2016 was a roller coaster of a year. So many good things but also a lot of bad. On the personal front, it was a good year for me and my husband. Our family went through some tough times with health issues and some family passing but we pulled through and were able to spend a lot of time with them.
For the US and frankly the World, 2016 felt like a disaster…I’m not really going to get into it here on this blog because I’m trying to manifest positive energy in my life but if you’ve been hiding under a rock, Google it. I’ve been obsessed with all the news, especially listening to Urban View and Progress Radio on Sirius XM. It boils my blood and gives me anxiety.
Enough said, to focus on myself…I’ve identified the top lessons I learned from 2016.
- Travel is an essential part of my life. We’ve still haven’t traveled internationally together (my husband and I – we were broke students for a long time and then worked happened and we just never made it a priority, which in hindsight was a mistake but we can’t go back now…) but in 2016 we made some fun trips and adventures together and with my family. We started the year by going to Monterey with my parents, sister and nephew and checking out the aquarium, he’d never been. We traveled to our second home, SoCal, several times and did a lot more exploration of the Bay and NorCal. Overall we had fun but we’ve been eyeing all the places we want to go and it’s a long list. In 2017, we are making it more of a priority.
- Making friends as an adult is tough. I’ve lived in the Bay Area now for over two years and prior to that we were in LA two years and besides people I talk to at work, I haven’t made any new friends that I hang out with outside of work. It’s not for lack of wanting to or trying. It’s just tough and I’ve read about it a lot. I’m sure some of it has to do with my introversion but I just find that responsibilities, families and distance are tough to get past. I hope in 2017 we can make some genuine new friends.
- Keeping friends is hard. Life happens, I get it, but distance makes keeping friends hard. I’ve moved around a lot in my adult life. After high school I lost touch with a lot of people, then I moved to San Diego and it was even harder to keep in touch. I made most of my good friends while living in San Diego for college but even with that group, when we moved to Pasadena it was hard to stay close. Since then, I still have a group of girlfriends but we hardly get to talk. Even my best friends are distant now. I don’t have kids but I notice, after my girlfriends had kids I lost touch with them. I understand but it still makes me sad to think of all the time lost, which goes to my next point…
- Life is short and you never know when you’ll lose someone. This isn’t a new realization but it was a huge reminder this year, that life is short and you really have to cherish the time you have with people. My Uncle, my mom’s brother, died and a cousins wife who was near my age suddenly died of a brain aneurism. We had some close calls with my mother-in-law, my grandmother and my husbands cousin this year. It’s been a whirlwind on the health front.
- Self care and overall health needs to be a priority. On the health front I have heart attacks, heart disease, strokes, HBP, diabetes, high cholesterol, anxiety and other health issues in my family so I really need to get my weight and stress levels under control. With my family history and my hope that I get pregnant this year, I want to make sure I take care of my health. I want to be in the best shape possible pre-pregnancy and I want to be able to effectively handle my stress this year. I’ve been going to a chiropractor regularly and plan to go to an acupuncturist too. It’s all about getting in tip top shape physically this year.
Overall, those were the big things in 2016 but in general 2016 was a good reminder that I need to stop wasting time and do it now. The underlying theme of 2016 was “the time is now.”
For today’s “5 Things Friday” I’m going to change it up in honor of the 46th Earth Day and share 5 things you can do to make everyday Earth Day.
- Eat less meat. I know it sounds tough but even reducing meat for one day and participating in Meatless Monday can help. Besides it being good for your health, if everyone went meatless on Monday it would have the same impact on climate change as taking 273 million vehicles off the road for an entire year.
- Use natural cleaning products. There are so many chemicals in products so it’s great for your health but it’s also good for the environment. These days you can even DIY cleaning products. Like with food, read the ingredients. A lot of “green cleaners” use the term but still have harmful chemicals in them. For Earth Day I purchased this natural laundry detergent by The Simply Co. They are offering free shipping if you use code EARTHDAY2016 today only (4/22/16).
- Buy Local: food & products. It reduces the environmental impact and gives back to the local economy. There are so many farmer markets (throughout California especially) that support the local economy and provide affordable organic fruits and vegetables.
- Recycle, reduce and reuse. This one is pretty obvious but I see it so often, people throwing items that can be recycled in the trash. It’s so easy with recycle bins in homes, at apartment complexes, at work and in many public places. Just make the extra effort. Recycling saves landfill space, conserves resource, saves energy and saves water. Reuse items that you can. I know we often reuse shopping bags for trash or to carry items. I do my best to bring my own bags to the store (still working on this one). Reduce wherever you can. If you are trying to lose weight, it helps to buy only non-processed foods. They have less packaging and are much better for you. For those food scraps that are compostable start a compost bin.
- Walk, ride your bike or take public transportation. If you live or work in a walkable area try to walk more than drive. Plan the extra time into your day to save on car emissions. For longer distances ride your bike. In addition to being good for the environment, it’s good for your health. If you live outside the city, take public transportation. It saves you time and you’re able to get back some time by working from the train/BART/etc. My dad even started his own sustainable transportation company, River City Rickshaw, last year to help the environment, parking issues and reduce traffic.
Climate change is so real, we’re seeing it more everyday. Nothing happens if we just recognize the issue, we must make changes. There are a lot of things you can do to help the environment. I know people like what’s easy and I get that. I definitely have moments that convenience is much easier than doing what’s right. I eat meat and don’t always use the most ethical products but I’m trying to be more mindful of it and SLOWLY (I emphasize that because I have a way to go, I’m honestly a lightweight pack rat haha) moving towards a minimalism. There are so many great blogs on minimalism. I like The Minimalists and Becoming Minimalist but just Google it. Even more extreme is the Zero Waste Lifestyle, Lauren Singer of Trash is for Tossers is the creator of The Simply Co. laundry detergent that I purchased today.
Everyone is different, so there isn’t one right way to make changes. Even small changes help. It’s not just for the environment, it’s for your quality of life and sanity.
ENJOY and have a great weekend!
I can’t believe we are already going into the second quarter of 2016 tomorrow. April officially marks my birthday month. hahaha I say birthday month because my mom is the Queen of birthdays and I often celebrate several times. I’ve already made plans to meet a fellow April baby, I’m going to San Diego, Disneyland and Tahoe plus I’ll probably have a birthday dinner and maybe celebrate on my mom’s birthday April 30. I’m sure to people who care less about their birthday I’m going overboard but for me, it’s another year to celebrate family, my life, my health and love. While I don’t love attention, I love a great celebration.
Q1 has been fun. I’ve been able to do a lot but have also had down time where I didn’t do much of anything. My wanderlust hasn’t gone anywhere but I’ve helped keep it under control by visiting SoCal several times, going to Sacramento and exploring the Bay Area. I’m all about new experiences and trying new things especially food so I’ve been Yelping a lot more and I’ll soon be including some food posts here on my website. Everyone always tells me I should be a food blogger and I figure why not try to start it on my lifestyle blog since it’s a big part of my everyday life.
While I hate how fast time is flying by, I’m happy to say I’ve enjoyed the first quarter of the year and I’m looking forward to the next. In April, I want to really focus on my goals and utilizing my time. I love my Spark Planner because it makes you thing about your 30-Day Challenge. This month I’m focusing on getting out of my comfort zone and finally start making my dreams/goals a reality.
I want to make this happen because…as I turn 33 this month I need to stop making excuses and just get it done.
Some things I’m going to do this month to help me stay on track are:
- Workout 4 times a week
- Start cooking and meal prepping so I can eat better and save money
- Walk/stretch or move on my breaks at work
- Start doing Yoga and stretching everyday
- Get off of the couch more and out of the house
- Explore my city and go to local events more / while traveling
- Write more/blog 5 days a week
- Use my Skillshare account and Duolingo app
- Finally declutter my apartment (considering the Kondo method), set-up my craft space and use my cricut machine
That’s a lot to think about but it will help me stay focused on getting healthy and losing weight, getting out of my comfort zone and hopefully meeting new friends and continuously learning.
I’m trying to figure out what’s next for me…
- On this blog: I still want to figure out what to write about. For me I think “lifestyle blog” is more my style but I’m thinking about my niche. I love food, interior design, DIY, social media and marketing.
- With my career: I’m really happy with where my career is going. I’ve been learning so much at my current job with marketing automation, partnerships and webinars. I love learning so I’m really happy with this experience but I’m also looking towards gaining strengths and building my skills for the career I want. I think I miss school…
- With my side hustle: I’ve been trying to figure out what I want to do for my side hustle. I’ve been freelancing with SMB marketing and social media so if I can make this go somewhere I would love to do that BUT I’ve also been thinking about event planning. I love what I see on Instagram with the event planning space. After doing a lot of the details for my wedding, my sisters gender reveal, her wedding, her baby shower and my nephews first birthday people have told me I should do event planning but I don’t know where to begin and there are so many amazing event planners I feel like I have a lot more growth in this space. We’ll see. I need to just take a leap of faith.
- With my family: when I say my family, I mean my nuclear family – my husband and I. Now that we are married and in our early 30s my biological clock is ticking and my family is starting to get on me about starting a family. My husband and I have been together for so long we just find it normal for it to be just to two of us. I can see us starting a family but we’re not in any rush but my age is starting to make me think otherwise.
- For 2016: we’re nearing the end of the first quarter of the year and there is still so much potential for this year. For the short time this year we’ve been making the most of it but there is still so much to do, see and celebrate. The main focus for us this year I hope will be travel. We both have so many place we want to go, I hope we can make more time for travel in 2016. So far we’ve been exploring locally but I hope we can go further than California and if all goes well internationally. I need to make 2016 my best year yet…I’m focused!
I’m not a fan of not knowing but I’m trying to embrace the possibilities. Lot’s of potential and I can’t wait to see where the year takes us.