Goodbye 2018, it was great while it lasted. ✌️

Hello! It’s been a very. long. time. since I last posted. Life has been a whirlwind and I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the past year. Over the years, I’ve shared my life lessons learned around the new year on this blog. I haven’t been so consistent, but see: 2016, 2013, 2012. After re-reading some of them, I’ve realized that it’s now much more important that I discover my life’s work versus viewing my career as its own separate endeavor.

Here’s a few things I’ve realized, prioritized, or learned this year…

Do things that are good for my soul. Yes!! Whatever it is, it’s taking time to reflect on your decisions and making room for what feeds your soul. This year, I’ve recognized that I actually bombard myself with so many unnecessary thoughts - whether it’s replaying a scene in my mind or searching for solutions to problems that don’t yet exist - they are constant. I hope to seek more moments and experiences that engage my mind, so fully, that I can truly be at peace in my own head. It can be as simple as pausing to focus on my breath when I recognize I’m spiraling or as extravagant as taking a laidback beach vacation to recharge.

View a career as a lifelong journey, not a destination. I haven’t shared this on my blog (yet!) but in 2017 I decided to quit my advertising job. There were many reasons and feelings tied to that decision and maybe one day I will elaborate on it in another post. It was scary but it was liberating, and it was the exact action I needed to take to help redefine my relationship with work. I now see my career as an ever-changing journey to discover different aspects of my identity and interests.

Trust my gut and intuition more fully. This means being ok with sharing a thought or opinion just because it feels right (given circumstances, of course). I tend to hold myself to this unrealistic standard of always needing to say the “perfect” thing - fully thought-through and backed by research and reason. While data and thoughtfulness is crucial, there are also moments when you have to trust your instinct to lead you to better work.

Be kind to myself. This never really crossed my mind until a loved one pointed out that I actually speak a lot of negative thoughts out loud about myself. I need to be more aware of the truths I tell myself. I think it starts by realizing that truths about me are actually shaped by me. I have full control over how I show up in the world so why not craft a narrative that promotes self love?

Just freakin’ START. Don’t wait for motivation and inspiration to kick in. Just commit to starting, and the rest comes easy. To be honest, 2018 wasn’t one of the best years. I wished I’ve done more outside of work. Sometimes, I get so caught up in tackling the small issues that I forget to step back and focus on what matters. I hope 2019 has a bigger focus on pursuing passion projects and creative endeavors beyond work!

Passion Project: My Dearest Co

It’s been a while but it’s been a good few months. I went ahead and did something that I’ve been meaning to do for a while - I finally shared my artwork with the world! Some of you may know that I’ve been practicing both calligraphy and watercolor for a few years ago. 

This year I decided to create a separate place for me to share my creative expression with the world: MY DEAREST CO. My dream is to make every piece symbolic of what “my dearest” means - a statement of love and endearment - for people who bring it into their homes. You can read more about it here, follow on Instagram here or visit my Etsy shop here.

The purpose of this blog post is to reflect on the past months and share what I’ve learned about myself on this exciting journey.

You’ll never be ready for your first step.
Don’t wait until you feel 100% prepared to do something because you’ll never feel absolutely ready. Don’t worry about needing to know what the next 10 steps are, just keep taking one step every day and it’ll become clear as you go. In other words, be okay with not knowing.

Don’t compare your practice to someone’s masterpiece.
If you expect to create an end product every time you practice - you’ll just be let down. Go into each session with the intention of bettering your craft and good work will come naturally.

Find the work you cannot do, and actually do it.
Is there something that you can’t wait to dig into every morning? Where “work” doesn’t really feel like work, and where you have uninterrupted flow when doing? Then you’ve found something that makes you feel alive and/or gives you meaning for living. Seek out that thing and find ways to spend more waking hours on it to nurture that passion.

As a final note... 
I’ve also come to embrace the “seasons” of living and now believe that there are times and places for different opportunities throughout our lives. I’m blessed to have this be my side project right now with the hopes that one day this could be something bigger. Until then, baby steps onward!

What is a passion project you’ve been wanting to explore?
What are you waiting for? 

What is the work you’re willing to struggle for?

I’ve picked up a book recently called The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck. Today, I'm going to share a point that's really resonated with me. 

In the book, the author introduces a spin on a well-known question we ask ourselves all the time – “What do I want out of life?” This is an arguably a rather simple, easy question. At the end of the day, everyone’s striving for universal things like happiness, good health, fulfillment, etc.

The harder, more introspective question to ask is – “What kind of pain do I want?” This weeds out pipe dreams that we’re not actually willing to put hard work into and soul-sucking jobs where we just keep grinding at because it’s what we’re supposed to do.

The truth is, we’ll deal with problems and pain all our life no matter how rich, successful or satisfied we are. So while problems are inherently unavoidable – there are some problems we can handpick to have in our lives. And if given the choice, we should be picky as ever.

Pick the ones that make you feel alive.
The ones that excite you in the morning, and get you babbling at dinner.
The ones that defy people's expectation of who you should be (because this is your life!). 
The ones you must give a try, even if you’re afraid to fail really badly.