Boy, has this year been a rollercoaster ride! Life has its ups and downs, but this has been especially jolting with so many large and exciting life events. Even though nothing was ever perfect, there were so many beautiful moments and I can’t wait to open my heart to the possibilities that 2018 will bring our home, our family and our friends. On New Year’s Eve, we raise our glasses to the beauty life still has to bring us and the fun still ahead in the journey of life!
Large scale event planning truly taught me so many lessons about life: organization, processes, communication – just to name a few. When you plan it for yourself, there’s even more pressure to live up to your grandiose vision while living within your own minimal pocketbook means. Planning our wedding day to be as special and beautiful as we always imagined it was a task that daunted my every thought for almost two years, and when it all came down to it, every stressful moment arranging the seating chart or pinching pennies was absolutely worth it and not worth it at the same time.
Don’t get me wrong, we had the most perfect and beautiful day ever with our friends and family – the flowers were stunning, the weather couldn’t be more perfect and every moment was perfect because of each planned piece. What we quickly realized that day was that it wasn’t about any of that though; our day would have been completely in complete without those around us showing their complete love and affection for us in a moment we will cherish forever.
Although I learned so many practical lessons in planning a wedding that made me grow both personally and professionally, there is one my husband and I took away that will live with us: material displays wear off and go away, but that moments you share with those around you will last a lifetime. No one cared about the color of the flowers, or the flavor of the cake, but we all cared about fun and enjoying the precious moments we have together in a day that meant so much to so many there.
There’s a old saying that we hear in many variations today: fill your cup first and let the world benefit from your overflow. You must take care of yourself first over anyone else before spreading your energy outward. No, this doesn;t mean monetarily – it means providing yourself with the resources to be yourself, thrive and survive in the grueling and demanding modern world before giving your time and energy to others. If you can’t keep up with the demands of your own mind, body and soul, you won’t be successful in helping others. This year, I learned this lesson the most. Between planning a wedding, working full time, finishing graduate school and trying to maintain friend and family relationships, I found myself giving too much to others and not properly giving myself enough to fill my cup.
I truly embraced the concept of “me time” this year by enjoying quiet time at home and taking on activities that reenergized myself first, like crafting, writing and reading. I preach to everyone here today now: don’t forget about yourself – you have to live with yourself from moment to moment, and living a life with a half-full or even empty cup will make you crash and burn (trust me, I’ve been there!). Make time for things you enjoy, or time with those that will fill your cup, not empty it.
This is a concept I just recently started embracing, thanks to one of my favorite female entrepreneurs. Emily Ley has created a whole brand around simplifying life to enjoy the big things without distraction from all the little parts of life that get in the way. Her recent book, A Simplified Life: Tactical Tools for Intentional Living, has become my guide step-by-step to a more simple, stress-free life by creating simplicity through “ruthless and intentional” purging of material goods clogging up our homes, easy day-to-day routines, and creating balance in your soul through proper life and time management. Each day, I read a new chapter in this book and begin implementing some of the techniques and suggestions to form my own method to simplification of all aspects in life.
Experiencing life is no fun without new things, and taking in new experiences has been my New Year’s resolution for many years. Creating a free-form, non-constricting resolution goal has allowed for me to feel accomplished and never disappointed by my decisions, because trying even one new things makes me a better, stronger person. This year was full of a whole bunch of new experiences and overcoming of fears to become a greater me. My husband is half to thank for me doing this – if he has taught me anything, it’s that life is too short to be boring. He loves being adventurous and active, and it’s that spirit that he has began to instill in me this need for new and exciting.
This year we did so much together that were firsts for both of us: snorkeling in the open ocean, trying to buy our first house, starting a new job, and taking on projects that seemed so far out of sight only a short time ago. These are only a few of the many new experiences this year and the many that will continue into the new year as i grow as a person, as we grow as a couple and as the world grows through the trials and triumphs of modern society.
With new experiences comes growth, and I love continually working on myself. There are obvious ways to continue growth in the expected and obvious ways, such as obtaining my MBA this year, but many forget that it’s not always that large investments that make the most impact. This year, I focused on the little things: fine tuning my approach to my day and outlook on handling the balance of life. I have explored deeper into the self-help section of the bookstore, reading such great learning pieces like The Five Love Languages: The Secret To Love That Lasts, to better understand myself and those around me, making me stronger mentally and emotionally.
I have additionally worked to find peace in fitness, a topic that has long been debated in my own mind. I never was a highly athletic individual, and to people like my husband who played sports his whole life, there’s never been an understanding why it’s so hard for me to properly care for myself in regards to fitness and nutrition. I love food, plain and simple, but I’ve had to really grow myself mentally to fight what could easily be called a food addiction and learn to transform that passion into love and care for myself physically, mentally and emotionally through fitness. The easy answer for me was yoga, and when I found the practice that worked for me, I felt a complete revolution within myself to finding my savasana, or internal peace with myself within the world. I additionally began pushing myself into new experiences to continue learning, like cycling and weight lifting, to explore more about myself and my abilities. When you push yourself to grow, and continue over a period of time, you will begin to see the improvement in yourself and find ways to impress yourself with things you never thought were possible.
We the new year coming quickly at us, there are few expectations I have set myself thus far for 2018. I like to formulate my goals overtime, as they are often large, conceptual life portraits I like to expand and grow, like those I had for 2017, and those cannot simply come to your overnight. You learn what you need overtime by exploring the root issues you have in life. Many find that they “need to lose weight” but is fat the true issue? Potentially, but you may have a greater issue preventing you already from hitting your goals, like your fear of public embarrassment at the gym or a possible food addiction. Fighting the root issue should be your goal rather than the result you wish to seek. If you fear going to the gym, make your goal to go the the gym a certain amount fo times per week and stick with it. Fighting the root issue will garner the smaller results AND impact the whole person versus just solving the short term needs.
Being a newlywed, many have said that it’s easy to let the love fade quickly with laziness and the chaos of life, but I absolutely refuse to let this happen. Having just completed the Five Love Languages text, I now know so much more in depth about my husband and I’s love languages, and I hope to use those to better embrace our relationship and love through methods that feed us toward positive embrace versus negative proverbial holes. I want to practice the act of love and compassion daily toward my husband and continue to grow our relationship to fall more in love day-to-day. The exact details will ebb and flow with the changes in our lives, but for now, this is and will always be my top priority in life.
Having just purged our home of so many unused and unneeded material possessions, it’s so easy to slip back into that with sales and shopping for new things, but I have learned that this is not where I want to invest my time, energy and money. Yes, a new dress for a wedding can make me feel good and will sometimes be a necessity, but this isn’t what it’s about – I want to invest all aspects into creating more memories with those I love versus creating more goods to fill our home. A night out with friends enjoying new experiences sounds more warming and filling of my cup versus buying new clothes or furniture, and that’s what this is all about. I want to build greater relationships and continue to gain new memories in 2018 than surround myself with a cluttered lifestyle all about material goods.