Today is my 24thbirthday. And as cliché as it may sound I absolutely love my birthday; it is a time to spend with loved ones, celebrate life, as well as reflect on the past year. And oh boy, has this past year been a freaking whirlwind. It feels like just yesterday I was writing about turning 23, yet so much has happened in the past 365 days. I’m not the same person I was a year ago and slowly but surely I am becoming the woman I have always been meant to be.
This year I’m writing my birthday blog from a small island off the coast of Italy. If you had told me a year ago that this is where I would be, I would have thought you were batshit crazy. But in all honesty I’m feeling immensely grateful for life at the moment. I realize how fortunate I am as well as the risks I’ve taken to get me where I am today. To commemorate turning 24, I’ve decided to take a look back and see just how this past year has shaped me.
Last year on June 21stI had just started a new job as a social media specialist working for a recruiting company. I remember being excited but deep down I was yearning to work for myself. A few days after my birthday I officially enrolled in the health coaching program, IIN, and I could hardly contain my excitement. At the end of July, I completed my first half Ironman triathlon in the beautiful Whistler, Canada. I remember driving back down to Portland with my boyfriend Kenny getting progressively sadder the further South we drove. I could no longer fight the feeling that I wanted to leave Portland. I yearned for something new, a smaller town, a simpler life. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it but I knew that I didn’t want to be spending my 24th birthday in Oregon.
For the next few months I continued to work full time while taking classes to become a Holistic Health Coach. As summer turned into fall, I dreaded the thought of spending 9 more months in the city that had been my home for past 5 years. That all changed one November night while my boyfriend and I began to chat. He knew that I wanted to leave but he didn’t feel ready. I mean our friends all lived in Portland, we had steady jobs…so why leave? But I knew that in a few months time I would be finishing my health coaching program and ready to take no clients. I knew that if I wanted to take this seriously I wouldn’t be able to work 40 hours a week and launch my business. So, we developed a plan; I would move home at Christmas and spend a few months living at home (rent free; thanks mom and dad) while Kenny continued to live in Portland. At the beginning of April we would head to Hawaii, live with his family for a few months, and then travel Europe throughout the summer.
It was definitely a risk and we were both a bit scared but I knew that if it was meant to be that everything would work out; and that is exactly what happened. My job let me stay on part time while I worked at home and Kenny’s later let him work remotely part-time while we were in Hawaii.
The few months at home were actually quite joyous. I was not going to let living at home for a few months at the age 23 allow me to feel like a failure. I spent quality time with my parents, graduated my program, and ever released my first ebook, “Simply Plants”. I’m now officially the business owner of Mindful Peaks, and I’m full of such joy that I get to help other women with their health for a living.
The first five months of this year have been full of family, both mine and Kenny’s. And while I’m beyond stoked to be in Europe, I’ve been reminded how important it is to surround yourself with those you love. It doesn’t matter where you live, whether it’s in southern Italy or southern Oregon. What matters is the people, the family, friends, and everyone else that is part of your community. I’ve gotten to see some incredible places these past 3 weeks in Europe and I’m sure I’ll see many more before I fly back home in 8 weeks (wherever home may be for me once we get there). But I’ve realized that these places wouldn’t mean much if I wasn’t getting to share each experience with someone that I love.
I’m not the same woman I was a year ago and these past 12 months have been full of hard work and some major life changes. And although many tears have been shed, I know that I am on the right path. I may not have a plan for where I’ll live come September but I’ve never felt more at peace with the journey that lies ahead. A year ago I had a dream of starting my own business and working for myself. I have done just that and I am pretty damn proud of myself. The path of entrepreneurship isn’t a smooth one but I know that it will continue to be more than worth it.
So, as I reflect on this past year I can sum up what I have learned in a few simple words; surround yourself with people that allow you to thrive as your authentic self, pursue that which sets your soul on fire, and NEVER let the opinions of others stop you from chasing your dreams.
With love from Italy,