Nostalgia At Its Finest (novel-esque post… you’ve been warned!)

So today’s a beautiful day here in sunny Florida… and, I mean, it’s REALLY beautiful out. So I did the only logical thing there is to do on a day like this and I went outside! And it would be purely selfish of me to do so and leave my adorable, precious, love bug of a pup behind, so I grabbed his water bowl, filled up a bottle of water for the both of us, couldn’t leave his treats behind of course, and set out with my blanket, ready for an awesome Monday with the lil man.

As I was getting ready to step out, I noticed my happy memories jar sitting on my bookshelf and I thought, “Hmmm… yep. It’s comin along.”

Let me tell you a little bit about my happy memories jar.
I created this little gem about a year an a half ago- on New Years Day 2013 to be exact. I did this for two reasons. Firstly, I wanted to begin keeping record of my happy memories, even the small ones, because let’s be honest… we all tend to forget the little treasures that pop up into our life journeys and isn’t it just a perfectly nostalgic joy to be reminded?! Secondly, this year in particular, to me, was the first year that I started living. I was 24 years old at the time but I felt as if I’d be reborn, and while there are a plethora of reasons behind this, I think you’ll have to do with the mystery for now because this blog couldn’t even begin to handle my life story. ;) But I can give you the bare essentials to roll with me here.(If you don’t care about the essentials of where it came from, you’re welcome to continue scrolling down to my mantra, which is what started the jar, and are MORE than welcome to adopt it in whatever way that suits you for your own life! :) I just always feel that it’s beautiful to provide a little bit of back story to help others relate when sharing something so close to your heart.)
Basically, I had always been a people-pleaser and was that person who would bend over backwards for anyone on the planet who asked me to, even strangers (nope, I’m not kidding you… I did not discriminate with my people-pleasing). You can ask those closest to me who were constantly scolding me for being “too nice”, to which I responded by telling them that there’s no such thing as being too nice, or that I’d rather be too nice than to be rude.I just didn’t understand why I was supposed to ever view it to be a bad thing.
And in a sense, I was onto something there. To this day, I believe genuine kindness to be the most beautiful aspect of a person, including and especially above physical beauty. But the way in which I went about it left me with little to no room for the word “no”(I don’t even believe I knew how to pronounce it until recently… “N… n… nnnnice to meet you?” Nope. That’s not it… dangit!), which left little to no room for meIt stunted my authenticity and, instead, lead me into some difficult situations that could have taken my life down a very, very difficult, dark, and unhappy road.
There’s clearly a lot more to it but for now, I’m going to leave it at that and save the juicy deets for another time.
The bottom line is that I was, in very many ways, living a life for the approval of and appreciation from others rather than for the authenticity of myself and how I was truly intended to live. Fortunately, however, I ultimately mastered the art of learning my lessons the hard way in my lifetime, and with my true nature still alive and kicking deep down (truly by the grace of God), screaming to be set free, it was only a matter of time before the two collided and I awoke to a better way of living that suited not only the serving nature that I had for others, but also myself and my own genuine happiness. I never thought it would be possible to find a balance between the two, but lo and behold, after 24 years of learning some very hard lessons in a very hands-on way, I was officially ready to do just that.
You see, after coming out of one of the most difficult times of my life which included a devastating divorce and even more heart-wrenching news regarding my physical health, I had been overwhelmed for months. I did my best to walk forward with my head held high and a bright smile on my face, and I like to think that I actually did well with this, at least from what others could see, but inside… I struggled. I think it’s even safe to say I was a hot mess. I won’t go into details about the turmoil I felt regarding my life, my worth, and my future, but I will say that it was, hands down, the absolute lowest point of my life and I didn’t realize that self-worth could actually fall into the sub-zero category until then. That time actually wound up playing a strong role in deepening my level of empathy because not one single person in the world knew how I felt, as it wasn’t something I cared to share… I was determined to continue being the happy, friendly, caring and sweet person that I felt I always was to those around me because if I was going to lose everything else, I was going to hold on with dear life to the one thing I had left and valued so deeply- my kindness. And please don’t get me wrong; I wasn’t being “fake”, as I genuinely believed in every happy, positive, and encouraging thing that I said and did. But I, myself, was in deep pain and was simply doing all that I could to push through and past it by focusing on brightening the day and lives of others. So when I realized how little people knew about what was so broken and pained inside of me behind that smile and outwardly positive nature, and actually how easily they assumed that I had some sort of perfect and idealistic life upon meeting me BECAUSE I was so positive in nature and “looked” like I must have such an easy life, I began to understand just how little we know of others and how ill equipped we are to make any assumptions, even seemingly positive ones. I realized that there are undoubtedly others who live broken behind their smiles and that we can never truly know or understand what a person has struggled with or is struggling with, even if we think they’ve shared with us… that unless we are walking in their shoes, it’s simply not our battle to judge. I became keenly aware of the difference that a randomly kind person or even something as simple as a smile could make to what might have otherwise been a painful or bad day, and I wanted to be sure that I always only contributed good things and beauty to the days of others. I didn’t ever want to be that person who was so wrapped up in her own troubles that she was oblivious to the world around her, closing herself off from beautiful new opportunities and growth and either directly or indirectly contributing frustration and negativity to others along the way. It was at that point that I set an intention to always remain aware of, and empathetic toward, that knowledge in my daily interactions.
I know that I promised to keep this short, and I hope that you all realize by now what “short” means to me in terms of writing (oh heyyyyy, shout out to my lovely friends who are amazing enough to read through my novel texts!! You’re zee best! ;) ). I’m almost there, I promise. But the point that I wanted to make in sharing all of this is basically to show that we all have our struggles, even those who you might never expect to have struggled or to be struggling. Whether they’re just like mine or entirely different, we can all relate to the simple fact that we have each struggled in some way. And with that, I believe that we can all relate to needing and benefitting from something like a happy memories jar, and especially what began it (what, you thought all of this was in relation to the jar itself? Get real, that was just a gateway to a much bigger story! Aw, youuuu fell for itttttt ;) ). You see, on New Years Eve of 2012, before going out in my sparkly dress and curly locks, I sat down and went to town on quite a few pages of my journal, sectioning the pages into two categories. The first was a list titled, Trials and Tribulations of 2012. In that list, I wrote about everything that was hard, difficult, heartbreaking, discouraging, and fearful. I made a list of 50. The second was titled, And the Lessons I’m Taking with Me from Each and Every One…, in which I wrote about all of the strength, beauty, and blessings to be found in relation to each struggle on list number one. After completing the first list, I walked passed my parents (my temporary roommies at the time) and went straight toward the fire that was blazing under the chimney, where I carefully laid the pages of list number one into the flames and watched with a great sense of relief as the negativity turned to ash and rose into the abyss above. The second list is what began my happy memories jar. I placed it into a glass jar and set an intention to fill that jar with all of the blessings of the year, allowing nothing but beauty to come with me into 2014 when I would sit down a year later to read them. I have to say, it was a really beautiful experience going through them the first time on New Years Day 2013… so much so that I felt inspired to bring it with me to the park and do it again on this beautiful day!
That is the list that I’ve provided below, and I pray that it inspires all who read it to live life to the best of their abilities, and even beyond… to remember their worth, even and especially in the times when it feels to be non-existent, and to hold on to the strength and the courage that exists within us all to move forward into beauty and greatness. This life is meant to be lived happily and joyfully, for others and for ourselves. I wish that for you all and hey, if you ever have trouble finding it… you know a gal that will absolutely bend over backwards for ya to help find it! ;) Live in love everyone, and seriously… thank you for reading! ❤

And the Lessons I’m Taking with Me from EACH and EVERY one… ❤

1.) I deserve happiness and am smart enough to recognize when and where it’s lacking, strong enough to stand up for myself and for others, even when it’s the hardest thing to do, and compassionate enough to di it in the kindest and most loving way possible, even when I’m hurting. I did the right thing and will have a happy, healthy, and life-long marriage one day with the right person, when it is right. (I wonder what this one was about… :) )
2.) I have had a tendency to want to be perfect for others, and I don’t need to be… because I am perfect already. I am the perfect me. I was strong enough to overcome something powerfully destructive and am now a thriving, healthy, and beautiful person.
3.) I don’t need attention from any man who’s not the man that I love. I have higher morals than that and am valuable enough to hold onto them.
4.) “It”is only ever bad and I have much healthier options, such as journaling, listening to music, talking with friends, painting, long boarding, driving, or even simply getting ready for no reason at all and feeling good about myself!
5.) I am beautiful! I am gorgeous inside and out, funny, sweet, caring, compassionate, fun, creative, interesting, relaxing, friendly, positive, gentle, athletic, nurturing, intelligent, sexy, loving… I’m the perfect version of me and it’s okay to love that.
6.) They (friends and family) love me and will be a higher priority in my life always.
7.) I have such a bright future full of so many amazing possibilities… sometimes I need to work a little harder for them, and that’s okay… it’s worth it.
8.) Do it NOW. You’ll be glad you did.
9.) There’s always something to be grateful for.
10.) There is literally no benefit to worrying.
11.) I have God, family, and friends. It doesn’t ever matter how many or how close. Life changes, but I’m always loved, and lovable.
12.) I’m too amazing to criticize myself!
13.) I’m too amazing to let anyone else’s misunderstood perceptions get to me!
14.) Life is too short and too amazing to be negative!
15.) See above… that’s their own choice to ignore it. (In reference to anyone who is difficult to deal with in life)
16.) Save more. Only spend what you have.
17.) It’s not worth it. Living in love is worth it. Forgiving is worth it.
18.) Family is most important. You can’t always make it perfect, you’re only one part of it, but you can always do your best for your own part.
19.) Leave more time for sleep. It matters.
20.) God is FIRST. He saved my life multiple times, whether I thought I deserved it or not, whether I wanted him to or not, and whether I even knew it or not. I’m still here, and that means that I have a purpose to fulfill… it means that I am dearly loved by him. He is first.
21.) Creating is my passion. It’s worth making time and energy for, and it inspires others. Do it more.
22.) Helping people is my other passion. I’m good at it and it inspires others. Do it more.
23.) Tithing is important and feels so good no matter how little I have for myself!
24.) Everything happens for a reason. There’s no need to fear the future.
25.) This is my one and only life… LIVE IT!!
26.) However I want to live my life to the fullest is what works for me and that’s not only okay, but it’s what this one life of mine is meant for. Embrace it.
27.) Listen… you can’t make everyone happy, and you can’t make what’s not meant to be, be. If someone wants to love you, let them love you, and if you love someone, let yourself love them to the fullest. The most detrimental thing you can do to yourself is to close off your heart to love. The most selfish thing you to can to the world is to keep your love from it. And the most wasteful thing you can do is to play games and try to figure out what God and fate has already decided. The best and happiest thing you can do is to enjoy the ride and be open to all of the good things that come your way, receiving them with gratitude. If something doesn’t work out, it may be sad initially, but know that it wouldn’t have worked out regardless of what you did and would have been sad at some other point. Be grateful for less time wasted. You might as well be happy and open to the possibilities and enjoy the good that can come from it, accept any of the “disappointments”, and know that if someone else does take this openness of heart for granted, they didn’t deserve your whole heart in the first place; if they take advantage, they obviously needed that openness more than you know; and in either case, it is their loss in the end and you walk forward with your head held high knowing that you always have something to gain from giving! ❤
28.) There is nothing to fear… God has amazing plans for you. Just be open to receiving them!
29.) You’re too precious to hate or doubt. It’s sad for anyone who does so… they’re missing out.
30.) Exercise makes you look and feel good!
31.) Indulging also make you happy. :)
32.) Do not downplay your beauty, on the inside or out. It does not benefit anyone and is not what God blessed you with it for.
33.) Music is amazing in so many ways.
34.) You love learning, progressing, and playing guitar! It’s worth more time.
35.) Not writing is the ultimate way to hide your heart- share it in some way, even if it’s only with yourself and a pen and paper!
36.) Journaling = healing. Do not neglect!
37.) You deserve every compliment you get. Stop rejecting them and just say “Thank you”!
38.) Everyone’s different. Some people don’t understand or accept that. Don’t be one of those people and don’t take it personally if you encounter someone who is.
39.) Any loss was never meant to be yours in the first place. Mourn the initial feeling of losing what you thought you had, but then accept that it wasn’t and isn’t yours and be grateful to have more room for what is.
40.) You’re capable of so much more than you know… don’t waste your time trying to figure it all out though. Just know that you’re capable of more than you even know and be grateful for the vast amount of possibilities to explore it.
41.) What you have is what you’re meant to have, and it’s not only enough, but it’s perfect.
42.) Don’t waste your life being unhappy… that would be the ultimate waste.
43.) Some/many things take more effort than others… and it’s all worth it.
44.) Smiles are contagious and much more beneficial, to the wearer and the world. :)
45.) If you have something to hold back, it’s not only worth sharing, it’s selfish not to.
46.) Calendars, notes, alarms, happy memories jar… all necessary and 100% worth the effort!
47.) She is just a person. She can think how she wants to- that works for her and that’s great! If she chooses to be negative toward you about your differences, that’s her choice and her loss of enjoying all of what you have to offer. Lift her up anyways. (In regards to a really negative woman at my workplace who constantly put me down. I’d realized that she must have some pain that I could not see that was causing her negativity, and I had compassion for her. I think we can all take a step back in similar situations and learn to see opportunities for compassion before anger.)
48.) Moving on is such a positive thing… leave the negative behind, take the lessons from it with you, and love how beautiful your life is.
49.) Be smart about when/how/why you move on. You’re capable of anything good.
50.) Life’s too short to be in a bad mood. There’s always something to smile/laugh about and love!

One thought on “Nostalgia At Its Finest (novel-esque post… you’ve been warned!)

  1. Someone once said “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” I think I can summarize this part of your work with this quote 🙂


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