I can’t believe we’re near the end of 2017. On my flight to Thailand last week I had so much time to think, and it’s truly incredible the transformation that I’ve made to my life since this time last year. It was right around now when something inside me changed to the very core. It was like a light switch went off, and my body and mind started responding to situations differently.
I was less reactive, more confident, less stressed, less busy, and I had so much time to do the things that I truly wanted to do. The kind of people that I wanted to be around just started showing up, the kind of love I knew I deserved appeared, the world that I truly wanted to create for myself started flowing together organically – and it was then that I realized I had begun living by the law of attraction.
I can’t remember the last time I really felt like I was looking forward to something. I’m so hopeful for the future, so excited to see what it has in store for me, and so relieved to be entering in to a new chapter feeling like my best self, and feeling completely free of any and all regrets. I am so sure that every decision that I’ve made has led me right here to this point. Living a life with amazing people, calming energy, with only the things I truly need and value. It’s all a work in progress of course, which is why I value this community to it’s very core. It’s a space where I feel free to share what I’m working on. Or what I’ve accomplished. Even the tools to keep us all united and in it together.
So before we let go of 2017 in it’s entirety, I thought I’d share a few life lessons I learned throughout the year. So here we go:
10 life lessons I learned in the year 2017
1. Follow your instincts 100% of the time
I’ve only gotten better at this as I’ve gotten older – but it’s the base for some of the most amazing things in my life: doing away with old habits that didn’t serve me, letting go of toxic relationships, coming to know what an unconditional relationship is, and moving back to the Midwest. All of these things were based on trusting my instincts. Had I ignored them – had I done what others told me to do or what society deems the “right” thing due to my age bracket, I’d be singing a completely different tune – and I probably wouldn’t have started this blog.
2. Speak up for yourself
This is a lesson that I can say with certainty I learned a little too late in life, but now I feel as though I have it mastered. Now it’s not to say that I’d never defend myself when necessary – I would. But these days, I honor all that I’ve been through, all that I’ve learned, and my strength and prosperity as a human being; enough to feel confident to speak up when I feel like I’ve been wronged, even if it was unintentional. This my friends, is one of the ways we earn respect and are able to build and maintain healthy relationships that will last for the long haul.
3. Don’t use excuses
Whenever I didn’t feel up to doing something or if I simply just didn’t want to make the time due to needing rest, instead of coming up with mile long excuses as to why I couldn’t, I’ve started the practice of just keeping it simple.
Here’s an example of what I used to do.
Q: “Want to come to dinner?”
A: Ah, I wish I could but I have a lot of client emails coming in and feel like I’ve left Jasper (my dog) alone so much today. I’m so sorry!”
This is what I say now:
Q: “Want to come to dinner?”
A: Thanks so much for the invite, but I’m going to pass tonight. Let me know what your schedule is like the next couple of weeks. Would love to see you!
I know that doesn’t seem like much, but by simply leaving out excuses as to why we can’t or don’t want to do something, we eliminate any guilt for what it is we’re doing instead.
4. Grief is ever changing.
After 4 years of being without my dad who was the biggest constant in my life (alongside my mom and sister), I’ve come to learn that grief won’t ever stay the same. This year as a whole was a lot more gentle when it came to the pain that comes along with a significant loss. Far less anger appeared, and I’m slowly taking myself through the motions of learning to honor the loss of him rather than dwell. This goes without saying that not it’s not easy, and I still have my moments of being brought to my knees in physical pain, but I have never been so sure of his presence in my every day life. I’m never without him, and that’s slowly starting to become enough for me to get by.
5. People will surprise you.
I have a specific story to go along with this lesson, so here it goes:
This past summer, Chris invited me to attend Yacht Week in Croatia with 6 of his other friends. I knew one of them, but the others I hadn’t met before. Now I’ve never had an issue with meeting new people; I love it actually. But when we all met up the first night in our Airbnb before boarding our boat the next morning, I had a small feeling of panic. I remember looking at Chris and saying, “3 girls who are super close friends already – this is going to be tough.” They were so nice, but they had their inside jokes – they had history. That’s a hard thing to break into. Well, long story short – within 2 days I knew that I’d be friends with these girls forever. I truly don’t know how to explain it, but they’ve completely changed the way I look at friendships.
So the point of this lesson? Be open to other humans. Don’t shut them out due to discomfort – don’t assume you’ll have nothing in common. People will surprise you.
6. You can overcome your fears
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been terrified of flying. But this past year, I flew so much (and across the world) that my body and my mind has slowly given up the fear almost entirely. I still have some anxiety here and there when it comes to poor boarding structure or if I’m stuck in a middle seat for hours on end (like our 13 hour flight en route to and from Thailand!) But I’ve gotten really good at quieting my mind, sticking to my daily herbs (which help so much), and coming to the realization that what happens next is out of my control. So just enjoy the ride.
7. The world won’t end if you take a break
But you might lose your sanity if you don’t. For all of the times that I came close to hitting rock bottom, or felt like I was near a nervous breakdown consisted of being overworked and overcommitted; spreading myself too thin, 5he moment I stopped doing this to myself was the moment that I realized that I am worthy of rest. That taking a break doesn’t define me as lazy. It actually makes me a smarter business woman and a better friend. So the world won’t end if you take a break. I promise.
8. Society isn’t in charge of your happiness
I’m 32 and I’m not married. I’m also 32 and I don’t have babies. I don’t have a steady 9-5 job and I freelance to make a living. Society looks at this sometimes and raises an eyebrow. What they fail to consider is that they’re not in charge of my happiness and well being. I am. I’m not married because it isn’t something that I need to do to feel whole. Is it something I want for myself? Absolutely. But do I let it define the progress and realness of my relationship? Absolutely not. The same applies for kids. Yes, I want them. But I also want to accomplish a lot of other things before I’m solely responsible for another life outside of my own.
When I decided to quit corporate, society’s fears were projected on to me time and time again: How would I afford my rent? What about health insurance? How would I get steady work? The same happened when I decided to stop taking on large traditional weddings each weekend. “But that’s where all the money is!”
The fact of the matter is that if you want it bad enough, you’ll figure it out. It’s as simple as that.
9. Turn your phone off on a regular basis
Powering down your phone entirely is so incredibly therapeutic. Feeling completely disconnected from the world for even just an hour can do wonders for your mind and well being. Try it! Just like lesson #7, the world wont end if you power down for a bit. My favorite time of day to do this is either early in the morning when I’m getting my writing done, or later in the evening around dinner time.
10. Don’t spend your time comparing yourself to others
The moment I decided to free myself of comparison was the moment that I not only felt more creative and inspired, but I felt like I was able to be the best version of myself as a whole – a better friend, a better partner, a better sister, daughter, aunt. When we let go of society’s expectations (see #8) and instead create our best lives through authenticity, we’re offering a unique energy that only we can give out. The world needs more of what you’ve got. The world needs more calm, more good. Remember that.
So what about you? Have you given any thought to what you’ve learned throughout this past year? It’s a practice that I think is so important. Especially if you feel like you’ve had a bit of a hard year — it reminds us that even through the bad, we’ve sought out some good. Even though the struggle, lessons were learned and we’re no doubt better for it. Happy Monday, loves.