Year of Yes

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” -Anais Nin

I’ll do it next week, I’ll do it tomorrow, I’ll do it next month. Said every person ever who wasn’t sure how to start, so they lied to themselves making themselves feel better about their procrastination on living their best life. I have to say that 2016 was my best year yet, and I’m trying to figure out how I can possibly top it. Similar to other 20 somethings, I wasn’t (and still not) positive about exactly what I want to do in life. I always would come up with different ideas, but never followed through. I finally got tired of that endless cycle and said that 2016 would be my best year. I made a list of to-dos, not resolutions. It’s clear that resolutions are meant to be broken, but a to-do list in my opinion you’re more likely to follow through on.

I lived my best life in 2016 and it put me one step closer to discovering what I am passionate about. How did I do it and how did I follow through?

The beginning of 2016 I made a mental list of things that I wanted to do. #1 on the list was to travel to at least 3 countries and to say ‘yes’ to myself more instead of making excuses of why I can’t do something (usually in the name of ‘I have to work’). I have an ongoing list of places I would like to go: Thailand, Brazil, Ghana, Italy, France, and the list goes on. I knew that work was a concern (have to still go to the place that pays my rent lol and more importantly my jet setter lifestyle). I started the year off in Mexico. Mexico is definitely one of my favorite countries to travel to, and I make a point to go once a year. The people are infectious, the culture is great, the landscape is absolutely beautiful, and who can complain about the tequila lol.

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Once I got back from Mexico, I was on cloud 9. Coming back to New York’s 20 degree weather in the middle of January from Mexico’s 85 degrees is the worst feeling, so I had to start planning my next trip right away. I looked at my calendar to see what the upcoming national holidays were and cross checked to get a gauge of different flights to check the pricing. Once I had an idea on pricing I started putting money away every week. In the words of Shonda Rhimes, 2016 was my “year of yes.” Instead of saying I’m too busy or can’t afford it, I made it work. I took vacation during time I would have off anyway (saving PTO), I followed my favorite flight deal websites and received notifications if something was going to be very cheap, and I kept an open mind. Although, I had a list of countries I wanted to travel to, if a deal came up for somewhere not on my list, I would look into it. The best stories are the ones you didn’t plan to write. I ended up in Curaçao– a country I had never even thought about, and had a great time and even received a lesson in my heritage [blog coming soon on that experience]. I also took my first trip to Europe. That trip was definitely one of the best trips I’ve ever taken.

We often get caught up in our mundane responsibilities and forget to live. Not breathe, but live. We have to learn to take time for ourselves, because we eventually will look back on our lives and only be able to say I worked 60 hours a week, but what else did I do? I personally refuse for that to be me. So in 2016, I said yes more and did what I wanted to do. By the close of 2016 I had traveled to 5 countries and 1 state I had never been to AND still had PTO left over at the end of the year. If you make it a priority to say yes, you too will check off your to-do list. To say the least 2017 will be even better.

Peace & Blessings,

Penelope

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