Somehow it is almost December, and the last month of 2017. I feel like I’ve learnt a lot about myself this year. I don’t quite know how to explain what i’ve learnt, but I just feel like I’ve finally grasped the concept of giving yourself more power in your own life. You have the power to do what you really want to. You have the power to make the effort or not make the effort. You have the power to decide how you let your morning affect the rest of your day. You have the power to control what you do with your life or what you don’t do with your life, and it doesn’t need to revolve around other people unless you want it to. You do not need to prove anything to anyone, you are enough.
Everyone is on their own unique journey and working it out for themselves as they go. You can’t compare your chapter 50 with someone else’s chapter 129. Recently I’ve given a lot of thought into what do I really want to do with my life and where will I end up living. I spend too much of my life worrying. Worrying about when I’ll be living in the same city as my family again. Worrying about missing my little siblings grow up and not being there for them. Worrying when i’ll be able to catch up with my best friends in South Africa for longer than a day or two. Worrying about wasting time where I could be elsewhere.
I know I will always have some ‘worry’ in me, but I feel like i’ve some how breathed in new “embrace the uncertainty” air. Some of the most beautiful chapters in our lives won’t have a title until much later on. All the experiences, mistakes, lessons and laughs are all parts of chapters in your life. Some bad, some good, but all a lesson. I look back on so many memories and remember some times where it felt like it was the end of the world, but life just goes on. I also look back on absolutely incredible memories where only later on do you realize their significance and value.
I wish I could hold onto some memories and just never let go. That’s why I’m learning to live in the moment and appreciate what you have now, because I know I’ll look back and wish I made the most of it. There is no point of dwelling/ living in the past just as much as there is no point stressing about what hasn’t even happened yet. “Trust the wait. Embrace the uncertainty. Enjoy the beauty of becoming. When nothing is certain, anything becomes possible.”
One of the only things constant in life is change. I don’t want to look back in a few years when I reach 30 and think about how I spent my 20s worrying about my future. I want to use my 20s to find myself, to learn how to truly live in the moment, go on adventures and travel, to work hard and save up, to be productive and achieve my goals, to challenge myself and accomplish things I didn’t think I could. I want to try my hardest to set myself up for my best life possible, but also let myself be human and live a little. Not every day can be perfect, but make the most of your life and your circumstances. Have faith that it will all work out.
Who knows if I’ll ever know why I won a greencard in the D.V lottery. Who knows what my life would have looked life if I didn’t and I was still in South Africa. Who knows what made me think I had had the courage to move across the world and leave my family and best friends. Who knows if I’d be the same person I am today if I didn’t have to go through those life changing experiences. But I believe there always has to be a reason even if I don’t know it yet.
Besides the fact that we woke up today, we’re breathing and we’re alive – I found myself thinking about so many reasons to be happy this morning. For the first time in a long time, I feel settled. I’ve slowly managed to accomplish a lot for myself here in Atlanta, and having my mom visit has been the icing/cherry/giant brownie on the cake. Sometimes when you’re trying to live by taking each day at a time, after a while you lose sight of how far you’ve come or how great your life actually is when you just live in the moment.
Having my family here with me in the States would make life a bizzilion times better/ easier but that doesn’t change the fact that I do have a pretty awesome life here now. Yes, the number one thing I wish for is being able to see my family and friends but you’ve got to just appreciate what’s possible and enjoy every second I do get with them when I get the chance. It’s been incredible being able to show my mom around Atlanta; where I stay and where I work, the beautiful nature, the city, the people in my life here. It’s an awesome feeling knowing she is more connected to my life here now that she has seen it with her own eyes, as opposed to the countless Facetime sessions.
I’m Twenty Four years old in 9 days. Super exciting yet nerve-racking, as everyone older than me keeps telling me that every year of your life will keep going by faster and faster as you get older. Nevertheless I look forward to what my future brings. I’m proud and blessed to have had my experiences and memories from my past, and I’m excited for my 24th year on Earth. I feel like I’m at an awesome age – I have a great job where I feel significant and valued, I’m independent, I’ve traveled the world and still have so much to see, and I don’t have any serious life-long responsibilities at this stage of my life. I’ve got my degree and I’m going to start applying for my post-graduate studies to see what my options are here for Psychology. I finally have a car here which is monumentally life changing and really made me feel more stable and secure.
My family (Mom, Abba & Rachel) have the opportunity to move to Manchester, England at the end of the year – which is going to be such an incredible adventure for them. I so look forward to having them a little closer to America! I’m excited for them and I know as challenging as it can be moving to a new country, if I can do it then they definitely can. It’s sad to think about selling our home, but ‘home’ for me over these last few years has had to be in the hearts of those whom I love. My family and friends are my home. They are what hold me together when I feel unraveled. Even though I wouldn’t change this experience of my journey to independence, self-realization and self-love – it makes a massive difference having the support system I have around the world. I’m so lucky to live in a day and age where most of my closest friends and family live around the world and I can still be in contact with them daily through the internet.
Next weekend I’m flying to Canada to spend the weekend with my family and finally to meet my gorgeous baby cousin Kailash. Being able to spend my birthday with my mom and my awesome Canada family is going to be bloody incredible. Plus, Ottawa is magnificent! I cannot wait. Also, one of my Atlanta besties Claire and I almost share a birthday, so we’re having a little fiesta together next week to celebrate before I’m away for the weekend. It’s nothing major, but just being able to have a get-together with the cool people part of my life here is massive to me. The last few birthdays since I left SA have been pretty awful/ average to say the least, so I am really looking forward to having a fantastic birthday with no expectations – just awesome people.
Overall today I feel grateful, happy and hopeful. Hopeful that life will work out the way it is meant to; for me, my family and everyone I love. There is always something to be grateful for.
“Happiness is letting go of what you think your life is meant to look like, and celebrating it for everything that it is.”
I feel like I have so many thoughts in my head I want to write about and I don’t even know where to start, as usual. It’s been so up and down in my head these last few weeks I don’t really know what to think, and that’s okay. I’m working it out. I feel like some days I can conquer the world with my confidence and I love inspiring people and making them smile. And then some days I question everything and beat myself up about not being able to actually take my own advice. I love to listen to people and I feel like I have had a lot of life experience that does seem to inspire and motivate others. I feel like I know what I need to do to be happy and acquire self-love or in general the positive and happy ways we should live our lives; but actually implementing them into your own life and making yourself a priority is a struggle at times.
I go from thinking I know exactly what I want to having no idea what I’m going to do with my life. I know life is what you make it and I’m so grateful, but I feel like I just keep getting stuck in a cycle of feeling like I have my shit together and then being completely lost. Which I guess is just a part of life. I’m starting to realize the only thing constant thing in life is change, and that the ups and downs are inevitable. What really matters is how you let tomorrow affect you and how you let your thoughts and actions control your life.
There is no point in ‘what ifs’ because if it was meant to be it would have. Point blank. With jobs, relationships, experiences; if it was meant to work out it would have. No matter how much you allow yourself to over think or wish things went differently, you need to value yourself enough to know your worth, be yourself, accept reality, and keep moving forward. If it didn’t turn out the way you expected or wanted it to, let it be a lesson you can learn from.
Trust that your life will work out the way it’s meant to – but stay focused, have fun, work hard, be ambitious, and most importantly take action. Have a goal and make it happen, because literally no one is going to do it for you. This is something I’ve struggled with as even though I do consider myself a pretty independent person, I still battle to get certain things done for myself by myself. You have to take responsibility over your life and get things done for yourself. I’m the biggest procrastinator and it sucks but eventually it hits me that I’m only making it harder for myself by thinking anything is going to get done if I don’t get my shit together and just make it happen.
For example, I still don’t have a car here. I’ve spent months and months looking at options online and I know I need to just go into a dealership and choose one, make it happen, and I’ll finally have a car in Atlanta. Cars are something I’m not particularly interested in so I can admit I’m ignorant when it comes to knowing what to know when buying a car, and I’m not about to buy any car and get screwed over, so not being able to independently handle the task and get it done just frustrates me more to the point where I have procrastinated and avoided just making it happen. It also doesn’t help that I can only look on weekends and it just never seems to work out then. I know once I actually make it happen my life will be monumentally better as I’ll finally be free and have my independence from Uber and the train.
It’s a stormy day in Atlanta and here I am pondering and rambling on about life. I’m proud of myself and what I’ve achieved over the years and I’m so hopeful for the future, but my new project is really focusing on living in the now. Appreciating what I have without expecting more. I need to get into a better routine of self-love and taking responsibility. I don’t only want to inspire others but I want to be able to inspire myself. I want to wake up and be excited to start a new day with a positive happy outlook, not snooze until there is literally no time left to sleep, get ready and go. I want to be someone who is comfortable by herself and who doesn’t need others to determine their happiness.
You can’t just find happiness, you need to create it with your thoughts and actions. Be ambitious, be kind, be humble, be adventurous. Make your life and your happiness a priority, because at the end of the day no one can love you if you don’t love yourself.
I feel like 2016 was a pretty shitty year for the world in general. But to be honest when I look back at 2016 – it was actually an amazing year for me. Yes there were struggles, but overall I really did have an awesome year. Sometimes when you think life is really hard, you need some perspective (getting to go home and visit) to make you appreciate life the way it should be appreciated.
Was it an easy year? Definitely not. But when I look back the nights I slept on mattresses on the floor/ a couch, I appreciate the hell out of my bedroom. When I look back at the hours stuck at work on the weekends, I remember how worth it it all was when I got to travel across Europe with my bestie and meet my family in Amsterdam. When I think about the nights I cried myself to sleep, I think about how far I have come and how much I have to be proud of. When I think about how I came back to Atlanta after my Eurotrip not really having a clue where I was going to be living or what I’d be doing for work, I smile and think about my awesome job and apartment I have now.
Even though I only had two weeks to spend with my family and friends back home in South Africa, I’m grateful I atleast had the opportunity to be with them. Even though the visit was short it was better than still being stuck and not having much to come back to. Also, I’m grateful I atleast have an incredible family across the world that I love unconditionally. So even if I feel alone, I’m never completely on my own.
I’m so beyond grateful that 2016 allowed me to travel the world, spend time with my amazing family, see how grown up my siblings are, learn how to be more independant, work my ass off, achieve my goals, make new friends, appreciate true friendships, learn from my mistakes, focus on my own happiness, be kind and understand that karma is real, and appreciate the little things in life.
Trust that everything happens for a reason. Even the hardest times end up being a lesson at some point and help us be more humble, grateful human beings.
Bring on the 2017 adventures ❤
Here goes another happiness vent to myself.
First off, never regret anything that once made you happy. You can miss the person, the memories, wish things were different; but there is no point in wishing it never happened or having regrets. Everything is a lesson and part of your journey. Sometimes it’s not just about people and how they feel, but the timing that is significant. You can have two people who adore spending time together but it can’t work if you ultimately want different things, have other priorities, or different perspectives.
It is so important to be aware of your own happiness. Sometimes we quickly start relying on those who bring happiness into our lives, and it feels great. It is an amazing feeling having someone/ people in your life that make you happy and excited for new adventures in life. But what we can’t forget is everyone is fighting their own battles. Everyone is in a different mindset and stage of their lives. Sometimes it’s hard to not take things personally. Sometimes it takes a few days, weeks, months or even years to really accept and make sense of certain circumstances.
We are human. It is okay to not know how we feel, it’s okay to have a bunch of feelings, and it’s okay to be confused or even numb. This morning it really hit me that my happiness hasn’t been as big of a priority of mine as I thought it was. I thought about my awesome job, how I finally have my apartment, how much I’d been looking forward to having my own space, how I actually get to go home in two weeks! I finally had the things that I thought would make me happy but then why am I feeling like this? I realized I’d been making excuses and depending too much on other things for my happiness, instead of living in the moment, appreciating each of my accomplishments and focusing on the positives in my life.
You can have everything and still not be happy, so even though it is good to have things to look forward to, we can’t just depend on those things to make us happy. What it comes down to is that it is vital to ultimately take a step back and look at the bigger picture. We need to break it down and focus on these key aspects:
- You control your own happiness. Literally no one can make you happy if you don’t value your own happiness. Even if you think they make you happy, if you’re not happy without them bringing you happiness then you need to work on yourself and what you can do that makes you happy.
- Ask yourself if what you’re doing today is going to get you closer to where you want to be tomorrow. Every day you have choices to make. Focus on your goals and if what you’re doing isn’t getting you where you want to be, then change it.
- If you feel like you deserve better, you probably do. Don’t expect anything to change if you don’t. Don’t settle or justify anything because of how it used to be. We can’t always get what we want, but we have to be aware and have the self-worth to know when we do deserve better.
- Never force anyone to make a space for you in their lives. If they want you in their lives and truly know your worth, they will choose to create the space. Sometimes you need to forget what you feel or how it was, to remember what you deserve and what you actually want.
- It is what it is. You can beat yourself up thinking about how it coulda /shoulda/ woulda been but that’s honestly not going to get you anywhere. Once you accept the reality and how everything happens for a reason whether you believe it now or not, you will be more at peace. Your mind will eventually accept the reality but it is your heart that requires time to heal.
- What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. All your struggles will make you more appreciative. All your achievements will make it worth it. All the mistakes will be a lesson. When you look back at your life you won’t remember every single time something made you cry, or how hard some days were. What you will remember is how you overcame your struggles, how the hardships made you grateful for the good times, and how even though it wasn’t always easy you can look back at know it made you a stronger person who focussed on the positives.
Life can’t always be rainbows and butterflies, so instead of focusing on the storms we need to look at the bigger picture and understand that even a flower needs rain before it can bloom.
I originally wrote this post 22 days ago but ended up deleting it and keeping it as a draft. I figured it was something I could read without having my vulnerable words open to everyone on the internet. I hadn’t looked at it since, until this morning. I felt like I wanted to write but I didn’t have the words to express how I felt. Then I saw “Dear Future Lee”.
I wanted to write this for myself, and for anyone having a rough day who just needed some reassurance and positivity. No room for judgements here – if no one reads this but me from time to time then this served it’s purpose.
What you are feeling is temporary. Right now, something is bothering you and that’s okay. What isn’t okay is letting it impact your entire day, not realizing and being aware of what is bothering you, or expecting things to change that are ultimately not going to.
Take a deep breath. No don’t just read this, actually breathe… Stretch. Drink some coffee. If you didn’t have time to do your yoga this morning make sure you do it tonight. Listen to some Bob Marley or Kendrick Lamar depending on what mood you’re in.
It is normal to not constantly be happy, you are allowed to feel down at times. What is important is being able to reflect on it and be aware that just because something is bothering you in this moment it doesn’t mean everything else in your life sucks.
Look at what you have accomplished this year. You moved to Georgia knowing a single person that isn’t even in your life anymore and barely was to begin with. You managed to make your trip to Europe with your best friend a reality. You worked hard and it paid off; you have an amazing job. You’re moving into your apartment this weekend.
Yes, you get so lonely. Yes, it’s confusing and really shitty at times. But ask yourself if you actually believe that anyone would find this easy? You’ve got to take a step back and give yourself more credit. You need to be surrounding yourself with positive vibes and people who genuinely care. Step out of your comfort zone. You always used to.
There will come a time in your life where you realize that it really was all part of the journey. All the hardships will make you more grateful. It won’t just be something you have to keep telling yourself but it will be your reality.
The things that upset you now will be insignificant. There is no point in wasting time thinking about what could be. Who knows where you’ll end up in the world. You do what makes YOU happy. If you aren’t significant in someone’s eyes then they aren’t worth your tears. Don’t force anything.
Understand that your mind has a way of leading you to believe that your insecurities and fears have power over you. I promise you, give it a couple hours and trust me it will be okay. No I don’t mean wait and your problems will go away, but it will allow your emotions to calm down and your thoughts to become more rational.
You don’t need to ignore your feelings or try push away the pain. Understand that it is temporary. Life will work out the way it is meant to. It is what it is and everything happens for a reason even if you don’t know what the reason is yet. Listen to your heart but don’t let it take complete control of your emotions.
You are only twenty-three. Yes, you’re not an eighteen year old anymore but that doesn’t mean you have to have your life together now. Most adults still don’t know what they’re doing. So stop being so hard on yourself and forgetting about all the good in your life as soon as things seem shit. You are better than that and you know it.
Breathe. You are worthy. You deserve happiness and love. You deserve to put yourself first. So next time you’re feeling down, confused, frustrated or just having a shitty day – just remember you are a bad ass, you’re doing a good job, whatever you’re feeling is temporary and if it isn’t then you need to make a change.
I’m posting this because if I feel like being able to read this really impacted how I felt today, then maybe it could help someone else needing it. I took the time a few weeks ago to write down words that reassured me and that I knew I could read when I needed to and feel more calm and secure. A lot of it is very personal to me but it goes to show that having positive affirmations can help put things into perspective when you need it. It’s important to understand that you control your own happiness.
I don’t even know where to start and of course when I finally put pen to paper my pen doesn’t work properly. (Not taking it as a sign, gets new pen)
Last year I got into the habit of writing regularly and I didn’t delay capturing my thoughts for very long. I really loved it. It was a way I could look back and see what was on my mind at that time. I wish I had forced myself to set aside time to sit, gather my thoughts and just write more often this year.
Before my Eurotrip I had planned on making an amazing GoPro video as well as writing a post for each country we went to. We ended up being so busy that when we weren’t busy – we were sleeping. It was the most incredible three weeks, but the late nights led to nocturnal sleeping habits as we pretty much just slept on the bus while we travelled to the next place in the day (No regrets). I definitely wish I wrote more throughout the trip but I did take tons of photos and will always have the memories. Eventually I will finish the video and post about my European adventure but for now I’m just glad I’m actually writing so I’m just going to keep going.
The trip flew by and I headed back to NYC to visit family and friends in NJ before getting back to reality with my life in Georgia. I started putting the videos together and sorting out my photos but it honestly made me miss my best friend and my family so much that it led to a lot of procrastination.
The weeks after getting back went so quickly and July had become August, August became September, September became October, and all of a sudden it is the bloody 20th of October. It is kind of scary when you think about how quickly the months go by without even realizing it. I mean come on, by the end of December I would have lived in America for TWO YEARS. *Mind blown*
For the first time in my life I have an amazing, stable and intriguing job. I am so grateful for it everyday even though it’s just a job. It makes me feel productive and significant, and it has given me the opportunity to really settle into real life in Atlanta. Before my trip I was comfortable not doing anything serious for work and just wanted to save up and be able to travel. Then afterwards I went through a strange place trying to understand what I want, how I’m going to get it, and what need to be my priorities. So having a steady salary paid 9-5 job might not seem ideal to many 23 year olds but it is exactly what I needed.
Other than that it hasn’t been an easy four months. I moved in with a friend of a friend who opened up her home to me when I basically had nowhere to live. I am so grateful for her kindness. After a few weeks I moved in with some awesome friends who let me crash in their spare room. They are such genuine and kind people, and they helped me to get my head in the right space just by giving me a room to call my own. I never realized how much I had taken things like a bed for granted my whole life. This year has been a hell of a ride for my messed up back living life as a nomad couch surfing.
When I moved to Brookhaven I had no real job (just waitressing) and had no idea what I was going to do. I spent weeks looking for jobs online and after spending a day handing out my resumes to wherever I possibly could, I got a call from my family friend that night. He explained his friend is an Attorney and their firm was looking for a new Administrative Assistant/ Receptionist. I emailed him my resume immediately, went for an interview the next day, and had an offer emailed to me later that night 🙂
However when it comes to taking care of myself and staying productive personally, it has been a struggle and I’ve definitely lacked ‘me-time’. All the moving back and fourth (I am now back in Sandy Springs, long irrelevant story) really impacted my mental state and motivation towards fitness; which prior to my trip was a huge part of my mental and physical wellbeing.
After a much needed candle-lit bubble bath, I’ve realized that I really need to start taking my own advice and also work on not feeling guilty putting my myself and my happiness first. It hit me that yes I can keep procrastinating but it is literally only detrimental to my life if I don’t start making an effort to work on my own happiness. When I am happy, I am excited to get shit done and cross things off my list, but I tend to stay busy and distracted to avoid thinking about everything that stresses me out and it is a problem I am aware of.
I know I should feel proud of my accomplishments but it is hard to see the bigger picture when there is still so much to be done. Primarily being a car, apartment and my post-graduate studies; which are all way easier said than done when you are pretty much doing it alone.
Looking forward to camping tomorrow night. There is just something about being in nature that makes me happy and free from the stresses of life. Rant over – I don’t even know where I am getting at anymore but I’m glad I picked up my Van Gogh notebook and just started writing tonight. I clearly needed it.
“Currently sitting in the restaurant at Freehand Miami, next to Ami James (famous tattoo artist, Miami Ink) and his friends”. 😀
That is all I managed to write down before I convinced myself they would all think I was some kind of weirdo reporter writing down their every move. I mean I did literally start this post with writing those exact words in my journal so maybe they were right to hypothetically be concerned. Okay, losing focus here let’s get back to the post.
“After a long day of travelling I finally arrived at Freehand Miami to stay for the night. I had to come to Miami for my Visa appointment tomorrow morning – wait let me phrase that better – I got another awesome opportunity to visit Miami even though it was just for my Visa appointment 😉
I took myself out for dinner and a glass of wine. It is so amazing being back here. I forgot how much I love this place.
Discovering that I’d have to fly to Florida just for the application on top of the mission to sort out everything for the Visa was very stressful and it was a huge ordeal getting it all together. Now that I’m here it all seems like it happened for a reason though. I needed this mini trip to Miami.
Living in Georgia has been amazing so far but these last few weeks have been exhausting and overwhelming at times. I’ve been an anxious mess. But now I’m sitting on this bus back to Miami Beach (my appointment was in Downtown Miami) and I don’t remember the last time I felt this calm and genuinely happy.
With the help (a lot of help) from my incredible Momsy, my Visa appointment and application is all done and sorted, now all that’s left is excitement for my Eurotrip with my bestie Moooky ♥
There is just something about Miami. Something about the way the sun feels on my skin, the wind in my hair, the clear blue skies (until it pours with rain), the amazing beaches, the streets, the palm trees, the people, the vibe. I wish I could stay here for longer and just relax on the beach. But this was just a trip for my real trip, and I’m so appreciative I still got to visit!
After feeling very overwhelmed before I got to the airport yesterday, I felt like everything kept going wrong, I’d mess something up, I wouldn’t be able to afford to get anywhere, etc etc. I went and chilled outside in the park and spoke to my late Bobba.
I asked her for a sign that she is with me and that she knows how much I miss her every single day. I didn’t feel anything, but had to started missioning to the airport. It felt like one thing went wrong after the other, be it the public transport or the airport security lines. Yet, without fail, it all seemed to work out just perfectly in the end.
I managed to be on one of the last flights out that night to Miami due to crazy storms. I made it to the hostel from the airport and everything worked out perfectly fine for my Visa interview, all without a phone I could depend on for maps or uber or ANYTHING BECAUSE THE BATTERY LASTS SHORTER THAN okay I’m sorry it just drives me absolutely crazy.
My darling Bobs was watching out for me and I know it 🙂 I miss you and love you and I know you’re loving getting to see Miami today, because you’re here with me in my heart.
So right now I’m still on the bus back to Miami beach and I plan to tan and chill out by the pool for a little bit before I make my way back to the airport.
Sometimes you need to truly be on your own to remind yourself you are perfectly capable of anything you set your mind to.” ❤