I had one of my dearest friends come visit me this past weekend, and several others within the last few months. And although it’s been a busy winter of guests and hosting, being able to spend time with some of the most important people in my life has completely rejuvenated me.

As friends and family all came from the snowy, cold north, we naturally spent a lot of time outdoors. I noticed that while we spent time on the beaches and by the water in my new home (which I like to call Paradise), I reflected so much on the last year and four months of my life since relocating.

This is all I want to leave with you today:

Fear isn’t negative. Sometimes it’s okay to jump in with two feet and not have a perfect plan for landing. It feels good to move past our fears and live through them. It gives us new perspective, it helps us trust ourselves, and we gain a new sense of confidence we may not have had before.

YOLO is a great life motto. Not only because it’s fun, but because it’s simply just true. Life is short…To live our entire lives always wondering and wishing is a complete waste. We are here to enjoy life and to be happy. Sometimes that comes with risk, because YOLO.

Take time to appreciate where you live. Spend a day or weekend pretending you are visiting. This can motivate you to try new things and explore in ways you haven’t done before. Mindfulness is so important! Pay attention to all the small things you appreciate about where you live, and learn new things to keep it fun and fresh.

Meaningful friendships aren’t always the most prevalent. Some of my favorite moments are reconnecting with friends over a quick chat or an hour-long phone call talking about WHAT IS LIFE. If you can pick up right where you left off with people and the conversations make you feel good, don’t let those friendships fizzle even if they aren’t there every day.

Push yourself out of your comfort zone and do scary things, and do so in a way that makes you feel challenged. Scary things can be exciting and rejuvenating. Sometimes we need to feel scared to appreciate the consistent and comfortable parts of our lives. We overlook comfort and get complacent, but to feel scared reminds us of what keeps us grounded. We feel grounded when we are comfortable, and we don’t want to take this for granted.

Love yourself enough to put yourself first. We live for other people all the time which can be stressful, confusing, and sad. What do YOU want when you take everyone else out of the equation? It’s important to think about that sometimes.

Missing people and places is okay. It feels good to cherish those people and places that live in your heart, and sometimes you appreciate them more when you miss them. It feels good to reminisce and smile about it. The fear of missing people and places should not stop you from making decisions for yourself. The people will always be there (thank you FaceTime and airplanes), and the places aren’t going anywhere.

You can always change your mind; you can always go back to the way things were if you don’t end up enjoying the risk you take. But at the end of the day, you can at least say you did it and now you know the outcome. Closure and understanding are beautiful things, even if they come with a little chaos.

Don’t regret the decisions you make. For starters, regret is a pointless and torturous feeling. And at the time the decisions were made, they were what was best for you in that moment with what you had and with what you knew. Nothing is permanent.

Faith is the real MVP. Trust yourself, trust your gut, and let life happen without having to control it all. Watch it all unfold for you and see how beautiful timing is when you allow yourself to follow your faith.

If you never try, you’ll never know~

-keep shining

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