This year has been kind of a downer. A lot of good things happened, but I’m not where I expected to be geographically, financially, creatively, and emotionally. I’ve been looking back on 2017’s triumphs and disappointments to see what lessons I’ve learned this year. I truly believe that when we take stock of our earnings for the year, we should count wisdom as well as money. I’ve taken an honest assessment of me as a person and my purpose on this Earth.
I’d like to share my findings with you. I feel like we only see the bright side of people’s lives online. We all share happy pictures on social media and tell of our good fortune. But when things don’t work out so well, we keep it close to ourselves. Then the picture that gets painted is that everyone is happy and successful, and it’s so easy. And that is simply not true. There is something good that comes out of every experience, even if that good thing is life experience. We grow. Growing pains can be hard. It’s not all going to be roses. But that is how life works. We take what we learn and we move forward.
That’s not to say it’s been an overall bad year. Lots of good happened too. It’s always best to see the bright side of any situation.
Here are the lessons I’ve learned this year:
- I learned to prioritize sleep. I use the Bedtime feature on my iPhone to make sure I get enough hours a night. I plug in how many hours I want to sleep and what time I want to wake up, and it makes sure I don’t stay up too late. I’m a night owl and do a lot of my creative work at night when everyone is asleep and the house is quiet. I get a gentle reminder to go to bed if my phone is not in its nighttime charging dock. It also keeps the sound off until it wakes me with a pretty musical alarm. If calls, texts, and other notifications come in while I’m sleeping, it keeps the ringer and chimes on silent so I am not disturbed.
- I learned to balance my nutrition. I don’t eat a lot of meat, so I need to make sure my food intake for the day has all the nutrition I need. I also forget to eat sometimes when I am concentrating on work. I use an app called Lifesum that helps me keep track of calories, but also my protein, carbs, and fat intake. I told it that I follow a Mediterranean diet with an emphasis on fish and vegetables and it follows my lead. I set reminders to eat and drink water. It suggests recipes. I love this app.
- I learned to deal with toxic people. There are times when you are stuck with them in your life. When you have a toxic family member who is a bully and spews negativity with every breath exhaled, it can be exhausting. It can make you second-guess yourself and your choices. Cutting through their dark cloud and being true to myself is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. And it’s a process. There is anger, guilt, tears, and then you get to climb another rung on the ladder of personal strength.
- I learned what I don’t want out of life. I thought moving back East to be closer to my family would be a good thing. And while I love being closer to them and spending more time with them, I can’t stop thinking of the quote about never being able to go home again. By living in different parts of the country and following a completely different path from them, I am a very different person with a unique outlook on life. Living in the ‘burbs is not my thing. I miss the action and culture of a big city. I enjoy the local farms but that is about it. There is nothing else here for someone who isn’t a wife and mother. I am very grateful I don’t have to hop on a plane every time I want to see my family, and it’s comforting to know my sister is around the corner, but I know I am not in my place. New York City is calling me home. Or perhaps Rome.
- I’ve committed wholeheartedly to the Mediterranean lifestyle. I’ve gone back to the old ways when people ate fresh food, locally grown and with few ingredients. I’ve learned to slow down, to prioritize relationships and to value connection. I’m contemplating moving to Italy in the next few years, if they’ll have me. I want to be an international person, a citizen of the world.
- I learned to drink more water. I try to drink eight glasses of water a day even though it makes me pee constantly. I drink water first thing when I wake in the morning, and as the last thing before I settle in for the night. I still drink coffee, tea, and wine during the day, but I prioritize water.
- I learned to do with a lot less. And I’ve realized I don’t need all those things. I left a six-figure job to go out on my own. And it’s been a hard road. I have not replaced my full income but I’ve gotten by and learned a lot in the process. I don’t buy as many clothes and gadgets and things. I make sure that the things I do acquire are things I really want.
- I redesigned my business to fit my lifestyle. Coaching has become a term that every Tom, Dick and Harriet uses no matter their skills or training. I feel the term “coach” has become a bit of an eye roller. I started focusing on building a business in the image of how I like to live. I’ve removed the word “coach” from my website and focus instead on the lifestyle I recommend. The most important thing I did for my business this year was to become the shining example of the results I can help you achieve. I don’t need to follow the path of traditional coaching. I am forging a road for myself.
- I redesigned my website twice. I did it once and didn’t like it. It didn’t feel authentic to me. I designed it the way I thought a coaching website should look. But it didn’t truly represent me. I decided to stop taking advice from the so-called gurus out there, and made it look the way I wanted. So I designed it again, this time by really thinking about my brand and who I am. I chose new colors, new fonts, and I started revealing who I am and what I am all about. I don’t care if anyone thinks it’s the wrong way to do a website. It represents me.
- I learned to cook vegetables in interesting ways. I’ve worked hard to eliminate processed foods from my life. I now enjoy a natural diet based mostly on farm-fresh vegetables. My food ingredients are local and picked within days of me eating them. It’s been game changing.
- I cut back on wine. It was becoming a coping mechanism. See #3 about toxic people. I enjoy wine but realize that people in Italy drink it more often but in far less quantities than we do. So I still have wine, I just drink less of it.
- I started writing and recording my own meditations. I realized one of my talents is my voice. It’s the number one thing people tell me. I’ve listened to my favorite meditations so many times that I don’t really hear them anymore and I end up just falling asleep. So I started creating my own. After the initial shock of hearing my own voice in my headphones, I actually prefer listening to myself. I think we should all listen to ourselves more, and hear less from others. You can listen to my meditations on my YouTube channel. The Mermaid Meditation is particularly popular.
- I learned to stop following every inspirational quote. I realized you don’t always have to be compassionate and feel grateful. There are times for that. But there are times when you will need to stick up for yourself. Sometimes you just have to walk away and say fuck it. Pardon my French. My new motto is, “Be nice to everyone, but don’t take any shit.”
- I started using a humidifier regularly. My lungs, skin and sinuses really appreciate it. The weather this time of year is very drying. I have dry skin normally and this time of year it gets out of control. I now sleep with a small bedside humidifier.
- I cut back on social media. Social sites can be great tools for business, but they can also be frustrating. I barely use Twitter anymore. It’s great for some businesses but it doesn’t serve me anymore. I’ve lessened my time on Facebook (sorry to anyone who has joined my groups) and I don’t miss it. I’m spending more time on YouTube and Instagram. I’ve learned that I can’t keep up with them all, so I’m learning to let go. I enjoy looking at Snapchat but it’s not for me or my business. I think Facebook has practically ruined Instagram, although I still enjoy looking at pictures. I’ve never been a follower, so I don’t need to fall into the coma of social media.
- I learned that not everyone wants my help. I know a lot of things. I’m a naturally helpful person. I’m always creating online challenges and coaching programs to help people. But everyone has their own stuff they are going through. Even though some of my offerings are free, that doesn’t mean people always have time to participate, or that they are interested in the same things as me. I learned not to take it personally.
- I reopened my Etsy shop. I missed making products and creating scent blends. I changed my shop to match who I am today. I designed new products that I’m really proud of and think are unique and luxurious. Next year one of my goals is to build a website specifically for my lifestyle products. In the meantime you can find me on Etsy at DeRosa Lifestyle.
- I learned to change the atmosphere of a room with fragrance. I love diffusing essential oils, lighting candles, taking luxuriously scented showers and baths. This year I created a line of room sprays. Fragrance has always been a big part of my life. Read this article about the history of my life in perfume.
- I realized that I am a naturally relentlessly happy person. My gift in life is to spread joy around no matter what. That’s why I want to share my lifestyle tips with the world. And let you know that no matter what you are going through there is always a silver lining.
What have you learned this year? I’d love for you to share some of your story in the comments section below. Or even better, write your own “Lessons I’ve Learned This Year” blog post and send me the link so I can read it.