather it touches upon the mental anguish that can accompany the wedding planning process. You know, when everyone else wants to make demands (not requests).
Chapter 9: How To Live Life To The Fullest When You're Young And Poor
I love this chapter. John and I have done and seen so many cool things. We have so many great memories and have really "lived" out our twenties. It's important to say we never moved back home (because we wanted to stay in DC), and we had all of these awesome experiences by sticking to our budget. It's a hell of a lot easier said than done, and you'll learn how we were successful in this chapter.
What results can I expect from reading this life lessons book?
Well that entirely depends on you and how you employ our lessons. This is not the type of subject where I can display numbers related to our success, but I'll try to give you something measurable...
I can say that if happiness was measured on a scale from 1 to 10, 10 being the happiest, I'd say we are a 9.5. Why 9.5? Because no one is completely happy all the time, but we are close.
However, I realize I can just say whatever I want here and hope that you'll believe me. Let me show you something that I think exhibits the fruits of our life lessons quite well.
To me, this photo says it all...
We are strong, motivated people and carry ourselves with confidence and conviction. We support and enjoy each other, and our relationship is an even 2-way street. We are connected and in sync with each other. We are grounded and stable. We know who we are and are damn proud of that. We are happy, loving and ready to take on the world.
If you want to learn the ideals behind all of that, then read our life lessons book.
Who is this life lessons book for?
It would be great for graduating college students about to enter the real world or first-time dog owners or interfaith couples... It is for anyone and everyone that wants to be a little happier and stand a little taller. It is a short read packed with valuable lessons and makes a great gift!
Still not sure if you want to read it? Here's Chapter 2 - How To Be Mental In A Good Way for your reading pleasure.
"John handed me a piece of cheddar cheese and said, “Be careful, that’s sharp!” I, of course, called him a dork but chuckled because it was actually funny.
Think positively. There’s a positive side to any situation, even if you don’t see it right away. Sometimes it was years before I could see the silver lining to what I thought was the worst situation in the world…but it was always there. Thinking optimistically will attract positive energy to your relationships, your career, your health and your life in general.
Forgive. This is a tough one because I admit that I hold grudges. I will never forget it if you wronged me, especially if unprovoked and undeserved. However, I’ve learned that you can’t live your life if you’re stuck in the past. Shit happens to everyone, and you don’t have to forgive the people responsible, but you should forgive what happened. Make peace with it and with yourself in any way you can. Do this by acknowledging the good that came out of it. Did you become a better person? Did you learn something? How can you use it positively? Even if it was the tiniest shred of good, you need to recognize it. Only then, can you let go, move on and live your life.
Dream big. Seriously. I’m not just saying that. If you want something, go for it. Let's put it this way, why wouldn't you follow your dreams? Scared? So what. No money? Save up. No experience? You'll get it. To be blunt, there is absolutely no reason to give up on your dreams and/or to never pursue them. This book is an example of one of my dreams. I am not a superb writer, and I don't have any idea how to publish a book. However, I wanted to write a book and share it with the world. I would be happy if just one person buys it, so I simply created a Microsoft Word document and started writing one day. The rest will follow suit.
Live simply. Live simply in all aspects of your life. For example, surround yourself with people who only bring good vibes and liberate yourself from those who cause complications or lessen your well being in any way. If you’re asking yourself, “Ugh! Why am I friends with this person?” then that’s a clear sign that you shouldn’t be.
Another example would be to stop buying things you don’t need. Do you really watch all the premium channels? Do you even have the time to read the newspapers and magazines you subscribe to? Do you use your gym membership? Do you need another cutting edge electronic device? Only purchase the items you really need and absolutely love.
Enjoy the little things. Be open and observant enough to know what little things make you smile. For example, fortune cookies have somehow made it into our hearts. John and I like to eat Chinese food a lot, since the restaurant is across the street and the dumplings are delectable. The fortunes inside the fortune cookies happen to be just awful and usually not even fortunes at all. However, we find pleasure in reading them aloud to each other and if we happen to come across a really good one, we keep it (and then scan it and display it in this book).
Do what you love. You are happy when you are doing what you love, right? Then do it! Make time for it. Whether it’s your dream job or an activity that you carve out of an hour of your week for, make sure you are doing it.
Be yourself. If not, then who are you being? I know that's a silly question but seriously, if you can't be yourself then your surroundings should be reconsidered.
We are our best selves when we are free and comfortable. Your home should be your sanctuary. Your partner should bring out your brightest glow. Your friends should be people you can get away to, not people you want to get away from. Your actions, whether it’s your job (if you’re lucky enough) or your extracurricular activities, should be gratifying for you and also for others.
Being yourself is a state you should always be working towards or working to maintain. If your job completely sucks the life right out of you, then it’s time to take a small step in a new direction and start looking for a new one. Any situation in which you are short of being your true self should be phased out of your life. It’s much easier said than done, but it is definitely possible.
Remember, and try your hardest, to reconsider your surroundings minus the “rationalizations.” You know them. We all know them. They are how you rationalize to yourself that you should stay in your current, unhealthy situation.
For example, if you fight with your partner more than you are joyful with your partner, then it’s time to reconsider the relationship AND without validations like how long you’ve been together. You’re happy or you’re not. Again, it’s a lot easier to say it than to do it, but just imagine the multitude of potential happiness waiting for you on the other side."