Live Fearlessly

Live Fearlessly

Here's to living your best life!

The renowned country artist, Tim McGraw, once wrote a song called “Live Like You Were Dying.” This song is written from the perspective of a narrator who tells his tale of visiting a dying man in the hospital and asking him what he did knowing he would die soon. The man responded, “I went skydiving, Rocky Mountain climbing, and I went 2.7 seconds on a bull named Fumanchu. I loved deeper and I spoke sweeter. I gave the forgiveness that I’ve been denying.”

Upon hearing this song my sophomore year in high school, something in my heart was triggered and the words spoke to me. These were the dreams I had of living fearlessly but hadn’t actually done. It was this same year that I declared to myself that I would live wholeheartedly and be proactive in the pursuit of creating my life. After all, We are given the whole earth, with all of its beauty, opportunities, and magnitude and we get to choose what we do with it. We only have a finite amount of time. It would be a shame if I didn’t take advantage of every moment and every blessing I was given. I know it sounds cliche, but I can now say that between age 15 in my sophomore year of high school, and being 19 as a freshman year of college, I have gone skydiving, I have gone Rocky Mountain climbing, and I road a mechanical bull for 2.8 seconds.

This change in mindset is the spark that was needed to motivate me to live my life, not just exist. I now look outside my window overlooking Charleston and see possibilities of the day ahead of me rather than tasks I need to check off my list. I’m not saying everyone should go jump out of a plane, but the mindset of fearless living is one that I try to embody and share. I want everyone to experience this feeling of “yolo.” I’m writing this letter to my 15-year-old self and hopefully those who have had similar struggles with anxiety and hesitations as I have. Bellow, I have deciphered what I believe are 5 essential components I would have told my past self that I’ve learned of fearless living.

Dear 15-year-old Audrey,

As you have begun high-school, I know you have entered a new world. Being an underclassman can be daunting, and I know high school is giving you a lot of anxiety. I want you to know that you are deserving/ fully capable of a life full of adventure, love, and success. Though there will be times in which you are challenged and nervous, I want to provide you with the insight I now have been a freshman in college. I want you to look up the song “Live Like You Are Dying” by Tim McGraw and see what you can take away from listening to it. Until then, I am providing you with the advice you can use as a catalyst to begin your journey of a fearless life.

1. be vulnerable & take risks

Get outside your comfort zone! Whether that is riding that scary rollercoaster, telling the person you’ve been crushing on how you feel, or applying for a challenging AP that you might challenge you. Though rejection and failure are some of our greatest fears, it is impossible to feel and live to your full capacity without vulnerability. One of your favorite authors once said in a book you will read called Daring Greatly,

Life is a continuous Adventure of uncertainty and vulnerability, you can do it!

2. establish what you want to accomplish / who you want to be

Seek what you are looking for instead of waiting Think of it like a bucket list. Once you have acknowledged what it is you want to do and who it is you want to be, you can start taking steps in your everyday life to successfully reach your goals. I have learned that you can’t have a perspective of “I want to be this kind of person” or “one-day I would like to do this.” To embody your ideas, you have to make them a lifestyle. What you do each morning contributes to molding you and your path.You get a certain amount of time on this earth. The amount of time, actions during this time, placement of this time, as well as the energy released during this time. Give it all you have.

3. Prioritize

Love deeper, speak sweeter. Find time in every day to acknowledge the people in your life who you have been blessed with and tell them how you feel right away. Be kind, give more than you get, smile at everyone you see, and say thank you. Find/prioritize the people in your world who deserves your time and energy. Understand that not everyone can be this kind of person for you and you cant waste precious time trying to fix them. Don’t give more than one is willing to provide you, it won't fulfill you. Prioritize those who lift you up, but never forget to prioritize yourself. It is OKAY to be selfish sometimes. Find time every day to freeze in the fast-paced world around you and breath. Read a book, talk to a friend, watch a movie, go for a run, look up at the beauty you live in.

4. forgive others, but also yourself

Give forgiveness you have been denying. This forgiveness also includes you. You are allowed to be both a masterpiece and a work in progress, simultaneously.It's all connected; your gifts, your circumstance, your purpose, your imperfections, your journey, embrace it, don’t let it hold you back. We get so mad at ourselves for the mistakes we make in our lives, but we forget to recognize that our mistakes have molded us. Nothing would be the same if we hadn't made these mistakes. Everyday shows a new array of lessons, and you will experience more down the road. Being able to forgive yourself will lead you to have the empathy to forgive others. No one is innocent and we all mess up. Learn to be gentle with yourself and others.

5. never, ever limit yourself

I think a lot of times we have this idea in our head that for some reason, we are less. We are mesmerized by other’s experiences and think “I want to do that one day” but we fear that we, ourselves could never do it. The reality is we were all born boundless. We limit our relationships because we don’t think we are enough. We don’t go to church because we think we are sinners, we don’t try out for the team because we don’t think we will make it, or we settle for a job that we don’t love. You are the only one who is limiting yourself. Do not let it happen.

To sum this whole letter up in a sentence, go do it. It is never too late to be vulnerable, forgive, and be fearless in the pursuit of your goals.

P.S., when you are 18, you will go skydiving. Before jumping out of the plane, your tandem instructor will make a statement that I want you to think about. “Don’t forget to look up at the horizon. It goes by so fast and you don’t want to miss it.”

From the wise words of Tim McGraw, “and he said someday I hope you get the chance, to live like you were dying.”

Good luck,

Audrey Reed Hall

Cover Image Credit: Audrey Hall

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Rochester Girls Are Making Positive Changes On Social Media

Students are able to confidently go to school and have a positive outlook because they know there are girls who support them and want the best for them.

It is very typical on Twitter or Instagram to see comments and posts that tear down others. It could be about their looks or how they present themselves on social media or who their friends are etc. While it is common for both genders, it tends to happen arguably more to young girls and women.

As social media has grown, the act of tearing down others has become much easier because there is an element of anonymity that allows people to say things they would never think of saying out loud. In Rochester MN, my old high school, as well as the other two public high schools, have decided to do something about it.

It started with Mayo High School in November. Their page is called “mhsgirllove” and asks for private messages from its followers containing pictures and descriptions about a girl that goes to the school and why they deserve some love. Within the two months they have been active, they have posted nearly 50 pictures! They plan to post once a week throughout the year and all of the posts are anonymous. Since its beginning, this Instagram page has inspired the other high schools to follow suit.

Currently, all three public high schools have pages dedicated to lifting up the amazing, talented, creative, funny, smart girls. There are countless posts that go into detail about how these girls have impacted others in a positive way and created a loving environment and have been really caring friends to others. While I do not currently attend the high school, I can imagine this type of positivity has changed the atmosphere within the school.

Knowing that people care about you and praise you for your personality is a game changer. Students are able to confidently go to school and have a positive outlook because they know there are girls who support them and want the best for them. A few years ago, the atmosphere was not like this. Sometimes it could feel like you were in constant competition with other girls to be the most kind or the prettiest or the most athletic. However, the creation of these pages completely alters girls outlooks and allows them to appreciate other girls and build them up when they are wearing a bomb outfit or when they speak their mind.

Since coming across these Instagram pages, I find that it is a lot easier to compliment another person on something they do well or their personality rather than find fault. It definitely makes me feel better when I give others a compliment. Plus, when I get a compliment from a random girl or a friend I am super close with about my clothes or a different way I did my hair, it is an immediate confidence boost and creates a positive, healthy environment to feel good about myself.

The theme of positivity has become more mainstream since coming into the new year. As these ideas of inclusion and acceptance grow, I hope that you embrace it and are inspired to find the best in others and build up other people! 2018 is YOUR year, so make it a positive one!

P.S. If you want to follow any of these Instagram pages, here are the links!
@mhsgirllove @chsgirllove @jmhsgirllove

Cover Image Credit: Bruno Nascimento

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Once I Started Writing, I Never Looked Back

I will never stop.

Writing was always something I used as an outlet, I was never good with expressing myself through word of mouth, communication, talking out my feelings, or explaining myself, but if someone handed me a pen and a paper I could tell them everything going on inside my head. If someone gave me a keyboard with a blank word document pulled up and simply just gave me a page of questions and an hour, they’d probably have me all figured out.

I’ve never been much of an emotional person. Sure, when I was a little kid my feelings got hurt easy, but as I grew older I found myself being able to control those feelings easier, and having less of those feelings in general. When someone asks me what’s wrong, it’s not that I don’t want to tell them, it’s that I’m not exactly sure why or how to word it. I’ve never been the best at relationships because I’m awful at communication, I’m awful at expressing my feelings. Even with the good feelings, the ones that make me indescribably happy, I can’t find the words to express that the other person, leaving them clueless on how I feel. I always chalked it up to not being a sappy person- which is true- but I also just don’t have a way with words.

I started writing at a young age with simple things like writing in a diary every day, which then progressed as I got older to writing for a public journal for my small VSCO account. This was when I learned my writing actually spoke to an audience other than myself once people reached out to me and told me how good my small journal pieces were and that that they were relatable in a way that was different than other pieces they’ve read.

I then thought to myself that I wanted to do more, expand a little more with my writing, which is when I found Odyssey. Although most articles you stumble on Odyssey aren’t of more personal nature, I tried to use this amazing platform to grow with my writing and with myself and to challenge myself and push myself with each article I write, diving deeper into myself with each word written.

Once I got to college I knew I wanted to continue my writing even further- I applied to work for the on-campus newspaper, the George-Anne, which I now write for as a sports reporter, pushing out one to two articles a week and I love it. I didn’t stop after the George-Anne though.

As I said before, writing has always been a way for me to express what’s going on inside my head while I can’t do that with spoken word. My most recent development of writing has circled back around to where I started. I started a daily blog which is a safe spot for me to figure out all the random thoughts going through my battlefield of a mind.

It seems to be pretty popular - the blog has a decent amount of followers and reaches up to 200 views per day. I enjoy writing so much, it’s a safe haven for me. Give me a pen and a paper and I’m in my own world, and for that, I will always be thankful I found and started to write.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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