What I’ve learned this year (2016)
2016. A year of growth. A year of ups and downs that exceeded any growth I’ve ever done in the past. This year there was immense happiness 😃, heartbreak 💔, road trips 🚗, being in the outdoors 🌲🏕🏔, community and stepping WAY out of my comfort zone. My hope is that by sharing these experiences with you that something will resonate in some kind of ripple effect. That maybe the lessons I’ve learned could maybe teach you something. (*full disclosure…this is my most vulnerable piece. Don’t feel obligated to read the whole thing.)
As I type this it’s within the second hour of the last day of the year. In less than 23 hours, the clock is going to strike midnight, couples kiss each other, mothers kiss their babies and I’ll be out driving taking drunk people home from the bars. Within those 23 hours, I’ll be looking back on this year and recanting the wins, failures, struggles and uphill battles. Because this year I have made a commitment….and it’s this: I COMMIT TO MYSELF! I am committing to a lifetime of amazing experiences including travel, photography, writing and being in love.
Lesson 1: Don’t Be Afraid To Fall In Love (and hold on to it)
Yes. I said it. Being in love.
Because being in love is the only time you feel a sense of purpose, a sense of being needed and that warm tingly feeling … all at the same time! This is one of those lessons I learned this year. I’ve fallen in love and had it taken away. But the feeling stayed strong and I can’t (and won’t) shake it. You see, when you find that someone who will laugh with you, cry with you, understand you, travel and go on adventures with you and fart with you (lol)…and you still want to be around each other. That’s not something to take for granted. And when this person you love so much wants to fulfill a dream of traveling solo, you let them. That’s just what you do! You take this as a growth opportunity. For the BOTH of you.
I used to think that being in love meant you had to be together all the time, but that’s just not the case. To be in love is to respect each other. To understand each other’s needs and dreams. Love is mysterious and I intend to ride this insane ride for as long as it takes.
How is this a commitment to myself, you ask? It’s a commitment to my happiness with someone I love. The true definition of LOVE. ❤️ Which brings me to…
Lesson 2: Don’t Be Afraid To Fall In Love … with YOURSELF
I had a hard time believing in myself prior to this year and thought I wasn’t good enough to fulfill my own dreams. I knew I was letting myself down, so I HAD to do something about it! After my heart was broken, I started to slip into that victim mentality, but soon realized: ” I was here before….AND IT SUCKED!” I didn’t want to be that person again. It got me nowhere and I wasn’t happy! I so desperately wanted to be happy, so I quickly tried to replace what once made me happy with something else: hiking. I joined several hiking Meetup.com groups. Although it took some time to get me out of that funk, I started to feel a little better. Out of that, I made some really good friends. I even spent Thanksgiving this year with some of them.
Doing these things that made me feel good gave me a reason to love who I already was. I was already good at what I did and I didn’t need other people to validate that. Also, I’m not afraid to try new things! Check this out…
Lesson 3: There Are So Many Amazing Things OUTSIDE Your Comfort Zone!
My comfort zone at the beginning of the year: settled in an easy job that I didn’t really like, dreaming about traveling the world, but not taking any action because I was afraid that I wasn’t going to be able to do it. I didn’t think I could trust anyone outside my current circle.
Once I looked my current existence and realized it wasn’t what I wanted to be, I made a conscious decision to take the necessary steps to be happy in every facet of my life. When you step outside of your comfort zone, you become aware of the amazing possibilities life could offer. I discovered my passion in life and everything and everyone I encountered somehow in some way was related to the forward motion toward manifesting that dream.
Before this year, I only went to one Meetup. This year I attended several! Before this year, I didn’t volunteer much, but this year, I wanted to volunteer to as many things as I could. I volunteered with Washington Trails Association, TEDx Seattle and The Mountaineers!
Before this year, I didn’t think to join an online (worldwide) community and this year after joining the Live Your Legend community, I’ve grown so much personally!
And before this year, I never thought I could benefit from having a coach. Stepping out of my comfort zone and not knowing what to expect, I obtained a coach and was a participant of a 6-month group coaching program. (Love you guys!)
Last year I talked about maybe starting a photography business, and THIS YEAR I stepped out and made my services known. I got several photo sessions from doing that and I’m building upon that success!
By stepping out of my comfort zone, I made truly amazing friends from all over the world, I became aware of what is possible for me and I took action towards making my dreams a reality.
Lesson 4: Find Your Tribe
This year I joined a community that I found at the perfect time, Live Your Legend. I’ve learned so much by being in this community. I didn’t know what “an online tribe” was even about, but I was determined to find out. You make these amazing connections and everyone is so damn supportive of your endeavors. Everyone is rooting for your success. And what’s more? You find yourself doing the same thing back. Everyone is genuine and authentic. Even though everyone’s endeavors are different and you resonate more with some than others, there is a small connection to the community as a whole.
I want to thank the Live Your Legend community and Scott and Chelsea Dinsmore for creating something that has made and will continue to make a huge difference in my life. Other connections in my life have stemmed from this origin and I’m incredibly grateful I’ve found my tribe. ❤️
Lesson 5: Travel MORE!
This really isn’t a lesson, but now that I know of all the opportunities that I could travel I’m A LOT more excited that I could really see the world! You could volunteer (WWOOF-ing, volunteer companies such as Bamboo-GVN), work abroad (cruise ships, yachts, teach English) or just pick up and GO! It’s all VERY possible and I learned all this by going to speaker events and travel Meetups. Know that travel is not so far-fetched! Get out there and travel! Even if it’s just in your very own backyard…explore your city, discover the hidden gems, try new foods.
“Travel. As much as you can. As far as you can. As long as you can. Life’s not meant to be lived in one place.” ~Anonymous
Travel is the best teacher and I intend to be a constant student of life.
Lesson 6: Go on a Solo Trip (and more)
This year I went on a solo road trip to Los Angeles. (Post on that coming soon…I hope. 😝) I didn’t know what to expect and I was nervous as hell! Didn’t know if I was going to get lost, hurt, kidnapped or worse! The outcome was an amazing experience of desert wandering (you should DEFINITELY have this experience if you’re visiting LA!), getting rear-ended, camping out last minute in a State Park and seeing things I’ve never thought I’d have the balls to do on my own. People are willing to help you out and I never felt like I was in danger. I made my own decisions and made the trip how I wanted it to be, despite certain setbacks.
It was one of the best experiences I’ve ever created for myself and I can’t wait to go on more solo trips! Watch out world!
Lesson 7: The Path of the World Will Unfold as It Should
In this world, people will live their lives as they see fit for themselves. The only thing you have control of is your own. This lesson is a pretty significant one for me. There are certain things I’d like to go my way that I don’t have control of and I just can’t force anyone to act the way I want. I can’t be selfish. That’s not who I want to be. Staying center to my true self and loving myself is what really matters, not how I want people to be. Everything that happens in the world, good or bad, is what is meant to happen. We can influence the path, but the outcome is out of our control. We make such a huge deal about the wrong candidate being elected or what is happening to planet Earth that we point blame and don’t take responsibility, no matter how minuscule our impact on these outcomes are. We can sit back, watch the world unfold and complain … or we can make conscious decisions to make our lives worth living.
2016…you’ve provided me with a foundation. A foundation that I can finally build upon. The people I’ve met, the things I’ve seen and the experiences are just the beginning of an epic adventure. What the future holds, I will never know. But I know this: I have the power to create whatever I want. I am devoted to my growth, I am COMMITTED TO MYSELF.
Let’s make the most of this year and the coming years of our experience-rich lives!