Hi reader friends! It’s a new year. How are you feeling? I’m feeling… determined. …What? I never feel any different when it’s a new year! I’m thinking this is because I’m away from home for the very first time and for a long time at that, so I have a new perspective of what I want my life to look, feel and be like. Despite not going sightseeing or on any tours, I take in what I see when I go out every single day and just being in a new and strange place wakes up the curious spirit within me that was trapped for so long. It’s been a wonderful and scary experience at the same time being so independent.
I read an article a couple days ago that gave their readers advice on ‘how to actually find yourself while traveling’ and although it did offer some practical ideas, I think living in the place like a local does so much more for opening up my mind than doing “tourist-y” things for me. It’s not that I’m not interested in taking cooking courses or going on tours, but I’d rather walk around and explore places myself. I guess it’s a different story for me because my boyfriend lives here in Germany and I have the opportunity to spend time with a native. But, like me, he hasn’t ever gone out to be enough of a “tour guide” for me.
My point is this trip has helped me to think about 3 changes in my life that I want to make this year to make my life better.
Ever since I took this past (school) year off from continuing look for another teacher job, I’ve felt even more down on myself than ever. Then, I started this blog and my Instagram account and that was tough. Then I started uploading videos to my YouTube channel and trying to juggle 3 different platforms IS tough. Basically, I kept having mental breakdowns, even while being on this trip, and it wasn’t until my boyfriend told me that the 1 thing he wants for me this year is to be present. Too often I spend time constantly focusing on things that I have no control of instead of what I can control, which is how I choose to react to things. For instance, I follow many accounts on Instagram and this one account kept annoying me so much every time something was posted by it, that when I showed him the pictured and complained, he said, “You know what helps?” and he proceeded to tap on the username, then the follow button and finally, the unfollow button. At first I freaked out, but it’s been a day since I’ve seen any posts and stories from the account and I actually feel relieved. He actually helped me stop complaining. I don’t have control over what other people post, but I have control over following and unfollowing them. It of course is going to take me some time to live in the moment, but what’s been helping me is that every time I feel like complaining about something, I say out loud, ‘No, I’m not going to complain. I’m going to be present.’ What also helps is having breakfast at the table without any devices. We do have them out at times, but we try to just listen to each other or the munching and crunching and our using the utensils as our noise and look out the window and talk about how horrible the weather ALWAYS is here 🙂
Everyone deserves a break, especially if s/he doesn’t know what they want to do career-wise (and if they can afford to). I told myself for years that I’d never take a break from going to school or work because ‘I’m too hard-working for that.’ But, having taken the year off allowed me to try new things and things are uncomfortable. Namely, putting myself out there. And because of that, I realized that taking a break doesn’t make me any less hard-working than I always will be. It means that I was strong enough to make the conscious decision to give myself some time to rest and think about what my next step are in life. If I never said ‘no,’ I would’ve never done any of things I did and accomplished in this time. With all that said, I still don’t know what I want to do and even bigger than that, I don’t know what I’m going to do. I have no idea what’s going to happen in the next month. What’s important is that I know what I don’t want to do and that I keep on doing whatever I’m doing and never stop working and never stop learning. I’ll always refer to what a teacher said to me when I talked to her after school when I was her substitute teacher for that day: “No one should ever have to do what they don’t want to.’ I want to exercise patience when it comes to giving myself a chance to remain calm and take each day as it is.
Eat more plants.
I’ve actually done really well in incorporating plants into my diet. My lifestyle changed when I started college and had to cook for myself. At first it was spaghetti and chicken noodle soup. Then the whole vegan movement arrived and all of a sudden, I found myself watching vegan recipes videos on YouTube to get inspiration. I’m most likely never going to be vegan, but the lifestyle inspired me to get more greens in. While away on travel, it’s actually easier for me to do so because I have to buy all the ingredients for my meals myself, rather than use whatever’s in the fridge at home that my mom buys (very lackluster, honestly). So, I vowed to have greens first thing in the morning to start my days off in the right mindset. Clean eating from the get-go allows me to have energy for the day and helps eliminate the dreaded ‘did I have any greens today?’ thought at the end of the day, to which most of the time I reply with, ‘Gasp, no!’ For the past couple weeks, I’ve been making a salad to accompany my breakfast meal. The whole thing keeps me full for ages but without the crash or my craving junky or heavy foods. I feel great so far!
That’s it for the changes I want to make this year. I made them realistic so that I can stay accountable for achieving them. Basically, look around you, slow down and eat well. Enjoy life because time flies. Why spend it negatively when you can choose to have fun?
What are the changes you want to make this year? Or what changes have you made in your life that have made it better?
Thanks for reading<3
Until next time,