This has been the most difficult and also the most revitalizing year of my life. At the beginning of the year, I made a choice to leave behind a life of stagnant comfort for a more fulfilling and spontaneous one. For the first time in my life, I became completely self
sufficient. I moved from the cozy, quiet suburbs to a tiny little studio apartment in the midst of the hustle and bustle of Downtown Sacramento. I made the choice to end a 4 year relationship that no longer brought me joy, and felt the repercussions of that for a long period afterwards.
I’ve felt the highest of highs followed by the lowest of lows, and the incredible thing is.... I’m
still standing and stronger than ever. I’ve made an effort this year to truly get to know myself and get out of my comfort zone as much as possible. This effort has led to rewarding friendships, both new and old, and incredible memories that I might never have made. I’m still growing and I have soooo much left to learn, but I thought it would be fun to share 18 lessons I’ve learned along the way.
1. Get out of your comfort zone
Whether it is as small as trying a new food or as big as conquering an existing fear, just try
something that makes you feel a little uneasy. Too many of us miss out on incredible
opportunities because we’re afraid of the unknown, but more times than not we’re
missing out on something that could be great. I have an immense fear of open water,
however last month I had the opportunity to snorkel in the Caribbean ocean. After a
few minutes of panicking, my colleague grabbed my hand and lead me into the ocean where I saw the most incredible tropical creatures and created a forever memory.
2. Be OK with being alone
You never quite know yourself until you take some time to be alone in your own presence. Living alone was terrifying at first but my home has now become my place of calm. Take yourself on a date, go read a book at a coffee shop or just have a walk around your neighborhood. There is a sense of peace that only you can bring to yourself.
3. Money isn’t everything
I have always been more impressed by someone who makes a living out of there
passion rather than someone who simply makes a lot of money. When I went to school
for fashion, I had so much backlash from people that couldn’t understand pursuing a
career in the creative realm. I would much rather feel a sense of joy and purpose everyday than have an empty heart and full pockets.
4. If you want something, ask for it
I left a job last year that was exactly the job I wanted but the company I worked for made me completely miserable. I knew the fashion industry was slim in Sacramento, so I decided
to cold call and email every single place that I wanted to work at. Whether or not they
were hiring, I would simply send them my resume and ask if they could use someone
with my skills. This landed me my current opportunity working for an international
footwear company which I am so grateful everyday for.
5. Tell others that you appreciate them
I think people get so caught up in the day to day routine of things, that being thankful is
no longer routine. I try very hard to make an effort to communicate my appreciation,
because everyone loves to hear that they are valued.
6. Family is everything
Families come in all shapes and sizes, but at the end of the day they are always there for
you. I am forever thankful for my family. I have parents that have always put their kids
before themselves, and that love is overwhelming. I have 2 siblings which basically
means I have two permanent best friends. (Sorry guys, you're stuck with me!)
7. Give Back
One thing I love about my job is my ability to give back through our charity committee. I
have been able to work with organizations such as St. Jude, Ticket to Dream Foundation
and Habitat for Humanity and each event is just as fulfilling as the last. No matter your
status in life, there is always someone with less. It’s so important and humbling to serve
those around you.
8. Forgiveness is Key
I try very hard to not hold grudges, because I simply don’t need to carry around negative
energy. A few years ago, I had a bad falling out with someone who had been incredibly
important in my life. Time healed our issues and all it took was a simple I’m sorry and I
miss you for our friendship to resume. I couldn't imagine living the rest of my life without her because of a silly disagreement.
9. See the Good in People
I believe that most people have an innate good in them. Even the people that drive me
nuts (& trust me, there are plenty of people that drive me nuts!), I try to always take a step back and look at things from their perspective.
10. Life is about balance, eat the damn pizza!
Pizza and tacos might be two of my main food groups. While eating healthy is so important for your body, your mental well being is just as important. Find a good balance between eating well without having to say no to everything. Life is too short to be miserable at each meal. Be active, be conscious and eat some shitty food every once in a while.
11. Pets make everything better
I'm sorry, but I just do not trust someone who does not like animals. While I know not everyone can have a pet, if you're able to I would definitely suggest it. There is a sense of purpose that comes from caring for an animal. My day is always so much brighter with my two little weirdos, Lou & Daisy.
12. Acknowledge and accept your flaws
Nobody is perfect, some people just fake it way better than others. Instead of hating your faults, accept them and turn them into a positive. I for one have a severe case of foot-in-mouth syndrome (thanks mom) and I tend to say whatever weird crap comes into my head. I used to hate it, but now I have just come to accept the fact that every once in a while I am going to blurt out an inappropriate joke at the wrong time.... and it's ok!
13. Adulting sucks, Go Play
Life is way too short to take everything so seriously. While it's important to get your work done and run your errands, don't forget to take a moment and go play. Have a game night with friends and just goof off. The other day, my friends and I sat around a kitchen table and did nothing but laugh and joke for 3 hours straight, and it was so therapeutic. Try something new! Join a team sport or even just go play in the mud a little :)
14. Surround yourself with a variety of good people
This one is important for me as I am so grateful for the people I have collected in my life over the years. I have a friend for every occasion, and they each bring something equally special into my life. I have a bestie that is as sweet as pie and the biggest Disney fanatic, and her family always makes me feel at home (especially for Taco Sunday!). I have another friend who is incredibly driven and successful, and I know she would drop everything to be there for me whenever I need her. I have my goofball coworker turned bestie who has become my therapist in the last year (seriously, I should pay her for our lunch chat sessions). I have new friends that I have met in the last few years that quickly opened their hearts to me (shout out to my favorite F word and my Berkeley Babe, you know who you are). I have friends that I have known for years and reconnected with recently. It's funny how even though so much has changed since elementary school when we all met, we are still innately the same people and get along just as well. Lastly, I have my Lauren's, the pair that I am forever grateful for. These two connected with me senior year when I truly felt like I had no one, and we were so inseparable for the longest time. While we all took different paths in life, I know they will always be there for me. Long story short, my babes >>>> your babes.
15. Rest is Important
I am not the best at this lesson, but I have learned the hard way that you need to relax and be lazy sometimes. I used to feel guilty sitting down to watch a movie, because I would think of all the things I could be doing with my time. I would go and go and go nonstop until I would snap and become overwhelmed by everything. I would set unrealistic expectations for myself and always be disappointed when I couldn't achieve everything I wanted to. I have learned that in order to be at your full potential, you need to rest and give yourself a break every so often!
16. Dress however you want to!
People at work call me a chameleon because I will come in athleisure one day and then a vintage dress the next. Fashion should be fun; its an expression of your personality and someone's first impression of you. Play around with your style and don't be afraid to wear something outside of your comfort zone. Life is too short to wear boring clothes.
17. Know your worth
I spent the last few years feeling unworthy and unconfident in myself. One day, I just snapped and realized I am a pretty awesome person and I wasn't giving myself enough credit. I was so worried about what others though of me that I wasn't truly living to my full potential. When I finally let go of that worry, I found that not only have I become stronger, but my relationships with others have become stronger as well. We all were put on the earth because we have something uniquely special to offer, don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
18. Grow, always grow!
i don't think there will ever be a time when I am done learning and growing. I laughed when I graduated college because I knew that wasn't the end of my studies, but just the beginning of a new chapter. There is only so much that a book will teach you. Surround yourself with people who know more than you do, and soak in every bit of knowledge they have to offer. I have learned so much from my colleagues and mentors. Not just work related but in life. My boss is one of the most driven, on-point and attentive people I have ever known, and I am constantly looking to her for guidance. Allow yourself to adapt, change and grow and you will always flourish!