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10 Life Lessons I Learned From My Exploration Year

August 31, 2017

The past Saturday marked one year since packing up a U-haul and driving 1400 miles down the east coast by myself.  As I sit here in my new apartment writing my weekly newsletter I thought to myself, “what am I going to blog about today?” This got me thinking about the past year and the things I have learned or experienced. It’s a little difficult to truly capture everything but here’s my top ten lessons I learned from what I am calling my “Exploration Year.”


1. Your plans must be flexible. If you would have told me last year when I arrived in Florida that I would move three times within this past year, I would have said, “There is no way!” If you would’ve told me that I would come down with mono and have foot surgery within the year, both keeping me sidelined for months at a time, I wouldn’t have believed you.  If you would have said to me that I would live no more than 3 months at a time in a given state, again, I wouldn’t have believed you. But all of those things happened. So what’s the take away? It’s good to have plans but you have to be able to be flexible and go with the flow. We can’t predict life, we can plan, but we can’t predict. And as my dear friend and mentor, Jade Teta, said to me ten years ago, “The more you try to control life, the more it messes with you.”


2. You don’t need much. From moving a few times to living out of a suitcase the past two months in Ohio, I have realized we don’t need a whole lot to live. After arriving back in Boca this week to move apartments, I couldn’t believe just how much stuff I have and how much I don’t really need! Where did all of this “stuff” come from?! And do I really need it?! I have started to purge and donate clothes and it feels so nice downsizing. We really don’t need much.


3. Some relationships are not worth your energy. If I learned one single important lesson this past year, this is it. I left the DC area with the intention of finding myself and was committed to myself. However, not according to plan, I got into a relationship before I left. For what it’s worth, this relationship did not pan out however, emotionally I was still invested in it well beyond it’s duration. I allowed the situation to consume a lot of my energy, taking away from my personal goals as well as my happiness and self worth.  It’s taken me longer that I would like but I think it’s safe to say I am at a place now where I understand that some relationships aren’t worth the energy. And as a dear friend and mentor said to me, “Kelley if anything takes away from your serenity, distance yourself from it.” Create space when it’s needed and don’t let anything take away from your serenity.


4. Action is one powerful tool. As I sit here and write, it’s a step. I have a dream of being a leader in the field of health and wellness nationally and internationally. I’ve gone to school, I’ve followed my heart, but I will be honest I get scared. And sometimes I am not sure of the next step. However, after spending this past summer with my family helping my dad launch his new practice at 61 years young, I witnessed first hand the power of action. He waited thirty something years to do this, and literally in a matter of 5 months we accomplished this. It was a series of actions and sometimes we didn’t even know what we were doing but we just did something. Do something.


5. Obsessing over something isn’t worth much of anything. I thought for sure this past year I would train like no one’s business and be lean as ever. After all I am in South Florida and this is where fitness lives. I used to be obsessed with food prep, two a day workouts, and what I looked like circa competition days. Pretty vain huh? And actually a larger indicator of insecurity. And when I was in that mindset, I sacrificed a lot, including my own peace. I am not perfect but I realize there is balance and that my friends, I believe is the key to health. Too much of anything is not a good thing.


6. Home is literally where the heart is. Do I think I will live in South Florida forever? Honestly, I don’t know. I can’t say I know for sure where I will end up. I do enjoy the flexibility but there are days when I miss my friends from Northern Virginia, and my family in Ohio. I have made some amazing friends here. So to say where I will be in a year from now, I am going to go with the flow and follow my heart on that one. What I do know is that wherever you are, you can make it a home.


7. You can do anything you set your mind to. This year has taught me a lot, probably some of these lessons I am not even aware of yet. However, I do remember saying to myself, while sitting in my boss’s office two years ago, that I was going to find a way to work from South Florida somehow. And I did it. I didn’t know how it was going to pan out but I knew I had to do it. I always dreamt of living on the beach while I was young and single. I am here now, and ready to make my next dream reality. And the take away, you can do anything you set your mind to, make it a priority, and go back to number 4, take action.


8. The more present you are the more peaceful you become. I think I can read and reread this one over and over and over. I have a tendency to worry, overanalyze and think way too much. I catch myself replaying the past or worrying about the future. But in reality, the only moment that truly matters is right now. We aren’t promised tomorrow and yesterday is behind us. My wish for you and myself this next year is to practice being present more often.


9. Life goes way too fast, so you better play. The one thing that I fear the most in life is being complacent. I want to grow, to become a better person, to make a difference, to be loved and give love.  My goal is to take ownership and action with my life. It is so easy and comfortable to get complacent in life and take for granted that we have it. There are no guarantees. Don’t put things off, get in the game, now.


10. Travel more, stress less, do one thing everyday toward your goals.


Phew… that was a brief long summary of my reflections of this past year! I hope at least one resonated with you! If so, let me know by commenting below.


Have an amazing day!





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