Every week, I see yet another 'rest in peace' status on my social media feeds. Sadly, they also happen to be for people that are around my age. Because of this, I have developed a very 'YOLO' approach to life. The crazy part of it all, I was raised to be the exact opposite. Let me set it up for you.
I was raised by a parent that, for reasons unknown, developed a very skewed outlook on life. As a child, I was raised to often be in fear, not just of my surroundings but of stepping outside of 'the box' in general.
Like most kids, I had a very large imagination and expressed my desire to grow up and work in certain career fields like acting or even becoming a lawyer. While the average parent would encourage such hopes and dreams, I was instructed that 1) acting wasn't a real career path and 2) that becoming a lawyer was way too hard.
So, I developed this thing where I would accomplish goals for the sake of proving people wrong. Whether it was going out for varsity cheerleading squad in high school or taking the necessary steps to actually get into law school, I found myself living for the approval of others.
Around the age of 25 (yes it took me that long), I slowly started to see that I was doing this thing called life all wrong and that my life was mine to live the way I wanted to live it. Thank you therapy!
It started with my desire to travel. Before 2012, I had never stepped foot beyond the East Coast, let alone to another country. I saw friends that traveled often and knew it was something that I wanted to try, so I did. I applied for my passport and the rest was history.
I started with a cruise and then a trip to Cancun. There was so much outside of that little comfort zone I was told to stay in, and I had to keep going. I then found myself traveling internationally at least twice a year.
To date, I've traveled to over 30 countries.
Next, was my desire to try more thrill-seeking, adrenaline-pumping experiences. There was always a little Evel Knievel inside of me, I just had to set her free. First, there was jet skiing and parasailing. I loved every single second. Fast forward to present day and I've added skydiving, paragliding, and diving in the Great Barrier Reef to that list.
Now, my career. While I am still very much a licensed attorney in good standing, that's not what I choose to do these days. Luckily, it is a career that I can return to as long as I remain active. Instead, I've decided to follow my love of writing and traveling. I've touched 6 of the 7 continents, interviewed famous people, and have even been able to try new experiences like glamping (glamorous camping).
In the last two years, I have seen and done things that many people would only dream of doing. All because I found the courage to live.
If someone would have asked me if this is where I saw my life going less than 10 years ago, I probably would have laughed. So often we are conditioned to live by "society's rules", that we wind up losing out on our own happiness. For me, that's no longer an option.
While life isn't perfect, I can say that I am 100% living the way I want to and that's what's most important. Don't be afraid to step outside of that box, you never know what's waiting on the other side.
Featured image by Shutterstock.
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This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Russell and Nina Westbrook are one of those low-key, unproblematic couples we don’t talk about enough. They met in college and got married in 2015. They also have a beautiful family with three kids. While Russell is an NBA star, Nina is a licensed family and marriage therapist and a mental health advocate.
She recently launched the podcast The Relationship Chronicles with Nina Westbrook, and in the latest episode, she had none other than her husband on as a guest. The college sweethearts dived into important topics from marriage to children and how they navigate it all.
One of the topics they touched on was dealing with resentment in your relationship. The former MVP highlighted the sacrifices his wife has had to make in order for him to pursue a career in the NBA, and that’s why it’s also important for him to support his wife whenever he can.
“For me is respecting and understanding what your partner do and the time it takes,” Russell said. “Not kind of downplaying what they do, understanding the time and energy and effort they're doing to make sure whether it’s their job or making sure home is taken care of, and understanding that, I think that is the challenge of not being resentful.”
Nina agreed and also shared her thoughts on resentment. According to her, one of the best things couples should do is have their own identity and passions outside of the relationship in an effort to be fulfilled.
“I also think that when you’re in a relationship, that’s why it’s so important that each individual kinda pursue their own passions and follow their own dreams as I feel like it only becomes or leads to resentment when one person is not feeling fulfilled in what they're doing in their lives,” she explained.
“And so, they will start to look at the other partner who’s happy or excelling or promoting or moving along in their journey, then they’re left feeling stuck like they sacrificed themselves, their happiness, their career, their future and have not pursued it in the name of the relationship or their partner. So, it’s so much easier to avoid those feelings of resentment when you’re each equally pursuing your passions.”
The couple has many passions that they work on together and separately. Outside of basketball and his family, Russell has become known for his eclectic style and started the fashion brand Honor The Gift. Nina has her podcast, and she also started the mental health website Bene. Together, they run the Why Not? Foundation, which works with kids in underserved communities.
“I’m a firm believer that one person can’t be everything to you, so you have to sort of seek out those different friendships or groups or hobbies or activities that help to fulfill you,” Nina concluded.
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Feature image by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images for Religion of Sports