10 Things 2014 Taught Me


In the spirit of the New Year I thought I would do one more post on 2014, since I think it’s good to reflect at this time of year. 2014 taught me a lot about myself and a lot about what I want from life. It challenged me more than I’ve ever been challenged in my life, and pushed me to rise above circumstances that were happening in my life. It was a year of stretching myself, and I know I’m so much stronger than the person I was one year ago.  So, without further ado, here are my top 10 lessons I learned from 2014. Happy New Year!!

1. It’s ok to say no: As a middle child it can be hard for me to say no to things, if it means that answer is going to cause conflict. I like to play things down, and keep things docile, in general. But in 2014 I learned that there is sometimes as much value in saying ‘no’ as there is in saying ‘yes.’

2. Do what’s best for you: YOU (AND I) HAVE VALUE! And there are going to be times when the direction you see your life going doesn’t match up with people around you. THAT IS OK. Sometimes walking along a different path isn’t as crazy as it may feel like at first.

3. Love yourself: As humans, we are addicted to love. We love love. We love love stories and we idolize the “perfect relationship.” But how often do we teach about loving ourselves? Not idolizing ourselves, but truly loving ourselves. 2014 taught me what it means to love, respect and value myself even when it means making hard decisions in order to do so.

4. You are stronger than you think: In general, I’ve always considered myself a pretty “strong” person/personality. I’m not the timid type, generally speaking. But 2014 has stretched and challenged me more than ever before. A lot of things could have broken me, but I did not break, even when it was the only real option. For that I am so thankful, and so grateful, because I know I wouldn’t have made it without the support of the friends/family who love me.

5. Dream, it’s contagious: This past year I dreamed of the impossible. I dreamed of moving to another country, of making my life into something I had dreamed about for a very long time, but never thought would happen. And by dreaming big, I started seeing people around me dreaming bigger, too! I love seeing other people’s dreams blossom and become realities – like love more than anything. And I’m so proud of my friends! Dare to dream, you never know who you could inspire.

6. Don’t wait: 2014 taught me to stop waiting for circumstances, people and for life to become perfect. Because the reality is, sometimes those things come around, but a lot of the time they don’t. That’s just a s reality. Grab hold of your dreams. You don’t know what’s in your future, only what your circumstances are in the present. So run hard – the right things will catch up with you.

7. Value the people who value you: How can I even express how thankful I am for my friends? They are my life support, and I don’t know what or who I would be without them. I am incredibly blessed. Keep the people who love and support you top priority in your life REGARDLESS of your situation, time or place. Make time. Make plans. Make it work, because when you feel like you’re at the end of your strength, those are the people who hold you up.

8. Take joy in the little things: After a really rough breakup and life series of events in 2013 I started a habit which turned into a lifestyle choice. Whenever I’m in a moment when I’m just completely happy, I stop and I remind myself “In this moment, I am happy.” It might sound weird, but by verbalizing the moment, I remember them later on when I’m in a not so happy place. It can be something small like getting coffee with a friend or something huge like seeing the Berlin Wall for the first time. But taking that moment to bookmark my happiness is so important to me.

9. A lot can change in a year: Thinking back to where I was 1 year ago is crazy. I had so much ahead of me, and no idea any of it was coming. I was about to meet people who would change my life, make decisions which would move me half way around the world, and at that moment I felt like life was “so boring.” Don’t underestimate your future. And don’t be afraid to change it if you don’t like what it looks like.

10. Keep moving forward: Yes I just stole that from “Meet The Robinsons”, but I also pretty much live by this motto. The reason being that it works. The fact of the matter is, everything is not going to work out the way that you expected. And especially if you’re a risk taker, there are going to be times when you want to get up and walk away because of things that happened. But life is about picking yourself back up and trying again. Trying a different approach. Getting back in the game, even though there doesn’t seem any chance of winning. 2014 was a year where a lot of things happened that were, to be honest, nightmarish. But dwelling on that only keeps me from being productive and accomplishing greater things in my future. Life is about moving forward, let’s keep our eyes on the prize.

2015, I’m ready.

Pratique, la patience et la ténacité


Yesterday I was frustrated. I was trying to talk but had forgotten how to. The words were on the tip of my tongue, but I just could not remember them.

Knowing a language, and then forgetting it, is (I would imagine) a bit like knowing how to walk and then losing the ability to do so.

It’s a painful process, throwing yourself back into the grasps of the unknown known. Your mind has to catch up with your memories. And it can be an extremely frustrating process.

Yesterday I had to remind myself that I’m a student learning (or, rather, relearning) an entire language and that takes time. But as a perfectionist, it’s really hard to sit at a table with my tutor and start to relearn things I knew in elementary school. I want to excel, to run ahead and know everything instantly. I guess it’s a little piece of the brat in me – wanting to get things done WHEN I WANT THEM.

But, I think this is giving me more of an appreciation for the process of learning anything. And, in addition, a sense of awe for anyone who comes out of a situation where they have to relearn basic principals again. Relearning to walk, relearning to talk, relearning to know people, things or places. Stubbornness isn’t even a word that begins to describe what you have to be equipped with.

A reminder came this week, though, while I was reading with the six year old I nanny. He was struggling through the words, sounding out each one painfully and struggling as though he was pulling a heavy weight behind him. He wanted to read about his favorite soccer player Clint Dempsey, so he had insisted that the pages he read for the day were from the internet (instead of usual school level reading books) .

As he went along, he started to realize the task that had been put before him. It took 20 minutes to get through a paragraph. And that was with a lot of assistance, and breaking down words syllable by syllable.

He could have given up. He could have walked away from the table and decided to have books read to him for the rest of his life. But, instead, he pressed on. Grasping for an understanding of each character on the page. Wading through the sentences as though they were a bog trying to suck him down into its muddy ground. But he is a fighter, and he fought his way through each and every sentence. I think I learned a lesson from this sandy haired little six year old.

I learned that it takes practice, it takes determination and patience – but most of all it takes tenacity to continue on through something that seems impossible.

The ability to see things as a promising future, that currently looks like a horrible mess, is not a skill that can be taught, but rather, a piece of each of us that has to be discovered. Each time I go to practice French it breaks my heart to admit that I’m not as proficient as I once was. I have to swallow my pride and ask for help on words and meanings that I used to have mastered.

But every time I sit there struggling, I remember the tenacity of my little six year old, and press on. Because, at the end of the day, it’s not about how much struggle there was to make it to the finish line. Only that you made it there.