It's 2020 guys! A new decade! It's been a wild ride these last ten years, and I feel like I've really matured and grown-up. I grated college moved to Philly in my first apartment, moved back to Massachusetts, met my husband, started my business, got married, and adopted two amazing little pups!
So, let's start with 10 things that I've learned over the last ten years. While there have been so many more, these are the lessons that really stick out to me.
1. Family, family, family
When I went away to college, I was under the impression that everyone had family dinners, parents went to soccer games, you shared things with your parents, and your sibling was your best friend. I quickly learned that my family life was actually pretty unique. I definitely took it for granted for the first 18 years of my life.
Now don't get me wrong, my family life was never perfect. I can honestly say I could be a brat when I was younger, my mom and I would argue, and my brother and I pretty much-fought every day for the first 15 years of our lives. But, it was little things, and my dad always said to never go to bed angry, so, by the end of the day, we were good.
My family has always been my biggest supporters, and I really value our relationship now. My parents and brother are my best friends, and I absolutely love spending time with them.
2. Unfortunately, it's true...patience is a virtue
I think I can apply this saying to every area of my life. I have never been one to be patient, but it really does pay off.
Right out of college, I was really stressed about finding a job. I was applying to places, but I wasn't getting anywhere. I ended up taking about two months to find the right job for me, which actually took me relocating to Philly. I didn't know it at the time, but I can honestly say it was the best decision I ever made because that is where I met Mike.
For years, I was always the friend that wasn't in a relationship. I really just focused on school and being with my friends. I never actually felt the need to be in a relationship, because I didn't find someone I could actually see myself with. I looked at it in the sense of, if it's not going to be long term, why would I want to waste the small amount of free time on someone that I cant actually see it going somewhere with?
You probably know the story by now, so I won't go into detail, but, I met Mike at literally the worst time I could think of. It was just a few days before I was moving back to Massachusetts, and this guy (who I had seen every single morning in the gym might I add), decided that that day seemed like a great day to finally come to talk to me. It was after our first date I knew. I know it sounds corny, but I knew that this was the guy that I had been waiting for.
3. Work hard, play hard
Hard work was instilled in me from very early on. My dad has been my mentor when it comes to working. At a very young age, he was always coaching my brother and me on life lessons. As much as I hated them at the time, I really see how valuable they were.
As much as hard work is important, you need balance. While I was in college, I had a crazy course load. I was majoring in sustainable interior design, but I also wanted a business minor, so I was taking extra classes. My classes ran from 8am-5pm every day. On top of that, I was on the crew team (for the first couple of years until I was injured), and had practice in the morning, and would need to wake up at 4am to get to the lake by 5am. After class, I worked at the mall a few days a week from 6pm-11pm, so I could make a little bit of money while in school. I would get home around 11:30, and I would stay up until about 2am working on homework. So, I basically had a very small window for free time let alone sleep time.
I carried this mentality for the first couple of years that Mike and I were together. I was working full time at an architecture firm, but I was also working on my side business. It's something that I still continue to work on, but I have gotten better over the years. I've learned that it's okay to work really hard, and then take a day off, go hiking with our little pup, and enjoy life.
4. Confidence is key
I was very, very insecure growing up. I never felt like I truly fit in. I did have a couple of amazing friends, and I felt comfortable around them, but other than that, I felt like I just was never good enough, pretty enough, smart enough, you name it.
I don't think that I started to learn self-confidence until I moved out on my own and moved to Philly. I didn't know anyone who lived there, so I had to make new friends and relationships. I think getting away from all of the "noise" allowed me to really mature and grow up. I started to realize that who really cares what other people think about me, and why does what someone else thinks about me matter? As long as I was a good, nice person, I shouldn't care what someone else's opinion about me is.
5. All you need is a handful of great friends
Throughout my life, I have had the best of friends. Friends who are there for you, friends who would do anything for you, and friends who just make you laugh for no reason. My dad always commented on how I always seemed to have great friends throughout my life. I think I get that discernment from my mom. She always seems to have this sixth sense about people.
As I get older, my friends have moved across the world, and I don't get to see them as often as I would like. I've also lost some friends over the years, for various reasons. I used to think it was terrible to not be friends with someone anymore, but in reality, it is for the best. You grow apart or have different interests. Since I don't get to see my best friends that often anymore, I would rather utilize that time to see the friends who are really there for me, then trying to balance a multitude of friendships.
6. Take chances and risks
Why did I move to Philly, I will never know. But, one thing is for certain, it was the best decision that I made.
One other great decision I made was studying abroad. I had to convince my parents that it was a good idea for me to spend my fall semester of my junior year over in Florence for four months. That time away allowed me to cultivate a few amazing relationships with lifelong friends. I don't know if that would have happened if I was still back on campus at Endicott. It also showed me my first glimpse of the culture and how different parts of the world work. I wouldn't trade those four months for anything.
I'm such a big health and wellness advocate, and I really think that its imperative to be cognisant of our lifestyles. That doesnt neccessarily mean going to the gym and lifting as many weights as you possibly can. It's about eatting foods that you enjoy, and making sure that you get all your vital macro and micro nutrients.
7. Healthy and wellness isn't a one size fits all
I'm such a big health and wellness advocate, and I really think that its imperative to be cognizant of our lifestyles. That doesn't necessarily mean going to the gym and lifting as many weights as you possibly can. It's about eating foods that you enjoy and making sure that you get all your vital macro and micronutrients, and being active.
I say exercise and eat as to how you are able to sustain it. If you hate running, don't run. Go for a bike ride, or try yoga, just something that you will enjoy and continue to do. Just because something is the new trendy "fit" food, but you completely hate it, you don't have to eat it! I'm certain that there are other alternates out there.
Going back to studying abroad, I hadn't left the country until then! The farthest I had been was to Florida, and I had barely been anywhere outside the walls of the New England boundaries. energy. That's when I started looking into switching up some of the foods that I would eat. I started learning more about macros and having a balance of carbs, fats, and proteins. I absolutely love food, like LOVE food, and I would never restrict myself, but I do eat "healthy" foods frequently. That way, when I do want a stack of cookies, or that amazing cheesecake that Mike makes, it's okay. Do what works for you!
8. Travel as much as you can
Going back to studying abroad, I hadnt left the country until then! The farthest I had been was to Florida, and I had barely been anywhere outside the walls of the New England boundaries.
It's amazing to learn about all the different lifestyles and cultures around the world. I think it helps us to grow and mature in our way of life.
Since Mike and I have been together, we have traveled all around the country and even around the world. I have so many places on my bucket list, I'm scared to share them all with Mike because I think he may pass out!
9. It's okay to be introverted
I come from a family with very loud personalities. They are social and downright person people. I always felt like there was something wrong with me, for appreciating my alone time. I remember in high school spending hours up in my room, late into the night, just painting and listening to Taylor Swift. I could easily choose a night in with a glass of wine over going out.
Over the last couple of years, I've had to grow and develop more extroverted skills since starting my business. I've had to learn to be more comfortable going to events alone or speaking in front of a large group. It's taken some time, but I think this is where it goes back to self-confidence. It's okay to like your alone time, but you need to have a balance of relationships, too. You can't just sit home every night, you need to have some human interaction. But, for the nights that I do opt to stay home, I'm totally fine with it.
10. When you find your person, you will know
Like I mentioned earlier, patience is key. I had this idea in my head of the guy that I was going to end up with. Music has always been a huge part of my life, so I always thought the guy I would be with would have the same taste in music, he would love to watch football just as much as I would, he would be really extroverted so he could make up for my lake of socialness, and he would be "somewhat" stylish because that's another thing I've always loved.
Well, folks, Mike couldn't be further from any of those. Mike and I have completely different tastes in music, where the only things we agree on are classic rock, The Chainsmokers, and Dante the Don's remix of Taylor Swift. While I love songs for their lyrics, Mike just listens to the beat of them. Mike is kind of a Steelers fan, but honestly don't really care about sports in general. Mike is just as antisocial, if not more than me, and his signature outfit entails a Star Wars graphic tee, baggy jeans straight out of the early 2000's and some high tops who knows where he got them. He grew up in a Christian home also values family as I do. He can build anything from a house to a robot and loves a challenge. He is completely stubborn, and won't take anything at face value, which I hate that the time, but truly admire. All in all, he is the perfect guy for me.
I don't think that I started to learn self confidence until I moved out on my own and moved to Philly. I didn't know anyone who lived there, so I had to make new friends and relationships. I think getting away from all of the "noise" allowed me to really mature and grow up. I started to realize that who really cares what other people think about me, and why does what someone else thinks about me matter? As long as I was a good, nice person, I shouldn't care what someone else's opinion about me is.s..