18 things I learned in 2018

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2018 was honestly a really difficult year. At the end of 2017, I had told myself that 2018 was gonna be MY YEAR, that all the seeds I had been planting would finally bloom, and I would be my best self by the end of it. Well, I definitely feel like I'm currently the best I can be. I worked tirelessly in 2018 while also taking lots of time for relaxation, learning, entertainment, friends and self-care. I planted even more seeds and nourished the ones I had planted long ago. I learned that things aren't always gonna happen for me exactly when I want or expect them to--all I can do is constantly prepare for my blessings. 2018 was a year of plotting, decluttering and tying up loose ends. I anticipate 2019 to be a year of executing and perfecting. These are the lessons I will take with me into 2019.

1. I learned that you can't ever really be behind in life, nor can you be ahead. The only reason it may seem like we can is because we're constantly comparing ourselves to others, which only serves to steal our joy. You can only be exactly where you are in this moment, which is where you're cosmically meant to be. If you ever took time off, it's because God asked you to, knowing it would put you where you're supposed to be when you're supposed to be there.

2.  Financial independence is so sexy. This year was the first time in my life I was really able to stack my cash up and save for future investments, trips and fashion/artistic endeavors. Living at home with my family and working full-time (and then some) for the last 8 months has allowed me to save...and the more I save, the sexier I feel! I could never have understood how dope it would feel to be able to fund a round trip abroad and still have 4 digits in my bank account. I finally understand why people love money so much lol. My life will never be revolved around making money-- but when money comes, it really makes you feel accomplished, and full of possibilities. Obviously not everyone has the luxury of living rent-free, but perhaps make it a goal to save a little every month, like $100, or even a dollar a day. It will teach you the value of budgeting and help you adopt a minimalist attitude, especially when it comes to physical objects or eating out (often unhealthily). Less frivolous expenditures now means more meaningful purchases and investments later.

3. Invest in quality clothing, not fast fashion. This is something I've always known but haven't always executed. Fashion is art, and you wouldn't spend money on art that didn't feel worthy of being up on your walls for the coming years, so why would you do it with clothing? Invest in iconic, timeless, classic and versatile multi-use pieces, perhaps making a meaningful purchase every so often instead of splurging and buying whatever is cute at Urban Outfitters because you're bored with your closet. Have an idea of a piece you want ahead of time, and when you're ready, go find the best version of that item possible. This year I noticed I had become so scared of  investing in fast fashion that I never bought anything for myself. So I started challenging myself to buy 1 amazing piece a month, weather I find it on Opening Ceremony (sale section) or Salvation Army. It's working out great for my closet and my wallet.

4. Sometimes life gives you scenarios that can be painful and difficult without any immediate or apparent derivative lesson. In order to move on, we have to accept that all we can do is grow from the pain alone and hope an answer becomes clear to us one day down the line.

5. I learned that it’s been scientifically proven the more time you spend with your mom the longer she lives <3

6. Teasing my hair is the best thing ever for easy, long lasting and product free VOLUME! Also the best, putting castor oil on my eyebrows, lashes, ends and baby hairs before bed.

7. Never take your friends for granted! I can honestly say I did no such thing in 2018 and as a result I have some of the most amazing people in the world to call friends. Nurturing these relationships is just as, if not more important than nurturing your romantic relationships.

8. Community is important. Nobody can do it alone— whether it’s becoming a successful artist or starting a non-profit. People with like interests/motivations & values will push you further than you could ever go on your own.

9. In 2018, somebody that really hurt me, after not hearing from them for over a year, reached out to tell me he was in my city. It honestly shook me because I was never expecting to hear from him again, let alone see this Bronx boy on my Chicago turf. I thought I loved this person, so when he resurfaced, that desperately in-love and heartbroken girl he brought out of me wanted to respond in hopes that we could make plans for coffee or drinks, and he would say all the shit that, to this day, would console my heart so much. Words such as, "I miss you, our time together meant something to me, and I messed up for hurting you and cutting all ties. Any chance you're open to trying out a real friendship with me even though we both know I ain't deserve it?" I texted my therapist in a panic not knowing what to do. Even though this person gutted me back in 2017 and I didn't get my stride back till well into 2018, a big part of me still wanted him to want me. I was quickly responded to with a text advising me to absolutely not respond, unless he texted me again at least two more times, and expressed some kind of emotion/remorse/authentic care. Of course he did not. He was always reckless, but more than anything, he was a coward unable to face me or what we went through. Not responding to him hurt me because it closed the door on him once and for all, but I knew he was never gonna say what I wanted him to say, or be who I needed him to be. I decided to spare myself one more disappointment from this man and pledged to never entertain a love interest when deep down inside I know they have no intention or desire of ever giving me what I need. I think this absolutely applies for friends and just generally anyone in your life who has hurt you repeatedly and just ain't really checking for you in any real and consistent way. What I learned in 2017 was how life-alteringly painful it can be to open up TOO quickly to someone you’re intensely to attracted before really knowing who they are. I think many of us have done this at some point. Regardless, when it comes to this man that hurt me— at the end of the day we did share space and intimacy. He hurt me but more than anything he had a profoundly positive influence on my life just through shedding his light on me. Although I’m not sure he was fully aware of his own light, he made me a better woman and I will always hold love for him for passing by and giving me so many things I didn’t even know I needed.

10. Having a fulfilling job is so important. Time is so valuable. If yo job ain’t getting you somewhere you wanna be, get the hell out— but not until you find something new. Because another thing that’s even harder than a job that’s not right is being unemployed when you actually want a steady job/income. Some people in this world are making the freelance lifestyle work so beautifully— and although that’s my ultimate goal, right now I’m using a conventional job to get me ahead financially and using the rest of my time to plan for my best life.

11. Travel somewhere new before visiting the same place again. :) and 7 times out of ten, watch a new movie before watching the same favorite again. You never know when you’ll find a new fav.

12. The concept of being relevant is SO IRRELEVANT. A person, a human being, can’t be irrelevant. This year got me real sick of clout chasers and people being rude because they feel entitled based their following or fame. It made me realize how messed up it is that “famous” people treat others like less than them because they aren’t relevant to their life. It's a really bad look and honestly makes people look so dumb and self involved. It won't serve you in the end.

13. Veganism is a super powerful thing. In 2018 I was a vegan for two weeks. Although at times my diet wasn’t the healthiest vegan diet, the way I felt from closely monitoring what I put into my body was something so special and powerful. I decided to go vegan because of a video I saw about law of attraction on Leeor Alexandra's YouTube page on how animal products in your body can alter how easily you attract your desires due to the interference of the spirit of previously living beings in your body. I weirdly really connected with that, it made perfect sense to me. ANYWAY— I wasn’t vegan for long enough to notice the change it made for me in attracting good things, but I felt more clear headed than ever, and that my body was starting to live on my fat reserves and I was gonna loose fat in certain areas. Its pretty hard to describe. Eating vegan/ eating healthy in general feels just like when you go to the gym on a consistent basis. You feel an intense elation that comes from the physical and psychological power of living the way humans were meant to. I hope to eventually transition to full Veganism once I’m ready and properly financially prepared…Actually I lied though. I’ll never be full vegan. I hope soon to practice a non-dairy Pescatarian diet, most likely without eggs…I love fish way too much but hell nah to the mammals.

14. Knowledge is power. If I’m ever feeling insecure about anything—attractiveness, intelligence, my accomplishments (or lack there of), I pick a book, any book pertaining to a subject that interests me, and challenge myself to read the whole thing. True attractiveness comes from intelligence, not physicality. The beauty about every new thing I learn, book I read, film I watch, is that it’s one more that makes me different from everyone else. Beauty fades, but intelligence grows <3

15. Thoughts become reality manifested in your world, physically and in every other way. From the shape of your body to your current mate or your job, you attracted it somehow with your thoughts, your own personal beliefs about self-worth and what you deserve. The beautiful thing about this is that it’s much easier to manifest positive things that you actually want, than it is to manifest negative things you’re afraid of— as long as you give 90% of your energy to the good things. Oh, and GRATITUDE. It’s the fastest/ cheapest drug to get you happy and if you treat yourself with it regularly, the easiest way to stay happy and attract every good thing you desire. If this concept if foreign to you, definitely make The Secret the first film you watch in 2019! It will explain everything.

16. I learned that there is a lot of online support for men and women with body image issues, but almost none for people who struggle, not with hating their body shoulders down, but hating it shoulders up. People never talk about Body Dysmorphic Disorder as though it is a medical condition, but it is. They never talk about how thin of a line the line is from hating your own face to hating yourself. People don’t mention what it’s like to look in the mirror and not even recognize the person as you because while you feel beautiful on the inside, the face you meet in the mirror doesn’t reflect that. They don’t discuss the difference between BDD and Anorexia Nervosa. People don’t talk about how millions of people are getting surgery to look the way they look in FaceTune or Snapchat filters, and it’s whack. As someone who struggled and reached almost a full recovery for this in 2018, I intend to teach and spread what I learned to the many people who desperately need to know they’re not alone in feeling this way. This is a major goal for 2019.

17. You must jump when you’re most afraid to, otherwise you’ll stay in the same place your whole life. I also learned that you can know this fact full well and still be so paralyzed with fear that you never take action—knowing the self-harm and setback you’re creating for yourself. If you’d rather be comfortable than put yourself on the line for your dream, you can’t possibly want it that bad. And if you do, you better get out there and try, because without trying you can’t fail, but without failure you can’t grow and move forward.

18. Integrating a new habit into your life is not easy or casual! Not at all. Especially since many of us (I more than anyone I know) tend to hold a perfectionist attitude, an all or nothing approach— which never works. In 2018 and actually my whole life, to be honest, I would skip out on my goals because I didn’t have enough time to practice singing for one whole hour, or go to the gym for 2 whole hours— so I just wouldn’t do either at all. And then when I would have time to sing for one whole hour, for example, I had been holding out practicing for so long that when I finally had the time, I didn’t have the stamina or patience to practice for one whole hour straight. Same goes for the gym. At the end of this year, I read the book, Atomic Habits by James Clear— a phenomenal read I recommend to any ambitious person, period. It basically just calls out all our bad habits and gives us super easy tools to cut them out, and instill good ones. Now, I sing every single day at least for two minutes. Two minutes seems like nothing, right? Wrong. The first two minutes are CRUCIAL to good habit building. They say starting is the hardest part, right? And everybody can dedicate two minutes a day to their dream, right? Once you get in the habit of starting every single day, you’re not gonna wanna stop at just two minutes, you’re gonna want to keep going! And even if you only have two minutes, or 10 minutes for your dream on a particular day—nothing is not better than all, something is better than nothing. The body/ brain learns by repetition, something we all learned in high school. 2019 is your year to get those reps in!

That kinda concludes 2018 :). I’m so excited for a fresh start, and to accomplish this year what I didn’t get to last year and be better than ever. 2018 was a tough transition for me but I can feel everything falling into place. This is my first blog post, and I’ve been wanting to start a blog for a very long time. 1 major goal knocked out on the first day of 2019. Comment to let me know what you think, love you all so much and hope some of these lessons were helpful. Truthfully I learned way more than 18 things this year lol. It wasn’t easy to learn all of them, but I hope my writing them out may contribute to helping you all grow as well. Wishing you the most prosperous start to your year.

Love,

Maya