Holy cow – New Year’s Eve is TWO DAYS AWAY! It’s kind of unnerving to think how fast this year flew by and it got me thinking, what did I do with all that time? Did I make an impact in someone else’s life? Did I use my talents to positively change my surroundings? Did I improve myself? Did I learn?
Working in the healthcare industry and critical care, I quickly learned the value of time and how precious life really is. You hear it all the time and yet, you never think the old “never take a day for granted” or “you never know how long you have” applies to you. Within a year I lost two people very suddenly and unexpectedly – I promise you those mantras are harder to swallow in retrospect. So with that being said, I wanted to make a list not only of what I have valued/learned/cherished from 2017, but also what I will and won’t be doing in the coming New Year. Personally, I think resolutions are crap, they’re easily broken and often something we aren’t fully vested in, particularly for long stretches of time or anything resembling permanent life changes. I’d rather learn from lessons of the past to make for a more promising future.
2017 in Review
The past year has been full of growth, surprises, hardships, and opportunities of all shapes and sizes. I enjoyed a birthday in the Bahamas with my in-laws, started my doctorate, trekked through France (see the Hall of Mirrors below), celebrated one year of blogging (July), I even joined YouTube! I was blessed with new friendships, stepped away from others. I left my transplant profession and started teaching. I mourned the loss of my mother in law and have learned so much about the woman she was in the process. I’ve been lost in the transition and have discovered more about myself than I’ve ever known.
In my self discovery and reflection on this past year, I’ve set new visions and dreams I want to accomplish within different aspects of my life – which I’d like to share with you. Whether it’s self-improvement or a new goal, we must always strive to grow, learn, and improve otherwise – what are we living for?
When I think of what surrounds our daily lives, obviously the first and foremost is our own beautiful selves: our minds, thoughts, habits, hobbies, etc. We have the people in our lives, the relationships (whether they be good or bad) that influence a huge part of ourselves. There are those things we call our careers (whether we love them or not) that ultimately provide for our daily living. Lastly, there is the bigger picture – the grand world in which we live in, the intricate webbing of humans, animals, politics, religion, you name it.
You know the best trick to keep yourself on track? Pin this post! If you’ve made any goals by reading through this list, you’ll be reminded of your progress!
Us – Me, You, Our Minds, Our Hearts
You ever hear that “you’re your own worst enemy?” Or better yet, “no one can really love you until you love yourself.” I really used to sneer at those, thinking they were such pish posh. How wrong I was! When I look back at rough periods of my life, when my mind or my heart (or both) were in turmoil, I was a wreck! Not only personally but I wasn’t loving or compassionate with those around me. I’ll be the first to admit I can be extremely selfish, often when my periods of depression sink their gruesome claws into me. I focus on me and lose sight of anything else. Isn’t that disgusting? And we’re all guilty of it. So I’m telling you now, find your inner peace – cherish yourself back to a place of love and it will radiate from within. That sounds super corny and something like Mr. Rogers (remember him and his cardigans?) would say but it speaks so much truth. So here’s how I try to maintain my own homeostasis and more of what I want to do in 2018:
- Pamper yourself – go for that pedicure you’ve been yearning for, book that massage. Relax away the negativity and stress!
- Create a reading list – read more books! Remember in the Holiday when she says she buys all the good books but never reads them? TOTALLY guilty of this. I have piles of books just collecting dust because I was “too busy” to pick one up. This year, I’m changing that. Reading helps me lose my thoughts and reset my mind. Need help finding something to read? I’ve joined Hello Book Lover, a monthly book subscription and I LOVE it!!
- Exercise – Yes, I’m serious. Endorphins are the best drug and your cardiovascular system will thank you for it. Whether you’re doing it for the joy, the health benefits, or even weight loss, I encourage you to get moving. Grab a pair of good headphones, put on some serious booty shaken’ jams and get that blood moving! Better yet, find a form of exercise that you can’t get enough of! Love to dance? Try dance classes or zumba! Not your thing, maybe try spin classes. I recently joined CycleBar here in uptown Dallas, and it’s lit – and I never say that.
- DRINK MORE WATER – add some lemons or cucumbers or berries and detox that beautiful bod! Start your day with hot water with some lemon, it’s the BEST way to flush your system and set your body right for the day. I can definitely see a difference when I do and don’t drink enough water: I’m more energized, have no headaches or migraines and have better breath!
- Kick that soda habit – I only drink ginger ale when I have an upset stomach otherwise I’ve stepped away from soda entirely. I can’t even begin to tell you how awful it is for you!
- Smile – Remember in Patch Adams when he went around trying to provoke smiles in strangers on the sidewalk by exhibiting kindness? I freaking love that and so do most people! Random acts of kindness, even a smile, really can make the difference in someone’s day and potentially their life. And what does it cost you? Nothing. Just the twitch of a facial muscle!
- UNplug – step away from the phone, the laptop, the iPad/tablet .. whatever. Spend some actual FaceTime with people in your life. Meet up for coffee, go out for a glass of wine, watch a movie and snuggle (even if it’s with your pets). It’s so easy to just absorb ourselves in our technological appendages and forget about the world around us. I’ve been reading a new book I got in my new Faith Box called Present over Perfect – it’s so good! I encourage you all to give it a read!
- Find motivation – I definitely missed the podcast bandwagon – i’m going to try to get into them more this year. There’s such a plethora of knowledge and motivational material out there! Do you have any favorites? Share them with me!
- Garden – You guys, I used to have a beautiful garden in Salt Lake City. My roses were insane! and the hummingbirds…. If you didn’t know, they’re my favorite animal! I’m so excited to be building a house so I can build a garden again! There’s something very soul-cleansing about digging around in the dirt and growing something beautiful (minus the spiders). Don’t have a yard? Try a window planter or a little succulent garden!
- Cook more – I’m the WORST about always ordering in – It’s incredibly easy to do in Dallas with the zillions of delivery apps available. I’m definitely going to be cooking more this year – I really want to find some cooking classes to go to!
- Travel – the world is your oyster! Okay that was corny but seriously, the world is such a beautiful place. Take a weekend getaway to some place local or plan for an extended vacay – see the world while you can! I’m dying to go to Iceland, London, New Zealand, and Italy!
What other personal goals can you think of? I’d love to know!
As I said previously, the relationships in our lives shape so much of who we are. As we grow older, our relationships transform just as we do. They will either flourish, diminish, or cease entirely – and that’s okay! I used to think I needed to maintain every friendship from my youth – even when I had clearly changed from who I was back then, and others hadn’t. You start reaching the realization you no longer share commonalities with people from your past, and it either makes or breaks the relationship. Personally, I invest in those who invest in me. It sounds very snobbish but you can’t be the one who is always striving to keep something alive. It must be mutual, otherwise it becomes toxic. I cherish those in my life who appreciate the person I am, flawed and imperfect, and are okay with sometimes not talking or seeing each other for extended periods of time. Adulting is busy work! When we have the chance to talk on the phone or meet in person, it’s all the more merry!!
- Be cognizant of the relationships in your life: do they benefit you? Or do they make you feel bad/bring you pain?
- Create boundaries – it’s okay to say no people, even if it’s family! One of the biggest talking points I’ve had with my therapist is creating boundaries in my life, good & necessary boundaries with family/friends/professional relationships. Know when to say no and not feel guilty about it.
- Set goals for your personal relationships/romantic relationships: talk about future goals you have together and what you both want to accomplish
- Single and loving it? That’s okay too! Look at the relationship you have with yourself and how it needs to improve. Maybe try eliminating that negative nancy in your head that criticizes your weight or your jeans size. No one needs that nonsense.
- Quit the crap. Stop fretting the little things, nagging over petty things. Speak more lovingly to each other, compliment each other everyday.
- Small surprises – wake up early and make them breakfast one day, bring them a cup of coffee for once.
- Date nights – how important they are! Have they been eyeing a new movie in the theater? Maybe they’ve never been to a cooking class or those fun painting or pottery classes with a twist! How about hitting the park with a cute little picnic? Dallas has some insanely scrumptious food trucks in Klyde Warren Park – so much fun!
- Untested waters- what is something you’ve both been wanting to do but never got around to it? Skydiving, hot air balloons, sushi making – plan out a day full of adventure for you both!
How else would you change your relationships in 2018?
That Job thing..
Whether you are totally head over heels for your current job or you are plotting your fantastic exit, we can always strive to be better, do better, reach for higher, work in more productive and harmonious ways. Am I right? I left my transplant world behind this summer and although though I miss my patients more than I can really put into words – I’m so glad I did. I reached a point where I was massively sick all the time, resenting the alarm clock every morning, and even becoming super snappy at work. When you notice yourself needing a personal pep talk every morning just to go to work – there’s a HUGE problem. My administrative boss was horrid – she really sat me down one day and told me I had “buckets”: my blog bucket, my family bucket, my school bucket, and then my job bucket. Pardon my language here but I wanted to tell her to go into my fuck it bucket. NEVER EVER let someone make you feel guilty for 1) wanting to improve yourself and learn more 2) for your family 3)activities outside of work that are entirely unrelated to what you do while at the job. I have never been so horrified with one individual. She even had people spying on my social media accounts to see when I was out sick that I was truly sick. Can you BELIEVE that psychotic nature? I was the youngest person at our leadership table and honestly believe I was targeted because of that. She was gossipy, micro-managing, and down right petty. Should you find yourselves in any sort of situation resembling that which I just described – GET the hell out of there! What’s the next step then?
- Think about what truly makes you happy: what kind of working environment? Desks and cubicles? Open space? Working from home in your jammies?
- List out your strengths, weaknesses, accomplishments, and projects you’d like to tackle – aim your future towards what you’re best at and work at improving your weaknesses, we all have them.
- What makes you stand out from the crowd? Why pick you? And when you find the answer.. BELIEVE in that answer!!
- Learn a new skill – I had to re-teach myself how to photoshop when I first starting blogging, and it was quite comical to say the least. Need a certification to reach the next level? Study up!! I’ve got a few credentials behind my name to make me look like a super nurse (because I am) and I definitely studied to get those! Make the most of your investment so you pass the first time around.
- Find someone to look up to or mentor from – People who excel at their careers have so much to teach, hopefully they’re willing. Find what drives them, motivates them, and how they accomplished it all. Even better, idealize how to go beyond that!
- Dust off that resume, give it some freshening up and make it relevant. Have someone else proof read it!
- Believe in yourself- there is no one out there who will believe in yourself more than you do. Ask for that promotion you’ve been wanting, the worst that can happen is they say no or not yet. Learn what you need to do for them to say yes! Have the courage to know what you deserve, recognize your shortcomings, and stop doing anything that makes you unhappy. It’s a new year!!
How do you improve your work life? Do you have any upcoming goals? Perhaps you have a heinous boss you want to safely share on here, haha!
The bigger picture
Ah – the big wide world we live in. Who else feels like most of the world suffered a kick to the pants this year? Politics make my head spin – so I won’t go down that road but all I can say is WOW. I saw a news flash today that said Trump had tweeted over 2300 times throughout his presidency so far.. seriously?! How is that news? Ugh. Between him and the Kardashsians I have lost serious faith in what is even called news anymore. I’m sick of them all. Kylie Jenner being or not being pregnant is NOT news. So how do we focus on making our world a better place?
- Find what is actual, credible news – please pay attention to events around the globe that don’t involve pop culture
- Commit free time to charity – serve at the local soup kitchen or donate to clothing drives and food banks
- Global disasters sadly are growing in number – choose to help those in need, those who have lost everything due to natural disasters we can’t even fathom – give beyond yourselves
- Shop through smile.amazon.com – did you know just by adding that smile precursor will donate your entire purchase to a charity of your choosing? It’s the only way I shop through Amazon now!
- Be aware of worldly culture and history – I was sitting at the table with my sister in law at Thanksgiving and was told about the Chinese holocaust, a historical event just as gruesome and terrible as the Jewish Holocaust we’ve all learned about. Our books/schools can be every selective about what we’re learning – educate yourselves!
- Recycle – Salt Lake City was amazing about recycling, Dallas can learn a thing or two. Taking care of our planet couldn’t be more important, and global warming is a thing whether or not you choose to believe it. I fear the day we live in unyielding smog and trash. Leave the world a better place for our future generations.
- Go on instagram live – I know it sounds super intimidating but y’all it’s SO fun! I have an abundance of international followers and they are AMAZING! I’ve learned so much about so many of them just by talking together on a live chat. I learn were they’re from and what’s going on in their daily lives and locations. Now if I could speak every language.. that would be amazing!
- Learn a new language! My Spanish has been lacking since I almost never use it anymore and I really want to master French. My father in law speaks multiple languages, including Russian, and I always stand in awe of such brilliance.
What are you doing to make a bigger impact? What are your suggestions?
This is one of the biggest posts I’ve ever written – and I hope you all take it to heart. Above all – celebrate the new year in joy and love. Be safe and kiss your loved ones! You all mean the world to me, I send you all my love and gratitude for joining me on this journey.