7 Lessons Learned in 2017

Forget the past, but remember the lesson.

1. Accept your body, even if you’re just CONTENT with it

It really is so easy to hate on our bodies, isn’t it ladies? Whether it’s saggy boobs, double chins, a booty that doesn’t look like a Kardashian’s, or teeth that aren’t the perfect shade of white-we are our own biggest critics! You may not realize it, but these negative thoughts really affect our self-esteem and the way we feel about our bodies. This year, I really wanted to take my physical health to the next level, so I became disciplined and completed my first ever Bikini Series (by Tone It Up). This simple change towards a healthier me was in a way proving to myself that I could change what I wanted to improve. I don’t look like a swimsuit model, but I’m so ok with it. My body is simply not built like Gigi Hadid’s and hers isn’t like mine, physically or biologically, and it’s fine! I’m still sexy as hell and healthy, according to my doctor. I  now workout 4x a week, take apple cider vinegar wellness shots every morning, and eat at least 2 vegan meals daily.

2. It’s ok to be selfish

I have a tendency to want to have control as well as pleasing those people important to my life. Aren’t you? It makes sense; you’d like your parents to be proud of you, your siblings to look up to you, your friends to value your time, and your boss to love you 100% of the time. I recognized this trait in myself this year and I am so glad I did because I was able to flip it. I asked myself more often, “Do I want to do this?”

“Is this WORTH my time?”

“What will I gain from this?”

“Is this healthy for me?”

And guess whaaaaaat? A lot of the time, I really didn’t like the answers to these questions. So I stopped being available to everyone always. I really got into the habit of completing my own tasks towards goals that were MY own business. I’m not saying cut everyone out of your life and just focus on YOU always, but ask yourself if you are being taken advantage of and who the majority of your time is being consumed by. Because, unfortunately, people do take advantage of others when a lack of confidence is sensed. If you don’t do it for yourself, who will?

3. Gratitude and kindness can transform your day

I have tried meditation and am never looking back! I know, I know, but hear me out-the hype is REAL. Our minds are so damn powerful and our brains being that powerful muscle, need exercised. I have only been meditating since around my birthday (September 27th), but it has completely changed my mindset, increased my ability to recognize unhealthy habits, and decreased my stress levels. Better yet, meditation (even if it is just a guided session) has introduced me to the power of gratitude. Being grateful is so humbling and so therapeutic because it releases your ego and allows you to see your life clearly. Regarding kindness–I mean this is a cliche and a no-brainer. And with 2017 being the year that it was, we should really be more kind. To ourselves and to others.

IT IS SO EASY TO DO.

4. Friendships are relationships, too

I think as we get older, our friend circles become much more fragile…people get married, spend time with new loved ones, move away, work more often than before, etc. This year I realized that friendships are relationships, too. They need nurturing, attention, open means of communication, and mutual trust. It’s so easy to like people’s life experiences on Instagram–or whatever your social media vice is–and think you know what they’re up to. This was the year that I really became picky who I spend my time with, but also found it easier to let go of those who aren’t interested in having me in their circle of friends. And that’s ok with me. I didn’t take these situations so personally because people change, grow apart, and grow at different rates. But I am oh so thankful for those who have stayed.

5. Curiosity leads to inspiration

I fell into a funk earlier this year. I was on auto-pilot…wake up, rush to work, sit at a desk all day, eat a sub-par lunch, go home, sort of work out, eat a super unhealthy dinner, go to sleep. Repeat. How I lived like this for months, I have no idea. But there was a point in the fall, around my birthday, that something within me clicked. All of my childish imagination, curiosity, and wander flooded into my life again. Not on its own; I opened that door, longing for inspiration and that energy simply came together. But all the while, I was reading and learning new things like Astronomy, the benefits of a vegan diet, adult attachment theory, ‘love’ psychology, influencer marketing, the basics of coding. Something really beautiful happens when there is new knowledge learned and absorbed by your mind.

6. Self-care is as important as breathing

This lesson is tied with a few of the previously mentioned ones. It’s hard to only have a revolutionary year in just one part of your life. I think that because this year was chock full of political propaganda, drama on a global scale, along with so many societal issues being touched on (racism, xenophobia, sexual assault, to name just a few), self-care was inevitable as a means of survival this year. It’s really important to be so in touch with yourself so that you authentically move your life in the direction you wish. So whether it is enjoying some time alone journaling, meditating, listening to music, calling your loved ones, I encourage you to engage in self-care more often this year.

Some of my favorite ways to perform self-care are:

  1. Meditate (I am obsessed with The Mindful Movement & Unlock Your Life channels on YouTube!)
  2. Light incense and listen to piano with my headphones in.
  3. Take a bath. (Light a candle and drop a bath bomb in there)
  4. Have an affirmation session. (Those YouTube channels I mentioned have some really great ones, as well)

7. I am 100% in control of my life

I know, I know. This last one may seem a bit of cliche. But hear me out. How many times have you been in a situation asking yourself, “What do I do?” or “Why me?” or “What if this hadn’t happened this way?”? I know that in stressful situations especially, we tend to feel like the Universe is out to get us or that fate had something to do with it, and that may lead  us hesitating how to logically get back on course. There is just you that is the one with the control. I can’t tell you how many times I sat around overthinking a situation when I could have easily recognized that I could make it better–that simple belief–and saved myself such emotional turmoil. It’s true that we can have the lives we have always dreamed of, but we need that belief present because that will stimulate action. And we all know that action produces results.

 

What are some things you learned in 2017? I want to know! Leave me a comment on this post or tweet here!

Have a happy 2018; full of love, laughter, and prosperity.

XOXO,

Mel

27 Things I Would Tell My Younger Self

Pavan quote poem about people and how they try to be someone who they aren't without realizing how great they truly are already.

We all had that life plan. You know the one. They asked us a few times in grade school and we would write it down, hide it away, and open it for a serving of nostalgia after graduation.

But how many times does it really work out that way? If I had to guess, less than 50%. For me, that plan included marriage, a Master’s degree, and my first company. Lofty goals. I would beat myself about deviating from “the path” or “my plan” so much. I later realized that it was because we’re never taught that life can get in the way. Or rather-that it’s OKAY that we pave our own way. I have two younger sisters that are at pivotal stages in their lives. They’re literally some of my favorite humans ever and I hope to inspire and–hopefully–teach them what I have learned from my experience-mistakes included.


We never account for the possibility of changing our minds, falling in love, falling out of it, and the overall experience that is life. I turned 27 years old on September 27 and was recently inspired by Ingrid Nilsen’s most recent video. This was really enlightening and intimidating to write, especially because as soon as I hit ‘publish’, this information is officially on the Internet forever. Part of my self-care routine is to constantly reflect and appreciate how far I have come without becoming entangled in the past, as well as being damn proud of what I have achieved. I encourage all of you to do the same 🙂 I would love to hear your thoughts on what you would tell your younger self. Comment below so we can start a conversation. I’ve also included some photos of my younger self (which are slightly embarrassing!) c. 2009-2012. I hope you enjoy.

  1. Yes, this move is brave. It will lead you to one of the best adventures of your life.
  2. Call your sisters more often.
  3. Don’t hold on to what you have been taught your whole life by others around you as a guide to live YOUR life.
  4. Don’t be afraid to make the first move: introduce yourself to that peer, the cute boy in your merchandising class, or the quiet girl reading the same book.
  5. Ask more questions; in fact, ask as many as you can. The universe is here for you to learn from it.
  6. Why not you? Your race, image, background, financial status holds absolutely no bearing on your character or what you can achieve.
  7. Nobody is born deserving anything. Be more humble. It’s good for the soul.
  8. Accept that you need to practice gratitude more often. It will change your life.
  9. You are not responsible for people’s mistakes. The only thing you can offer to your loved ones is affection and support, but you are not a life jacket to anyone and everyone who may be drowning.
  10. Learn to say no. It doesn’t make you a bad friend or colleague. 
  11. Your time is valuable. Don’t waste it seeking validation from anyone.
  12. Study abroad. Jumping into the unknown is good for you.
  13. Don’t stop reading. You will never, ever stop learning. Even after college.
  14. Fashion is not the only bubble in which you live and work in; read about astronomy, sociology, and technology.
  15. I know you love those to-do lists and being productive, but you need to also learn to relax.
  16. SLEEP. It’s healthy.
  17. Oh, you found a wrinkle? That’s OK.
  18. Also, don’t freak out about the bags under your eyes. See #16. 
  19. Please treasure the friendships you will encounter. They need nurturing as well.
  20. You’ve been in lust, but not in love…yet.
  21. Your sexuality is not a demon. What’s more is that it will be one of the most spiritual experiences when it’s with someone who loves you. It’s also fun. Own it. You’re not married either. So what? Chill. Let go of the Catholic guilt. What happens between two consenting adults is nobody else’s business.
  22. Get lost in those blue eyes because you’re about to fall in love. He’s somebody that will teach you so much.
  23. Meditate and search within you.
  24. Hold onto that faith. Believing is half the battle.
  25. Keep writing. You’re good at it.
  26. Don’t wait for that “perfect job”; seek inspiring people and opportunities.
  27. Keep being that hopeless romantic.

I hope, as always, that you have found this helpful or perhaps even inspiring.

What would you tell your younger self?

xo,