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ashleyjude

Just a rock and roll soul spreading the Good Vibes gospel

My Punk Rock Love Affair

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Ahhh, punk rock. It’s so nostalgic to think back to my teenage years – when I’d narrowly escaped a life of having terrible taste in music. Nothing but love for my girls in Midsun Jr. High School, but I think I truly had to move away to figure out a way to be myself in that crazy adolescent time. In a land where we’d all wear the same Mavi jeans and Buffalo tank tops every day, [YOU CAN’T SIT WITH US!], it was hard for a girl to find herself. I didn’t want to move away. But when my Mom yanked me out of Grade 9, I found myself in the small highway town of Okotoks, where I knew 2 people. I was annoyed to be there. But it ended up changing the entire course of my life in a lot of ways. In the obvious way of course – I was in a different location so I was literally walking a different path – but in a really fundamental way too. I only stayed in that town for about a year before I got the fuck outta doge, if you know what I mean. That’s another story for another day – but that one year, living away from the people I grew up with, my circle of friends, and being forced to start fresh, I think it was ultimately one of the best things that ever happened to me. For a couple reasons, but one big one: I discovered punk rock.

Not that I didn’t know it existed, or hadn’t heard of it in a general sort of way – but no one I hung out with at the time listed to punk. They didn’t listen to rock at all. It was mostly Top 40 pop music and hip hop. Granted,  there is definitely still a place in my heart for those guilty pleasures. But I didn’t hear a single NOFX song until I was 14 years old, living in good ol’ Okotoks, Alberta. Just Blink 182 and Sum 41 for this girl until finally;

I was saved. There was suddenly an entire universe in front of my face that I never even knew existed. Everyone in this town listened to punk rock. I was embarrassed. I didn’t know anything about anything anymore! I could talk about Dr. Dre all day, or even Travis Barker but couldn’t offer a single word on Bad Religion. I remember telling my mom that I needed to go to HMV to buy some CDs. NEEDED TO. She gave me some money and I went and blew it all in minutes. I think she gave me $60, and I got 5 CDs or something and I’m pretty positive they were NOFX, Pennywise, Bad Religion, Rise Against and AFI. I remember being really into AFI when I first heard them – so “Emo” in the literal sense – meaning super emotional lyrics and songs – perfect for the angst-y teenage soul. And that one album of Rise Against’s, I think it was their first – The Unraveling. I just loved it. Played that song “Angel” over and over again.

Since then I’ve been eating punk rock up in all its different styles and forms, and figuring out my real preferences. Back then, I was just listening to it to be cool and fit in and to be honest, I never really put on NOFX or Pennywise anymore. The odd time I’ll throw it on for nostalgia’s sake, but I’ve narrowed my interests and am figuring out what it is that makes me really like music, and for me, from very early on – it was all about the live show. And no genre of music has a better atmosphere than punk. Especially those really fun, bouncy types of punk like ska – nothing beats it. Except maybe Celtic punk, or gypsy punk, or polka punk. Or ska. Did I say ska? I feel like I’m the only person left on earth who still loves ska – I just wish people would come out more often to see how fun these shows really are. I can never stop smiling at a ska show.

And now I’ve now found myself completely head over heels with the wrong era. Punk rock music of the mid-70’s to mid-80’s has swept me away – I daydream constantly about what it must have been like back then. The dawn of punk rock and all of the beautifully flawed subcultures it spawned. Post punk and new wave have especially captured my heart recently. Of course I fell so in love with The Clash quite some time ago. And the Sex Pistols, the Buzzcocks, The Ramones – English punk rock in the mid-seventies must have been like the peak of some sort of collective drug. There’s this Vancouver band The Tranzmitors – one of the first bands I saw live at the Rickshaw as part of a school project – who were so Clash-esque I almost cried of happiness when I saw them live. My friend Scott took this picture of me. Pure bliss.

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And now, working at the Rickshaw 3 years later I’ve had the chance to see so many bands I would have never even known about. The Rezillos, The Flamin’ Groovies, The Chameleons, to name a few – that have just made me fall deeper and deeper in love with alternative music from 70’s and 80’s and I wish every day the Hot Tub Time Machine was a real thing.

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Album Review! Terry

Terry – Eponymous Release

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If you are easily offended, don’t have a sense of humor or you’re just generally a boring person… don’t pick up this album. If you like laughing, especially if you have a slightly inappropriate sense of humor, you should definitely do yourself a favor and check out this album as soon as it’s out on January 31st. Colin Lamb’s trio offer a hilarious treat… something a little different to feast your ears on for dessert when you’re already way too full. It’s a total guilty pleasure – sometimes reminding me a little bit of Tenacious D.

The music itself is actually really pretty, especially to a Calgary girl like me who loves bluegrassy guitar riffs and cheesy country melodies. That along with the theme of totally immature, schoolyard humor and quite a few laugh out loud moments equals to me, a good comedy album. Colin is a true comedian, the guy is hilarious, but he also actually has a great voice with quite a range, can really play that gee-tar and write really catchy songs.

The overall theme of the album starts off strongly with “Mon Pere”, an ode to my Dad being able to kick your Dad’s ass. Naturally. Next up, “The Liquor” another little ode to something we all hold dear to our hearts, starts off nice and pretty, I’d be expecting Brad Paisley’s voice to start singing me a love song or something. Halfway through it picks up tempo and warns against the perils of drinking and having sex. All very relatable. The third track of the album was the first song I ever heard Colin perform live. It was called “Friend Zone” then I think, but is now titled “We’re Not Bangin”, which works too. The song is about a guy who wants to fuck a girl, but she’s sort of stringing him along and keeping him in the friend zone, (something I’m sure we can all relate to) and of course, the frustrated guy gets fed up (as they do) and puts it quite eloquently. When I first heard that song it resonated with me a lot because I just had been in that exact situation! The guy put it a little more delicately than that, but he might as well have just dedicated that song to me. The rest of the album is nonstop laughs. “Sister Banger” is a fan favorite for good reason, and one that you will not be able to get out of your head. They shot a video for it a few months ago, check it out here:

To sum it up, the album is funny. Listen to it. Get your copy on January 31st at Terry’s Seedy Release Party at Seven Dining Lounge on Broadway! Get event details here. And like Terry on Facebook!

The Birds

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Squamish Valley Music Festival 2014

Now that I’m (for the most part) recovered from the weekend, I guess I should write a little something about it!

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In comparison to last year, the festival wasn’t very well organized in terms of camping and layout. I understand that capacity doubled from last year, but it was very obvious they did not have the space for it. Last year, all the regular campgrounds were together, so it made it very easy to meet up with friends if you didn’t arrive together. This year there were 4 separate campsites in addition to the VIP one. We were originally supposed to camp in “diamond”, where a lot of our other friends were camping, but they “upgraded” us to “triangle” because they said it was the only campground with grass. (The festival organizers forgot to lay the sod in time at the other campgrounds… eek.) So yes, we were camping on grass rather than gravel, so that was a plus, but it was a 30-minute walk to the festival grounds, and 20 minute shuttle ride from where we parked. It wouldn’t be too bad if we never wanted to go back to camp throughout the day to drink or eat, but in order to do that, it takes roughly 2 hours out of your day and you end up missing shows! 

I get grouchy at festivals. I always get my hopes up that I’ll be hanging out with everyone I went with and that I’ll be able to find all the people I want to see and that we’ll all just have a jolly ol’ time together. That is never the case and I’ve been to enough festivals to know that it is almost impossible to travel in a group, find who you’re looking for and see every show you want to see. I believe that if every person wants to stick together, they will. But if one or more people are hurrying ahead or dawdling behind – it’s not gonna happen. Anyway, it is what it is and I shouldn’t let it make me grumpy. I know full well what’s going to happen so I should really just go into it with a more la-de-da type of attitude and see people when I see people. The only other thing that sucked was that it was almost impossible to get drunk and stay drunk! The long walk from camp to the festival, the long beer garden lines and expensive drinks make it very difficult to get into party mode. Even for me. I didn’t even really manage to get drunk or party really at all until Sunday! It was nice, however, to actually remember the shows.

The lineup was absolutely fantastic. Overwhelmingly so. The only thing that sucks about such an awesome lineup, for a person with as eclectic taste as me, is that there is always major overlap across genres and you wind up having to choose between bands you love. First off, I had to choose between July Talk and the Zolas, two bands I like a lot. I chose July Talk because I have been obsessed with their new album, and I’ve seen The Zolas before. July-TalkJuly Talk was insanely good. They were the first show I saw and also one of my favorites of the whole weekend. The sexual chemistry between the 2 singers on stage is captivating. It’s impossible to look away and you can just feel their connection oozing through their body language and stage presence. And, as if they felt the need to impress me even more, they invited 2 people from the crowd on stage to play giant Jenga! Amazing. This band is going places. Keep an eye out for them. For real.

And then I had to choose between Walk Off the Earth and The Head and the Heart, which was a tough call. We ended up going to The Head and the Heart, which was a lovely mellow afternoon jam. I had every intention of going to see Lykke Li after that, but after suScreen Shot 2014-08-14 at 2.58.38 PMch a mellow show I needed a bit of a pick me up, so we stuck around for Serena Ryder instead. That woman puts on a great show! She loves being on stage and you can tell. I’m happy with my decision although I really do love Lykke Li! After that, the rest of Friday was a mad dash. I could not miss Nas playing Illimatic, but I also did not want to miss Foster the People so we stayed for about ¾ of Nas’ set, sprinted to Foster the People, stayed for a few of their songs and then sprinted back to Bruno Mars. We didn’t see a full set by any of them, and it was very hard to leave Nas, but at least we caught some of each. All 3 were amazing shows with something completely different to offer. Bruno Mars puts on such an entertaining show, and who doesn’t love signing along to those cutesy pop-ballads?

On Saturday we rushed to the festival to try and make the Oceanographers set, but we did not. Like I said, it’s impossible to coordinate a group to get anywhere on time. Ended up stopping by James Vincent, catching some of Black Joe Lewis and Tokyo Police Club before we went back to camp to attempt to get drunk. It worked for the walk back but you know, the thing with alcohol, is that in order to stay drunk you need to keep drinking it. We wanted so badly to make it back for the first half of Broken Bells before we had to dart to the Roots, but of course we didn’t make it and that was super disappointing. I love Broken Bells. That being said, I caught the entire Roots show, which made everything else slip away. That band is incredible. I think I have to say it was my favorite show of the whole festival, if not my whole life! Hip hop with a live band like that really gets me off. They played some hilarious covers, Fancy, Sweet Child of Mine and a few other nauseatingly popular pop songs. A lot of people didn’t like that part of the show but I loved it! I think it just shows how versatile they really are as a band. Anyway, bottom line, THE ROOTS were hands down one of the best live shows I’ve ever seen in my life! And that says a lot. Then off we went to catch the rest of Arcade Fire, which we watched from the beer gardens while sucking back some whiskey gingers in a vain attempt to get drunk again. It didn’t work but the show was great and we made some random friends which is always fun. Then we hobbled the half hour walk back to camp and pretty much just went to bed. Seriously, who am I?

Here’s a rad vid of The Roots’ set by Sonic FM.

Sunday was the best day. We spent the early afternoon at Browning Lake, which was a much-needed break. Had a little picnic, went for a swim, Shae came and met up with us and afterwards, I was happy and refreshed. We went back to camp with full intentions to make it to the festival for Danny Brown and/or Shad, but failed miserably and ended up getting drunk instead and stumbling to the festival just in tiButHZ5YCYAA4clD.jpg-largeme for Atmosphere. I think y’all know how much I love Slug so it’s unnecessary for me to go on and on about it. But it was everything I hoped it would be and more! I love that man more than it’s healthy to love someone you’ve never met. With old friends, new friends, my sexy man at my side and the gorgeous Squamish mountains in the background, I’d say it was my favorite Atmosphere show to date. I was blissful. After that we had plans to meet some other friends at a designated meeting place, so we waited around and it never happened so I got grouchy, watched some of the Arctic Monkeys which cheered me up a little, met up with some more friends and prepared ourselves for Em. And then… it happened. I felt like I could die happy after that show. No amount of words can express how it felt to see Slim Shady live, finally, but if you’re a die-hard fan who has never seen him perform – you know what I mean. And then for the first time all weekend, I went to the DJ stage to watch John Digweed and called it a night! Good times had by all. See ya next year, Squamish Fest!

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An album to buy today: Paolo Nutini – Caustic Love

Paolo Nutini – Caustic Love

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Scottish singer-songwriter Paolo Nutini is wiser than his years. 27 short years on this planet has rarely made anyone else write such introspective and profound music. This is another album recommended to me by my amazing roommate, Benny Wise. Everything he has ever recommended to me is great and this is no exception. Paolo Nutini is brilliant.

After the free digital release of his first album These Streets in 2006, he climbed to the top of the charts in the UK and continued to make music that any music critic would have a hard time speaking negatively about. Caustic Love received extremely positive reviews from critics worldwide and many have said it’s the best R&B album to come out of the UK since the 70’s. Taking influence from Marvin Gaye, The Beach Boys, Prince, D’Angelo and many more – this album is a complete package tied up with a bow and sealed with a kiss. Lyrics that make you rewind and re-listen, groovy beats that make you want to get out of your seat and a voice that would melt the coldest ice… if you haven’t sat down with this album and given it a good, long listen yet – you are only hurting yourself. I can’t pick a favorite song off the album – but wow, the message behind Iron Sky is powerful. Listen here:

Patron Saint of The Free Spirit

In 300 years, if you were to be named the patron saint of X, what would you like X to be? Places, activities, objects — all are fair game.

To be honest, I don’t really see myself being a Saint of anything because of my blatant disregard for rules. I understand why rules need to exist, but for my whole life I have had a really hard time colouring within the lines. I enjoy breaking rules, and by this I don’t mean shoplifting or robbing banks or doing anything to hurt other people. My disregard for rules is mostly my inherent interest in pushing social norms and testing boundaries. I think it’s important that we, as a generation, question the rules. I’m not saying to disrespect any disobey every rule just for the hell of it, I just think we all need to do our homework and make our own decisions about what exactly society tells us we should and should not do.

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Marijuana is illegal, but I smoke it on a regular basis to alleviate pain and anxiety because I truly believe that it is better for us than any pharmaceutical. Even though there is a blatant sign prohibiting it, I turn left going east on Victoria when there is no one around because it is absolutely silly not to. I think there are some rules that are made to be broken. Why else would they be in place at all if no one was ever going to break them? I think there are rules and laws, and then there are morals and just generally being a good person. I break the law at least once a day, usually, but I still consider myself a good person and a positive contribution to society. I just believe that we can’t just sit back and let people tell us what to do without understanding or agreeing on the reasoning behind it. We live in a time now where we can have our own opinions and our own free thoughts. We can be free from the shackles of religion and social normality if we so choose to be.

My restless, curious, wayward nature lends itself to what people consider being a “free spirit”. What does it mean to be a free spirit? To me, it means being a soul that belongs nowhere and everywhere at the same time. Someone who lets their spirit roam and never stops marveling at things, questioning things and truly appreciating things… even when they might not be in line with what society expects or demands from us.

So, I guess, I would be Ashley – the Patron Saint of the Free Spirit. I will happily protect, support and guide anyone who wants to roam free and be a spontaneous, rule-breaking goofball like me.

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Concert Review! Lana Del Rey

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The Lana Del Rey show last night surpassed my expectations. I expected it to be good, because I love her and she’s an amazing singer and an even better songwriter, I just didn’t really expect much of a SHOW in terms of pure entertainment value, but I was happily mistaken. First of all, I had no idea who the opening act was going to be, and it turned out to be Father John Misty! It was such a pleasant surprise. He’s a triple threat… hilarious and talented with a killer beard. Plus he has great showmanship and has an aptitude for great banter with the crowd. He borrowed a girl’s flower crown (80% of the girls there were wearing flower crowns. I missed the memo…) and wore it for an entire song. They ate it up. I’m not sure anyone else knew who he was… but I was excited. (For those of you who don’t know, Father John Misty was drummer and singer for the band, The Fleet Foxes, used to drum for the band Saxon Shore and is now performing solo as Father John Misty. His real name is Joshua Tillman.) This is one of my favourite songs by him:

Lana’s stage setup was gorgeous. It was all lit up in dark purple lights with dead tree branches and a magnificent gold throne in the center with a grand piano and other beautiful instruments seamlessly woven in. She started the show off with Cola, ended with National Anthem and even played a new song, Ultraviolence – the title track off her new album, which is scheduled to release next month. The only song I wanted to hear but didn’t, was This Is What Makes Us Girls, but she has a lot of hits so I understand she can’t play everything. She did however, play Carmen, which is one of my favorite of her lesser-known tracks. Her band was very energetic with great stage presence and her stage presence was actually a lot better than I’d heard. From what I had heard (seen on SNL…) I expected her to be static and to just stand there and sing into her mic without much interaction with the crowd, but she was walking around, dancing, talking to the crowd and clearly having fun with it. She was actually very charming and not awkward at all on stage like I had heard she is. Instead of an encore, the band jammed out on stage while she went down into the crowd to sign autographs and take selfies with all the screaming girls. It must have been a fun evening for the security guards.

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It was my first show at the PNE amphitheater and I loved it. It has a very festival vibe to it, being an outdoor venue inside the PNE festival grounds. The backdrop to the stage was stunning with the mountains and low hanging clouds adding a little something extra to the show. It was dreary and trying to rain the whole time but it was kind of perfect.

All in all, it was a great concert. I would highly recommend seeing her live if you get the chance. Her huge voice belies her tiny little figure and she becomes somehow even more mesmerizing when she’s right there in front of you.

Fun fact: Lana Del Rey used to be known as as Lizzy Grant (her real name is Elizabeth Woolridge Grant), and she has also recorded under the pseudonym May Jailer. Check out this album that was leaked to YouTube in 2012. It’s her! I swear.

Thanks for gracing us with your beauty and talent, Lana! Can’t wait for the new album! XOXO

The 22 Best Johnny Cash Songs (In my opinion.)

I wrote this list as an assignment for work. It was pretty rad to get paid to write something that I would probably write for fun. I figured I may as well post it up. So, here are what I consider to be the best and most influential Johnny Cash songs, and why.

What are your thoughts? What did I miss? These are in order of release date, not in order of preference.

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Cry, Cry, Cry – 1955 – Arguably the song that kicked off Johnny Cash’s career. He toured with Elvis Presley not long after it was released. Has been covered by many contemporary artists such as Elvis Costello and Jack Johnson and Norah Jones.

Folsom Prison Blues – 1956 – One of Johnny Cash’s signature songs. Cash was inspired to write the song after seeing the movie “Inside the walls at Folsom Prison” and performed it live at the actual Folsom Prison.

I Walk The Line – 1956 – An unexpected hit on country radio. Ended up being one of his most popular and well known hits. Included in the Grammy Song Hall of Fame. Also his very first #1 hit. Many people’s favourite Cash song.

I Still Miss Someone – 1958 – Jimmy Buffett performed this song as a dedication to Cash in Auburn, Washington 4 days after his death. Cash performed this song with Bob Dylan backstage during Dylan’s 1966 world tour – the performance appears in the documentary, Eat the Document.

Get Rhythm – 1959 – A fan favourite that is easily relatable about optimism and making the most out of your life, even when it seems tedious and mundane.

Don’t Take Your Guns To Town – 1959 – A major crossover hit appearing on both country and pop top 40 charts. Covered by U2 in 2001. Stayed number 1 on the country chart for 6 consecutive weeks.

Give My Love To Rose – 1960 – A beautiful but sad story, easy to understand and one of the fan favourites off of the At Folsom Prison album.

Jackson – 1963 – Won a grammy in 1968 for best country duet. Is still being used in modern film and television including The Help in 2011.

Understand Your Man – 1964 – This was the last song Cash ever performed in front of an audience: he played it during a performance at the Carter Ranch in Hiltons, VA on July 5, 2003, just months before he passed away.

The Streets of Laredo – 1965 – This song is a traditional cowboy ballad and has been recorded by many artists – it just seems right that an icon such as Cash would cover such an influential, traditional song.

It Ain’t Me Babe – 1965 – A Bob Dylan original – Cash and Dylan admired each other’s work a great deal and with Bob Dylan’s personal blessing, Cash recorded this song.

25 Minutes to Go – 1968 – A song about the final minutes of a man facing execution on death row. While tinged with humor, it is ultimately very dark. Not his most popular song, but one that is very much “Cash.”

Cocaine Blues – 1968 – A personal favourite off “Folsom Prison Blues” and a beautiful and chilling cautionary tale about drug abuse and inevitability of getting caught.

A Boy Named Sue – 1969 – Cash recorded this song live at San Quentin Prison to a captivated audience. The novelty and rawness of this cover made it an instant hit. He also performed it for Nixon in 1970, at the request of the president. It’s also considered his first “crossover” hit. Not just country – not just rock and roll – not just gospel.

Man In Black – 1971 – A protest song with lyrics reflecting important social issues. “I wear black for the poor and beaten down, livin’ in the hopeless, hungry side of town”. Received a standing ovation the first time it was ever performed live. Also reflects Cash’s persona.

One Piece At A Time – 1976 – His final solo number one hit. While many stars of the ‘50s had reached their peak by the ‘70s, Johnny Cash was still going strong 21 years after his first single. This song once again showcased his sense of humour, and more importantly, proved that the legend was not through having No. 1 hits.

Sunday Mornin’ Coming Down – 1970 – CMA song of the year in 1970. Through recording this song, he became friends with Kris Kristofferson, who he eventually formed the “Highway Men” supergroup with.

Ring of Fire – 1983 – Arguably Cash’s biggest hit and most popular song. Ranked No. 4 on CMT‘s 100 Greatest Songs in Country Music in 2003 and #87 on Rolling Stones list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Highway Man – 1985 – Kris Kristofferson had recorded with Willie Nelson, who had recorded with Waylon Jennings, who had recorded with Johnny Cash. However, the four never recorded together until this Jimmy Webb-written song united the four legends. It became a radio staple in the summer of 1985, hitting the top on August 17 – the final time Cash’s voice would be appear on a No. 1 country single.

The Beast In Me – 1994 – Still relevant and showing up in modern films and TV including 2011 film The Hangover: Part II and is being covered by many contemporary artists such as The Vaccines and Mark Lanegan..

Hurt – 2003 – Many consider this NIN cover a “farewell” masterpiece in the Cash collection. It never reached top 40 on the modern charts, but went double platinum in sales and was the CMA single of the year. Also sealed his legacy with the younger generation.

God’s Gonna Cut You Down – 2006 – Many celebrities got together to pay tribute to Johnny Cash by appearing in the music video, directed by Tony Kaye. Watch it here:

 

On letting go…

 

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I think one of the secrets of happiness is to learn and accept when it’s time to let go. To let go doesn’t mean to stop caring, but if something (or someone) is weighing you down and affecting your overall happiness, then it’s time to just… let it go. I know it’s easier said than done. I think it’s just one of the ongoing things in life… you have to be constantly evaluating your relationships. This may sound exhausting, but really, it’s exhausting not to. The people in your life, are they making you truly happy? Do they bring out the best in you and vice versa?

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I’ve had to cut ties with people, who I still to this day, love very much. It just came to a point where maintaining the relationship was weighing on my shoulders a little too heavily. And as hard as it was, every time I’ve done it, I’ve felt noticeably better. Sad, yes. But also lighter and more carefree. The greatest relationships don’t require a whole lot of effort. Of course each party needs to put effort in to keep the relationship alive, but that effort should come naturally. It shouldn’t feel like effort. If it’s feeling like real work or struggle for too long… you need to look out for yourself and move on. It’s okay to be selfish sometimes.

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You don’t need to leave these relationships on bad terms. I still love and respect every single person I’ve had to cut out of my life. They just weren’t right for me anymore. And most of the time, once the ties are severed, they’re just severed. I wish nothing bad or negative on any of these people, and when I see their achievements and joy I feel genuinely happy for them. We could probably even go get a beer or coffee sometime and catch up. But I’m at a point now in life where I don’t want to force friendships. I want to spend time with people who love me, challenge me and push me to be the best I can be. Time flies too fast to spend our moments sad, worried, stressed or angry.

So let go of one thing today that is not serving you. I promise, you’ll notice the weight off your shoulders.

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