what entering my late 20's has taught me

27: you have been my favorite.

People say getting older sucks. And in a sense, I honestly do feel a little bummed out when I think back to how easy life was when I was 16-17, but this past year was different. This was truly a year of profound self-discovery, freedom, and growing up. 

I'm pretty cheesy and love doing little retrospectives during milestone moments in life; birthdays, a new year, etc. As I walk right into year 28 today with my head held high, I felt like it was time to take a look back and celebrate.

This was the year where I OFFICIALLY fell into the demographic of "late 20's." That blows my mind. Unfortunately, I think our society does a pretty bad job of preparing its youth to fend for themselves in the real world after 20+ years of living in such a structured environment where your next move is pretty cut out for you. So at this point, you definitely need to have your ish together, according to society, haha.

I think the liberating part for me is that I no longer feel that pressure to live up to the world's standards. I have something else driving me and that is the identity Jesus has given me. 

Going into this past year with that truth in tact, I think I had one of the most fulfilling years to date. In every regard. Read on past the jump for the 10 most valuable lessons revealed to me and the milestones that I'll be remembering forever. 

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A Retrospective at 27

& hopes for 28

Milestones: 

  • 2017 marked my first FULL calendar year at Naseem Events. I started my business officially in April of 2016 and do count that as my first season for sure, but this was like solidifying it in place :) I did 15 weddings at amazing venues all over the Bay Area + booked my first out of state destination wedding for 2018!
  • I did five styled shoots and all were published in various blogs that I had not yet been published in.
  • I got word that three of my real weddings will be published in big name blogs nation-wide in the coming months :) 
  • Weddings are already booked (and continuing to be booked) for 2018 and I'm getting more and more exposure and opportunities to go more in depth with design and creative direction when it comes to these events.
  • I was interviewed on The Real Female Entrepreneur Podcast and received an overwhelming amount of positive feedback and support from the topics I candidly discussed on the episode. 
  • My vision for Naseem Events has become so grounded in its place this year. The more clients I have the pleasure of working with, the more clear it becomes to me why I do what I do. On top of the fun of the actual planning, my goal is to be that breath of fresh air for my brides. I want to provide them peace, patience, and a listening ear to get through one of the most pivotal seasons of their lives. To me it's so much more than getting a menial task done but to leave a lasting impression. I believe we have all been called to create and it's an honor for me to use my talents and abilities to have established my own business that is thriving.
  • I started working simultaneously on staff at my church as our Communications/ Connection Ministry Team Lead which has been SO life giving. I now fully understand what it means to be working with purpose and on mission. How lucky am I to work two jobs, each of which have such a special spot in my heart? This role at Awakening Church has changed my life in such a personal way. I have seen God use a gift He's given me for connectivity and empowerment to encourage and activate those around me FOR His glory. 

Lessons:

  • Your early 20's suck. It gets better. 

    • Hold on tight to that truth (I promise, it's the truth). But save yourself the time, effort, and pain of riding the roller coaster of emotion and seek to figure out WHO you are. Not who your friends say you are, not who your job says you are, and definitely not what society says you are. Your identity is not correlated with your circumstances. Stop trying to do things to impress others or gain their acceptance. Be unapologetically you. I went through some of the darkest seasons until this became clear to me at age 26/27.
  • Comparison is not the thief of joy; the "triple E" is: 

    • Hear me out. The old adage above has always been my go-to mantra. I've struggled with the joy-depleting repercussions of comparison for so long, especially in my 20's. But then I dug into the root of this issue further and realized something. Comparison is not the root of the joy depletion; in fact comparison on a straight forward level is pretty objective. I can compare that my friend is a size 7 shoe, but I am a size 9.5. No real emotions stirred there. But when you dig into what comparison is rooted in is when you can tackle exactly WHAT is depleting your joy. I like to call it the "triple E" -- envy, expectations, and entitlement. 
    • When we become jealous of what someone else has and start coveting // when we let our expectations get the best of us and begin comparing (oh well I did X for my BFF's birthday but she only did Y) // when we let a sense of entitlement about what we DESERVE get in the way -- these are all the root of the joy loss that comparison brings. I think this was one of the biggest lessons I learned this year. I began checking myself each and every time the comparison reared its ugly head in my emotions and realized that every single time, the emotion was rooted in one of the 3 E's. The key lesson here is first identifying which E it is and then getting outside your own head and uprooting the pride that our flesh keeps us in. We can't do it on our own. I think this is where I might lose some of you, but that's ok because this is simply my revelation. So often self-help theories of thought teache us that it's all about within. Our mindset. The energy we take in. The type of person we choose to be, etc. It makes it ALL ABOUT US. That's a lot of pressure, right?
    •  Friends, it's not about us at all. It's about JESUS. In my own flesh, I am a mess. Simply put. Yet when I choose to actively pursue Him each and every day and look at the amazing grace He bestows on me with my new form and identity, I am amazed. I am liberated. I am free. When we choose to let Him take over, we surrender the crap that drags us in the mud. We surrender the entitlement, the pride, the envy, and the expectations. Because it's not about us. I've been challenged this year to think in an UPWARD / OUTWARD mindset, vs. inward and downward (focus on me and myself). I am reminded of two of my favorite verses in the Bible: "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!" (2 Cor.5:17) // and once we believe we are a new creation, what do we do? -- "Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know God's will for you; which is GOOD and PLEASING and PERFECT." (Rom.12:2). How freeing is this? I want to walk in this new perspective daily. 
  • Friendship is a verb not a noun:

    • I've made some of the tightest friendships I've ever had in this past year. Some who had been in my life for over a decade and our bond just went to that deeper place this year. Others who I met earlier this year who now feel like life-long friends. I realize now the importance of having friends in your life who are intentional with you. Who challenge you. Who force you to look in the mirror and check yourself when you're walking in your flesh too much or you're letting distractions get in the way of the beauty around you. One life mantra that has become my M.O. = quality over quantity when it comes to friends. Being an extrovert and extremely relational, this has always been tough for me. But I felt like God taught me this year the difference between investing in people vs. investing yourself in too many people. 
    • Not everyone deserves your whole heart. No one can meet the needs and expectations you feel unmet inside. So don't place that burden on people.  BUT, friendship is a verb. It takes work, effort, and reciprocation on both ends. Value yourself to invest in the few who meet you in that sweet spot and show up for you. Let go of anyone bringing you down or not making you feel valued. And seasons change. Expect that reality (don't learn it the hard way and let it come as a shock to you. Been there!). 
    • I read this article that said, "There are friendships that belong in different places and at different times, with different versions of who we are. Because a friendship’s time has passed does not mean that it was not and is not important — still. Sometimes the only way to get to have a forever friendship is to let it go in the form that it was and allow it to take on the form that it needs to be — all the while holding it steady in your heart."
    • Above all, just LOVE selflessly. That's all I want to do when I meet people and when fostering the friendships already in my life. I love love; and I love hard. But with that, remember to protect your heart. I think for me, experiencing God's love on the daily more tangibly this past year is truly what's led to me being able to love expecting nothing return because it's just out of the overflow of my heart thanks to Him. 
  • You have NOTHING to prove. To anyone: 

    • I'm a work in progress. And one thing that's been/still being demolished is this complex of caring too much for people to affirm me/accept me/want me in their lives. It took a few really nasty experiences but I was able to come out shining bright. This was a year of the negative, forcefully being sucked out. Wow just writing that reminds me of the quote at the end of Mean Girls where Cady talks about sucking the venom out of her life.

I never thought I'd get deep with a Mean Girls reference, but there it is.

  • Often times we don't realize how much that venom is blocking us from living our best life. The venom can clothe itself with the glitz and glam of allure (i.e. being well-liked; on social media or real life), and it will suck the life out of you over time. Biggest turning point for me has been realizing my self-worth and learning to protect my heart. Remember, your story is valid and worth hearing. It's GOOD to be vulnerable. Do it for the right reasons though. Not for affirmation from others, but because you want to showcase who you are // apart from the filters social media places on us (or that we ourselves place!). Finally: You have been created uniquely and are loved by a God who DELIGHTS in blessing you. Believe that.  I realized the absolute biggest take away for me is choosing to DAILY walk in the freedom and security I have through Jesus. Those are the two concepts that will bring me full contentment and confidence through my life. "When our lives tell others that He is our greatest treasure, He begins to look as great and glorious as He truly is. He made us to show His glory and by showing us more of Himself he planned to make us the happiest people who have ever lived" 

When you trust in Him and who He has called you to be, you begin shedding the layers of societal expectations and living for others' approval.

 

xx, Nas

wild & free

One of my goals/desires when I decided to start my own business was not only to help my clients throw that perfect event they've been dreaming up, but also to inspire the community of creatives that I'm now a part of. To shed light on the importance of vulnerability, the danger of comparison, and to create a safe place for women to share their life lessons and revelations. 

I began reading this book last month, Wild & Free, with two friends and it has been such a breath of fresh air. I encourage everyone reading this right now to click and order it! (no, I'm not affiliated with them but I'm that crazy about the book hehe). I'm only half way through right now but it's already challenged me so much that it's made me tackle some issues I struggled with in the past. This has led to such an increase of confidence and joy in my life. 

Being the lover of writing that I am, I decided to publish my experience on Medium earlier this week. If you're interested to read further, simply click here.

Little teaser for those curious: 

…I didn’t get a job because the manager said I was “too much.” How that statement has impacted me 4 years later.

---- 

Once we cut off those strings of expectation, pride, and insecurity we stop allowing others to define us. That’s when living can actually begin.

<3

 

 

 

Source: http://thewildrevival.com/wp-content/uploa...

the sun does come out eventually

 
 

I'm stoked to finally share one of the biggest changes going on in my world at the moment. You've probably already caught wind of it with the new domain name, but without further ado, I am pleased to announce that I'm embarking on a new venture of starting my own wedding and event planning business! 

I've been obsessed with planning & hosting events for as long as I can remember. That, paired with being a bridesmaid more times than I can count + my Type A overly-organized personality + watching The Wedding Planner at an age when I was easily influenced and there we have it! I can't think of a better way to expand my career than taking on this new path. Working at a tech start up was one of the most invaluable experiences I've ever had. And now I see the beauty in my last role which was so heavy on client communication and making sure my vendors were satisfied 247. I can't wait to translate that over to my love for weddings and events. Weddings especially are so dear to my heart: what the union means for the couple on a deeper level, for the extended family, and all the emotions that come with it. It's seriously such a pivotal moment in one's life and I'm stoked to be a part of that for my clients.

For those of you who have been so supportive of my lifestyle/travel blog, first off: THANK YOU. I can't tell you how much it means to hear from friends I don't see regularly but yet hear that they love reading my posts. Fear not: This blog is going no where. In fact, I'll be updating it regularly alongside this new business website so any potential clients have a better chance of getting to know the real me and what I'm all about :) 

On that note, I wanted to have a tiny soap box moment and encourage anyone out there who is in a transition period of their life. I can honestly say going through that in your mid-twenties and dealing with the up and downs of soul searching can be exhausting; both mentally and emotionally. However, I wouldn't take this time back for a second because of how much it's helped me grow both as a person and as a working professional. And the sun does eventually come out "tomorrow." I never thought I would be starting my own business, but during this down time, I've realized how much I want to break that mold that we're so forced to fit in: that you have to go down the tech path if you're in the Bay Area. That's great, but it's not for everyone. And especially for me, I want to spend this next part of my life making my own dreams come true vs. someone else's. Best of all, I love that I'll be able to give back to my clients and help remove the stress for them during a joyous season.

So bottom line, do you. I used to be so stuck on what people would say/ how so-and-so would react to what I'm doing. But now as I'm getting older and specifically in this season, I just see how much freedom there is in simply doing you. No second guessing. No over analyzing. You might have 20 people supporting you or only 1 in your corner. No matter what, if you feel at peace with what you're diving into then DO it. In my personal life, I've learned that God wants us to take that risky step first before He'll unveil the whole picture. So, here goes :)

#Oscar2015 Recap

It's finally that time -- my favorite TV event of the year (and a close second to arguably my favorite event of the year in general, other than my birthday): The OSCARS! Now that we've all had a moment to digest the 4-hour event in its entirety (and hope you all recorded the following event on your DVRs last night because of how much it ran over!), let's discuss shall we?

First off, I miss the good old days. I miss seeing the class acts. Leo, Halle, Adrien, Scorsese, Kate. It was sad not seeing them but instead watching the red carpet arrivals with the likes of Dakota Johnson (who?) and Jennifer Lopez (really?). Other than being jaw dropped at Margot Robbie's breathtaking black gown I wasn't impressed with anyone else's dresses. Literally just hers.

But let's move on to the main affair -- the show itself. I thought NPH was a joke. Sorry I'm not sorry. I had 0 expectations from him to begin with and therefore was in love with the opening musical number but after that it was pitiful! PSA: Jack Black you are amazing. Always.

Someone please get Steve Martin or Seth McFarlane back on here! His jokes were trying way too hard or barely trying at all. And the hype around that hidden suitcase/ Oscar predictions bit?? Um. Even poor Octavia Spencer looked so awkward every time he'd ask her if she was still keeping an eye on it. Pointless! (Side note: loved that Octavia brought her fellow Red Band Society cast mate along as her plus one. RIP Red Banders).

Other than that, I thought the show itself and the award winners were for the most part pretty well-deserved. It's funny, Birdman was the first of all the Oscar-nominated films that I watched even before it was nominated. I loved it when I watched it in theaters. I just watched it at home this past weekend for the second time with my parents and it seemed lack luster the second time. Sure, the cinematography was on point and super unique, as well the acting. Let the record show, Edward Norton is my favorite actor and he did NOT disappoint in this role. I'm so happy he even got the Best Supporting Actor nod this year. That being said, I don't know how I feel about it winning Best Picture. I'm torn. But Sean Penn's reveal -- gold.

So, I think this was an AMAZING year for film. I don't think I've ever had a year where ALL of the films are solid A's. Even the films that didn't get nominated for Best Picture (Foxcatcher, Nightcrawler, Wild -- all three were movies I'd consider top tier for what I watched this year). I think that's why I kind of wish something else got some more lovin.

I think Alejandro González Iñárritu is amazing. I've said it before but him and Tarantino are my favorite directors of all time. So I am all for his Director win -- BUT, I almost feel like he should have won in this category for his dramas -- not a dark comedy. When you look at what Richard Linklater did with Boyhood over 12 years, that's amazing directing. I don't think people think about how much of a visionary you have to be to brainstorm a project over a timeline like that. On top of that, thinking about the commitment the cast has to agree to and how much they will change over the course of the project. It was as close it could have been to being a documentary, yet had the exact measure of depth it needed to be a wonderful film. It's so sad when I hear people say their only gripe with it was that it "wasn't dramatic enough" -- I can't tell you how many people have said that to me. I feel like that's such a shallow way of looking at film. It's almost exactly like what "Birdman" was telling Michael Keaton at the end of the film: people only care about the action in movies these days. We've been accustomed to grow "bored" when watching a real movie about real life. I think that's what Linklater did so masterfully in Boyhood is depict what actual life is like. And the stages of "boyhood" for an individual. Male or female, I think anyone could relate to this film and what true growing pains are like. That's what I loved about this movie. I wish it got more attention at the Oscar's, but super happy for Patricia Arquette at least!

Another film that I thought was AMAZING this year was Theory of Everything. I didn't expect the film itself to get much hype, but I highly suggest watching to movie to anyone. It was not what I expected. And Eddie Redmayne - WOW. I hadn't even heard of this guy but after this film I was in awe. Most well-deserved award of the night went to him!

What was my highlight of the night? I never thought I would be saying this, but Lady Gaga's Sound of Music tribute brought me to tears and goosebumps. This is my favorite movie so the fact that they did a surprise tribute was the most exciting thing of life. Lol. Also, new update: Lady Gaga can SING. Woah, Nelly!! I was jaw dropped. She did an amazing job and I have a newfound respect for her. Finally, to top it all off with JULIE ANDREWS gracing the stage. Done. Done. I can stop watching now. It was the best part of the night for me. She always brings a smile to my face. Oh, and .. why don't they make movies like this anymore?

Finally, my favorite category at the Academy Awards is Writing (go figure). So I'm always super stoked to see who wins Best Original Screenplay & Best Adapted. To be honest, I was pretty surprised that Imitation Game won. I haven't seen it or read the book so it could be on point, but it was a bit of a shock to me. Best Original -- Birdman, that was pretty interesting to me as well. Not shocking, as I predicted it, but I feel like reading a script like that wouldn't wow me. It's seeing all the pieces fall into play together on screen with that genius talent in cinematography that made the film what it was. I feel like when it comes to writing, you need something more. I was personally rooting for Nightcrawler, which I thought was genius in its writing. I was blown away by that movie. As creepy as it was, the writing took me to another world. I secretly wish that would have taken home the win.

Other than that, my favorite scream-worthy moments of the night?

- Terrance Howard's acting audition for the whole audience -- and lo and behold he was getting emotional over.... The IMITATION GAME?! I can't explain how hard I laughed at this

- John Travolta's caress of Idina's face (this reminded me of Face/Off and how scary he was)

- Learning Common's real name (and that John Legend is a made up name?! Ew. Let down.)

- Common skipping over Oprah when Glory won Best Song, and then going back and hugging her to save face

- Steadmond's face the entire night

- J. Lo being super into Patricia Arquette's female equality speech (relax, bro)

- Finally, poor Ellar Coltrane trying hug Patricia (running from back row!!) and her skipping over him. HAHA poor guy

That's all from me. What did you guys think of this year?!

#BeYourself

beyou

Be You. One of the shortest sentences one can form. Yet one of the most powerful assertions. So what does it mean to be you? What if you don't know who YOU are? Today at work we had a mini offsite for our team that was meant for some team bonding and brainstorming. With only 10 of us, we all went through the book Strengths Finder 2.0 to see what our top five strengths are (or "themes" as they call them). It was so beneficial to go through this with them because when you're working so closely with a team, often times you're left disappointed, confused, or just plain annoyed because you don't know how to deal with them. Maybe you're wondering why they react certain ways to specific situations -- or why they don't react at all. It was so eye-opening to share our results with one another because now I know exactly why they operate the way they do. And most of all, where their top strengths lie. This way we now know how each member of the team can best utilize these strengths to contribute to the team. 

I highly suggest reading this book and taking the assessment (within a team at work, with your significant other, or just for fun between your family or group of friends). As soon as I finished I wanted to share my results with those around me and curious to hear the results of my good friends. 

Just for my own reference so I never forget these (and because I'm sure you readers are dying to know all about me!) ... lol, I'll be sharing my top 5, as well as the tidbits from each that stood out most to me. It's interesting because we actually had to read this book for a course I took in high school and I still have it at home. I was comparing my results to the ones I got today (almost 7 years later) and 3 of my 5 strengths have remained the same. The other two are completely new! And in a new order too. Here it goes: 

1) Empathy

People who are especially talented in the Empathy theme can sense the feelings of other people by imagining themselves in others’ lives or others’ situations.

What stood out most: Chances are good that you are attuned to the full gamut of human feelings. Whenever your own or someone else’s life becomes emotionally barren, you search for people and activities to fill the void. You bring people together. Because of your strengths, you frequently detect impending conflict sooner than most people do. Your keen awareness allows you to sense what others are thinking and feeling. Simply put: You have a gift for helping people find common ground. By nature, you pay attention to what others think. You make them feel valued. Typically people sense that you appreciate what they say. This probably explains why many people enjoy spending time with you.

2) Harmony

People who are especially talented in the Harmony theme look for consensus. They don’t enjoy conflict; rather, they seek areas of agreement.

What stood out the most: You realize everyone sees opportunities, problems, solutions, and events differently. While you have opinions, you refrain from imposing them on others. You are good-natured — that is,you have a pleasant, cheerful, and cooperative disposition. Chances are good that you accomplish everything that others are counting on you to do. This is one reason why people admire you. 

3) Connectedness

People who are especially talented in the Connectedness theme have faith in the links between all things. They believe there are few coincidences and that almost every event has a reason.

What stood out the most: Driven by your talents, you sense that everything in life is somehow interrelated and interdependent. This idea fortifies you to calmly face most of life’s challenges and difficulties. ... By nature, you naturally build bonds that unite different types of people who have separate and often clashing agendas. You naturally identify with someone’s situation. You have a gift for helping people discover what they have in common. 

4) Consistency

People who are especially talented in the Consistency theme are keenly aware of the need to treat people the same. They try to treat everyone in the world with consistency by setting up clear rules and adhering to them.

What stood out the most: You might worry that chaos will reign when regulations or standard operating procedures are not uniformly enforced. Because of your strengths, you may have a reputation for straightening up certain types of things such as your desk, home, and personal items. Perhaps you have a detailed plan or schedule for cleaning, organizing, and maintaining your physical environment. By nature, you like creating familiar patterns of behavior. (dead on!) 

5) Communication 

People who are especially talented in the Communication theme generally find it easy to put their thoughts into words. They are good conversationalists and presenters.

What stood out the most: Instinctively, you very much enjoy the animated give-and-take of a lively discussion. You yearn to spend time with your friends. Their absence saddens you. It’s very likely that you are sometimes open and honest about who you are, what you have done, what you can do, and what you cannot do. Maybe your straightforward explanations and stories help listeners see you as you see yourself.

Perhaps your words and examples move them to action. Because of your strengths, you like to
amuse people with your stories. Your stories probably provide people with pleasant distractions from their daily routines and worries. Chances are good that you select the right combination
of words to convey your ideas or feelings. You probably express yourself with ease and grace.

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That's me! Reading these strengths and diving deep into discovering them is one step closer into figuring out who I am and now the challenge is to BE me with no hesitation, fear, or care about who will accept and and who wont. It's liberating. 

#newchapter

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Tomorrow marks the start of a new chapter in my life. I can't explain the ways in which the past year and a half has been... a whirlwind.. to say the least. Every month it seems like there's been something new going on. It's weird, being 23, the past year has been the one where I've felt the most sudden spurt of growing older. Usually every year that goes by, I don't necessarily feel THAT much older. If anything, I'll look back later and feel semi-older. But for some reason with 23 it's literally been a growth process with something new every week it seems like. I've been so stretched and so challenged -- so forced to make certain changes.

It's so funny how things work out though. I'm such a big believer in the fact that we cease to see the full picture that God has set apart for us. We can choose to remain stagnant, get caught up in our comfort zones, or even distractions that seem like fun while we're in the heat of the moment. That was me the past 6 months. It's truly been a trying time for me. I can honestly say though that I feel so blessed that I've had the opportunity to test out so many different things at only age 23. I've tried working corporate, being in a research lab, doing administrative work, event planning, and even in the mental health sector. All of which have been opportunities that I have been extremely passionate about and interested in. For me, beginning my Master's program at the start of 2013 was something that I thought was really what was meant for me in this next phase of life. After half a year into it though, the past quarter I realized that I may have rushed into it. I'm not as dead set on going into counseling as an official career as I was back then. And I think it was the experience of school and the exposure to the industry that really allowed me to see this. I can't stress how important experiences are.. I feel so bad for people who simply rush into something just because they have a mental picture of what they think it's going to be like. Honey, will are in for a rude awakening. And thankfully, I was blessed enough to realize that this might not be meant for me at such a young age and only 2 quarters in. I realized -- school will always be there. Now is the time to live life to the FULLEST and chase after being truly alive. That's when writing came back into play.

I think the thing is that I have always felt fearful about going full force with the writing thing. I can compare it to my friend who is an amazing singer and has all the potential in the world to be the world's next big star (i'm dead serious). But I think it's that initial fear of exposure and intimidation that holds us back. We're so quick to go after things we know we will thrive in. For instance, I knew I could be successful in the corporate world doing sales/admin and I was. But I wasn't happy. Why? It's not something I'm passionate about at ALL! There's no driving passion behind what I was doing. And for me, I am one of those people who has to be doing something I'm passionate about. After all, don't our careers compose over 70% of our day to day lives? You want to be doing something you love. So that's when I decided to go on a limb and just start applying. After trying so many different routes, opportunities, and crossing out 3084 plans on my to-do list, I realized: It. Always. Comes. Back. To. Writing.

And that's where we come full circle to the amazing opportunity I am starting tomorrow. You may have read my past few posts about feeling so restless and lethargic here. My heart and soul have been yearning for adventure and new explorations. I was itching for it. And lo and behold the right door opened up. I will officially be an editorial content writer for an amazing start-up in SF for the next 10 weeks. Finally, a solid step in the right direction to set my feet on a firm foundation for the career I want to seek after. I can't explain how humbled I am to be given this opportunity -- among over 200 candidates! It's been such a confidence booster and a push in my drive and ambition to use the next 10 weeks to grow in my niche and develop the skills I need to thrive in the writing world. We shall see. I'll never know until I try and now is that time. Meanwhile, my main inner circle is all getting domesticated; having kids & getting married (and yes, literally it's all of them)... so I do feel the yearning even more to remember to DO ME. It's so incredibly hard not to get caught up in the status quo and think you're the minority since you're not going with the crowd. But this constant reminder to myself is what has kept me going and helped to maintain my perspective. It's ongoing. This is my life. Yes, it looks a lot different from yours. I'm not the girl that went all her life "knowing" her destiny was to be a lawyer or engineer. I'm a trailblazer. I'm curious. I'm analytical. I like options, testing the waters, and being sure of myself. This opportunity could not have come at a more perfect time for me. It's almost like I'm literally going to be shutting out the rest of the distractions and people who have been negative energy in my life and just going full force with my eye on the prize towards what I want.

I'll be posting more often now that I begin this adventure. The best part of all of it is I literally got my dream come true with it being in San Francisco. It's so funny because for most people location isn't a main driving force and they could care less -- for me, my heart lies in San Fran. I have such a deep love for it and it truly makes me come alive anytime I'm there. The rich culture. The diversity. The LIFE in the streets you walk in; makes such a difference. My goal from March was to find the right job there and to move out there to begin this next chapter. And funny enough, it only took a few months for God to open that perfect door for me. Little by little, the search will officially begin to get settled out there but for now  I'm just ready to embark on this adventure and truly get serious about starting my career. I'm no longer in college and no longer in a place of just chilling around and being lazy all day. Sadly, those days are over ;)

But I know the rewards and growth to come are going to be so worth it. Finally, I've realized what matters most is going after our heart's desire and not letting others control us (whether that's our happiness, joy, or what we do). Don't be so quick to give anyone that honor. Protect yourself and guard yourself. By doing that since the start of 2013, I can't even explain the amount of inner growth I've had and the realizations that are so much more clear to me. It's as if I had blinders on before and now I'm seeing crystal clear. To sum this all up I'll leave you with this: for my college entrance essay way back when in 2008, one of my prompts was to write about some song lyrics that speak to me and have significant meaning in my life. I chose, "Let Go" by Frou Frou. A song that I can honestly say has guided me throughout my teen-young adult life. And even now, coming to this juncture in my life, I can say with confidence that I now know exactly what it means when they sing "there's beauty in the breakdown." Amidst a literal breakdown and whirlwind of a life, I've found the beauty and sunlight beaming in through the thicket. And it's the most peaceful illustration I can leave you with.

xox.