The Easiest, Most Achievable New Year’s Resolution Ever!


My New Year’s Resolution List usually starts with the desire to lose between ten and three thousand pounds. (Nia Vardalos)

So it’s January, early January to be exact. The time of year for new running shoes, gym memberships, self-help books, and extremes. Society, in general, goes a little bit crazy.

Maybe it’s the post-Christmas blues.

Maybe it’s the aftermath of too much turkey, chocolate, wrapping paper, and Christmas cheer.

Maybe it’s the hope the the year ahead of us will give us the opportunities we need to better ourselves and reach the potential that seems so far away in mid-October.

I think it’s the last one, there. The fact is that, with the arrival of a new calendar year, we beckon the arrival of a new us. A better us. An us who fit into clothing from stores with their size ranges in the titles. An us who is more organized. An us who can finally stand up to the person who keeps stealing our lunches from the office fridge. An us who is confident mentally, emotionally, sexually, grammatically, politically, musically, and so on.

And why shouldn’t we want to better ourselves when we have a clean slate and a future ripe for the choosing?

So with that in mind, I’d like to offer up what I think should be the top of everyone’s resolution list: support other people’s resolutions.

I’ve noticed in the last few years that lots of people make fun of those who have resolutions for the year ahead. Regular gym goers, frustrated by the influx of new members, grumble and look forward to mid-February when the gym will once again be theirs. High-achieving students see slackers bringing pencils and paper to class, for once, and laugh at the fruitlessness of such behavior. Regular customers of music stores frown at the disappearance of guitars and ukuleles from the shelves where they are usually displayed and wonder how many more weekend warriors will arise this year.

2015/01/img_2725.jpg via

I’m generalizing and dramatizing, but that’s basically how it works. It’s not so much that we’re protecting the status quo, it’s that experience often shows us that we can’t do it. News reports highlight statistics regarding how many people give up their resolutions before the end of the month. More and more diet programs advertise year round because they know there is a stigma on joining in early January.

With all of this going on, having a new year’s resolution feels embarrassing and pointless. But I think that we should encourage goal-oriented people. If somebody wants to get more involved in charitable organizations, that person shouldn’t have to feel bad or like it’s an uphill battle. The person who wants to lose ten pounds and feel healthier should be able to walk into a gym on January first or second or even tenth and feel excited and proud to begin working towards that goal.

If we support one another instead of shaking our heads at those who are actually trying, we can all reach our goals or at least feel better about what we have accomplished. If we all practice this resolution, then we will all be supported to reach our own goals. It’s win-win!

So smile at the new gym member, wave at the fresh volunteers, high-five the budding musicians, and feel encouraged to make and work toward your own goals.

And stay classy folks,


R-E-S-P-E-C-T(ing others’ opinions)

Every human being, of whatever origin, of whatever station, deserves respect. We must each respect each others even as we respect ourselves. (U Thant)

With everything going on in the world right now, there are a lot of varying opinions flying around in cyberspace. Some people are pro-Israeli, some are pro-Hamma, some are pro-Kanye, some are pro-Fifty Shades of Grey. The point is that everyone has an opinion on everything. And you know what? That’s totally okay. Every person is entitled to his or her opinion.

I think that we forget that there are many issues out there which don’t have a right or wrong answer. We all have opinions based on our experiences, education, and lifestyle. We are all unique and so are our opinions.

Sometimes, though, we forget this. I forget that the person in my moral philosophy class who is against women having easy access to birth  control is from a conservative Catholic country and holds this belief for religious reasons. I forget that the person on my newsfeed who doesn’t think that helmets should be required by law for all motorcyclists is of a faith where headdress is maybe held above laws pertaining to personal safety. I forget that the person on my Instagram who is for the Enbridge pipeline is the child of a tradesperson father and spent years living in poverty because there wasn’t a lot of work for his dad.

Do I still disagree with some of these opinions? Yes, I do. But that doesn’t mean that I can disrespect these people by telling them that their opinions are wrong or disregard their rights to have these views.

We are allowed to fight for our beliefs and opinions. We are allowed to debate our views. We are allowed to tell others our views.

However, we cannot disrespect the views of others.

We cannot trivialize someone else’s experience or opinion by saying things like “you’re a man, you can’t have an opinion on abortion”; “you’re basing your views on being a white person, check your privilege/you can’t have an opinion”; “you weren’t born here, you can’t have an opinion on our politics.”

That’s not okay. We can fight for our opinions. We can write to government officials; we can make changes in our own lives; we can volunteer in countries we want to help; we can write blog posts; we can form clubs; we can do a lot of things to have our opinions and beliefs heard.

We cannot disrespect the opinions of others. We cannot silence the voices of others. Everyone has the right to be heard.

If we ever doubt this, we must imagine what it is like to live in a place or time where we aren’t allowed to have a voice. There are still so many people in positions like this.

The very least we can do is respect the opinions of others.


Thanks for reading my opinion on the matter of opinions.

Stay classy,


Wrong-Side Syndrome

I’m cranky. (Larry David)

Is there anything better than waking up after a great night of sleep? You’re warm and comfortable in your bed. Birds are chirping lightly in the tree outside your bedroom window, the sun is shining brightly (though not in your eyes), and all is right in this crazy world. You get up; get ready for the day with a long, luxurious shower; enjoy a fragrant, cheesy omelet and a steaming cup of artisan coffee; and you leave for the day. Your day is just going so well. Few days are as lovely as this one.

And then I come along. I didn’t sleep well because I was up late working on a project. I slept in, didn’t have time for breakfast or a shower, and stepped in my neighbor’s dog’s poop as I walked to my car only to realize that I would need to stop for gas. My day sucks. It’s just not going to be a good one.

You run into me at school/work and I scowl at your chipper attitude and sunny outlook. I snap at your small talk and will provide no more than single-syllable answers for all of your questions. I make you feel uncomfortable. You feel bad for feeling good. Slowly, you feel like maybe you are tired; maybe you didn’t sleep quite so well. Maybe that omelet wasn’t quite so good. Maybe you realize you missed a spot while shaving.

The scenario you have just witnessed is an example of what I like to call “Wrong-Side Syndrome”.

Instead of a long lecture, I have this to say. Don’t let your crappy day ruin someone else’s good one.

Stay classy,


My Horse is Bigger than Yours



We all do it. It’s like laughing at pictures of cats online or hitting the snooze button on the alarm. It’s human nature!

The situation:

Your friend, let’s call him Chuck, breaks his arm. He goes to the hospital, gets a cast, and meets you and the rest of your group at the pub a week later. You all want to know what happened to Chuck. How did he go the way of Tiny Tim? When will he be able to play the trombone again? What will come of his budding one-handed-pushup career? Anyways, the main question is about what happened to poor Chuck and how bad is his break?

Chuck starts to regale the exciting tale of having a been drinking a beer, hearing the door bell ring, and falling down the stairs as he rushed to answer. He hasn’t even gotten to the part where he realized his arm didn’t look right before everyone starts to jump in with tales of their own. You even consider bringing up the story of the great broken wrist of ’06. Chuck is just happy to be out with friends, but he is a little perturbed that he can’t have his moment to be in pain before somebody has to bring up a bad jellyfish sting or an unfortunate tennis game.

The important part:

Okay, if you’re still following then you probably understand what I’m talking about: the old “my horse is bigger than yours” part of human interaction. We always want to one-up our friends because we believe that we have suffered more. Our ordeals are worse than theirs.

Don’t get me wrong. It is somewhat cathartic to discuss our pain and suffering in this way. I do it. You probably do it. It’s totally okay. The important thing, as always, is to remember what situation you’re in. Are you and your friends all sitting around, eating nachos, and reminiscing about sucky times in your life? If yes, then go ahead and enjoy yourselves. Are you trying to offer support to a friend who is going through a hard time and suffering? If yes, then shut the heck up and offer a friendly, non-judgmental ear.

I don’t have much else to say on this topic because there isn’t much to say. Sometimes we just have to shut and listen. Deal with it.

If you have any stories about this kind of thing happening, feel free to share them in the comments. I always ask you to do that and no one ever does…whatever. I’ve had worse! Just kidding…but seriously.

Stay classy,



The Science of Happiness

I encourage you to take eight minutes out of your busy life and watch this video. Giving thanks for the people in your life will make you happy and happy people are usually more polite than people who are unhappy (at least in my experience).

Yesterday, on my personal blog, I made a list of twenty things for which I am thankful. I found that choosing just twenty things was actually really hard to do because I have so many things to be thankful for. I’ve decided that I’m not going to save this practice for Thanksgiving; I’m going to try doing it the next time that I have a bad day and see if it makes me feel as it good yesterday.

Take a couple minutes and be thankful for the important people and things in your life. You’ll feel better and, in turn, be more patient, understanding, and maybe a little more generous.

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!

Work Cited:

This video is the property of Soul Pancake; I’m just sharing it with you because I think it’s so wonderful!

Something a Little Different

Believe it or not, I don’t just think about manners and etiquette. I think about a lot of different things. I care about a lot of different things.

I have another, newer blog which I use to discuss things that relate to me and my life. It’s not a journal or anything like that. It’s just a space where I talk about things which I hope other people will be able to enjoy and relate to. Recently (in the last 24 hours), I wrote a post for this blog that is about how I have trouble dealing with the world’s ugliness. I don’t know that it is manners- or etiquette-related, but I think that it certainly relates to how humans treat one another.

It’s Overwhelming, At Times

I welcome you to have a little look around this other blog. I feel like there are some common themes between Life is What You Do and Classy and True, probably because I write both of them.

I’ll have another etiquette post for you very soon so stay tuned and stay classy!


Tardiness to Lecture

Better never than late. (George Bernard Shaw)

Maybe it’s being in my fourth year of university or maybe it’s something new, but lately I’ve noticed that people who are late seem to care less and less. I don’t know about you, but I work really hard at being on time for class. I leave early, anticipate difficulties like trains or accidents, and generally try to take responsibility for my own education. I have, once or twice, gotten caught be a chatty classmate or had car trouble and been late. It happens. I understand. I really, really do.

Here’s the difference between me and other late people I have observed recently: I try to make myself invisible. I don’t want to be rude and interrupt a lecture which has already gotten into the swing of things. I quietly slip into an aisle seat or, if none are available, I stand at the back until lecture is done or there is a break. This, to me, is common courtesy.

Lately, however, this has not been what I’ve seen others doing. Just last week I witnessed a young woman clunk into the classroom in high heel shoes (much too high for walking long distances at any kind of a normal pace). She carried her large purse and huge coffee beverage across the hall, up a few steps, and then proceeded to climb over about four or five people (hitting them in the head with her purse on the way by) before she settled in in the center of the room. I was appalled! Not only was she about a half hour late, she was so obvious about it! I would have thought it were funny if it weren’t so blatantly rude and selfish. There were tons of aisle seats and spots in the back, but she still decided to sit in her presumably-usual seat.

I’m sorry to go on about this, but it’s just so frustrating to me!

To all the late people out there:

Please recognize that you are not the only person in the class and that you are distracting those of us who worked to get there on time. It’s really not that difficult. Understand that you need to make a few sacrifices when you’re late; that’s all. Maybe if you have to stand for an entire lecture and realize how hard it is to take notes without a desk, you won’t be late next time.

Okay, I’m done!

Have a great week and stay classy,