Well, I said I would write once a week, once a month…but I didn’t know I would let 16 months go by before writing again.
I found the urge to write again because I caught myself daydreaming about my life, especially about the last 2 years.
I cannot express the gratitude I have for myself and my strength in this life. Many think (or may assume) that I’ve had my life handed to me, but spoiler alert- I’ve earned every ounce of what I have through my own persistence. As a thirty year old, I have seen more pain (and beauty) than most see in a lifetime. Maybe I’ll write about it all one day, but not today.
2018 has been a beautiful year! I have found myself for who I am and the life I have chosen for myself. The irony of life is that my life is nowhere near perfect, and I am okay with that. I live my life for me and I do not accept anything less than I deserve- may that be in my career, my love life, my friendships or my acquaintances. I used to live my life for others- always putting others before myself. I used to think love was about making someone else happy. Little did I know that nothing in life should be difficult. Just because someone else has demons doesn’t mean they have to be your demons as well.
In my year of soul-searching, I discovered the beauty of life- the good, the bad and the ugly. I found a way to balance every department of life and managing the unknowns that will always find a way to infiltrate. Wanna hear what I found to help create appreciation of the chaos? I’ll tell you- think of life as a pie chart (I can’t help my analytical ways). Imagine you have several sections dedicated to different areas of your life- career, friendships, love life, health and fitness, finances, family, spiritual growth, etc. You know how we all strive for perfection in life? Well, here’s where the lesson comes in- nothing in life will always be perfect! Get used to it! Be okay with it! Accept it. As long as 80% of the departments in this chart are in good standing, you can manage the other 20% that is currently at a low point. Trust me, you can! If you believe your life is in shambles, draw out your pie chart with your departments. You’ll find a new appreciation for what is going well, and maybe you’ll discover areas that you can focus your attention on. I have found a lot of peace with this task. Whenever you’re feeling a mess, check in with your pie chart.
I have hit rock bottom a few times in my 30 years. But, sometimes hitting rock bottom is what we need to create a new beginning. Sometimes we are able to rediscover ourselves and create a new path. However, this is only done by the strong. If you have pulled your pieces together one or a few times in your life, I applaud you. It takes a pretty strong individual to look yourself in the mirror and pull your shit together, on your own.
2014-2017 were probably my toughest years. Not only being in my mid-late 20s (which is hard enough), but finding your path in life, dealing with tribulations, being the rock in your family, being your own rock. Trust me, it can become challenging. My father became sick in 2014- he was sick for months before we discovered that he had non-hodgkins lymphoma. My father has always been a resilient man- from coming to The United States at 19 years old (alone), taking care of his 8 siblings, having two failed marriages, four children, always putting everyone before himself (sound familiar?), losing his multi-million dollar company in the early 2000s, to living with nothing to his name and sick. I found myself in a lot of turmoil witnessing the “unfairness” of life. Managing this pain and not showing my tears to be strong for him while my relationship at the time was a total roller-coaster, not in a steady job/career, and little to no relationship with family or friends. I had hit another low in life. More than 20% of my departments were in shambles. And I didn’t need to draw out a pie chart to see it. One day, my father told me while laying in a hospital bed “Nikki, you need to learn to live your life without me.” Have you ever had to hear those words out of someone close in your life, especially a parent? This was so eye-opening for me. “Learn to live without.” Let that soak in. If we learn to live without, then everything good that happens in life is just a bonus. When we demand control over fate or when we strive for perfection, we will fail, every single time.
Life happens in waves and we have to understand and appreciate those waves. Similar to the stock market, we will have record highs and some record lows. But the recovery is where you find the beauty of life; the appreciation for life.
I can’t say how long I’ll be in this life, but I can assure you one thing; I am in love with my life today. I am thankful for each and every experience I have gone through in my 30 years (both good and bad). I believe I am my best self today and I couldn’t be more proud of the woman Nicole is today and will be in the future. I am addicted to self-improvement because I appreciate life and knowledge.
My last few years have taught me so much about myself and taking control of my own life. Appreciating the good times and focusing on strength through the lows. I focused on myself, provided the love and assistance for my father, am the rock for my Mother, removed all negativity, nurtured my friendships, kicked ass in my career, found a happy (and healthy) relationship and have the greatest love of all within myself. As a result, for the first time in my life, I feel at ease, happy, proud and fulfilled.
Strive to fill your pie chart up to 100%, but if you end up with 95% at any given moment, that’s a beautiful moment. Take a deep breath and embrace that moment.
I pray that someone reads this and finds comfort in what I have learned through gratitude and acceptance. Carry this knowledge with you in your pocket. We’re all going to need it at some point in our life.