Every year as November and December roll around, I find myself reflecting on my life for the past year: where I went, what I did, but also what lessons I learned, not only in my professional and travel life, but also in my personal one. And this year felt like the year of lessons, a year of much change in my personal life and a year that saw me challenged a lot. I am preparing to embark on a huge year ahead for me personally and professionally and I think it’s really healthy to stop for a moment at the end of the year and just take a look at what I learned this year, how I can use those lessons to move forward and in an effort to help someone who potentially might need to learn some of these lessons too, I thought it might be helpful to share just what’s going on in my head as we end the year and the lessons that I learned throughout these past 12 months.
When people show you their true selves, believe them.
I have a few people in my inner circle of family and friends that have over and over showed me their true colors and the eternal optimist in me wants to believe that they’ll change. In the end though, I realized a number of times this year, when someone stabs you in the back or constantly takes and takes and takes, it’s their problem, not yours. I walked away emotionally from a number of relationships this year because if someone isn’t willing to give you as much as you’re willing to give them, it’s just not worth it for either of you. Whether it’s family or friends, when someone shows you their true colors, take it, process it, and move on. It doesn’t mean you have to have bad blood or treat them worse, but it does mean that you remove yourself from the drama and offer them a polite civility instead of emotion. Move on from the drama and let them deal with their shit.
Know who you are and make decisions based on that with confidence.
At a dinner party a few weeks back, some friends of ours were over and we were chatting about how my friend’s husband and myself were totally the same personality. We are dreamers, we jump on leaps of faith and we need flexibility and open ended options to be happy. We wouldn’t be happy in 9-5 jobs in an office and have thus created our own paths forward with that in mind. Nick and my friend on the other hand are the opposite: they crave the stability and are slower to jump. Does that mean either or is better than the other? Not at all. We need all types of personalities for the earth to go round, but what it does mean is that as we get older, we must know who we are and trust in ourselves that we know what the best decisions to make are for ourselves and to make us happy. We all need to stand up more for ourselves and know who we are and what makes us tick. Only then, can we make the right decisions to make ourselves happy.
Do what you love.
I know this is so cliche, but it’s so true. And I don’t mean this about quitting your job if you have no money to head out and travel the world. I mean do what you love, in some small way, every day. I have reignited my love of baking in the past several months and I find myself so much happier when I really follow that passion. Find a part of your life that you love and try to do it as much as you can. Doing what you love doesn’t have to be your job, but find a way to incorporate your passions into your life so that you can truly embrace them.
Ride the wave of the ups and downs – but take care of yourself throughout.
2018 was a crazy emotional year in my life and there were lots of ups and downs emotionally. I won’t lie and say that I handled it all perfectly, I definitely didn’t. I had my fair share of laying on the bathroom floor in tears, panic attacks, trips to the ER where entire limbs went numb for 24 hours, and shoulder muscles as hard as rocks where I store all of my tension. Let’s just leave it with: It’s been A YEAR! But through it all, I didn’t always do such a good job of taking care of myself. Stress does crazy things to our bodies and unfortunately most of our lives are full of stressful situations. In the end, I learned this year that when things are out of your control, when the stress just keeps rolling in, that’s when we have to find power and peace in being so vulnerable. That’s when we have to know our breaking point, when we have to be able to pick ourselves up off the bathroom floor and figure out how to carry on. That’s when we truly find ourselves, in those moments when we’ve hit our limit.
I found out this year that there is so much out of our control and people are always going to try to tear us down for whatever reason. So when those moments come, when you can only just ride the wave of the ups and downs, just know that we all go through it and the best we can do is to practice some sort of self care throughout it all. Learning to deal with immense stress is never fun, but it can be a valuable lesson of just how strong you are but remember to take care of yourself through it all too.