I suppose I owe an explanation as to why I’ve been so quiet the last few months. I wish I had something super exciting to say, but the truth is, I just needed a break. The last year or so has been extremely trying and I finally hit a burnout point. Working multiple jobs + doing freelance + keeping up the blog + working out + making time for friends and family…..while I knew it would catch up to me, I didn’t actually know how much it was affecting me until I let some of it go. It was quite incredible, actually. Here I thought I had just grown into a grumpy 27 year old that had a piss poor outlook on life, when in reality, I had just ground myself into nothing and then wondered where my happiness went.
Let me back up a few steps. At the end of October, I left a job that was not really serving me anymore. In turn, I wasn’t really serving it either. It all ended on good terms, it was just time for me to go. What happened in the week after that was completely unexpected. The clouds above my head started to fade, I found interest in things I had lost interest for, I felt the urge to talk to my friends and family of whom I’d somewhat neglected since spending time on the phone meant giving more of myself…and I had nothing left to give. Suddenly, I felt like ME again. The me I hadn’t seen or heard from in 2 years. What I learned the first week of November will stay with me for the rest of my life.
Because of this and because of the year ending/new year beginning, I figured this was as good a time as any to sum up what I’ve learned so far this year, and also put some of my goals out there for 2016. I’m not a New Year’s resolution type person at all…I set goals throughout the year, so a new year doesn’t really mean I need to suddenly change my path, however it is a great time to reflect and adjust goals, so that’s what I plan on doing.
25 Things I learned in 2015
- Save some money, but not all of it. Over the last few years, I became a supersaver. I was like a squirrel and spent my money on food and…well that’s about it. This past year, I’ve traveled more than in years past and realized that it’s so, so worth it. We are not promised tomorrow, and while I still save my money, I also spend it on traveling to see friends, family, and places.
- Don’t neglect your friends. Especially the ones that have been there forever. This one was a tough pill to swallow. I didn’t realize how awful of a friend I had been until I was able to pull my head out of the clouds and see it. Sure, I knew I wasn’t being friend of the year, but I didn’t realize just how secluded I’d become until those clouds cleared. Thankfully I’m able to make up for some lost time, but this was a harsh reality to face. I love my friends, and some of them have been around since I was a child. We have spent our whole lives together. How lucky am I to have people like that in my life? Never will I take that for granted again.
- Work is overrated. This doesn’t mean I don’t love what I do either. It means that if you bury yourself in work constantly, you miss out on a lot. Sometimes, there is a need to be buried, but let it be temporary. Don’t make the mistake I did and bury yourself so deeply that you are rarely seen out of that hole. Life is about more than just working, even if you love what you do. Friends, family, experiences…that’s what life is truly about.
- Don’t waste time caring about things that don’t matter. Oh, if I could take back the efforts and emotions I put into things that didn’t matter in the end. I am a very emotional person (and no, that doesn’t mean I just sit around crying all the time). It means that I’m highly driven by emotion. I care deeply about everything I do, sometimes to a fault. I tend to put my heart and soul into matters that may not be worth it. Ask yourself this: will this matter in 1 month? 1 year? 5 years? This has helped me to decide whether or not I should put my efforts into something or not. It’s not easy, but it does help.
- Pay to have someone else do it. I think this is definitely something that you start to learn in your mid-late 20’s. I’ve always been very self-sufficient and a DIY type of person. But sometimes it really isn’t worth the hassle or my time. I’ve learned that sometimes, it’s better to pay someone to do things you don’t like to do. Cleaning and organizing are at the top of my list. 😉
- You get what you pay for. In addition to the above, I’m super frugal and used to always buy the cheapest thing I could find to get the job done. What I found is that I have a lot of crappy shit that breaks. Not. Worth. It. You truly do get what you pay for, and spending a few extra bucks is totally worth it at times.
- Don’t try to change people. This is something you hear a lot, but then you actually start to realize what it means. People may try to change for you, but it won’t work. Unless it comes from them, it’s temporary. Let people be who they are. If who they are isn’t something you want to be around, that is your decision to step away. Trying to change them will not work.
- Eat the unhealthy, rich desserts when you want to. I spent years trying to healthify everything and/or staying away from high-calorie foods completely, especially desserts. But I’ve learned that when it’s worth it, having the real thing is the best choice. Gone are the days of me skipping pie at Thanksgiving or saying no to dessert at every meal. This doesn’t mean I’m just spending my days eating desserts, but when I want it, I have it. I haven’t gained a single pound because of it, either.
- Give. I donated more money, time, and things this year than ever before. It felt wonderful and I’m glad others were able to benefit. If we all gave a little bit more, this planet would have a lot less hate, I’m sure of it.
- Yoga isn’t so bad. Ha, this one is something I thought I’d NEVER say. I started taking yoga in October and have been going 2-4x/week ever since. Here’s what I figured out. I hated yoga so much before because I saw it as a workout. It is NOT the way I like to workout. It still isn’t. But when I started looking at it as a way to support my workouts, I started to love it. It stretches me out, challenges me in different ways, it clears up my mind and helps me focus, I can do more pushups than ever before, my abs are strong AF, it makes lifting weights feel better, and since I take a 6am class, I feel fresh and ready for the day by 7am. Yoga, you win.
- Don’t dictate what others spend their money on. This is something I learned via a Facebook post from a fitness professional. I’ve always been the person that says I won’t give a homeless person money, because I’m afraid they’ll spend it on drugs or alcohol and I don’t want to enable that habit. Instead, I’ll give them food, etc. But when I read what this person wrote, it completely changed my mind. Here’s the jist of what she said: ‘Sure, they might go buy heroin or whiskey with it right away, but i’m not the person that has to live on the streets begging for money. I also would never want someone to tell me how to spend my money, so why would I do it to them?’ It was so eye-opening to me. It’s true…regardless of what they’ll spend the money on, look at the life they’re living. I am thankful that I am not in their shoes and if I have some money to give, then I’ll give it. They can spend it on whatever they want, just like me.
- Don’t be a bully. Many people are bullies without even realizing it. It doesn’t only mean that you call people names or make fun of them, bullying can come in the form of using scare tactics and threats. Like when the AT&T employee won’t do what you want them to and you threaten to call their manager, report them, and cancel your service. Ask yourself, are they truly doing something wrong? Or are they just doing their job? Either way, there are better ways to handle that situation. You can bully them into you getting your way, OR you can be a better human and use honey. Be nice to people, be understanding of them and their situation (who knows what kind of day they’re having), and handle things accordingly.
- Don’t chase the money. Oh how I’ve done this too many times, and oh how it’s served me poorly each time. Money is great and unfortunately, very necessary. But if you do something simply for the money, you will not be happy. Guaranteed. Don’t believe me? Try it and see.
- Money doesn’t matter if you don’t have the time to do anything. There was a time where my bank account was really full and I couldn’t do anything with it but buy ‘stuff’. Stuff doesn’t make me happy, traveling does. Traveling meant I had to coordinate with 4 different jobs to be able to step away and have my responsibilities covered. There was just simply no time to actually enjoy the fruits of my labor and it sucked. I’ve since learned and was able to travel to 5 different states in 2015.
- We can learn a lot from dogs. Their ability to love you unconditionally, always be by your side, be happy to see you even if you were only gone for 30 seconds, and to watch them enjoy the simple things in life is really amazing. If only people could stop and smell the roses a bit more. We need cell phones, ipads, laptops, tvs, and often all at the same time in order to be entertained. A dog just wants to sleep, eat, play, and snuggle.
- Talk about stuff. Sure, it’s easier to just push it all down and move on, but talking about issues is usually the better option. Try to stay calm, express your feelings and thoughts, let the other person do the same, and try to understand each other. Most people go into an argument wanting people to understand THEM, switch it up. It makes a world of difference.
- Life isn’t the fairy tale you imagined. Often times, we want to change where we live, what we do, who we’re with, and all because we’ve decided “this isn’t the life I imagined I’d have”. Well, you’re probably right. And it never will be. Sure, you can manifest what you want to include in your life, and it definitely doesn’t mean you won’t be happy, but understand that there will be boring times, ugly times, annoying times, and times you just want to get away from it all. That doesn’t mean you’re in the wrong spot, it’s just the part they leave out in movies and books.
- Give someone an inch, they’ll take a foot. I used to believe that if you helped someone out, they’d be appreciative. Wrong. They’ll take that and want more. It’s sad and hard to believe, but 9 times out of 10, that’s the case. I also don’t want to grow into a selfish person, so having boundaries is really important. Give what you’re comfortable giving, and when/if that person asks for the foot, stand your ground.
- Being strong is cooler than weighing a certain amount. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, feeling strong is one of the coolest things in the world. Who cares what the scale says? Focus on getting stronger, getting more reps in, and feeling awesome. You’ll be surprised at what happens to not only your confidence, but your body too.
- There’s not much a good workout can’t solve. Sure, it might be temporary, but when it’s just you and the weights, world problems can be quieted, if only for just a few moments. Take your stress to the gym, it’s a good place to let out your frustrations.
- Stop being so hard on yourself. I was the QUEEN of pushing myself to the limits and then beating myself up when everything didn’t happen exactly as it should. That’s the type A in me. All or nothing, perfect or shitty. I’ve since learned to not give a shit quite as much. If things don’t go exactly as planned, I shake it off and move forward. It’s been so freeing and made me a much happier person.
- You don’t have to know what you want out of life. I always felt so behind and messed up because I wasn’t (and am still not) sure what I want to do with my life. I’m actually totally okay with that. There’s no rule in the book of life that says you MUST know what you want to do. I have a lot of interests, a lot of skills, things that make me happy, things I’d rather not do. I’ve put a life together that encompasses a lot of that. Is it perfect? Nope. Is it what I want to do forever? Not sure. But is it making me happy now and shaping me? Yup. And that’s all it needs to do right now.
- Not knowing what you want doesn’t make you any less of a person than someone who DOES. This was one I had to learn in a really harsh way. I have literally had people act like their job/passion was superior to what I did because they KNEW it was what they wanted their entire life. They would even tell me that. You know what I have to say to that? Congratulations to you. That makes you no better than I. You do you, I’ll do me. Oh, and fuck off. 😀
- Make time to watch funny videos on the internet. I have very mixed feelings about the internet. Anyone that knows me knows that while I use the shit out of them, if there was a big red button that said “KILL THE INTERNET FOREVER” I’d push it without even thinking about it. I miss the simpler times and all of this technology, while good in ways, is more of an annoyance to me. Yeah, I’m THAT kind of person. With that said, the internet is here to stay, and so are videos of dogs acting like humans as well as hilarious people like Matt Bellassai. For that I say, thank you internet.
- Deleting Facebook from your phone is life-changing. You don’t have to do it forever, but do it for 1 week every now and then. You can still check it when you’re at a computer, but you’d be surprised at how much LESS you stare at your phone when you don’t have social media in the palm of your hands.
25 Things I’d like to do in 2016
- Travel More. So far I’ve got Hawaii, Big Bear and Utah on the books. I’d like to add Portland, Baltimore, and New York to that soon as well as another trip to Chicago!
- Do Less. I started doing this in October and plan to continue to make it a priority. In this situation, less is so, so much more.
- Stress Less. Stress is oddly enough something that we do have control over. It’s not EASY to control, but it is doable. I plan to work on stressing less as much as possible.
- Spend more time with friends. I’m already taking an active role in this and will continue to spend more and more time with my friends.
- Spend more time with family. Same as above.
- Try new hikes. I hiked way less in 2015 than any years before. It’s a hassle to drive through LA traffic to get to a hike, so I need to plan it better to avoid said traffic. I’d like to hit up my favorite trails + add some new ones to my list this year.
- Care Less. There’s a lot of stuff that I can’t control. I’m focused on caring about it less, and just living more. I’ll leave the caring to myself, my friends, my family, and my dog.
- Give more. More charity, more of my time. I want to do something at least every quarter, but likely much more than that.
- Get strong AF. This is ongoing, but getting strong is fun. I want to just get as strong as possible (safely, of course).
- Don’t overextend myself. I’m the queen of saying yes to everything and then being completely exhausted by it. I’m going to think things through a bit more and say yes more mindfully.
- Say yes more. While this may seem to contradict the above, sometimes I turn things down because it seems like a hassle or I’m tired or lazy or whatever. Often times, they are super cool experiences that I should totally say yes to. I plan on saying “yes” to more of those things in 2016.
- Spend more time near the ocean. I live next to the beach and only go there every few weeks or sometimes even less than that. (Typical Californian) I’d like to go at least 1x per week, whether it’s to swim, walk, roller blade, or just sit.
- Plan an international vacation. It may not actually happen in 2016, but I’d like to plan and book a trip to Europe this year. I want to see sooo many places, but Poland, Czechoslovakia, Germany, and Hungary top my list.
- Snowboard. I haven’t snowboarded in 4 years. I am going to go at least 3x this year dammit!!!! 😀
- Move. I want to live in a house. Apartment living has gotten old. Location TBD.
- Go to nice dinners more often. This is something I was never into, and I’m still not really big on it. I don’t like fancy food (just give me a burger!), but it is nice to treat yo’self every now and then.
- Blog more. I love writing. It is therapeutic, fun, allows me to reach and help others, and something that makes me happy. I shall do more of it.
- Be less messy. I tend to leave shit all over the place. I should put stuff away more often.
- Get rid of things I don’t use/need. I loveeeeee to keep everythinggggggg. I have shirts from high school that still fit me, but that I’ll never wear again. Because of that, I keep them thinking, “what if I want to wear this one day”. I have got to get rid of clothes, shoes, and other random things I’ve kept over the years that I’ll never miss. Like Nike, JUST DO IT. (this one’s gonna be hard)
- Learn how to cook more things. I have my teeny, tiny library of things I can cook and I think that since I’m almost 28, it’s time for me to expand that a bit.
- Take more down time. Even if it’s just 15 minutes, I want to do more sitting, or walking outside and just BEING.
- Use my phone less. I stare at it way too much. It’s going to take work, but i’m going to make a conscious effort to stare at it less. Especially while I’m just waiting in line or whatever. I don’t need to be staring at my phone. I can just wait in line and do what I’m there to do. Wait. Know what I mean?
- Simplify. This kind of goes with the above statements, but I want to downsize, simplify, get rid of anything that I don’t need or isn’t serving me. This also includes non-tangible things like thoughts and old baggage. I want it all gone.
- Pamper myself more. I always skip the pedicures and massages because while it sounds nice, I think “i could use that money on something else”. I think that’s a good way of thinking most of the time, but sometimes, I just need to get my damn toes did. Na’ mean?
- Enjoy life. It’s actually a really beautiful thing and I am very lucky to have what I have, be what I am, know who I know, and have these opportunities. I’m healthy, happy, young and sometimes I just have to remind myself of that. Life is good.
Question of the Day
1. What is one thing you learned from 2015?
2. What is one thing you’d like to do/not do in 2016?