I t ‘ s M y
B i r t h d a y !
Twenty-six was a great year. I got engaged & married, travelled to Italy, performed some of my favorite roles in my dancing career, & achieved so many of my blogging goals I had set out to accomplish. Now, I’m twenty-seven, & I can’t wait to see what this year brings. But before I look ahead, I’ve been doing some reflecting & thinking about some of the things I’ve learned about myself & about life in these past 27 years. In fact, I’ve thought of 27 things I’ve learned in my 27 years.
1. Give yourself a break
I’ve realized that as much as I try & pretend to be wonder woman, I am not. I require scheduled down time for relaxing & recharging. Over the years I’ve learned that this does not make me weak, but when I listen to my body & take a break every once in a while, I come back stronger & better than before.
2. Travel changes you
There’s something so special about experiencing the way other people live, interact, eat, dress, etc. in person. I think experiencing the fact that there are just so many different ways to live your life, & wondering in what ways would I be different if I had grown up in a place like this, have the power to change the way you think about the world you live in. Also, once you start traveling, you just crave more! I want to see everything!
3. Let things go
There are things in life, either good or bad, that can have a tendency to hold us back. Let go of the past. Don’t look back. Learn to love the present you’re in.
4. Expect the best of people
Instead of assuming that what someone said was meant to be rude to you, or that their intentions for doing something were not very nice, expect that they meant well by what they did or said. Especially when it comes to text messages! Sometimes it’s so hard to know what the person is trying to say through texts. Let your first reaction be expecting the best of them & seeing the good rather than jumping into that pessimistic mindset.
5. Say what you need to say
Communication is KEY to any relationship. If there is something on your mind, say it. It’s so much better to say what is on your heart in a loving way, than to let things boil up inside you until you get angry. Of course, take their feelings into account, but then say what you need to say.
6. Pick your battles
Several years ago, I sat on an airplane next to the sweetest older couple. They had been married for a long time, & told me that their biggest advice on marriage is to pick your battles. I think this lesson goes right along with saying what you need to say & also letting things go. There are times when it’s good to bring things up & to talk through the hard things in life, but it’s also wise to know when to let go. Learn which battles are worth fighting.
7. Eating healthy matters
I had a freak foot injury a few years ago that really served as a wake up call for my health. I wasn’t eating ANY vegetables! During my recovery, I worked with my PT a lot about regaining my strength & preventing things like this from happening in the future. In doing this, we dug deep into my nutrition that was clearly lacking. Since then I’ve discovered there are some vegetables that I like & making green smoothies at home has totally changed my life. I feel stronger & better than ever.
8. I don’t like drinking a lot
I’ve learned that I don’t really like drinking alcohol that much. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good margarita or a glass of wine, but I typically will only have one & that’s my limit. I don’t like the feeling of being tipsy or drunk, so I just don’t let it happen. Just my personal preference & something I’ve learned over time.
9. You can create your own confidence
This one is huge, you guys! Confidence is not something you’re born with or something that is given to you, but it’s something you create! Choose confidence even if it’s only outward confidence at first & you’re shaking with fear internally. Work on it. Cultivate it. Believe in yourself!
10. Make sleep a priority
I used to literally hate sleeping. One because bedtime is when my anxiety would like to spike, but two because I just felt like it was such a waste of time. I would have much rather been spending time with people I loved or getting ahead on this or that. Now, I truly value sleep. It’s when my body gets to heal from the wear & tear of the day, & when my brain gets to recharge to be even more productive the next day. I just know that I always do better with 8 hours of sleep so I’ve made an effort to make that happen most nights.
11. Pets enrich your life
I’ve always loved cats, but I’ve never considered myself an animal person until the past couple of years. Now we have two cats & a dog & they bring just so joy & love into our home. They are best at giving you love on those bad days when you need it most.
12. You reap what you sow
This one’s pretty self-explanatory, but dreaming big & then actually accomplishing those dreams takes a whole lot of work, but it’s worth it. Learn to love the work.
13. Treat yourself
Let yourself save for something special just for you. Whether it’s that new dress or bag you’ve been wanting, getting your nails done, or choosing to spend money on good skincare. Treat yourself. You only get one life to live so live it well. You deserve it.
14. Surround yourself with good people
I heard once that you are a combination of the 5 closest people in your life at any one moment. If that’s true, (which seems pretty likely if you stop & think about it) choosing to surround yourself with good people is so important. Find friends that make you a better person & who are there with you no matter what. (Just listened to this podcast & could totally relate to it!*)
15. Nothing can crush your dreams
You are the creator & caretaker of your of dreams. Nothing & no one can crush them besides yourself. Work hard to make those dreams a reality in your life, no matter what anyone else says.
16. Music is healing
Music moves people. It is not bound by gender, color, race, culture, or religion. Music has truly been a healing force in my life. Whether it’s because of the lyrics of songwriters like Audrey Assad or Taylor Swift, or just that melody that can get stuck in your head & transport you to another place, there is power in music.
17. I love grilled cheese sandwiches
You guys, this has been my very favorite food pretty much since day one. I don’t think that’s changing any time soon.
18. Even if everyone tells you you can’t, you can
I have heard countless stories of this being true in other people’s life, but never believed it until it happened to me. The number of people who told me I would never be a professional dancer would shock you. Yet here I am, a professional dancer, & I’ve been thriving in my career for 6 years now. Get out there & prove them wrong!
19. You you only need 1
There are so many ways that I’ve found this phrase applicable to my life. One is simply for shooting photos for Instagram. You only need one good one, am I right?! But on a more serious note, you only need one person to say yes, or one door to open for something major to happen. It takes one person believing in you to change the course of your life.
20. Writing things down is powerful
I never open my journal knowing what I’m about to write. I just start writing & soon it starts to reveal my deepest thoughts, feelings, & fears. Writing my fears helps me conquer them. I develop a game plan & use key words throughout my day to help me put my fears to bed. If you’ve never tried this, I highly recommend it.
21. It’s ok to say no
Funny enough, I’ve actually grown to love saying no. I love taking time for me, to either stay ahead or just get some extra relaxation time. Don’t get me wrong, it’s important to spend time with friends & be there for them & what’s going on in their lives, but saying no is actually so good for you. Plus, it’s good to feel confident about saying no sometimes. You be you.
22. Kindness is never overrated
I’m learning that it’s always a good time to go above & beyond for those around you. You never know what something as small as a smile or a helpful hand can mean to someone else.
23. Nurture your dreams
I’m a BIG time dreamer. So I know that when it comes to dreams, they take extra time, love, & care. Think about ways you can create a nurturing environment for your dreams to thrive in.
24. Wear the dress
If you’re ever wondering, “Is this too much?” or “Am I going to be overdressed?” I say, “Who cares?!” Wear the freaking dress! Just do it & own it.
25. Some days require pizza parties
Ben & I are huge fans of what we call “pizza parties” otherwise known as pizza for dinner. We know that pizza parties are required for celebrations, when we need some cheering up, & especially to ring in the weekend. Together, we always can find an excuse for a good ole pizza party.
26. Be proud of who you are & what you’ve accomplished
I’m finding this more & more important as each year passes. First of all, making an effort in the present to be the kind of person to be proud of, but being aware of your accomplishments no matter how big or small they may be is so important.
27. I always have room for dessert
No matter what I’ve eaten for dinner, or how much of it I ate, I somehow always have room for dessert. It’s like my stomach has a special compartment just for dessert! Especially ice cream! Oh my word, ice cream is actually the best thing ever.