7 January 2020
The 2010s have been the decade of development for my mind, body, and spirit. All in just ten years, I have aged from a teenager to a young adult to an independent 26 year old. I graduated highschool, college, and graduate school, lived across the world in Australia, discovered the life-changing quality of music, and roadtripped across North America to settle (for the time being) on the west coast with my partner and pup. I met my love in 2014, started my own art business in 2016, and became a fur baby momma in 2018. This decade has shown me the importance of a supportive family, the importance of mental health, and the importance of acceptance and letting go. As the decade that was dedicated to my personal development, I have collected experiences and lessons that have guided me to where I want to be and have shaped me to become the best version of myself. In order for me to stay on track, I have narrowed it down to 10 experiences that led me to where I am today. As a decade comes to a close, a new one emerges. I say this with love that I hope you find it in yourself to go after what you want, to be who you want to be, and to turn your dreams into reality.
1. Love is love.
Love comes in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes something (like a fur baby) or someone (family or partnership) will love you more than you love yourself. And that's okay. Appreciate that love and channel it and learn from it. Self love isn't always a given, but it can be developed by learning from those who love you and support you. It's also shown in many different ways, and I've learned that with love comes acceptance. I still struggle to accept myself for who I am, because I know I can be better. I've learned to love myself a bit more each day when I have someone to give love to. In essence, you need to give love to receive love. Go easy on yourself, and give love to yourself first.
2. Your intuition knows best.
You know that gut feeling when you think someone isn't being truthful or someone is trying to manipulate you? Trust that feeling, because it's true. These internal feelings are there to guide you on your path to happiness and joy. It might not make sense right now, but the things you gravitate towards, the feelings you get when you experience certain things, these are the feelings you need to listen to. No matter what someone else says about you and what they think your future will hold, the ultimate decision maker in you. Trust yourself, and listen to where your heart and mind want to go in life. The universe works in mysterious ways, but it will help you when you trust yourself.
3. Travel happens both externally and internally.
We travel whether we know it or not. We travel for work, for school, and for play, but even when we're traveling in the digital world, we also travel inside with our thoughts, dreams, and plans. The places we visit, the people we meet, the music we listen to all affect the way we develop inside. Our external environment greatly affects our internal environment. The way we adapt and cope in these situations ultimately influence the way our hearts and minds develop. If you live and work in a toxic enviornment, you end up feeling bogged down, insecure, and uncertain of what the future holds. When you live in a positive, uplifting environment filled with people who support you and love you, you will feel empowered, secure, and excited for the opportunities the future has in store for you. Our environment greatly affects how we feel inside and ultimately how we end up treating others. I found that by traveling inside to the depths of my thoughts and being, I was able to figure out the source of my pain and heartache. I dealt with these deep rooted emotional baggage, and I found that light at the end of the tunnel. Paying close attention to our surroundings and how they make us feel will help us change what we can and accept what we can't change.
4. When you have the chance, go for it.
There are always opportunities to that will help you become who you want to be. Some opportunities land on your lap, and some opportunities you have to get up and grab them. I've learned that saying "yes" to way too many opportunities made me more stressed out than needed. Overthinking made me miss opportunities, and not thinking enough made me make impulsive decisions. The best way to go for opportunities is with an open mind and an open heart. If you get the chance to travel, do it. If you get the chance to meet someone who inspires you, do it. If you get the chance to work at a job you might be unqualified for, do it and see how it goes. Don't think too hard about it, but think about it enough. Does it make you happy? Will it make you happy? Just do it.
5. Nature has the best healing properties.
It's really important to feel and understand your emotions. Angry? Take a short stroll on a hiking path and scream your lungs out. Feel like you're losing control and no one's on your side? Take a hike. Go the beach. Take a little walk in the woods. Stay on the trail, for peep's sake. Being in nature is good for the soul. We're like plants. We need sunshine and fresh air to survive. Once you have gathered yourself together, deal with your emotions. You can't move forward if you keep being dragged backwards. Nature has a way to help clear your mind to focus on priorities. Being in nature has saved me more times than I can count.
6. Happiness is only real when shared.
It's always fun to share what you experience, even if it's just smiling with the stranger sitting next to you. Sharing experiences solidifies the reality of it all. I woke up early to surf and watch the sunrise with my love. I painted a mural outside and talked to the community about it. I made artistic discoveries about myself in a classroom full of lovely, creative people. These milestones that shape who we are wouldn't be so exciting if there wasn't someone around cheering us on. The things we've seen, heard, and felt can carry on for years when we share them with others. Sharing happiness is one connection that brings us closer together.
7. Don't let nature become a hidden gem.
I didn't want to become an artist when I was younger. I just wanted to make art to give as tokens of my appreciation. It wasn't until college that I found my passion for illustrating nature, and now I make art as a way to show appreciation for this world. Nature has a way to heal us in ways we didn't know we needed healing. Nature is priceless. Nature is WONDERFUL. We have hidden gems of life surrounding us everytime we step outside. But we took so much from the wilderness. Now, it's time for us to give back. It's time for us to preserve our natural wonders, because... I can't even begin to imagine a life with hardly any nature. Nature has sustained us and helped us thrive. If nature is gone, we won't survive. Knowing this, I have dedicated my life to illustrating the beauty of nature with the hope that it'll help people become more mindful of their decisions and inspire them to take care of this planet.
8. Never stop exploring.
If something interests you, explore that path. If you lost interest in something you thought you once loved, then it's time to move on. The North Face is a company I truly loved working for, and their mission is awe-inspiring. Their motto is 'Never Stop Exploring' and I 100% believe that. Whether it's exploring ways for spiritual awakening or exploring trails in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, I found out that getting out of my comfort zone to explore new places has helped me figured out why nature is so important for our wellbeing.
9. Respect is a two way street.
Sometimes It's hard to express and share feelings towards controversial topics because some people like to listen to respond rather than just listen to another perspective. But today, these topics need to be discussed. What's is the future of our planet? How are we dealing with climate change? I've learned that I can respect another person's viewpoint on life, and there's nothing I can do to change that. What I can do is share my love for nature and it's importance in our lives. The listener will make his/her own decisions. Respect is about being open minded to other people's perspectives. It's taking the time to walk in someone else's shoes that allows us to understand how people act the way that they do. You want people to hear you out? Listen to others first.
10. Dreams are just goals without plans.
I've heard that over and over again, and this resonnates with me a lot. I had (like all of us) a lot of dreams. I still have a lot of dreams. The reason I was able to do what I can now is because I turned my dreams into goals and made plans to achieve said goals. In highschool I dreamt of living and working in Australia. Four years later, I was able to do just that. I picked a program in college that offered study abroad opportunities, and I planned my entire college career with the goal to live and study in a new country. I dreamt to become a marine biologist and live in Hawaii. Instead, I studied health sciences to understand my body better, I got my open water diving certificate in 2014. I was able to dive and live in hawaii in 2017 and 2019. I don't live in Hawaii now, but I have lived there, and I plan on living there at some point in the future. I've learned that the future is just as flexible as our brain's way of recalling memories: They change over time. By turning my dreams into goals, I had something to work towards. When I achieved my goals, my reality turned out to be what I've always dreamed of.
Just as my positive experiences helped lift me up to feel empowered to take control of my life, the humbling experiences helped me keep my head on straight and my heart strong. I've learned that I had everything I ever wanted when I owned very little (I think back to the time when I travelled and lived out of a van). The challenges in life kept me grounded. You can't choose who your family is, but it's important to get back to and understand your roots. Sometimes people won't understand what you're doing or where you're going, but it's not up to them to live your life. Even if you don't know where you're going, just know you're going to get there. The most important thing that I've learned is to ENJOY THE JOURNEY. The destination will make you feel that sense of achievement, but it's the journey that has changed you for the better. Enjoy each moment as you live them. Stay present. Stay true to yourself. Stay mindful. Be the change you want to see both inside and out. I have learned so many things this past decade, I can't wait to see what 2020 has in store. This is the decade for inescapable change. So, get out there, love this planet, love your neighbor, and choose love over anything else :)