Thinking Out Loud

My dad is a complete goof-ball.

I've seen him cross the line in so many social settings,
I can't even begin to tell you.

Some of his standard acts include, but aren't limited to:
telling hostesses at restaurants his name is "Shania Twain" or "Kobe Bryant,"
confiding in new acquaintances that he struggles with being half bulimic ("Just the binging..."),
& dressing in costume to speak to his daughter on skype.

No family get-together is complete 
until his children have started in 
on remembering his past shenanigans.

But don't let his giddiness & giggly self fool you...
the man is smart.

thank goodness for photos like this. the young aspiring kennedy is in the pink  father in thigh-highs.

Like, he graduated from Harvard at 23 with an MBA
without ever taking a math class above high school geometry.

{Editor's note: I'm 92.6% sure I was adopted.}

So while he sometimes (read: often) can be someone to laugh with,
he also offers some incredible perspective.

In college, he introduced to me the idea that our disappointments are caused by expectations.

So, basically, me feeling bad about a situation 
wasn't because I had been slighted by something
or because I hadn't been given something...
it was because I had thought I deserved it,
and not getting it had left me feeling mistreated.

That small thought dramatically changed the way I see life.

Instead of expecting things to be a certain way,
I learned to stop expecting things
that I had previously seen as "normal."

It helped me enjoy my life as a gift... 
rather than something owed to me.

I stopped pointing the finger at something else for causing my unhappiness,
and changed the perspective that had originally caused me to feel entitled to it.

Whatever "it" may be.... being invited into a certain group of friends, 
getting a certain position within a group, 
or having my life look a certain way because that's what the other people
 of whatever community I am a part of look like.

{Editor's Note: Keep going with me, people. I'll wrap this up soon.}

My dad taught me to change who I am
instead of sitting back & criticizing the conditions or people around me
in hopes that they would change the outcome for me.

It helped me start enjoying the life that is before me
instead of waiting around for some outside force to make me happy.

{Editor's note: It's totally empowering to take away that control from other people.}

If I start thinking about how "off" our life is from the status quo,
it can give me anxiety like nobody's business.

We move every few months into temporary housing.
Tyler doesn't have a "real job" because he has a start-up.
Everyone (and I mean, everyone) else has kids.

When I start looking at other's people lives,
I can start to want my life to look normal... 
just because I think it "should be" like that.

But then I remember that if changed any of those aspects
-in hopes of fitting into someone's (or my) expectations of what my life should look like-
I'd be trading in a facet of my life that I cherish dearly.

(seeing the world, hanging out with Tyler every day, getting to pour my heart into my work)

Why the heck would I give up any just because it sets me apart?

The reason I'm writing all of this
is because I'm afraid that, if we aren't careful, 
blogging & social media can often leave people feeling disappointed.

So, dear friends, can I just suggest something:

If you feel bad after logging on to Facebook, 
reading blogs,
 or scrolling down Pinterest...
stop doing it.

For lent, I gave up seeing certain people that annoyed me
because I wanted to give up something that would actually make my heart better
instead of my typical "no desserts" routine.

Yup. I stopped reading their blog & hid them on facebook,
and, actually, forgot about them for 40 days...
and it felt really good.

So let me suggest that you do the same...
even if that means you stop reading my blog.

Clear your head & enjoy the life before you...
because if you stop comparing yourself to other people
and feeling that your life would be better if it looked more like someone else's,
you'll probably realize the life you're actually living is quite nice!

*Did anyone survive the length of this post?
*images here & here


  1. That is seriously some of the best advice I have ever heard. My dad is a goof also, but he isn't nearly as wise.

  2. Thank you for such wonderful advice

  3. This was a wonderful post! Such an awesome reminder for all of us, definitely. I often have to re-evaluate why I do certain things. (Like, blogging!) Just to make sure I'm doing it for the right reasons and enjoying it for myself.

    Goofy Dads are the best! :) (Mine likes to tell Hellen Keller jokes and scare guests at certain parts of the Princess Bride movie.)
    Eat Cake

  4. Smart man, that dad of yours. Blogging and social networking can totally feed into that. I was describing Pinterest to my friend who wasn't sure what it was. At the end she was like, "People really care how many repins they get? Why?" "Because it makes them feel important" was all I could say in return. How the heck did sharing photos become a way to feel validation?!

    PS... was it my blog you stopped reading? haha... I kid! Ah crap, that's really embarrassing if it were. PS... I would never stop reading your blog. Even if you stopped blogging, I would read through the archives to get my AK fix.

  5. Love, loved this so much. Thank you for sharing. Surprisingly, this is exactly what I needed to be reminded of this morning. Thanks for keeping it real. :-)

  6. I can't even explain to you how much this resonated with me. Isn't it sad how blogging (something we love so much) can encourage unnecessary comparison and disappointment with ourselves? Thanks so much for putting this out there. Your post is most definitely not one I would be giving up!

  7. Lauren I really appreciate this, and definitely need to carry your advice with me. It's so easy to compare but it causes so much un-needed friction. I will definitely take this to heart, and no worries, I absolutely love your blog!

  8. Great lessons! I definitely find myself comparing to other people & other bloggers. Its hard not to but not healthy at all. I'm going to try your approach!

  9. Lauren, thanks for this post. I've always been impressed with how you seem to be genuinely happy with who you are, and you don't talk about other people or let others get you down to the extent that most people do. You have always seemed to have a strong inner joy and confidence. This post explains some of that! Now, knowing the truth and acting on it are two different things. I hope I can start moving in the direction of not letting expectations or comparisons make me think my life is anything but great! Keep smiling and loving your life!

  10. amen, aspiring kennedy! i'll never give up reading your blog because of posts like this one! you lead an inspiring life and you tell it like it is.

    i love your idea of "giving up" negative influences for lent. i've been trying to rid my life of toxic people lately and it seems so radical (at least for this midwestern "nice" girl) but it really works.

    i recently locked myself out of facebook (random password change & signing out) and i've been SO much more calm since doing so.

  11. It seems like smart dads give the same advice. Sure am glad they adopted us :)

    I found myself getting so ANGRY at people on twitter or facebook, and swearing that I needed to delete them, until I actually started deleting them..or at least hiding them. Smart thoughts.

    Your blog however, has always been a bright spot. Thank You.

  12. Fantastic advice! Your lent= my (massive at the time) high school falling out with a group of "friends." I realized then that people who require more energy to be around than I get from being around them- i.e., people who I always had to walk on eggshells around for fear of upsetting them, or people who exhaust me from their complaining and not doing something to fix their problems, etc.- aren't worth my time. It's made me a bit more cold and less willing to play the social games, but at the end of the day, I don't feel bad about spending time by myself rather than going out with people I'd only begrudge spending time with. On the positive end, I only invest in people I truly want to be around- those who inspire me, challenge me, make me laugh, etc. It works for me.
    I'm glad you've found something that works for you- but I'm going to keep following your blog, because for all the things I'm envious of in your jet-setting life, I also see them as inspirations- you're so open with your tricks and tips that I'm happy to take advantage of them and enjoy them, too!
    Great post- and your dad really is a smart guy!

  13. It sounds pretty nerdy but I read once that Happiness = Reality / Expectations. So in order to increase your happiness you need to either increase your reality or decrease your expectations. It's the numbers geek in me, I can't help it. But I think it definitely was a life changing moment when that clicked.

    What a fantastic thing to give up for lent! I'm sure it had a profound effect on your life.

    Never gonna stop reading what you put out there :) It's too much fun!

    1. Man, you Laurens are just both full of great thoughts today! Great original post and cool happiness equation.

  14. Very, very wise advice and well said. Smiled when I read the Oscar Wilde quote. Along with aspiring, you're inspiring!

  15. Thank you for being honest and saying what has been on my mind lately. It's so ridiculously easy to get wrapped up in other people's worlds where you begin to question your own daily life. It's silly! I love my life - it's perfect because it's MINE and different than anyone else's life I know. I'm not like that person/blogger/pinner/fb'er I see on the screen that I sometime envy.
    I think it's important to draw a line and distance yourselves from those things if they begin to make you question who you are and your life - I know I've had to take a step back from a few blogs because I just got so wrapped up into them I began feeling ridiculous.
    I absolutely LOVE your blog. And although I am envious of your travels, I don't find you to be a person that gloats about them - I can tell you don't take these things for granted and you are grateful to have the opportunity to do what you're doing which is why I read your posts. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this - it proves to me that you are a genuine gal!

  16. Love this, Lauren! You are the best. I often read your blog and wish we lived close to each other so we could hang out in real life:) Thanks for a great post!! xoxo

  17. This is fantastic Lauren! (and not just that your dad vacillates between Shania & Kobe) This is exactly the kind of thing I want to teach my kids someday. And I love what you gave up for Lent. I gave up "worry" and by the end of the 40 days I had a HUGELY new perspective - it was all about changing MY point of view, not hoping circumstance would change to suit my liking.

    Yes... This is a fantastic post. Thank you for sharing!

  18. That has to be some of the best advice I've ever heard. If only I had heard it when I was about 16, my high school and early college careers would have been much more pleasant!

    My dad is a tremendous goof too. As in he danced to Gloria Estafan's "Congo" at our wedding. I think it's in the job description.

    Great post!

  19. What brilliant advice.

    Thank you.

  20. I really enjoyed this post, Lauren! You are so spot on. I've been thinking a lot lately about what and who makes me feel happy/uninhibited, people that love me unconditionally as well as those who make me feel the opposite way. With Facebook and blogging I've had to weed out those that truly don't enrich my life. I love turning off the news feed feature on Facebook for those that complain, etc. I've removed many altogether since they were old high school friends that never I never see in person.

    With so many of your posts I see similarities within my own life-I like that about your blog, you feel relatable. :) My dad ALSO used to tell me the same thing because I was notorious for creating a picture in my head and expectations, especially for birthday parties. ;) It seems I have to constantly remind myself of this, slow learning on this one I guess. Here is a post of my thinking out loud on what I learned about myself on a recent trip, which includes my dad's advice:

    This was my favorite part of your post: "My dad taught me to change who I am
    instead of sitting back & criticizing the conditions or people around me
    in hopes that they would change the outcome for me." You're so right, it's all about personal accountability.

    BTW-A little update, Paul is getting close to graduating from NYU, he's just working on his thesis and then he'll be finished. Thankfully he can do that part from Florida, so he's home with me. :)


  21. What a great post... it is easy to get caught up in the facade that people hide behind in the internets... and I am actually making a daily effort to enjoy MY life as it IS, and not envy what other people have... I love reading blogs by individuals who have the same authentic approach to life... and I am so happy I found yours today... you should check out my post from today, and see how we are on the SAME wavelength :)

  22. After returning from India, I've taken this advice more than ever. I've unsubscribed from a ton of blogs and twitters, and it just makes you feel so much better! This is such a great post! XO

  23. Oooh, I love it. It's like a detox for your thoughts! Very well said. Lots to think about in this post. And can I tell you that the 'Comparison is the thief of joy' quote is something Collin & I say all the time, but we never knew it was a Teddy Roosevelt quote! You've enlightened us in more ways than one today. Well done, friend. Thanks for saying all of this.

  24. Lauren, you are wise beyond your years. It has taken me some 50 years to become enlightened! A few hours before reading your blog, I HAD to weed out people from FB. There were 13 to be exact. Coincidentally, they were all from my current job. HAHAHAHA Man, will there be some tongues wagging this weekend! But I did it for my own sanity. Self preservation, if you will. I feel like a thousand pounds have been lifted from my shoulders.

  25. This is a post I was in serious need of, because lately I've been feeling a little bit defeated with the blog world, social media, and just keeping up with it all. I feel like this is such a silly feeling because I am just doing this for me, but I am starting to feel like I'm not. I should have totally given up my annoyances for lent! You're a genius, and always, always inspiring. Thanks, Lauren!

  26. This is such an amazing post, and I'm so grateful Alex posted about it today and led me to your beautiful blog! What an amazing idea for Lent, and I'm thinking I need to do something like this. Everything you said resonated with me so well. You dad is one smart guy and thank you for passing along his and now your wisdom! xo

  27. Such a great post and reminder! Thankful to Alex (Things That Sparkle) for leading me to your blog today. I've been trying so hard lately to figure out what it is that makes me happy, and I think it's about time that I followed some of your advice.

  28. fantastic post. your dad is one smart cookie for teaching his daughter how to create her own happiness. don't you just love great dad!?

  29. Thank you so much for sharing. That post really spoke to my heart! I found a quote once that said... "When your're no longer able to change a situation, then you are challenged to change yourself."

  30. This was the best blog post I've read in a while. I don't think more true words could have been written. I've started to compare myself and my blog to those around me, and it's not healthy. we must stop comparing ourselves -- it's no bueno. Bookmarking this and saving it. Amazing.

  31. Badass post. Love It All. And your dad. Skyping in costume - awesomeness. And I think I need to just cut out some people that annoy me too!

  32. What an honest perspective to have on life. I find it very admirable and encouraging. You are so right about the disappointments you get in life when your expectations are too high, unreasonable or not practical. Thank you for reminding us to stay grounded and be who "we are"!!

  33. your dad sounds so inspiring! i'm loving that family picture ;)
    and i just adore that quote from teddy roosevelt!
    xo TJ

  34. This is a wonderful post. I need reminding of this often. Thank you for being true to yourself and sharing it with others.

  35. What a lovely post and I can so relate. Your dad is a very smart man and you are wise beyond your years. Thanks for this post I needed it today:)

  36. Your dad sounds a lot like mine. What wonderful advice he gave you!

  37. Such a wonderful post and some very good advice that I'm definitely taking to heart!

  38. Girl I feel the same way! Great advice, totally needed it. I too seem to compare myself to others and the. Have to quickly remind myself that being a wife to a graduate student means things may not look like everyone else's normal.

  39. Such great truths to always keep in mind. Thank you for the reminder!
    Also, such a fierce pink swimsuit! Haha

  40. Love this post! Perfect thing to read this afternoon. Thanks!

  41. Hi Lauren,

    Thank you for that great reminder !!!!!

    Disappointment comes from expectations
    And the comment from the other Lauren: Happiness = Relity / Expectations

    I am glad, I am still your reader ;-)))

    suzie from PalazzoPizzo

  42. This is a beautifully written and thoughtful post! Thank you for sharing it with us! This was the perfect reminder to embrace and love the life you live!!


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