Lessons on Lessons: 2018 Reflections & 2019 Intentions

Trying to get back to my writing roots... I’ve been contemplating what to begin with for a few months now and every time I sit down to write, my mind goes blank. It’s as though I’ve forgotten what a wild ride it’s been lately – 2018’s experiences have provided me with more writing content than I’d ever know what to do with.

With that, I decided to do a short recap of what this year has been like. I know the year isn’t over quite yet, but being that this has been a year FULL of growth and change, I thought it made more sense to acknowledge that growth now so I can use these last 2 months to really push it over the top and close it out with a bang. Waiting until New Year’s Eve to make unrealistic resolutions hasn’t worked well for me in the past. So, 2018… For starters, I’ve moved 4 times in the past 14 months. I went from living alone, to living with a roommate, to living with my best friend (and boyfriend), James. James and I just found a new house, which is where we currently live, and it finally feels like a HOME.

We traveled to Europe for 14 days in September and visited London, Venice, Split, Dubrovnik and Montenegro with a short one-night pit-stop in Houston to break up all the flying.

Back in May, we traveled to Kona, Hawaii, when the volcano was erupting on the opposite side of the island, which turned out to be an amazing trip in itself due to the low number of tourists wandering around. Kona is a sleepier island to begin with, but we were glad to be at our beach-side resort with nothing to do but eat sushi and love on each other.

Over the course of about 5 months, we visited Mammoth, Yosemite National Park, Sequoia National Forest, Death Valley, Palm Springs and Joshua Tree National Park. Plus, a quick trip to Disneyland because, well, Disneyland.

We’ve got Orlando on the books for next month (we leave in 10 short days!) to visit Universal and Disneyworld, since I’ve never been, which we're both anxiously awaiting! Before Summer started, I began the process of transitioning away from co-owning my business to owning it outright, and within 30 days I became the sole owner and operator of my social media company. Besides meeting James, this was definitely the best thing to happen to me in 2018. It was also the scariest thing to happen to me, but I guess this is how we learn.

Let me tell you, having the rug pulled out from under you is a sure-fire way to accelerate to the top of “self-growth” charts. It’s literally sink or swim. (And then, before you know it, you’re on the other side of it like, “NEXT!” *insert strong-arm emoji.)

I partnered with a girlfriend to start a book club at the beginning of the year, which now meets once a month to discuss hand-picked feminist literature with a group of ever-changing ladies from all around our community. We’ve had 8 meetings in 2018 and they continue to get better each time. We continue to learn, grow, and foster a safe space for women to talk about important political factors in their lives – sharing how “the personal is political”. Most recently, James and I decided to start a new project together, which I am probably most excited about out of anything I’ve worked on in the past. It’s such an amazing feeling to have a boyfriend who supports me in every aspect of my life – to have a person push me to do the things that make me eager to get up each morning (although, who am I kidding? I LOVE sleeping in). I am incredibly grateful to have a support system in him, which allows me to do the things I’ve always wanted to do, but couldn’t afford to spend my time and/or energy focusing on before. [More on this project coming up soon.]

2018 has been a year filled with growth, change, lessons in friendship and love, self-reflection and inner-work, a lot of adventure and a significant share of stress. There was some self-doubt, for sure, and there were a couple times when I thought the world was ending (my* world), but as you well know, life went on and things turned around – the way they always do.

One of the most important phrases from this year’s lessons came from James. I was struggling with what I wanted to do with my business, career and life in general, and was stressed to the max for about 45 days straight (sorry, James, what a nightmare). Every time I felt like giving up and starting from scratch on something new, he’d say “this feels shitty right now, but in 30 days you’re going to realize this doesn’t even matter; In 30 days, you’re going to be so thankful for what is happening to you right now.”

He was right. It was almost exactly 30 days that had passed when I finally started to feel the stress and weight being lifted. Not only did I not care about what happened 30 days prior, but I was thankful it happened. This was one of the most relevant lessons I could have learned, mostly because it reinforced what we all already know. Change is tough.

Typically, we come out better, but the start always feels brutal. It’s disruptive. It’s uncomfortable. It’s unpredictable. It throws you out of your routine and makes you consciously and actively think about what is going to happen next – or how you’re going to make something happen next. It’s chaotic at times. But, oohhh is it liberating!!

Looking back at it now, it’s as if I’m holding a snow-globe with my life inside – I am stationary in the center and all of life’s “things” are settled at the base. I can shake it up and see, at once, all the things that are being disrupted. But, I can also see how all of those things are starting to settle back down around myself. To the stationary version of myself, life looks like complete and total chaos. Life is throwing things at me from every direction. It’s as if it will never calm down. But of course, as more things settle next to me, less things are floating around me, and eventually there aren’t any lingering disturbances left.

There is peace in the globe. Clarity. A new foundation has been laid. Once this happens, I can’t remember what all those tiny pieces looked like before I shook the globe. I do know, it’s hard to imagine looking at it and seeing anything other than what I see now. And the miniature version of myself wouldn’t recognize anything other than the “now” version of the globe, either. Once the pieces are settled, it becomes the new reality and it’s hard to even remember what life was like before it got turned upside down. 2018 has been a stepping-stone of sorts. It feels like the bridge between my immature and wild twenties to my meaningful, driven, adventurous and purposeful thirties.

In a lot of ways, 2018 was the “Spring Cleaning” of my life.

I purged a LOT of garbage from my life – literally and metaphorically. I read countless books like, “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck”, by Mark Manson, which pushed my already-low-tolerance-for-bullshit attitude to new heights. A couple of pretty important people were removed from my life, which was a lesson in and of itself. Being someone who has always been very attached to the idea of “closure”, 2018 taught me how to cope when there isn’t any – because we don’t always get closure, even when we think we’re entitled to it. This has been a year of attitude-shifts, new perspective, loss, growth and a whole lot of love. More love than I ever could have imagined. As great as subtly not giving a fuck is, it’s also pretty cool to figure out what you do give a fuck about. And 2018 had a lot of that, too. Figuring out what you give a fuck about is probably more important than learning how to not give any fucks.

With that, my conclusion comes from the inside of a coffee mug and an inside-joke we have in our house, which is: purpose fuels passion. James and I have made fun of this mug since the day I brought it home from Target, but as funny as it is, it’s got so much truth behind it. Without purpose, what are we passionate about? What are we working towards? Without purpose, we’ll end up in some random existential crisis, crying in a bathtub one night, trying to figure out the meaning of our life. Without purpose, we feel lost.

So, a broad resolution and set of intentions for 2019: make this a year of purpose; I will live purposefully. I will write, travel, connect, and love with purpose. This will be my most purposeful and passionate year yet. I can’t wait. xx

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