What I've Learned Along The Way

I’m getting ready to hit one of those “milestone” birthdays in a couple of days, which got me thinking and reflecting.  Age has always been just a number to me – I truly do believe that what you think you become and if you think you’re too old to do something then you probably won’t.  I’ve seen many people old (by the number) that appear WAY younger than they really are.  And by no means am I saying to dress inappropriately for your age just because you feel younger than you really are. Ha!  But I do believe that our mind is a powerful thing and if you think you’re old, well, I think it can play a role in the aging process.  So, yes, I’m hitting the big 4-0, a number that some people have a hard time saying.  Someone even asked me the other day if I was going to be “one of those women” who freaks out when it actually happens.  And to that I replied, “no”.  As with any birthday I do sit and reflect on the past, present, and future, sort of the mark of my new year, my new chapter in life.   Here are a few things I’ve learned along the way in no particular order…

Surround yourself with positive people.  There really isn’t enough time for the negativity. 

Handpick your tribe – have people around you that you know you can count on and will be there for you when you need them the most!  It’s not the quantity of friends but the quality.

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No running in the rain in flip flops!    Say what?  Where did that come from you ask?  I broke my foot running in the rain in flip flops four years ago.  No I didn’t get to my car any faster and no, I would not have gotten any less wet had I walked vs run.   The truth is breaking my foot taught me a lot of things - A few things I learned from breaking my foot, but if I had to pick just one thing, it was patience.   I move really fast ALL the time and breaking my foot taught me to slow down (literally).   I had lots of time to sit, think, and elevate (my foot) and between the crutches and the boot I wasn’t moving quickly at all.  Little did I know that this breaking my foot and learning patience thing was paving the road to learning how to be patient to wait for the right job.  Ahh, it’s all interconnected.

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Yoga is more than just the asanas (poses).  I broke my foot shortly after attending yoga teacher training.  I entered training with the thought to not only deepen my practice, but who knew maybe even leave my job and teach yoga –wishful thinking, right?   Little did I know how much I’d learn at the training and shortly thereafter.  I try to get on the mat every day.  It helps me to ground myself, to be present and just breathe.  Some days it’s 5 minutes and some days it’s 50 minutes.  The amount of time isn’t what matters, it’s being present in that moment that matters. 

Balance – breaking your foot can teach you balance, right?  Literally it shows you how much you rely on one side when you’re not able to rely on the other.  But truth be told I’ve been working on work-life balance for a while –aren’t we all?  Balance has to be there.  You can work hard, but you must play harder. 

Local waterfall in Puerto Rico - pretty sure it wasn't mean to slide down. Yep that's me - "just lean forward, you'll be fine!"

Local waterfall in Puerto Rico - pretty sure it wasn't mean to slide down. Yep that's me - "just lean forward, you'll be fine!"

Minimize – I’ve been going room by room and ridding myself of clutter over the last few months.  It’s freeing only keeping what you need.   It’s hard to get rid of a few sentimental items, but the truth is my memories are inside of me, they’re not the things that I buy to help me remember.  Now my memory is bad at times, so I do take pictures.  This helps me remember and helps paint the picture of the memory for me.

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Disconnect to Connect – Each day I take time to meditate.  I never used to, but breathing and connecting has been my way to disconnect from all that is around me.  My mind is a busy bee, always thinking and at times has stressed me out – even to the point of sickness.  Thanks to those that knew me in my 20s and tolerated me back then.  I’ve come a long way and still have more to go.  But meditating and breathing has calmed me down and taught me how to just be, present and in the moment. 

Snake Road - 20 miles to the Reservation - On my last week I stopped to take a few pictures. Absolutely breathtaking when I stopped to enjoy.

Snake Road - 20 miles to the Reservation - On my last week I stopped to take a few pictures. Absolutely breathtaking when I stopped to enjoy.

Health is everything.  I work in the area of prevention and unfortunately there’s isn’t much emphasis on prevention, it’s more a reaction to illness and that’s when people are willing to make changes.  Health is wealth – go get your yearly check-ups, “pay now or you’ll pay later”, invest in yourself, your health IS everything.

Food IS Medicine - Healthy Food CAN taste good!

Food IS Medicine - Healthy Food CAN taste good!

Be passionate about what you love.  I’ve been told once or twice (okay maybe 100 times) I’m too passionate about nutrition.  I don’t even know what that means.  I just know that I went through a time where I switched careers and even when I wasn’t doing dietetics’ work I was always incorporating nutrition somehow.  Apparently I did know what I was passionate about and just needed some time away.   I will always be passionate about improving people’s health, it’s just in my nature and in my being.  And if being called passionate is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

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Be humble.  There’s always room for humility – you are not better than someone else because you have money or power or fame.  We are all VIP and should be treated as such.  (I get a lot of VIP clients – some I know, some I don’t know).  Some are humble and some are not.  Truth be told I don’t care if you are VIP or not, everyone is treated just the same.  My belief is that everyone is VIP and everyone deserves to be treated as such!  I’m a patient advocate and the person that needs the most help sometimes doesn’t know how to ask for that help!  I’m there to make sure they’re getting the help they need.

Travel.  It’s the best education you’ll ever get.  “Nothing will teach you more than exploring the world and accumulating experiences.”  I recently booked a trip for my 40th birthday.  I’ve always wanted to go to Italy.  My grandmother’s maiden name is Lombardo and while I don’t have a memory of her telling me stories about Italy, for some reason I’ve always felt connected and wanted to visit Italy.  So call it an odyssey of sorts, but I can’t wait to explore Italy and for all the adventures that await!

Puerto Rico - ~ 1 1/2 after breaking my foot I ran a 1/2 marathon - Living life and loving life!

Puerto Rico - ~ 1 1/2 after breaking my foot I ran a 1/2 marathon - Living life and loving life!

I don’t have it all figured out.  By no means am I trying to force my views or opinions on you and telling you how you should live your life.  What works for me, may not work for you.  And the truth is, I’m still trying to figure it all out – because some days it works and some days it doesn’t, even for me!

Here’s wishing that my 40s will be as wonderful as my 20s but with added wisdom.  I am approaching my 40s with an open heart full of wonder and magic.

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