I kid you not when I say I’ve been in the process of writing this post for the past two years. It all started when I first read Oprah’s book, “What I Know For Sure,” on a red eye flight to New York City. The next morning, I landed in Brooklyn with two cats, two parents, and two suitcases of my most precious belongings — which turned out to be mostly books. In the two years since, New York City has evolved from being a magical place I dreamed about to a real-life, frustrating, inspiring zip code I’m lucky enough to call home.
Now, I know a lot about a lot of rather useless things. I know what the week’s top trending YouTube videos are and the interworkings of YouTube’s creator drama. I know how to make a delicious bowl of buttered popcorn and which bakery has the best whoopie pies in my neighborhood. I know how to make exactly one shape in pottery class and which streets take you to overlook the Hudson River from my apartment. Cooking, plumbing, and general adult undertakings, these I’m still working on, but it’s all about finding joy in the process right?
This New Year’s Eve, I took time to reflect on what these past two years have meant to me. And while I’m not as eloquent or meditative as Oprah (seriously, is anyone?), these are the few things I personally know for sure.
Ice tea is the greatest drink of all time. Even in the winter when it’s snowing.
Eye lash curlers will never not be terrifying.
Even though I want to eat cheese and cheesecake constantly, it doesn’t mean my body CAN digest cheese or cheesecake easily.
I will always cry at the end of “Legally Blonde.” Yes, that is a real statement.
I can’t take full credit for this one. Technically it’s my dad’s golden piece of advice, but I’m here to confirm it’s all true! To help stay mentally balanced with the stress of work and freelance, I make sure to also do something 180 degrees different than my everyday life. For me, this has been exercising, pottery, and sex education because all three don’t requires the internet or writing. In the studio I can just unplug for two hours and focus on nothing but the project in front of me.
Learning to truly forgive someone is a hard but necessary undertaking.
To do lists will always be my preferred source of organization — even though I’m constantly losing or having to rewrite them.
The floor boards of my apartment will someday collapse due to the weight of my bookcases.
There is no reason to worry about how others perceive you, instead, focus on what you think of yourself. It’s much less work and much more satisfying.
“The Atonement” soundtrack is an emotional roller coaster.
If I’m not realistic about the amount of work I can commit to, I will overdue it and burn out. And how sad would that be? To lose my passion for writing and advocacy! This is why it’s so important for me to stay active and social in order to stay balanced. As David Allen once said, “You can do anything, but you can’t do everything.”
Yoga is a superpower. I don’t quite know what it does sometimes, but its influence has brought calm and enlightenment far beyond my mat.
The worst thing someone can say is no. Ask for that well-deserved raise, approach someone about a date, pitch your dream project! You have everything you need to succeed, it just comes down to having the guts to actually pursue it.
Communication is EVERYTHING! If you don’t know, just ask!
Some nights are for beers and dancing, other nights are for Netflix marathons and avocado pajamas.
It’s okay to say no to the things that don’t serve you. There is nothing unkind or selfish about taking care of yourself.
I will never understand how some people don’t eat breakfast. I’m hungry within 11 minutes of waking up every single day and so are my cats.
Learning to be on my own team is one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself. So even now, when the tendency to rail against my faults sets in, I take a break, go for a walk, and begin again. This is something yoga has taught me, that I can always begin again.
Zabie Yamasaki told me: “If it’s the first thing you think about when you wake up and the last thing that occupies your thoughts before you drift off to sleep, then it’s the thing you’re meant to spend your life pursuing.” I sometimes look back with nervousness and think, “What if I hadn’t randomly taken that one journalism class? I would have missed out on such a great love.” For seven years, writing has given me the space to create, rally against injustice, remember my loved ones, and heal. I am indebted to its influence on my life.
Death is an incredible motivator. I know, WOAH! What a turn! Hear me out. After losing my uncle, I realized just how precious time is. It’s made me stop fearing death (which is very liberating in itself) and see it as a motivator to live everyday bravely, passionately, and without regrets. If I can do something today, I will do it today! So that when I’m 75, I will look back on the endless albums of adventure I’ve curated rather than a list of things I wish I would have done.