My 28th birthday is today! Another year older and wiser. Yes, that’s right, like a fine wine, I just keep getting better with age. We all do.

This year was another year of growth. Another year that has made me feel more truly and authentically me.

Given that it’s my birthday and the end of the year, I’m feeling a little sentimental and in a sharing mood. My hope in sharing what I’ve learned this year with you is that you can relate to some of these – we’re all in this thing, called life, together. Comment below and let me know what resonates.

I will be closing up shop pretty soon to rest and relax for the holiday, so I also wanted to extend big wishes to you for a safe, happy, healthy and loving holiday!!

Here’s what I learned this year:

1. ‘YOU WILL GET THROUGH THIS’ DOESN’T MEAN THAT ONCE YOU DO THE WORK STOPS

I’m very open in saying that I see a psychologist on a regular basis. She’s also an energy healer, which is a super amazing fit for me. I was definitely sent her from the angels. I find a lot of what comes out of my work with her is things I already knew, however, I see them in a new light and in a more profound way.

Yes, I’ve always known that working on yourself never has an expiration date. Yet, this lesson was brought into brighter light after I had a rough go this year. I’m feeling I’ve gotten past the muck it unearthed, but I’m still working on what I learned from it every, single damn day. I’m not going to stop though. What I’m getting at is: It’s never all going to be perfect. So, accept that and keep working on you.

2. DROP THE FEAR BECAUSE YOU ARE MEANT FOR BIG THINGS.

This may sound selfish, narcissistsic or egoistical to some of you, but, I don’t really care! Not caring: another thing that comes when approaching your thirties (LOL). The Universe keeps redirecting me when I want to sit on the sidelines and be a bystander. I can tell that I’m meant for big things and if I don’t believe so, no one else will. I keep getting clear messages to keep going. The challenge is letting go of the fear that gets in my way, which is one thing I plan to bust through in 2017!

3. YOU HAVE TO PUT IN THE WORK TO ACHIEVE YOUR DREAMS AND THIS MEAN SACRIFICES.

So, I knew this one, but this has become more and more apparent to me as I get older and get closer to my biggest and wildest dreams being fulfilled. This doesn’t mean you can’t relish in all the good that comes with this and reward yourself along the way, but it often means big sacrifices. What do you want more? It’s a matter of deciding what you value.

4. AS YOU GET OLDER YOU LEARN STUFF ABOUT YOURSELF YOU NEVER THOUGHT WAS “YOU”.

At 16, you sure as hell don’t know yourself. At 23, I thought I had an idea. At 26, I was like: Yeah, this is me. But damn, I’m continuously surprised, This year I found things out about me that I would have never deemed to be my identity five years ago.

This eye-opener has taught me to not be too attached to the identity that you’ve, your friends and family and/or society has placed upon you. Keep evolving, keep going deeper. Go outside your comfort zone to learn more about you. Sometimes it is surprising what you find.

5. MY COMMUNITY IS SO IMPORTANT TO ME.

My community is what I lean on. They push me to be better and console me when I need it. Finding my tribe and like-minded individuals that “get” me has helped in lifting my consciousness to a higher level. I feel comfort in being me. If you haven’t found them yet, keep searching.

And ladies, notice I didn’t say my man is so important to me. Yes, it’s amazing to find love and a supportive partner. But one thing that makes me so, so sad is a woman who, often unconsciously, feels the need to have a man by her side to feel complete. Damn Disney princesses set us up this way, it’s not your fault (lol). A community she could depend on that helped her feel secure independently is what Sleeping Beauty should have been looking for.

6. THE CORE OF MY BEING STANDS FOR ONE MAIN THING: EQUALITY.

Coming off the heels of Trump winning our neighbour’s presidential election, I was deeply affected. My core was shaken. The morning the results came in, I lay in bed and imagined if I had woken up state side and gotten this news if I was an immigrant, a gay man or lesbian, shit- just a woman (etc., etc). I cried for them. I’ve always known this one too…but it needs to be stated again. I learned again this year: I stand for equality.

7. BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF

You say you want to be financially successful. You say you want to be fit. You say your spiritually attuned. Sure, but are you truly being honest with yourself when it comes down to it?

What I learned this year is, at times, I wasn’t being so honest with myself. I wanted my dreams to be realized after a snap of my fingers. I wanted my soul to be healed after one mediation a week – hmm yeah right.

It can be harsh to snap back into reality and realize that your actions don’t line up with what you desire on a deep level. And whatever you decide you want for yourself is ok. But don’t lie to yourself about what your willing to do to get to where you want to be.

8. THERE IS A REAL LACK OF FEMALE ROLE MODELS OUT THERE

I started watching Chelsea Handler’s new talk show on Netflix this year. Funny enough, I found a role model where I never thought I would. From a conservative’s point of view, “role model” may not come to mind when you think of Chelsea Handler. I get that. But what I resonate with is that she is a women in her 40s, that has made the choice to not have kids. She has said on her show: I’m not my best self when I’m in a relationship. And has emphasizd the normalcy of not wanting what society deems to be normal. That is all okay. It inspires me that a woman is so fiercely herself.

Reflecting on what this meant to me and how surprised I was to look up to Chelsea really  proved to me that there is a lack of a variety of women role models out there. This inspires me to be authentically myself and shout it out loud! The little ladies are listening.

9. FUELING MY BODY AND TAKING CARE OF IT IN THE WAY THAT WORKS FOR ME IS MY NUMBER ONE PRIORITY

Eating ‘properly’ and exercising has always been very important to me. As I get older what ‘taking care of body’ looks like has changed and evolved. Sometimes this means spending the whole day in bed. Sometimes this means eating the gluten. Other times it means waking up at 5am so I can make that yoga class before work at 8. Or ensuring I take my supplements regularly, even if it’s a busy week. Maybe it’s meal prepping on Sunday so I can feel a sense of respect for my body when I dig into that salad jar.

This is something else that comes with sacrifices. But for me, not a lot trumps my health and I keep learning the effort that needs to be continuously put into this. It is my number one priority and will continue to be.

10. THIS GIRL JUST LIKES TO HAVE FUN

Screw what others think of you. Treat yourself every now and then. Screw who you want, when you want. Respect yourself. Spend the money on that jacket you’ve been looking at for months if that’s what you want to spend your hard earned money on. Take off on a trip. Don’t explain why you took a day off, just do it. Cry and let it out when you need to. Life is short – it’s a lesson that I’m reminded of every year. So- embrace you, the moments you have and HAVE FUN!

Special thanks to The Holistic Boss for bearing the cold with me to get these lovely shots!