While I said hello to 2020 and blew a kiss to 2019 I realized how monumental and defining 2019 was for me. I gave birth to Greyson at the end of 2018, I fell in love with being a mom in 2019, and I got married to my best friend in 2019. I went on beautiful adventures, became a stay at home mama, met new clients for my business, wrote meaningfully, bought some great books, shopped till I dropped for my home and closet, organized my life, I accomplished inspiring home projects, and I blossomed as a person. I’ve never been happier and I took some time this month to understand what makes me happiest, what adds stress to my life, and what I can live with/without. I also realized that I’m not alone in how I feel and after talking to people around me, I learned that they feel the exact same way. In order to live your best life, a life that feels freeing, fulfilled and inspiring, you need to evaluate your own happiness and address any concerns (personal problems, goals, strengths, and weaknesses). I believe that there are aspects to our modern, chaotic world, and to human nature that hinders happiness and progress and we all possess characteristics that aren’t always helpful. 2020 can be a year filled with growth, insight, and exploration if you let go of the old and embrace the new.
Leave social media in 2019
In a world filled with people connected to their phones and social media 24/7, it’s unique and refreshing to be the one who’s not. I deleted Instagram off of my phone and I don’t plan on re-downloading the app. You can still find and follow me, but don’t expect any new posts or activity on my account. I’m a free spirit and very connected to nature, my soul, and daily adventures and Instagram kills all creativity, positive thinking, and passion. Social media is a distraction and a way to hide away from real life and meaningful moments. It’s so important for my generation to realize that social media is not real…it’s a turbulent world filled with negativity, insecurity, and drama. Instagram is one of the worst, in my opinion. It was also named as one of the main reasons for anxiety and depression in teens and young adults, which isn’t surprising. I got tired of seeing people post constantly for attention, approval, and validation. I got tired of knowing people close to me are struggling with various issues, but they hide behind selfies and filters. The worst is knowing someone isn’t happy with someone, but on social media, they pretend. I feel as though the only way your world changes around you is if you become part of the change. It’s okay to be different and stand out from the crowd. Those who dare to be a little distinct make an impact. I got rid of what I can live without and something I feel is toxic. I feel lighter.
I still have my Facebook which I’ll use occasionally, updating my profile picture and sharing sporadic, beautiful moments with my friends and family, because I do appreciate photography, but I also use my Facebook for my business and writing. I’m even going to be scaling back on how much I post on Facebook for my writing and business though because the less time you spend on any social media accounts the better. Before you go to bed, silence your phone and eliminate the use of social media and technology. Removing your phone and all technology before you close your eyes promotes healthy sleep. I put my phone down two hours prior to going to sleep and I leave it alone until the next morning. Social media causes sleep deprivation, impulsive purchases due to influencers, anxiety, depression, a negative body image, and too much distraction. Why do we need social media? The answer is, we don’t. We make excuses and are afraid to break away from the norms of society, but I promise you’ll feel better without it. Leave social media in 2019. Be the one everyone wonders about…not the one sharing every second and thought.
Friends can’t always be there for us
Growing up I watched way too much Disney Channel and ABC Family and I thought that friends were like the cast of Lizzie McGuire and Full House, constantly walking into your home and surprising you with amazing moments. I was always obsessed with Serena and Blair’s friendship on Gossip Girl, but is that honestly a realistic pair? Blair forgave Serena for sleeping with her first love/boyfriend, rescued Serena from her toxic past by manipulating and scheming, and they always dropped whatever they were doing at the time (or whoever they were doing at the time) to hop in a cab and run to each other.
I expected my friends to be there for me through anything and everything, for our adventures to be movie screen worthy, and for no issue to ever come between us. Over the years I’ve learned that friendships in the adult world are very different from high school television series and stories we loved growing up. Life is scary and crazy and sometimes we feel alone, even in a room full of people. There are issues we must solve for ourselves and elements we need to handle on our own and that’s called adulthood. You are your own best friend and no one knows you better than yourself.
I realized that no matter how much I want and need my friends by my side, sometimes my friends (no matter how much I love them), can’t always be there for me. Also, once you get married your time and attention shifts. My husband and son are my best friends and that’s a deep, different level of friendship. They come first, always. There are many things you will only discuss with your significant other when you get married because marriage is a partnership and very personal, which is the way it should be.
In order to live your best life, you need to know that friends aren’t bad friends just because they can’t always be there for you. When you grow up you need to learn to trust and confide in yourself and to depend on yourself more than others. Friends become busy with work, family drama, passions, problems, and romantic relationships. If they don’t call or text you, it doesn’t mean they don’t love you. They could have so much going on and simply don’t have the energy to be social. As a busy wife and mama, I can’t just drop whatever I’m doing to be there for my friends, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love them and that I’m not there for them.
People come and go
I’ve said goodbye to so many people who I never thought would leave. There are also those people who we don’t say goodbye to, but they simply fade away. It’s life. It’s adulthood. You should be able to depend on your close friends, family, and of course, your soulmate/significant other, but goodbyes are inevitable. Sadly, we never know who will stay and who will go. Forever is a very long time and the majority of the people you meet aren’t meant to stay forever. I’m a firm believer in fate, the universe having a plan for us, and in lessons. Some people are solely lessons learned. Every lesson comes with a price to pay, which might be a broken heart by someone who we thought loved us. I believe in soulmates and I know that my husband was meant for me and then there’s my ex, who was a very painful lesson.
Sometimes, someone embarks on a journey that requires starting over and moving on, maybe even moving somewhere and that’s it. They’re gone and living a different life, without you. Never allow someone’s presence or lack thereof to hinder your progress and stop you from moving forward. Remember the smiles, the laughs, and the lessons, and move on.
Count your blessings
You should always lay down at night with a grateful heart and count your blessings. You may have had a long, stressful day, or maybe you didn’t, but you shouldn’t ever take anything or anyone for granted. If you have clothes on your back, good health, and a roof over your head take a moment to smile and feel thankful. If you have someone sleeping next to you who loves you, take a moment to kiss them and tell them you love them. Never fall asleep angry, envious, or spiteful. There are so many people around us that have very little and even if they have it all, they don’t. Everyone has a battle they’re facing and problems that keep them awake at night. Sometimes, it’s nice to actually write down what you’re thankful for and what made you smile that day because the positives usually outnumber the negatives. Life’s not about perfection or winning and you never will win, so don’t try to. Life is about appreciating what you have and every moment, even the ones we learn from. The grass is only greener where you water it. Let go of jealousy and insecurities and make your life the life you want.
I’m at a point where I’m even thankful for the lessons life has given me and for those who’ve broken my heart, because they made me so incredibly lucky to have my husband and my current happiness. I wouldn’t know what love really is without the pain from my past. Count every blessing and be thankful for every second. We don’t get a do-over. This is our story and this is it.
Handle your stress but don’t add to it
We all have a breaking point and some of us suffer from anxiety. I am someone who has always had horrible anxiety. It’s actually so much better now that I’m older, a mom, and married to someone who treats me right, but I still have moments of high anxiety. I remember being stressed over slight things when I was a little girl, which sounds odd. How does a little girl even know what stress is? Well, she doesn’t. Little girls and boys don’t say that they’re anxious and stressed, they say that their stomach hurts, or that they don’t want to go to school, or to that party at a friend’s house. Anxiety and stress exist in every household, every culture, and every age group.
I’ve learned that the only way to handle stress is to just handle it. You have to deal with whatever’s stressing you out and you can’t add more to your schedule until you’ve checked everything else off. You also can’t hide behind a smile and play it off like you’re fine, because two glasses of wine later you’re an emotional wreck. My mind never stops going and when you’re constantly thinking you tend to add to your already heavy plate. Take a breath and don’t make any more plans…seriously, put the notepad and pen away. Tackle one thing at a time, one day at a time.
If you want to accomplish everything in one day (and you’re able to), you can. But, if you can’t, stop making yourself feel bad about it. Stress has a way of inviting friends over to play, meaning once you’re stressed about one thing, suddenly you’re stressed and anxious about everything. Have you ever gotten upset with a friend or a lover and then you find yourself cleaning and reorganizing everything around you? That is because your mind keeps going even after you think you’ve dealt with whatever’s bothering you.
Instead of stress cleaning, home projects, and lists, just sit down for a while and have a glass of wine. Read a book or watch a movie that makes you laugh. The laundry will still be there when you’re done taking a break, the lists will continue to unfold, and your workout routine can wait. Learn to say no to anything and anyone that makes you anxious. I don’t go anywhere that I hate and I don’t spend time with negative, toxic people who add stress to my life, or my son’s life. If I don’t wish to spend any time with you, you probably have a negative vibe, or you stress me out. I stopped working in fashion retail and became a stay at home mom in 2019 because I added too much to my plate. Stop stressing yourself out and remove some of the weight from your shoulders. Don’t be scared to make changes that will, in the long run, make you happier.
Spend less, save more
The older I get, the more I appreciate everything that I have and the fact that I’ve never gone without. I happily donate items I don’t want or need anymore and I love to save money. It’s okay to splurge and spoil yourself, but one of the true marks of being an adult is living for more than just the present, but also for the future. By saving money you’re thinking beyond your desires of the moment. As a parent, I’m always thinking ahead for my family. It’s important to spend the rest of your life with someone whose also big on saving, thinking ahead, but who also enjoys each moment. I love that my husband is smart with our money, but he also enjoys a healthy balance, just like I do. You can’t take it with you when you go, so there’s nothing wrong with spending money on what’s important to you and what makes you happy. Find the balance of saving and spending.
I’ve simplified my life and I’ve realized I don’t need as much as I once thought. Anyone who knows me knows I love to shop for myself and my home (I also love buying gifts for my husband and son), but I’ve never been more organized and content. I donated more this season than I have in many years and I’ve fallen in love with an organized, fresh canvas. My home is fresh and positive and by surrounding myself with beauty and organization it helps me save and stay focused on what’s important.
For those who struggle with buying too much and a lack of saving, take a moment to read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, because her book and words can help you beyond cleaning up your space. She also has a binge-worthy show on Netflix that will get you off the couch and creating the space you want (stay tuned for my blog entry about creating an inspiring space). Marie Kondo helps you to realize that in our materialistic world, less is always more. She repeats the same process of picking up an object and seeing how it makes you feel. Does it truly make you happy? If not, let it go. Now, I’m not a minimalist, but I do believe that there should be a balance. I love shopping, retail therapy, and beautiful things, but I don’t need to buy things in order to feel happy. Set a goal for how much you’re going to save each month and stick to it. You can be a little minimal and a little extravagant and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Decide what you truly want out of 2020 and allow that passion to fuel your savings habit. If you’re all about your home and creating a perfect space this year than save for your home. If you’re living for travel and experiences this year, than that’s what you’re saving for. If you’re staying humble and low key this year and you’re completely content, save for the future and what you want out of the next five years, and so on.
2020 is a bright, clean canvas and there’s so much time to make this year the absolute best for you and those around you. Let go of the negative and fill your life with positive thinking, inspiring moments, and people who are deserving of your time and energy. I wish everyone a gorgeous, healthy, and fierce year.