1. I still don't like the taste of coffee.
And I don’t think I ever will.
I can set personal goals and accomplish them without fearing the "what ifs." Every day, I set myself three goals to finish for the day. I allow myself to repeat some and others may be long term as long as a little progress has been be made to reaching it at some point.
3. I am starting to love who I am.
Growing up, I never loved the person I was because I saw myself as Stress. That’s right, I saw myself as everyone else’s problem rather than believing I could actually be helpful for their life. I saw myself as their issue, the thing they were sick of hearing, the thing they wanted so badly to get rid of that they would do anything just to hurt me. I saw myself this way for many years and several friends to realize that I am not Stress. I am not useless and my voice in their lives was important because I could help them when they really needed it like they were their for me. I needed to let them help me too because I needed to see the good in them. Believe they were the ones I needed too.
4. I will always follow my passion.
I am not going to stop writing every day just because I published my first novel. Wherever life takes you, you cannot give up on your passion and forget that it is what makes you happiest. For me, writing and helping others will always be my passions so I will do everything in my power to make sure they stay alive in my life with whatever I am doing. As an Assistant Education Director at a youthfocused nonprofit, I find that I can do both every day and still make time to do my own writing for fun.
5. I can afford to treat myself to date night once (sometimes twice) a week.
In special circumstances, I treat myself to my favorite restaurants and meals because I know I worked hard and deserve a break. I need to welcome myself to the idea that breaks and take the time to slow down. Live in the moment. Enjoy the buffalo chicken tenders with french fries or the delivery of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream right to my door.
6. I am starting to be open about my sexuality.
I am open to discuss this with anyone willing to hear and if you are curious what I am it is human. I am a person just like everyone else and I am not going to put a precise label on who I am. The idea that I need a label seems arbitrary when it should not matter what I am because love is love is love is love. Thank you, Lin Manuel Miranda.
The idea that I need to be placed in this box of presumed heterosexuality is stifling. I don’t know about you, but I am someone who believes in the people and the love they give you should not matter what gender they were born into. I love men. I love women. Most of all, I love love. I know it is not just a concept or figment of my imagination. I know that loving someone means seeing them as a person regardless of what gender they are. People are people and we need to start seeing beyond each other’s skin color or the gender we were assigned. We need to move passed the notion that everyone is heterosexual because it is better for society that way. No, it is not better for society to make assumptions. It is better for society when we choose to love whoever we want because love is something that should be obtainable for everybody. Every body.
7. It is okay to embarrass and laugh at myself.
When I am having a great time with my friends, I find that I can make a fool of myself and be happy with making others a little happier too. I find that the best times are when I can stop myself and see myself having fun and feel better on the inside. It is as if laughing is truly the best medicine.
8. I cannot afford to stress about things from my past.
I need to move on and not regret things I should have done or said differently. I am sometimes able to stop my brain before it goes to the what ifs. To be honest, I cannot afford wasting my time on things I would need a time machine to fix. If I could, I would, but I am trying to live without regret.
9.I forgive others for their mistakes (including myself).
I have learned that living in regret, guilt, and shame is not a life. I am not saying I forgive and forget or that you need to move on with your life the someone betrays or hurts you. I think it is better to let time do the healing for you. Let others make their mistakes and accept your own mistakes as things you can only learn from. Everyone makes them but you need to forgive and tell yourself that it is okay not to be perfect.
10. Writing poetry can be a form of healing.
Even though, writing has always been (and always will) be a huge part of my life as a person, I know certain forms of writing help with certain things I am going through. If I ever feel alone, I create stories of characters I know are alone too so we can help each other. It might sound crazy, but they are people too and need me to share their voice. When I am trying understand something whether a word I have never heard before or a random thought in my head I just need to get out, poetry is there so I can work through it in multiple different forms. No matter what I stay true to who I am as a writer who experiments in forms and genres to keep my creativity constantly pouring out of me rather than slow down.
11. Texting is overrated.
It is not like I cut off texting in my life, just certain times I think it is better to live in the moment rather than looking down. I think people are too wrapped up in a superficial image on the screen. As if those hundreds of followers on any platform know who you really are. The number of likes on your Instagram pictures or your number of views on YouTube are not what measures your worth. Your worth should be generated by the moments you laugh, the moments you help another person, the moments you see a change in yourself for the better. I think if we take a step back and leave our phones away for a few days we will start real conversations again. Genuine conversations and moments can happen you just need to look up.
12. My friends and coworkers are my second family.
They know who they are. They are the sisters and brothers I never had growing up, but am glad are there witnessing a new version of myself every day. They are the ones willing to hear me rant about anything and everything. They are the ones willing to hear me just cry it out so I can just release that part of me off my chest. They are the ones who will fight my battles alongside me while I take the first few shots. They are the ones that let me try new things and new experiences.They work alongside me seeing me be the best person I can be and give me opportunity to always push myself and improve.
13. I don't need to drink alcohol or smoke to have a fun time.
It is true. I also might be the only art school graduate who never touched (let alone, smoke) weed. I think the smell is disgusting, but got used to it in classes and dorm hallways. I am also very happy knowing I have great times with and without alcohol because they are the types of friends that do not need to drink to go crazy. They will tell you all I need is a fun size Butterfinger to be a little crazier than normal.
14. Paying bills is...interesting.
I was going to say fun, but I felt everyone probably would have pulled me and shaken me through the computer screen. I actually genuinely do like paying bills (except for rent).I like feeling like I am one step closer to being a fully functioning adult. My favorite bill (I can’t believe I am saying that!) is probably my student loans. Yes, you read and heard me correctly. I love paying back my student loans. Why? Well, I love the sense of relief watching the amount go down every time I pay it and the feeling of being able to afford to pay back a little each month. I like the feeling because I am proud of myself that I have a job so I can pay them back and still have a life outside of them where I can save money.
15. You cannot please everyone and you cannot always say yes.
This might sound cheesy, but you cannot please someone else unless you please yourself. I am not saying that you cannot be selfless and live in this without helping others. I am just saying you need to focus on surrounding yourself with the things and people that make you the happiest. You need to see yourself as someone worthy of being happy. You need to see yourself worthy of being loved by you. You need to love yourself. You are the only person on this planet that knows your thoughts, deepest feelings, and understands your perception. You are the one that controls your fate. If you want to say yes to every opportunity that comes your way. Go for it! You always need to learn that saying no is just as powerful if not more. You need to take yourself before you take care of anyone else. A wise woman once told me that!
16. Appreciate help from others because they wouldn't offer if they thought you couldn't repay them.
As someone that focuses so much of my energy on the well being of others, this one is probably the toughest lesson. I needed to be willing to see that their love for me can be just as genuine as the love I give them. I needed to see that my life would be nothing without them.
17. Nutella is a luxury....
I can occasionally and systematically purchase on average every two months. It is worth the investment because I get the bigger jar and only eat when I absolutely need it not every night. Nutella has taught me how to conserve valuable resources.
18. It is okay to not believe in God (and not be an atheist).
Just because I was raised Catholic does not mean I don’t value other religions and other beliefs. I am one to believe in faith as something that is all around of us and if we believe hard enough this faith will lead us to whomever is up there watching over us. It might be far fetched, but I believe this someone if he or she is in fact up there does not need to be called God. I believe you can call them whatever you want, but I am not going to be calling that being God. I will call them faith, fate, destiny, and reason. They will the elements of being that will guide from point A to point B.
19. Cooking is not a chore.
Last year, I made on average of 5 nights a week. I mean that is not bad considering I was a college senior with my own off-campus apartment. Now, as a recent college graduate with a job that I absolutely love I cook on average six nights a week with one night to treat myself on someone else doing the cooking and preparing. I have learned over the years watching countless episodes of Hell’s Kitchen and MasterChef the passion for food and flavors. I genuinely love cooking as a form of storytelling and creating. I think it is great to listen to the frying pan over the oven’s high heat or the chopping of a knife on a wooden cutting board. These are the sounds I look to for forms of relaxation when I am not quite in the mood for a Netflix binge. The kitchen has become a place for me to take time to just be alone with my thoughts and the plate. Work out things in my head, lay them out on the pan, and talk them out with no one around.
20. Women can be a tribe.
The women in my life that I choose to surround myself around are by far the strongest women I know. They are not only beautiful and come in all creeds and nationalities. They are women that don’t take no for answer and learn that obstacles are part of this life. They are the ones willing to learn something new everyday and teach others that it is okay to fail. They are the women who inspire to be as great as them at something in my life. They are warriors and fighters in my corner rooting for me. They are the women who will stand by me and fight my battles along with me. Yet will always let me get the first swing.
21. I am okay with going to Disney World one more time then I am good.
I will take my kids and that is it. I am not going to own a timeshare in Orlando so I can take them every February vacation to avoid New England winters. No, I am not a fan of the crowds if I am being completely honest. I also am not in love with all the characters running around and taking pictures with them. Don’t get me wrong, I love Disney movies and they were my childhood, but I am not sure if I ever enjoyed going or was just the idea of going that seemed more magical than it actually was.
22. Life is short.
This might be every optimist’s philosophy, but it holds true with almost every thing I do. I often think about people I have lost in my life and how some of them chose to end the race early while others simply collapsed at the finish line. Life is kind of a race, but I am choosing to fast walk instead. I am not going to run full speed to the finish line. I am going to take my time. Take breaks. Slow down. Experience what this life has to offer before it is all taken away for good. Forever. I am going try to make a life worth living rather than just a life fighting to survive.
23. I try to be happy every day.
Everyday, I am happy of the people I have met, the people I am going to meet, the places I have been (along with the places I will go), and the goals I will set.