Stop Living In "If/Then" Mode

Stop Living In "If/Then" Mode

The present moment is the greatest present of all.
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As humans, it seem as though we are more preoccupied with the past and future than the present moment. Whether we're wishing we had that old relationship, wondering if we will ever get that new relationship, or doing everything in our power to create a life that we used to have, we absolutely neglect the life that is staring us right in the face waiting to be lived. We're constantly asking "what if" and stressing over "if this would have happened then this could have been the outcome." Well, you know what? It didn't happen so the outcome wasn't even a possibility. Everything happens for a reason much bigger than us, for reasons we may never know, but we must have faith that the road we have chosen to take has led us to the right places, at the right times, to the right people, to transform us into the humans we are meant to be.

A wise birdie once told me, "I don't think about the past." Seems like such a simple statement, right? So why is it so damn difficult? It's like no matter what we do we can't escape our thoughts about what once was, or what could have, should have, or would have been. Of course, the past is full of beautiful memories that should be held onto ever so tightly, but living your life in the past is no way to truly delve head first into an incredible life.

When we stop living in "If/Then" mode, it's amazing how quickly our lives can begin to transform. We're happier. We smile more. We laugh more. We look forward to more. We're more optimistic. We are able to enjoy the present moment, fully and completely. If you met a new person that you really connect with and enjoy spending time with, don't ruin those feelings by getting stuck on the last person you really connected with, or the person next year you might really connect with. You have to take a step back and think, "Now, what would thinking about these things really do for me?" The answer is almost always going to be, "Oh, yeah ... Nothing!"

When we live in the present moment, we are able to thoroughly enjoy this life that we have been so graciously given. Not everyone gets the opportunity to live in a wonderful place full of wonderful people with a pretty decent life. When we stop stressing over the things, people, and experiences that we don't have or could have had, we start to see life in a whole new light and appreciate things more than we ever thought possible.

We're going to have a past and a future; every single day we live pushes one day further into the past and propels us one day further into the future. Our past and future are part of who we are, they have helped mold us in every way, however they do not have to control our present moment.

Cover Image Credit: https://www.google.com/search?q=girl+mountain&rlz=1C1CHBF_enUS696US696&espv=2&biw=1680&bih=949&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjS0rmZ2P_NAhWBFD4KHXTJDpgQ_AUIBygC#imgrc=lOODHBDJCSQPEM%3A

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​An Open Letter To The People Who Don’t Tip Their Servers

This one's for you.
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Dear Person Who Has No Idea How Much The 0 In The “Tip:" Line Matters,

I want to by asking you a simple question: Why?

Is it because you can't afford it? Is it because you are blind to the fact that the tip you leave is how the waiter/waitress serving you is making their living? Is it because you're just lazy and you “don't feel like it"?

Is it because you think that, while taking care of not only your table but at least three to five others, they took too long bringing you that side of ranch dressing? Or is it just because you're unaware that as a server these people make $2.85 an hour plus TIPS?

The average waiter/waitress is only supposed to be paid $2.13 an hour plus tips according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

That then leaves the waiter/waitress with a paycheck with the numbers **$0.00** and the words “Not a real paycheck." stamped on it. Therefore these men and women completely rely on the tips they make during the week to pay their bills.

So, with that being said, I have a few words for those of you who are ignorant enough to leave without leaving a few dollars in the “tip:" line.

Imagine if you go to work, the night starts off slow, then almost like a bomb went off the entire workplace is chaotic and you can't seem to find a minute to stop and breathe, let alone think about what to do next.

Imagine that you are helping a total of six different groups of people at one time, with each group containing two to 10 people.

Imagine that you are working your ass off to make sure that these customers have the best experience possible. Then you cash them out, you hand them a pen and a receipt, say “Thank you so much! It was a pleasure serving you, have a great day!"

Imagine you walk away to attempt to start one of the 17 other things you need to complete, watch as the group you just thanked leaves, and maybe even wave goodbye.

Imagine you are cleaning up the mess that they have so kindly left behind, you look down at the receipt and realize there's a sad face on the tip line of a $24.83 bill.

Imagine how devastated you feel knowing that you helped these people as much as you could just to have them throw water on the fire you need to complete the night.

Now, realize that whenever you decide not to tip your waitress, this is nine out of 10 times what they go through. I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to realize that this is someone's profession — whether they are a college student, a single mother working their second job of the day, a new dad who needs to pay off the loan he needed to take out to get a safer car for his child, your friend, your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, you.

If you cannot afford to tip, do not come out to eat. If you cannot afford the three alcoholic drinks you gulped down, plus your food and a tip do not come out to eat.

If you cannot afford the $10 wings that become half-off on Tuesdays plus that water you asked for, do not come out to eat.

If you cannot see that the person in front of you is working their best to accommodate you, while trying to do the same for the other five tables around you, do not come out to eat. If you cannot realize that the man or woman in front of you is a real person, with their own personal lives and problems and that maybe these problems have led them to be the reason they are standing in front of you, then do not come out to eat.

As a server myself, it kills me to see the people around me being deprived of the money that they were supposed to earn. It kills me to see the three dollars you left on a $40 bill. It kills me that you cannot stand to put yourself in our shoes — as if you're better than us. I wonder if you realize that you single-handedly ruined part of our nights.

I wonder if maybe one day you will be in our shoes, and I hope to God no one treats you how you have treated us. But if they do, then maybe you'll realize how we felt when you left no tip after we gave you our time.

Cover Image Credit: Hailea Shallock

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My Eating Disorder Was A Secret, Even From Me

No one ever talks about it, and if they had my life might be different.

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I remember ninth grade health class very well, specifically one day in particular. The day we talked about eating disorders, I was ready to hear about anorexia and bulimia. I was not ready to walk out of that classroom with confirmation that I had an eating disorder, but that is exactly what I did that day.

After speaking on anorexia and bulimia, my teacher told us about Binge Eating Disorder.

My 14-year-old ears perked up. I had never heard of this disease, but I was immediately interested. I knew anorexia and bulimia well, they were the diseases that, at the time, I wish I had the determination to try, but I was too scared to hurt my body.

Binge Eating Disorder was new to me. My teacher described it as continuing to eat after you were full and eating for hours at a time. As the signs and symptoms continued to be read, I realized... that the last three years of my life had been plagued by binges. There was a lot I couldn't control in my life, but eating was one thing that I always had control over. It was the one thing that always brought me comfort.

Most binges would start after I came home from a hard day at school, or maybe after I got in a fight with a family member. Maybe I felt insecure about the growing number on the scale, but I ate.

It always started with half a bag of chips, then maybe a cookie or other sweet treat, and then I would finish with something else I could find in the pantry. My mother would come home and begin making dinner.

Ashamed, I would hide the food anywhere so my family could not tell I had been eating and then I would go eat dinner.

This was a common occurrence for me, but I had no idea that my habits were wrong or should point to an eating disorder. The only thing that I knew was wrong with me, was that I was gaining weight.

For the longest time, I thought an eating disorder was something that helped you lose weight unhealthily, not gain weight. It wasn't until I sat in a health class that I realized that there was anything wrong with me.

Education is so important in overcoming eating disorders. We are making such great strides about informing people about the dangers of eating disorders and positive body image.

It is so important that we start making Binge Eating Disorder a topic that is as known as anorexia and bulimia. No one ever discusses Binge Eating Disorder, not even the dangers of it, maybe if they had my life might have been different.

Maybe I would have found out about it earlier and could have gotten help before it got out of hand.

I wish I could say that I left that health class that day and never had a binge again. The truth is I binged several times after that, and still to this day I have an episode, although they are very rare.

It would be unrealistic to tell you that I overcame my eating disorder that day because it is a journey I am still completing. Every day presents a new challenge, and sometimes I fail, but I will succeed, and succeeding is worth a few failures.

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