This is 27

This is 27?? This year, my birthday TOTALLY snuck up on me. Is this what it means to reach your late 20's? ๐Ÿ˜‚

Last year was truly eventful, but more so in the "hardships of life" department. With losing my dad, feeling at an impasse with my career trajectory, dealing with my autoimmune disease, and a tumultuous long-distance relationship. 

This year has been even MORE eventful, but in the most wonderfully challenging way of growth and progress. I've cleared out all the toxic presences and situations from my life, zoned in on even deeper self-discovery and reflection than ever before, and I am just so much happier and more at peace with myself and life than I have ever been before. It's funny, because it's not like my health suddenly returned or that I've won the lottery, but I feel like I've put in the work this year more than ever to strengthen my resilience to be able to handle the never-ending ups and downs of life. And THAT is something that no circumstance, no person, or event can change, unless I let it. 

I'm really damn excited for my 27th year, living on this earth. Ever since I was little, I was always called an old soul, and 27 was always my age that I felt internally, even as a high schooler-- so it feels a little like the planets are aligning. I feel like there is still so much to learn and experience in this phase of my life, and I am really looking forward to it. Hope has always been a hard thing for me to embrace, because I'm innately a control-freak who is an optimist, but having hope almost felt like a jinx. But the theme of my life lately has been to lean into the fears and discomfort, so I'm letting myself feel all kinds of hopeful for a 27th year that is just plain FULL. 

I don't have time to go through old photos to piece together memories from this past year, but I really wanted to notate a few things that I could look back on a year from now, to see how much has happened since then too! 

So on the fly (in no particular order), I'm listing off 27 impactful things that have happened + lessons I've learned this year that I am really grateful for. 

1. My baby niece was born and it's been the first time I get to truly be an aunt (I was an aunt at age 1, so that's not quite the same)! Watching her grow up, especially getting to live so close to her and my sister + brother-in-law, has been something I'm deeply thankful for. 

2. I came up with this concept to launch this startup and decided to go for it. A huge leap of faith, and I cannot WAIT to see where this will be at, a year from now.

3. One of my first new dreams I had when I retired from skating, was to see my name published, writing for websites I loved. I've written 9 articles for mindbodygreen and The Everygirl this year, and it still sends my stomach for a happy flip whenever I see my work go live!

4. I went to go see my first functional medicine doctor, and for the first time since my Hashimoto's diagnosis and hypothyroidism, I feel hopeful about my chances to get myself into or close to remission-like living.

5. I finally got comfortable in front of the camera. And by comfortable, I mean I still am a total awkward turtle in front of the lens, but it doesn't make me want to vomit everywhere and tremble when it happens anymore. This was a real hurdle for me to get over, and I am so happy I've tackled it. I largely attribute this to my dear friend + photographer, Victoria (who took most of these photos in this post) for cheering me on, and making me feel comfortable.

6. I have a newfound appreciation for my mom. I've always had a very close relationship with her, but this year after seeing her on a new level as a beautifully flawed, strong woman through a lot of ups and downs after my dad's passing, I see her true self even more-- not just as my mother, but on a human-level. So thankful to have her so close to me!

7. I moved to Brooklyn! There are a million and a half reasons I am so happy to be here, but this living situation has been one that happened out of a lot of hard work, luck, the support of the right people, and good timing. I am grateful for this, every single morning when I wake up and that hasn't dimmed at all yet.

8. My relationship with my body is the best it has ever been. I have worked extremely hard during the past few years to continue nurturing this. There was still an element of "fake it 'til you make it" the past two years as I struggled with accepting my autoimmune disease and recovery from hip surgery, but that's okay too-- because now I am at a place where I truly feel free and grateful for this body.

9. I became an insane plantlady. Like, insane, insane, plantlady that brings home more plants than that crazy foster mom who has 17 children. I had two plants this time last year. Now I have... like maybe 15.... But guess what, my air is cleaner, my apartment is prettier, and I freakin' love my plant babies๐Ÿค—

10. I've learned to be even more open and resist judging people. You never know if or when you'll be in their shoes, and you also don't truly know what is going on in a person's life. A judgement passed is usually a reflection of the person who casts it, rather than who they cast it on.

11. Met + connected with so many new people via Instagram / the interwebs. It still feels surreal and how many real life connections can grow out of things like Instagram. I've also had some heart-to-hearts with people I've never met in real life, just because we connected about something on these social platforms, and it's not weird at all-- it's just incredible. Human connection is so beautiful and even with all the crazy it brings, I'm really happy that social media gives us the opportunity to create that.

12. I got out of a relationship that unbeknownst to me at the time, dimmed me from my full self. The best way I can describe how I felt was like a starfish that had its tentacles cut off, but I only realized how much more I had in me when they started to grow back after I had the freedom to care for myself and more deeply understand what I deserve. I regret nothing, and it's all made me even more connected with myself and knowing what I need in my life!

13. I've stopped feeling badly or shameful about things I can't help. Like my food allergies or intolerances, I used to feel like SUCH an inconvenience to my friends and family whenever we'd have a meal together. I still struggle with this, but I know it's no longer anything to apologize for.

14. I learned to say no. This has been a work in practice, and continues to be, but things that do not serve me, teach me, or challenge me, I no longer say yes to out of obligation. 

15. I've become such a minimalist. Any clutter, or anything that does not have a true function or sentimental value in my life, I donate.

16. I'm much more conscious of the world's consumption + environmental issues. Perhaps it's a part of getting older or the state of the world right now, but I'm so much more aware of things like recycling, food waste, household + personal care items' effect on the environment, buying from local + ethically sourced companies, etc. I'm looking forward to improving how I can affect change.

17. I've embraced my womanhood in a whole new way. Gosh, that might sound so clichรฉ-- I've always been a feminist, but I realized some of my behaviors weren't aligning. I wrote a personal post here, where I own up to and reflect on how I see being a woman, quite differently now.

18. I got to capture one of my best friend's proposals by photographing it. This was so special to me, because not only did I get to witness this beautiful moment, but I was able to provide memories of it for them that they'll have forever. I love when I can put my skills and work to give people things like this!

19. I started acupuncture, facing my fear of needles. Following suit with the leaning into fears thing-- I HATE needles. Like, the first time I went to the dentist to get a novacaine shot without a friend or my mother, I was way too old for that... But I finally faced my fear of this and started seeing someone awesome who has helped care for my body and health issues in a new way. This has also opened my eyes to....

20. Believing in more spiritual practices. I've always felt very spiritual and connected to the universe's energy, but I am also such a science-based realist that it was hard for me to ever explore or embrace that. This year, I've really learned how it doesn't have to be binary and I can be both. I really want to explore more of things like reiki, and astrological timing with things like my body's cycles.

21. I took a solo trip to Paris/London/Amsterdam in the spring. I have always been a big traveler, but then given how my last relationship was long-distance for the last year of it, traveling became so intertwined in it. So I purposely booked that trip to take traveling back for myself, and relearn what I loved so much about it personally. Was one of my best trips, ever!

22. I don't waste time. One thing I am very precious with, is my time- I've always been this way (especially as an introvert that needs to pick and choose her social time) but as I get older, my tolerance for this grows smaller. Life's too short to be kissing a**es, spending time with people that don't make you happy or out of obligation, or doing things that don't serve some sort of purpose. I've also realized how doing something half-hearted, whether it be a relationship, a work partnership, or anything, also wastes the other persons time, so it's actually more respectful to nip it in the bud. 

23. Speaking of which, I need to stop writing this because some urgent work stuff is coming my way I need to attend to, so I won't make it to 27 things-- and that's okay!

So, signing off for now-- but thanks for reading, you guys. And to everyone who has made 26 so great, a BIG thank you, and cheers to another year!

This is 27 | Living Minnaly __8.JPG