Staying True to You


It’s February in Cleveland.  I try to make myself feel better about that by telling myself spring is right around the corner.  Sure, spring in Cleveland is more like “Extended Winter” or “Winter #3” (not to be mistaken with “Pre-Winter,” or “Winter #1,” which occurs in October/November or “Winter #2,” which is December/January) but still, we can dream, right?  So, I think of spring: green buds on trees, flowers poking through the frozen ground, and Indians pre-season baseball.  It’s all a new beginning.

In keeping in the spirit of new beginnings and a new year, I think it’s good to take a look at who you are.  Remind yourself of who you want to be, where you want to go.  Most importantly, question if you’re staying true to yourself.  Don’t ignore those things that make you who you are and will take you where you want to be, even if they differ from what others tell you.

Here are a few ways to help stay true blue to good old you:

  1. Be yourself. Seems obvious, doesn’t it?  But it can be hard at times.  You may not choose the path everyone else does and there will be doubters and naysayers.  Don’t be afraid to be honest with yourself – your instincts will usually lead you in the right direction.
  2. Don’t fret over those mistakes. What is that old adage?  Better to have tried and failed then not tried at all?  It’s true.  You can miss out on so much if you make one mistake and then refuse to try again.  I’m talking to all you perfectionists out there….you know who you are.  We all make mistakes at one time or another.  Forgive yourself for it and move on.
  3. Keep your friends close. Those special friendships are so fulfilling.  It could be a person you’ve known and loved for a long time, or even a new friend that feels like a soul mate.  True friends won’t let you be anybody but yourself, whether you’re laughing, crying, or singing “Don’t Stop Believing” at the top of your lungs.
  4. Be responsible for your life and what you want to do with it. See where you want to go and work on making it happen.  It could be something related to your job, an inclination to create a piece of art, helping Habitat for Humanity build a house, or even begin a new healthy lifestyle.  Either way: own it.  It’s yours to do however you want to do it.
  5. Never, ever, forget where you came from. Some of us don’t like where we started out and that’s ok.  The point is to remember where you began and be humble about where you’ve ended up or even where you’re going.  We are what we make of ourselves, but we still have roots that our values are tied to.

I’m reminded of a favorite poem when I think about staying true to myself:

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference” – Robert Frost

Take the road less traveled if that is where you are led.  And in all things, just be authentic.  Be you.

cathyCathy Thurber has over 10 years’ experience in the insurance industry and likes to think she’s learned a few things along the way, one of which being to not take herself too seriously.  She would love to say she has as many cool expertise’s as her fellow blogger, Ken Kukral, but she’s just not as old as him.  Cathy is a voracious reader and a total word nerd.  Most importantly, she’s been married to her favorite person for almost twenty years and has two kids that she actually likes.  However, the dog is her favorite child and she’s been wheedling for a cat for years.  Perhaps this is the lucky year?

Valentine’s Day… A Day for Lovers or Just Another Day?

Valentine’s Day is a hot topic for people in love and singles alike… some, treat it like it’s the Super Bowl of holidays, and others despise the mention of the day itself. It is no surprise that some consider it a commercialized holiday, when many of the expectations for celebrating include but are not limited to: chocolates, flowers, fancy dinner reservations, jewelry gifts etc. On the other hand, a lot of people just love a reason to celebrate love.  I decided to poll everyone at our office, to find out their thoughts on the holiday. I got quite the mix of answers:

These gals (and guy) LOVE to celebrate LOVE:

steph “I LOVE Valentines Day .. it’s a perfect reminder to be romantic! I get so mad when people say it’s a Hallmark Holiday .. check your facts people! Google is an awesome thing and you’ll find history behind the day. “ -Stephanie


“Valentine’s Day – A legitimate holiday!  I see it as a day to reconnect with your “significant other” and let them know how you feel about them.  We don’t do this often enough and this holiday is a good opportunity to do that. Best way to celebrate?  Time together,  Sweetest Day is the greeting card holiday!” – Ken

michelle“Very romantic! The holiday is what you make it, doesn’t have to be a hallmark holiday. It is just a day set aside to show the people you love how much you love and appreciate them. Whether it is with a card, gift or just a heartfelt kiss and an “I love you””  -Michelle

linda“We celebrate all kinds of things these days…. National Beer Day, National Chocolate Day, why not have a day to celebrate Love…..Valentine’s Day  We like to celebrate by going out to a wonderful restaurant and spending time together.” -Linda

cathy“According to my husband, Valentines’ Day is just a holiday the card companies made up to make money.  I, on the other hand, love Valentine’s Day and think it’s a sweet holiday for a couple.  I also really, really love chocolate-covered strawberries, which are a staple for Valentine’s Day.  And I really, really hope my husband reads this blog and buys me some.  Hint, hint.” -Cathy

maggie“I enjoy Valentine’s Day. I’d like to spend the night in making dinner together and watching movies with wine rather than going out!” -Maggie

amber“My hubby always worked on Valentine’s Day as a server so we always celebrated on our own another day.  I think it’s fun if you take the pressure off and do something silly! Flowers and reservations are overplayed, you got to switch it up and do something that makes the day more memorable!” -Amber

Some, take the middle ground on the holiday…

audra“I think I am in between  your two options.  I think it’s a romantic holiday because there is nothing wrong with having a reason to show your significant other you care.  On the other hand, we choose not really to celebrate.  We will do little things like cook a special dinner at home or give each other cards, but there is no reason to spend hundreds at a restaurant that is most likely understaffed and overpriced for the holidays. Or spends loads of money on flowers that will die in a week that cost you double what they will next week. ” -Audra

tricia“I think it all depends on where you are in your life.   If you are happy and in love, then yes, it’s a romantic holiday!  But if you are not with someone special, it is a lame Hallmark holiday. ” -Tricia

bryan“For me, Valentine’s day has become far too commercialized, just like Christmas, where the card companies have manipulated everyone to believe it is something it’s not.  The true reason behind Valentine’s Day has been long lost over time.  I go along with it lol         – Bryan

lisa“I’m sort of in the middle.  I think its definitely a Hallmark holiday however my hubby and I do get a gift for each other and cards etc.  For the most part though I think it’s a money making scheme.” -Lisa

amy“I’m a practical gift giver no matter what holiday it is.  Although I know Valentine’s day is supposed to be a romantic holiday my husband and son know to expect new socks or deodorant or something like that. ” -Amy

And some, prefer to celebrate love on other days…

diana“My husband and I feel that Valentine’s day is just another day. You should be showing your love and appreciation all year round to the people that you love, which is the success for any relationship no matter who that relationship is with. My children, my husband and my family know how I feel about them at all times not just one day a year” -Diana

bill“I used to think of Valentine’s day as a kid was exciting to be able to run around the neighborhood ringing doorbells leaving a cheap little card and running away without getting caught.  Then as I got older it was more about buying a gift for my girl and getting together for a date to exchange the gifts. Than as I got older again it became more about you “had” to buy not only a gift but gifts that were more expensive. Roses were priced at $75, chocolates were priced higher at that time of year. It seemed to me that it became a retailers and Hallmark’s way of getting money out of the Holiday. I think when you do love someone you do things for them that they don’t expect, even if you are married to someone that can never be surprised, and make them happy they met you and married you. I don’t think you need a “scheduled” day to show them you love them.” – Bill


“It’s just another day!” -Christine

jen“I don’t need a calendar day to celebrate being in love. I’d much prefer a thoughtful random gesture than receiving gifts on the 14th. I partially think I’ve grown up this way because my birthday is just a week before hand. In elementary school, I however LOVED making my own decorative mailboxes and handing out candy and valentine’s to my classmates! We should bring those traditions back as adults, I’d be all in!” -Jen

lisaj“I think Valentine’s Day is a retailers’ ploy to sell greeting cards, chocolates and roses at inflated prices.  A spontaneous gift of a bouquet of daisies that says “I’m thinking of you” is far more romantic than a gift dictated by a designated holiday. ” -Lisa

As you can see, everyone has their own take on the holiday, but in the end, everyone likes to show love one way or another, either by participating in a lover’s holiday, or with a simple gesture at random. Have a wonderful weekend, and share the love, however you prefer doing it!

jenJen Monroe serves as the International Excess Marketing Director (duties include but not limited to: Graphic Design, Web Design, Marketing and Social Media, as well as part time blogger). Jen has a love for all things art, Cleveland sports (Go Cavs!), New Kids on the Block, pugs (specifically her smiley pup, Joss) and fat cat, Delonte. Oh, and french fries– you gotta’ love french fries.