How to live a good Life - I

Unless you are a doctor on call, the parent of a new-born baby, the president of your country, or a secret agent about to prevent a nuclear explosion, don’t answer your mobile when you are a guest in someone else’ s home. The Earth will go on spinning, even though you’ve missed a call.

Be grateful. Be kind. Be moral. Be fearless. Be patient. Eat without guilt. Love without fear.

Choose your battles. Choose a job you love to do. Choose a partner who deserves your respect. Call rather than text.

Read more. Cook more. Eat more. It's good for your soul.

Know that no matter what you do, you will age. And it won’ t be pretty. It happens to everyone, deal with it.

Know that not every relationship has a happy ending- don’t let that stop you from having it.

Know that if you find yourself counting the hours ‘till the time you get home from work, the days ’till the weekend, the months ‘till vacation, the years ’till retirement,

then it’s time to make a change.

Know that the price you pay for having security is higher than what you gain from it.

Always. ALWAYS. Every fucking time.

Stop obsessing about your looks.

Stop wanting things to be just “so”.

Stop trying to avoid making mistakes. Stop looking for mistakes in others.

Know that you are important. Know that you are not the centre of the universe.

Know that you are worthy of love. Know that not everybody can love you. Or even like you.

Know that you can never go back.

Know that it’s OK to screw up. Know that everybody screws up. Know that it’s OK to lose your temper. Know that it’s OK to cry. Know that it’s OK to age. Know that it’s OK to put on weight. (Those who truly love you will still do. Plus it’s one hell of a way to know if they ever really did love YOU or your various body parts, and even then, only at their prime...)

Know that you can’ t control everything that happens to you.

Know that no matter how much you try to avoid it, bad things will happen. Randomly.

Know that there are millions of people in the world who have worse problems than yours. (And on top of that, no running water)

Know that if you fall in love with someone who doesn’t return your calls, or want to meet you, that’ s because s/he is not interested - nobody can be persuaded, or forced to love you. And no, the passing of time will not make them love you either.

But know that time does indeed heal all wounds.

Every once in a while, change your routine – you will discover that things will start to happen.

Be extra kind to: people who have helped you, or are doing you a favour; people who have invited you to their home; people who know more than you do; people who love you - even if you don’t love them back; people who are older than you; people who are in need, are sick / poor / homeless; people who clean your bathroom; people who are your mum.

Know that all families are dysfunctional.

Know that nobody is happy all the time.

Know that marriage is not for everyone.

Know that your version of perfection is not the only one.

Don't make your life smaller, by seeing it as a side-show of someone else's journey.

Live the moment. Be considerate. Be charitable. Be political. Be a feminist. Support good causes. Fight for your rights. Fight for others. Be a realist.


Know that having money, doesn’t entitle you to treat people like they are beneath you. Know that not having money, doesn’t make you less important than the rest.

Don’t let the fear of the future destroy your present.

Be aware of your motives. Be conscious of your thoughts.

Think before you speak. Listen to what you are saying. Listen to what the other person is saying. Try!

Don’t be defined by how much money you have. Don’t be defined by what others think of you. Don’t express who you are, mostly by your clothes / shoes.

Don’t judge others, mostly by their clothes / shoes.

If you are feeling rotten, don’t count it out that you are not actually depressed, but just dissatisfied with your life at the moment.

Or possibly hungry.

Beauty, talents, riches are not given to all in equal measures. But remember, ageing is a pretty fair arrangement and given to all. Not to mention that it is preferable to the one alternative offered: death.

Remember also that ageing is the result of living: the more intensely you live, the more you feel, the more you are open to change and willing to take risks and face the poissibilities of a loss, then the more you age. Which is pretty fair. So stop feeling jealous of your high-school friends who may seem to have cheated Father Time. They probably have also cheated Life. They may look younger than you, cause they have a careful, closed heart that has been untouched by turmoil OR miracles. Which again, sounds pretty fair: You live = you age. You are afraid to live = you look good for a little longer. Choose wisely.

Know that no matter how hard you try to hold on to things, they will sooner or later change. And if they change often, then you will be one of those people whose life is more difficult but their heart more open. (Again, a pretty fair arrangement)

Open your home to friends. Share your secrets. Show your love. Allow others to love you. Love your body. Sharpen your mind. Feed your soul. Dream big. Work hard. Take risks. Know yourself. Spend money. Be messy. Sing aloud. Give hugs. Remember birthdays. Celebrate your own. Offer presents. Support your friends.

Don’t be a racist. Don’t be a fattist. Don’t be an ageist. Don’t be mean. Don't be needy. Don’t be pretentious. Don’t be a taker. Don’t be stingy - with money and emotions.

Don’t get married unless you fall in love AND are prone to compromising.

Bake cakes. Eat vegetables. Eat ice creams. Take walks. Plant flowers. Allow change.

Help those who need you.

Know that the more you will understand about Life, then the more you will realise:

Love is just not enough...

Something that keeps you being prompted into anticipation is actually the key of happiness.

Don't build your life around a person. Choose a life goal, rather than a person to be the one single thing upon which you attach your life. It will provide meaning, and make the obstacles bearable, the boring stuff and the bad days easier, and the heartache worthy. But be warned, like all things that prompt us into anticipation, once you reach them, they will never be as great as you have imagined because reality and practicality and the thirst for more, always kick in. Don't let that stop you. Keep reaching. Keep moving.

When things look really bad, they could have been far worse - and for countless people, they are! Count your blessings!

Don’t believe every compliment. Stop using compliments to gain affection. Stop needing compliments in order to feel like you are worthy.

Know that being loved by someone does not necessarily mean you deserve it. It is not a complement, it is someone's life and can sometimes be evidence of how loving they are: become worthy of the love you receive!

On the other hand, know that loving someone, can sometimes be evidence of how loving you are: which is to say, no matter how much you wish or need it, those you love, cannot always return your love.

Don’t confuse love, with lust. Don’t confuse love, with the need to be accepted. Don’t confuse love, with the need to not be alone. Don’t confuse love, with the need for a little bit of romance. Don’t confuse love, with the need to get married / have kids. And if you are a woman, don’t confuse love, with the need to see yourself as the center of attention at a great party with elaborate flower arrangements, and in one killer of a wedding gown.

Know that if you spend a lot of time trying to explain yourself to your partner, that’s because s/he doesn’t get you. And probably because s/he can’t.

Don’t get all your info from the Internet. Open a book every once in a while.

Don’t go empty-handed when you are invited to a dinner party.

Don’t waste your life trying to change what cannot be changed.

Don’t text or check your Facebook page /Twitter feed

while being with friends, or people who are giving you their time.

Unless you are a doctor on call, the parent of a new-born baby, the president of your country, or a secret agent about to prevent a nuclear explosion, don’t answer your mobile when you are a guest in someone else’ s home. The Earth will go on spinning, even though you’ve missed a call. (Remember, there were parents and families and relationships

and friendships that worked fine, even before there were smart phones)

Know that no one really cares about or has the time to watch your Facebook videos. People just “Like” them in hope that you will “Like” theirs in return.

Which makes the whole arrangement a little sick.

Enjoy the moment, rather than take photos of it with your phone. Live your life rather than document it on Twitter. Enough with the duck-lips-and-sleepy-eyes-selfies already. Stop istagraming your salads. We’ve all seen salads before.

Nobody cares to see yours.

Stop being desperate for attention.

Stop posting birthday wishes and public messages to your loved ones on your Facebook wall (instead of privately, to their face, like a normal person). Which is to say stop using your loved ones as a way of proving to your friends that you have a life.

Cause it’s pathetic. And a proof that you don’t, really.

Stop seeking external validation in order to feel like you are somebody: posing on photos / videos especially created in order to be posted on Facebook, Instagram, Youtube and the like, or being the protagonist of some photo collage / video created by some App on Facebook,

does not actually make you a star.

Know that spirituality is not about how often you go to church, how much time you spent meditating, fasting, repeating your mantras, writing your positive affirmations, standing on your head, or greeting people with “Namaste” or even having lived in an ashram in India. It’s not about how well you follow the instructions of your priest, spiritual guide, yoga teacher, life coach or guru, or whether you can quote the scriptures, the Bhagavad Gita or your favorite self-help author. It’s above all, about who you are in your everyday life: how do you treat your family, friends, employees, people in need? How do you react when things become difficult? Or when they go your way? It’s about being fair and kind and humble and understanding. It’s about empathy: feeling a connection with others that prompts you into change, and even self-sacrifice. It’s about understanding the pain of your fellow human being, and feeling the need to do something to sooth it, even when it costs you to do that. And even when nobody knows all about it. And additionally, to do it with no hope of reward.

Never assume people are your inferiors just because they have different priorities.

Never assume that your time is more precious than the other person’s.

Even though it is a comforting thought to believe in a universe whose sole purpose of existence is, as the famous saying says, to "conspire" on your behalf and grant you all wishes, no matter how selfish, inappropriate or thoughtless, or how they affect other people, do bare in mind that may be you are not always worthy to have everything you want, or it is not always wise to do, and may be, just may be, it is not the "universe's" first priority. Just wanting it badly and wishing it intensely is just may be not enough. Think about this for a moment: is there more intense a wish than the mother of the little child who is dying of starvation and wishes to find a morsel of food to help it survive for a little longer? Is there a greater wish than that of the people who are suffering and dying in hospital beds or of the children or women who are being molested and wish urgently to escape their nightmare? Don't you think they want it enough for it to happen? And do you think, you making a wish to be rich or famous or find love, is done more intensively than them and is therefore more worthy of fulfilment? The intensity of the wish being the greatest thing about the whole arrangement? Contemplate about your place in creation. Think before you wish. And use your judgement when faced with self-help-like "truths".

Know that being sad about something bad that happened to you, doesn’t make you a depressive. It makes you a human being. Talk to your friends, rather than your therapist. Take walks on the beach, rather than take a pill. Go to a cafe or a park, rather than to a “healer” or medium. Think about things on your own, like a grown up, rather than follow the generic step-by-step instructions of a life coach or analyst who profits from your pain.

Know that having money doesn’t entitle you to treating people like they are beneath you. Know that not having money doesn’t make you less important than the rest.

Stop thinking that having money is the key to your happiness:

have you ever seen a genuinely happy rich person?

Stop boring your friends with thousands of mundane details of your everyday life, unless you are willing to listen to theirs too. And even then: stop boring your friends with thousands of mundane details of your everyday life...

Stop comparing yourself with other people.

Stop comparing your body with other people’ s bodies. This one is yours. And you better start liking it, because you are stuck with it.

Forgive yourself. Forgive others. Ask for forgiveness.

Leave your childhood behind. Look ahead. Move on.

Be loyal to your friends, family and principles, but update your goals.

Read novels, rather than self-help books – they can teach you more about real life.

Have a moral code, rather than a religion.

Live your life with integrity.

Call your mum more often.

Have a break. Have a nap. Have a good cry.

Have some pie (It’s OK)

Stop being afraid.

Stop obsessing about shit.

Enough with the diets already.

Grow up.

Get a dog.


Live your life!


How to Live a Good Life, I – Art & Words Copyright © Fanitsa Petrou. All Rights Reserved. Any unauthorized use – copying, publishing, printing, reselling, etc – will lead to legal implications.


Wooden signs, drink coasters, serving trays with excerpts of the above text, available from the category: Affortable Art

Featured Posts
Recent Posts