Happy Monday Fabbies! Sound the alarm! Today is my birthdayyyyyyyyy! Whoooooo hooooooooo! (Insert dancing girl with the red dress emoji here) Before I begin celebrating (which will include drinking champagne all day perhaps? Making brownies for the kids to celebrate, and probably lazing around the house for the better part of the day), I wanted to write a post on some of the things that I have learned so far in my 34 years of living.Having lived all around the country (and world for that matter, hello Italy!), I’d like to think of myself as cultured. Worldly even. And having lived all over the place for most of my adult life, I’ve met so many different people, made friends, and have been exposed to a plethora of situations either firsthand, or have heard the stories of life’s crazy events from people closest to me. Because of this, I have learned so much about life in general, people, and most of all, I’ve learned so much about myself. So today, as I become a year wiser (not older, just wiser haha), I wanted to share some of these things that I have learned.
1.) Never say never. Seriously. Just don’t. Don’t ever say “I would NEVER do______!” Let me tell you why: Because you just never know. We literally cannot predict the future. If you would have told me that I would be living in Arizona for instance, I could never have even imagined this years ago! Also, I would have never thought that meditation would be a part of my daily routine. Also, before becoming a vegan, I remember I would always say: “I am NEVER giving up cheese! I love it too much.” And here I am, not having had cheese (or any dairy for that matter) for well over a year. You just never really know what God/the universe really has planned for you, so you have to leave yourself open. Never say never!
2.) If you’re not growing, you’re dead. This is one of my favorite “quotes” I guess you could call it. We should all be living our lives with this frame of mind. I am no longer the person I was 2 years ago. I’ve grown. I have evolved. For the past 6 months or so, I have really become conscious and aware of who I am to the core, and also, who and what I strive to be. I am not where I want to be in every aspect of my life. I have so much more growing to do! And sometimes, growing is not always easy. “Growing” also means that you may have to look in the mirror, and confront what flaws you may have, and then make a declaration that you are going to try your best to correct or fix that flaw. The hardest part though, is owning that you DO have flaws. We all have them. Admitting to ourselves exactly what our flaws are can be hard. But owning what we know we could improve on only helps us grow into becoming the best version of ourselves.
You want to hear one of my flaws? I sometimes cut people off when they are talking. I sometimes talk fast, especially when I am nervous or excited, so if I am talking to somebody and they are telling me a story for example, I sometimes excitedly interject while they are talking mid-sentence. Or, if I am having a disagreement, I will sometimes interrupt because I just HAVE to say something right at that moment. This is not good! I have to really work on being an active listener.
3.) If something no longer fulfills you or adds to your life, let it go. This could be any and everything in your life: A Job, a boyfriend, a friend, an acquaintance, habits that are not good for you, anything. Again, this is not something that is necessarily easy to do for some. For many, “letting go” is extremely hard. It is often hard, because after this happens, then things change. And we all know that many of us do not like change. You’re at a job where you do not feel fulfilled, but you stay because you’ve been there so long/don’t want to look for another job/scared of what may happen next… You’re with a guy that treats you like sh*t, disrespects you, stresses you out, etc; but you stay because you fear “starting over.” “What if I don’t meet someone else?” you ask yourself. You have got to let these things GO! Yes! It’s going to be hard at first. Yes! You may feel uncomfortable having to sever certain ties. But at the end of the day, your personal happiness should be your top priority, and if the people around you, or the things you do are NOT adding to your happiness, then you must, in my best Elsa from Frozen voice: let it go!
4.) Read the labels on food products when you grocery shop. Don’t debate me on this. We live in a world where we need quick, fast, convenient EVERYTHING! The United States of America is a country that loves convenience. Because of this, the food industry of course wants to capitalize off of making “convenient” food products for us. The way they do this, is they insert manufactured ingredients into much of the packaged and processed food so that it can last longer. (Most people don’t want to keep taking trips to the grocery store. They want us to have the convenience of not having to shop for certain food often, because these processed foods can stay on our shelves now for weeks and sometimes months on end!) Now, what are these “manufactured ingredients?” They are typically the words that you can’t pronounce. They are also artificial sweeteners, chemicals, factory-made coloring and fats, and much more. So as you’re perusing the grocery aisle and checking off your list, start really paying attention to the list of ingredients on what you’re buying. If you’ve never heard of something, look it up right then and you’d be surprised at what exactly it is that these food companies are putting in many of our favorite snacks and foods. Be careful of what you’re putting into your body everyday! (Here’s a place to start if you want to research: 10 Worst Toxic Food Ingredients
5.) Showing Gratitude and Being Grateful Makes you more optimistic in general. This is so true. And I know from first hand experience, because I am an eternal optimist. What can become challenging, however, is being mindful of what you’re grateful for during times of adversity, despair, or struggle. Oh it’s easy for us to be grateful when we just got a promotion, just got a new house, a new boo, or whatever. “THANK YOU GOD! I GOT THE JOB!” But when times are tough, those are the times that you have to especially dig deep and find what you’re grateful for. When you are able to see the positives in your life surrounding a particularly unfavorable situation, it helps you better cope with life’s hardships: “Gratitude is associated with optimism and has been determined that grateful people are happier, receive more social support, are less stressed, and are less depressed.” Be grateful! It has a direct correlation with your happiness! (you can read more about this HERE.)
6.) Forgive yourself. Sure you’ve made some bad decisions. Sure you’ve done things that you regret. Sure you’re maybe still paying the price for a bad decision that you made years ago. Sure you’re upset with yourself because of x, y, and z, and keep beating yourself up about it. Here’s the thing: It’s okay. As long as you’re living, you are going to make mistakes. You are going to perhaps disappoint yourself. But without these wonderful mistakes, how else would we grow and become better?! (refer to #2. We all need #2.)
7.) Don’t spend a fortune on clothes. Matter of fact, always look for the sale first. I have lived by this for as long as I have been shopping. So basically all my life hahaha! But seriously, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to look great. With stores like H&M, Forever21, American Apparel,(soon FRB hehe) and the list goes on, it is relatively easy to find places that have cute and affordable items where you are not breaking the bank. Spend any extra money you have on traveling and making memories. Not on some fancy outfit that will only get worn once or twice.
8.) Parenting is hard work. I know we have all heard this before. Maybe your parents told you. Maybe your friends who have kids have told you. And the reality is, you only realllllllyyyyy find this out when you become a parent yourself (or have to help raise a kid(s). And one of the reasons that parenting is hard work is because you really cannot properly “prepare” to become a parent. Sure, you can take parenting classes, you can make sure you have a nice nest egg saved so that you can properly care for a baby, you can read countless books, listen to the advice of family members and such, but oh honey! None of that compares to actually raising a child of your own in real life. Once you have a kid, you kind of get thrown into the game immediately. You get frustrated. You try to carve out time for yourself. You lose sleep. You second guess yourself. You grow impatient. You worry. You turn to ‘Google’ as a guide for when your child gets sick, then you freak yourself out more because what you’re reading is giving you the worst of the worst, so then you panic. But you can’t panic in front of your child because you’re a parent, and well, you can’t show your kid that you’re freaking out now can you? And listen, I haven’t even skimmed the surface. Just know that being a parent is more than pushing your baby in that cute stroller or buying matching mommy and me outfits. It’s work. You’re in charge of cultivating their mind. You’re charge of what they eat. You’re in charge of showing them, guiding them, protecting them, teaching them what’s right, providing a sense of love and security (that children desperately need), and so much more.
9.) It’s okay to have that second piece of cake. But just don’t eat that second piece all the time. And! Make sure that you’re incorporating some sort of physical activity to burn that 2nd piece of cake off. Sex counts as cardio too FYI. ;p
As I wrap up this post, let me tell you a quick story:
It was November 2001, when I turned 19 in college. I was at The University of Memphis in my apartment that I shared with 3 of my basketball teammates. I was getting ready for bed, and right before I went to sleep, I said my prayers. I was a Freshman at the time, and I remember thanking God for giving me the opportunity to be where I was, (in college on a basketball scholarship), and for being happy and healthy. My grandfather had passed away a few months before my 19th birthday, which deeply saddened me. I remember thinking of him on my birthday as well, and being sad that he was no longer here. I teared up a bit, but I also knew just how proud he was of me, and I felt so grateful to have gotten the chance to know him for 18 years of my life. And that led to a snowball effect, where I began running off a list of the many things that I was grateful for. I just remember being tearful and thankful, and laughing at myself for crying because of how grateful I was.
15 years later, I turn 34, and I am filled with that same gratitude. My life is nowhere near perfect. I get stressed out. I become overwhelmed sometimes. I get sad. I feel vulnerable sometimes. I make mistakes. But even with life’s pendulum continuing to swing in the direction of bliss, then to adversity, then to everything else in between, I am extremely grateful to live this life. Deep down, I am still that 19 year old Freshman in college that was just beginning adulthood and trying to figure life out. At 34, I am wiser, I know what feeds my soul, and I know that life is truly a precious gift. However, I still have so much to learn, and still am trying to “figure it out”. I can only hope that even one year from now, I will be that much better than I am today.
Have a wonderful week! And in honor of my birthday, have a drink for me! Cheers!