30 Self-Reflections I’ve Had in the Past Year

My 31st birthday is this Saturday, January 30th and I cannot help but reflect on my past year as a 30-year-old.

When I first turned 30, I claimed it as my golden year because I reached 30 years of life on the 30th day of not only a new year, but a new decade as well. It was the closing of one decade in my life (my 20s) and the start of a new one. I was also about to embark on a new chapter, knowing that by the end of the year, I would be married. It all felt so significant and symbolic.

So, it only makes sense that I create a blog post like this to share with you all.

This past year did not turn out the way I expected. Honestly, it is the opposite of what I envisioned. But I have learned and grown so much in the past year that I must express gratitude. And when you read this, try to be present and intentional in understanding; you may have some realizations of your own.

Without further ado, here are my 30 self-reflections.

  1. It is okay to love someone from afar.
  2. Ultimately, life happens for me, not to me.
  3. Life is short. Eat the dessert.
  4. Whoa. I’m a married woman?! Amazing.
  5. I no longer want to feel guilty for saying no.
  6. He’s not kidding. I do have a body of a goddess.
  7. My trauma does not define me.
  8. It is not my responsibility to meet the expectations of others.
  9. I am no longer afraid of separating myself from anyone who disrupts my peace.
  10. I must do a solo travel trip soon!
  11. I am way too hard on myself.
  12. Not everything requires a reaction.
  13. Vulnerability will always equal strength.
  14. Stop apologizing for feeling so deeply.
  15. I never want to plan another event again.
  16. Progress over perfection. Stay consistent.
  17. I think I am ready to seek a therapist.
  18. Relationships do not fit one mold.
  19. My anxiety is not a crutch. I am stronger than that.
  20. I’m getting old for real because these knees…
  21. I am getting real good at voicing and honoring my boundaries.
  22. I still have a lot of anger and resentment within me to resolve.
  23. I control NOTHING and it drives me insane, but I am learning to accept it.
  24. Stepping out of my comfort zone does not get easier but it gets familiar.
  25. My presence, time, and energy are gifts that should be given wisely.
  26. My resilience is a God sent.
  27. I need to actively work on my level of patience.
  28. Amid madness, unintentionally, my faith became stronger.
  29. I have some amazing individuals in my life.
  30. I’m that bitch. Always have been, always will be.

What I experienced in the past year, the good and the bad, has been thought-provoking, uncomfortable, epiphanic, and transforming. And I must admit, I’m feeling bolder because of it. I am thankful for the lessons, even when I have a hard time accepting them. Because honestly, I don’t handle obstacles and inconveniences very well. But I am equally thankful for learning how to revisit and reevaluate the past experiences in my life.

This is how I learn and continue to grow.

I have no regrets. I am confident when I say all the lessons served its purpose. A year that felt infinite with them. So, as I welcome and celebrate a new year of life, I hope this post sparks something so fierce within you. May you feel inspired and hopeful. May you continue to discover yourself in a way that becomes a beacon of light for others. And may you always remember to love yourself freely and unapologetically.

All photo rights are reserved and owned by me.

Xoxo

Juggling Responsibilities: Tips on How to Manage a Work-Life Balance

Balance. The Ultimate Goal.

Ricky Lankford

If your life is as busy as mine, you may feel like you are a circus act performing stunts for your audience. The constant pressure of juggling responsibilities, the desire to please everyone and to be the best in every area of your life. If I am being transparent, at my best, my day ends with me staring at the window with a glass of wine or at my worst, curled up in a corner having a complete meltdown. I’m okay, I promise…maybe.

When life starts to feel overwhelming, you may feel the need to shut down, only realizing later that you have set yourself up for failure. Not only are the tasks you have put off are still there waiting for you, but they are waiting with new task friends! Cue another mental breakdown and so, it becomes a vicious cycle.

This type of scenario has happened to me so often that I decided I needed to find a solution. How can I attempt to have complete balance in my life to not only take care of my responsibilities, but to find the time to do things that I enjoyed as well? This answer is still a work in progress (I’m human), but I do have some tips to share on how to effectively juggle your responsibilities to create a healthy work/life balance.

Write it out.

I like to consider myself an extremely organized individual. However, I must admit that the idea of writing my day-to-day tasks in a planner is not thrilling to me whatsoever.  But it so helps! Writing your responsibilities clearly will allow you to see exactly how much you have on your plate and can provide reassurance. Often, our minds run wild and it may seem more overwhelming than it is. Writing it out will allow you to see the ‘big picture’ and may serve as a motivation tool to cross those tasks out once accomplished.

Prioritize.

If you are anything like me, you want to accomplish all your responsibilities as quickly as possible. I often feel like I am racing against the clock when I attempt to accomplish my tasks, partly because of my fear of knowing that more will come eventually. But that’s the thing. Responsibilities never go away, they multiply! So, no use in rushing to get them all done; you must prioritize. What is the most important task to take care of? What can wait? Is this task essential? All questions you should ask yourself before diving in and creating additional stress. Prioritize your responsibilities and focus on the most important ones first. For those that are not as important, consider them as aspirational and put them on the back burner until you have more time to focus on them.

Create a Schedule.

Although I often make advanced plans, I am not keen to following a day-to-day schedule. However, I do feel it is necessary when your life is demanding. This goes back to the point of writing it out, especially in a planner. But now you must take a step further and create designated time slots for your tasks. For example, I know that between 6:30 am-8 am before work, I reserve that time for the gym or to work on my writing. Since I work from home, I often eat my lunch while I am working but will reserve my lunch break to take care of other priorities, such as paying bills, going grocery shopping, cleaning, etc. And after work, depending on how early or late I get off from work, I set intentional time for my own self-care as a wind down routine before bed. This is typically my weekday routine so when the weekends do arrive, I have that free time to enjoy a social life or my favorite, the art of doing nothing. Creating a schedule helps enforce a visible timeline you can follow and if executed correctly, you can fully utilize the time you have available to create a healthy work/life balance.

Set intentional time your self-care.

I cannot emphasize enough how important this tip is. When you are attempting to meet the demands of your life, you often run the risk of burnout. You must set intentional time for self-care to recharge. Put your phone into airplane mode. Read a book. Grab that bottle of wine and take a bubble bath. Light some candles and meditate. Do breathing exercises. Be a couch potato if your heart desires! Whatever self-care looks like to you, do it and make sure that you are creating a routine where time is set aside regularly for it. You cannot be productive or effective in your productivity if you are burning yourself out. Everything else can wait. Stop showing up for others and show up for yourself.

Accept what you cannot do.

Personally, I struggle with this. I often feel like a failure when I am unable to complete all my tasks. I get frustrated when I must put them off an additional day…or week…or month. It literally haunts me! But I am learning to accept that I am human and can only do so much. I am learning to accept that I cannot always show up for everyone and everything. Accepting that you will not always be successful in fulfilling your responsibilities is very important in creating a work/life balance. It is accepting that sometimes the circumstances in your life are out of your control. It is accepting that you cannot dwell on the things you cannot control, and that tomorrow will always be a new day to shift your focus on the circumstances you can control. It is realizing that your worth is not determined by your accomplishments. Why put added stress on yourself? It can all wait until you are better equipped to tackle what is left.

I hope you find these tips helpful. I cannot stress enough how important it is to have a healthy work/life balance. And although my tips may not be 100% proof, it will help creatine a routine that works best for you. I am here learning with all of you.

Feel free to drop a note and share your experiences with me. What are some tips you utilize for a healthy work/life balance?

Cheers to becoming more productive, mindful, accepting, and evolved. Sharing lots of love and good vibes!

XOXO

Hey Stranger…

“If you feel lost, disappointed, hesitant, or weak, return to yourself, to who you are, here and now and when you get there, you will discover yourself, like a lotus flower in full bloom, even in a muddy pond, beautiful and strong.”

Masaru Emoto

I cannot believe how much time has passed since my last post. A lot has happened, good and bad. You know when I come back from a hiatus, I have all the tea of what has been going on in my life. Clearly, I have been hiding under a rock for the past few months. Do you have time? Lol.

2020 was one hell of a year.

In all transparency, it was one of my toughest years. I refuse to lie and say otherwise or try to find some forced silver lining that preaches how 2020 was actually my best year. Was it necessary? ABSOLUTELY. Was it enjoyable? It was sprinkled with joy, but the foundation was a lot of pain and loss. Am I okay with this? Yes and no. I’m still grieving and processing the relationships I have lost this past year with people I would have never expected. I’m currently dealing with some deep-rooted abandonment issues because of this. I’m angry and confused on how certain things escalated and ended. I’m resentful that I lost so much all at once. I had to let go of people I love deeply for the sake of my own peace and boundaries. And that, can be heartbreaking, as I was forced to make that difficult choice. But I am at a stage in my life where I must truly honor and love myself. Where I only tolerate what I deserve and nothing less. I have to choose me. So out of all the pain and lessons, came a further understanding of self.

You know how they say, “Check on your strong friend.” Well, I am that strong friend. That person who puts aside their own feelings, issues, and fears to make compromises for the people they love. I show up, time and time again. But I started to feel like my energy was not matched with several people in my life. I began to feel used and unimportant. It began to feel like I was surrounded by energy vampires. I got tired of feeling overlooked, my issues and subtle cries for help ignored because of the assumption that I was okay. Because I always get through it.

Let me tell you, you do not know pain until you are uncontrollably sobbing and the only person there to comfort you in that moment is your own reflection.

However, I have been gifted with the superpower of putting broken pieces of myself back together as if I am brand new and shiny again. I pride myself on that kind of resilience. So here I am, not exactly doing bad, but struggling. And that’s okay. Just another level of healing in my life. If this year taught me anything, it has taught me to realize that lessons do not always come before blessings. Sometimes, the lesson IS the blessing.

I do not care to disclose the individuals I fell out with. I have no intention of bashing anyone or painting those individuals as bad people. This is my truth, and I am sharing it with you all, while protecting the identity of those individuals. At the end of the day, none of us are perfect. We all make mistakes. We all grow and evolve and sometimes, certain individuals can no longer be a part of our journey. Just another chapter ended in the story of your life. I am learning to accept this because it hurts, still.

These past few months have not been all bad. Even with the heartaches, I can wholeheartedly say that overall, 2020 was a prosperous year. So, let’s shift the perspective, shall we?

Here’s a recap ❤

My Blog

2020 was a great year for Ang Meets Soul, even with the lack of consistency. I am so grateful for the support I continue to receive despite this and hope you all continue to support me as I learn and grow throughout this process! A few noteworthy accomplishments were:

  • I completely revamped my site and created a logo to brand my blog.
  • Learned a bit about Google Analytics.
  • Found a way to monetize my blog through ads and have made my first dollar…baby steps lol.
  • Created a Facebook page for my blog.
  • Achieved my first 500 subscribers on my blog.
  • Grew my following and engagement on Instagram and Twitter (shoutout to achieving my first 1k on IG).
  • Participated in several podcast interviews with the opportunity to talk about my blog.
  • Participated in my first collaboration post with a fellow blogger. One of my more popular posts found here.
  • Participated in several brand ambassador programs. I have learned my lesson since lol.
  • Launched my first giveaway!  I’m still in shock over how successful it was- thank you guys so much!

It’s been such a crazy and amazing learning experience and I am so pumped to see how much further I can push the envelope on growing my brand.

Travel

2020 was such a great year for travel! I never had the opportunity to travel so much within one year before. Because of the pandemic, flights were very affordable, so I took full advantage. Plus, my job provides a generous vacation package and encourages us to take time off for a healthy work/life balance. But don’t worry, I traveled safely and within travel restrictions. In 2020, I was able to explore:

  • Gatlinburg, TN
  • Austin, TX
  • Denver, CO
  • New Orleans, LA
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Miami, FL
  • Charleston, SC
  • Savannah, GA

Traveling truly makes my heart and soul so happy. I am looking forward to more wanderlusting in 2021.

Work

Speaking of work, the levels unlocked in my position within one year was INSANE. I am blessed to have a supervisor who encourages me to have confidence within myself, who does not believe in micromanaging, and pushes me to step out of my comfort zone for personal growth. But this is not just my supervisor, all my colleagues are so encouraging and supportive. I’ve never worked for a company that saw so much potential in me before, and 2020 gifted me that. I even received a promotion with a generous raise only 8 months after starting with the company!

Personal life

2020 taught me the importance of slowing down and listening to what my mind and body needed. I began cooking more. I started painting. I read more and journaled. I even developed the habit of yoga and meditation. I spent more time outside soaking up the sun and breathing in the fresh air. I grounded. I remained active.

However, I fell off my routine towards the last few months of 2020. Because of all the obstacles I was facing in my life, I took less and less off my plate. My only concern during this time was survival. But besides this, I was in the middle of planning a wedding during a pandemic. Very stressful! Which leads me to my biggest blessing in 2020…I AM OFFICIALLY A MARRIED WOMAN!

On December 19, 2020, I married my best friend; on the 6-year anniversary of our very first date. The wedding planning process was difficult for me, heartbreaking to say the least. It was not what I hoped for during a time that should have been the happiest time in my life. Even leading up to the days before the wedding, I was faced with obstacle after obstacle. But the moment I walked down that aisle and saw him waiting for me at the altar, none of this mattered. NONE OF IT. I’ve never felt so happy, terrified, relieved, inspired, and hopeful all at once. In that moment, everything I had went through up to that point was worth it. I am beyond grateful that I was able to end a trying year on such a positive note, with the man who continues to stay by my side to weather any storm that may come our way. To step into a new year with so much love and support from our family and friends. For the first time in this whole process, I felt loved and celebrated. It was an amazing and unmatched feeling.

So that’s it! That’s what I have been up to. I am happy to be back, focused and rejuvenated. Happy to be inspired again to share with all of you. Thank you for catching up with me. But mostly, thank you for continuing to support me throughout my growing pains. For acknowledging that I am human and granting me the patience and grace to find my way back. I love ya’ll, for real! All of you, this blog, it saves me in ways I could never properly explain. So, thank you, thank you, THANK YOU.

What have you all been up to? Any reflections of 2020 you would like to share? I love hearing from you. Sending all of you lots of love. Until next time!

XOXO

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