As a Type A++, I am acutely aware of how much I push myself to do, to accomplish, and to be. I have always been like this and there are times where it is imminent that I will burn out.
So how do I keep the fire going? Let’s go back to me as a kid… I was always into a thousand things, working at school, learning all the time, helping my parents with rental properties, and balancing it with stress. Many kids wake up in the summer with no real things happening. In my life, summer was wake up at 7 or 8 with music playing, and the day started with swim practice, errands, or life.
Looking back, these intentional – get up and start your day really have helped me stay routine based as an adult. I had a lot to do each day; mom had me in swimming, painting classes, gymnastics, soccer, cheer, diving, basketball, and the list goes on.
I remember always caring about my grades and putting that pressure on myself. My parents never cared about grades – they only cared that I liked learning and interestingly enough wanted me to have failures and struggles as I needed skills to bounce back, figure out and navigate unfortunate situations.
My mom pushed me to find happiness and to love learning and to find my passion – grades and gifted classes – she didn’t care about it. She wanted me not to be in those classes; preferred that I live in the real world and figure out ways to push myself.
I was the kid who wasn’t having that .. I wanted in those classes and would stay up til 2 am researching because I wanted it. When I got to high school – it dawned on me that my parents were right.
No one cares if you are gifted, no one cares how smart you are… it comes down to skills, knowledge, drive, and the ability to adapt. What makes me uniquely different for someone to hire me- what makes me a better candidate for a job or college?
During my 9th and 10th grade years, I was in college prep and opted to not do any AP classes or anything accelerated. I spent time focusing on sleep. I spent time on eating well, working out, and enjoying time with friends at games and events and reducing my personal stress. I was in marching band, track, and played tennis.
10th grade I switched high schools – it definitely caused some stress; yet also pushed me to focus on my academics, foster excitement in investing / economics, ski club, NHS, tennis, and fashion.
11th grade was a return to my original high school – I have my reasons and was glad to be back … I did me… I dressed like I wanted to – Abercrombie – plaid .. all day everyday . Swim team, tennis, and taking some college classes.
I am a firm believer you have to advocate for your happiness. Sometimes a change of scenery can provide a vantage point of difference and life isn’t so bad when you see what else is going on. Changing schools gave me perspective. It taught me a lot and expanded my friend group as well as challenged me academically. I was always a misfit in the school system – somewhere between 2-3 years ahead of my time or sometimes like a decade different. Hard to explain yet so imprinted.
My senior year started at the high school and quickly morphed to full time at college – I have always been a misfit in school. I always felt like the senior citizen who made good decisions, focused on the right things, and was annoyed by bad decisions and those who stood in my way of learning. I loved my college classes; I loved being with people who paid to be in school and identified a few things that matter most:
1. If you aren’t happy; change it.
I wasn’t happy at my high school; I switched schools. I didn’t like expectations and changed it to reduce the stress.
2. Mindfulness matters
My mom was a huge advocate on music playing and songs that help brighten moods. She was big on self talk… I am and I feel statements.
I am – implies you (should be happy focused)
I feel – can be sad (but it’s temporary)
Routines can really help stay the course especially when life is hard. Set the alarm, make yourself keep going, and make goals.
3. Figure out the outcome you want, work backwards with the least amount of stress. Write it out and get there from the reverse.
No one cares that you attended Harvard. No one cares you flunked out of West Point. Where did you finish, what is the degree?
Stress causes a variety of ailments. I can remember friends laughing that I took a lot of classes at the community college – let me just say- it was the best time of my life. It was low risk, attainable, I knew everyone, and the cost was fabulous.
4. Take risks that fill your cup
At the community college, they had options to go to Europe for a semester – yep – took it and booked it. Best 16 weeks of my life! having been to Europe 4 times before this experience – I was totally excited to go to the university of Bath and university of London and travel every weekend!
Challenges, opportunities, excitement, and happiness make me thrive.
5. Slow down
There are times in my life that I have had to slow down and take a minute. I am not good about this… I always have the next 5 things.
6. Dream Big
After my first divorce, I wrote down that I wanted to visit 7 continents before I die and 100 countries, I wanted to own a million dollar house, and see that the divorce was one of the best things that ever happened to me.
You may read that and think – really? And when you cannot make things work out .. take a step back and realize God has your back. Sometimes when things don’t work out – they really do…
You are blessed and need to take the lessons and grow.
7. Forgive yourself
Sometimes things change. Priorities change. Life changes. When you fall, get back up and make a plan. Nothing worse than staying on the ground…
For me, there are processes of forgiveness; I am a deeply religious person and feel very close to God and something like marriage is sacred. Not something you go into with an expectation of it not lasting… in both of my marriages; I have gone through the annulment process in the Catholic Church. For me, processing my part in things and why they didn’t work is important. You can’t grow without ownership and fault in situations.
You are not perfect. You will not be perfect. Embrace it
8. Don’t let others’ judgement impact you
Everyone has something to say about everything. At this point in my life.. if one more person tells me, I should hurry up and have kids – I might scream. If one more person tells me that I should give someone a second chance, I might want to consider this situation… and my favorite… just have kids on your own… or you have been divorced twice?
Well.. for those reading this, most of you know me by now… and yeah – I don’t care about your judgement. Take it and shove it. I live my life trying to be a good human, doing what brings me joy, and in every relationship I have been in, try to make it the best situation it can be.. why wouldn’t you want that?
With judgement, feel sorry for these people. Those who want to control you are miserable themselves – let them go.
9. There are reasons things don’t work out
This is hard. Sometimes things aren’t meant to be… I wanted to be a pharmacist – I also wanted to be a psychologist … and I am neither.
My life ended up far better as an educator, home renovator, influencer, and traveler. It’s the hidden gifts you have to find.
Embrace the difficult – it leads to beautiful destinations
10. You learn when it is hard
You don’t learn anything when life is easy. You learn the most when life throws you lemons. My best ideas have come out of challenging situations – I wouldn’t have it any other way.
There was a time when I wanted a job in the worst way; it didn’t happen… and later ended up exactly where I should be. Sometimes it happens on God’s time .. not yours.
Learn to dance in the rain and remember flowers grow from the rain…. life won’t be a bed of roses … just make sure you pick up a few on your journey.
I will leave you with my motto: