First and foremost, thank you to each one of you who have taken the time to wish me a happy birthday! Whether we connect once a day, once a month, or once a year, today, I have been reminded of how blessed I am to have you present in my life. With a baguette in hand, a glass of rose being sipped, and the French Rivera being overlooked – thank you.
Today marks my twenty-sixth trip around the sun. One year ago…no, no, three days ago, if someone would have told me I would be spending my 26th birthday in Nice, France, I wouldn’t have believed them. Nevertheless, here I am in Nice reflecting on my twenty-fifth year of life and dreaming of what twenty-six will bring.
Twenty-five was nothing like I had imagined it. When twenty-five hit, I naively believed I would wake-up to the second quarter of my life, and everything would effortlessly fall into place. Instead, this was a year of extremes – it was a year of high highs and low lows, trying to navigate to a place somewhere in the middle. Twenty-five brought a lot of questions about life, purpose, and passions. As twenty-six begins, I have a strong sense that this is the year many of those questions will be answered.
Today on this twenty-six year of life, we’re going to rewind to the highs and lessons twenty-five gifted. && tomorrow we’ll look to the hopes for twenty-six.
Became a Godmother || I remember everything about the moment I was asked to be Olivia Grace’s Godmother – what I was wearing, the spot I was standing in my living room, the screaming world cup fans echoing from the tv, the smell of fresh empanadas coming from the kitchen, and the purest sense of surprise when the question was asked. Even before Olivia Grace was born, I knew I would love this little human immensely. Being trusted and honored with the responsibility of being her Godmother has become one of my greatest roles in this lifetime. This past year I have learned to experience a new type of love. This unconditional love wants only the best for another human, a love that would undoubtedly do anything and everything for another human without question. This little human has challenged me to strengthen my faith to ensure I become the best I can be for her.
Travel || It goes without saying collecting dust is something my carry-on never has to worry about. Twenty-five experienced the liveliness of the Mexican culture, the stillness of Tulum, the spectacular views Yosemite, the spontaneity of road-tripping through Northern California, the adventurous spirit of Colorado, and the beginnings of a European tour with my best friend that will hold memories I will cherish for a lifetime.
Life with Lovely || I have been blogging on and off for three years, and while 2018 felt like my least active year – looking back, I hit major milestones on this online platform of
mine ours. I’m beginning to receive sponsorship requests from brands I never dreamed of working with, I was named the top influencer for Delta in September, I was invited to Rakuten’s inaugural Optimism Conference in San Francisco, I’ve had readers approach me to compliment the blog…milestones I would never have reached without you!
Discovering VIPKID || Last July, I began working as an online ESL teacher for VIPKID. VIPKID initially started as a job to make extra money while in grad school. This part-time job has since become something I look forward to each morning. It is so hard for me to believe how rewarding it is to teach children who live worlds away. VIPKID has allowed me to build relationships with new families and to financially support myself while I’m in graduate school.
Aspen || A dog was the last thing I expected to get this year! Leave it to Philip Lovely to come home for a visit, insist it was time to get another dog, and boom sudden we’re a family of four. In the short month Aspen has been home, I honestly now can’t imagine life without this soon to be an 80lb bundle of love and chaos.
World Cup || Would I be Natasha Lovely without mentioning the World Cup? Twenty-five kicked off with my favorite sporting event, the World Cup. This World Cup was extra special because it felt like a new beginning – although we are far from saying “goodbye” to Ronaldo and Messi, this WC set the stage for the next generation of players. Mbappe or Rashford anyone?
Allow your passions to build your path || We are all gifted with unique talents that often translate into our passions. Allow these passions to build your path, from the simplest of tasks to your most important life decisions. I guarantee you, when you trust and allow your passions to build your path, you’ll be led to your purpose.
Forget the maps…follow your instinct || There is nothing more powerful than your intuition. Your intuition is your superpower- it’s your guardian angel speaking to you. Listen to it.
It is okay to not be okay – but it is not okay to stay that way || As a therapist, I preached this to my clients daily. It is okay to feel – even the “negative” emotions. Life is tough, it will throw you unexpected challenges, knock you down, and even bring you to tears sometimes. The beauty in the struggle is that there is always a hidden strength to gain. It is up to you, and only you, to find the strength and grow from it.
Never settle || Never settle for anything less than what fulfills you and brings you joy. Don’t settle for a job because it is what your degree is in or because you feel like it is “what you’re supposed to be doing.” Don’t settle in a relationship because you feel comfort in having someone to stand next to, comfort instability, or fear of being alone. Don’t settle for friends that don’t challenge you. By settling, you are limiting yourself. The moment you begin to settle in the most important aspects of your life is the moment you begin to lose yourself. Do literally WHATEVER makes you happy with the intention of good and growth.