Another Year Around the Sun

I am 32-years-old today, celebrating another year around the Sun. Reflecting back on 31... what a whirlwind in the best and worst ways. But, hey, I can honestly say that I am happy. I say that so plainly because, well… it takes time. It takes time to be happy; To figure out how to be kind to yourself. To not just choose that happiness, but to feel it most unapologetically. It's taken me time and probably 32 years to get here.

Me with my Dad 32-years ago.

Me with my Dad 32-years ago.

Turning 30 was rough. Knowing that my 20's slipped away and I didn't feel like the decade was fulfilling. It was even harder dealing with a divorce this past year, something I never thought I'd ever had to experience. My 20s were brutal. A constant battle with myself, judging my weight, my style, my desire to be as cool, as hip, as smart, as “whatever” as everyone else. And, although I traveled an envious amount, I struggled with inner happiness. My teens were even worse; grappling with how to fit in, and what that also meant. As a child, I also never quite fit in with my peers. Being Latina and someone who never exactly looked like the stereotype, I found it hard to fit in with kids of my own background as well. Kids can be mean. I fell somewhere in between the mix of it all of being accepted and not. The shy little girl then hadn't had blossomed into a social butterfly yet.

But, I wouldn't change anything. Not one bit. These experiences have shaped who I am.  

“You need to know that you’re enough" the words my mom, friends, family have all said over and over to me. A mantra that has now engrained itself so profoundly within me that not a day goes by without hearing it chime in my head. So much so, it is a mantra I write at the start of my week in my bullet journal. It wasn't until a solo trip to London and Madrid that it made me realize... I am enough. I am exactly who I need to be and exactly where I need to be. For the first time in my life, I can honestly say that I am 110% comfortable in my own skin, doing my own thing, and owning every single part of it, without apologizing for who I am.

You need to know that you’re enough. That five pounds lost won’t make you happier, that more makeup won’t make you prettier, the trendiest bag or shoes won't make you cooler. That the now iconic saying from Jerry Maguire "you complete me” honestly, isn’t true. You are complete with or without a partner. You are enough just as you are. I can honestly say that being very open about my struggle with self-image, entering recovery for an eating disorder, and most recently my divorce has helped me gain perspective as to who I am, and what I want in life. My divorce more so than anything has opened my eyes that I am enough. 

So for my birthday, here’s what I would like as a gift: I want you to be kind and compassionate to yourself.

I want you to challenge yourself. I want you to stop gossiping, to smile a stranger, to try a food that scares you, to buy a coffee for someone just because, to tell someone you love them… and then to tell yourself right back.

I want you to find your happiness.

I did, and it’s never felt so good.

I am enough.

You are enough. 

Cheers, to another year of life!

Valerie Fidan

Valerie is a San Francisco native who gave up the comforts of home to travel the world continuously. Now based in Portland, OR, Valerie is a Social Media Marketing Consultant, helping solo entrepreneurs and small business owners DIY their social media by teaching them the in’s and out’s of SMM. She enjoys health hacking recipes, a good cocktail, yoga, hikes, live shows, puns & dad jokes.

Finding Quietude: Meditation 101

Finding Quietude Meditation 101

Meditation: Shhhhh… it feels good.

Meditation was something I found endlessly daunting at first, but soon became the quietude and calmness that rocked my world. I can't put my finger on the why or the how, but I will tell you this much, for me... I am just happier and much more collected.

I urge you to give it a shot. The worst thing that can happen is that you gave yourself ten minutes of quiet in an endlessly loud world.  Here are some tips to help you get started:

A post shared by VALERIE FIDAN (@valeriefidan) on

 "This is how I meditate on the left, and this is how I wish I could meditate." @taralaferrara

Get Comfortable

Sit against your headboard while in bed, on a chair, on a couch, in your car, or anywhere with comfortable back support. It’s best not to lie down, but it’s not necessary to sit up completely straight.

Calculate Your Finish Time

Check the time and add ten minutes on top of your start time. This will be your finish time. So, if you begin at 7:30am, your finish time will be 7:40am. Repeat your finish time to yourself once or twice. It’s best not to set an alarm or you may end up shocking yourself out of your meditation. Close your eyes.

Notice Your Breathing

Without speeding up or slowing down your breathing, just notice it. Expect your mind to wander away from noticing your breath. Do not fight this; it’s a natural occurrence.

Embrace Your Thoughts

It’s okay to get lost in your thoughts. And whenever you realize you’re meditating, just passively begin to notice your breathing again. For now, let the act of meditating become synonymous with both noticing your breathing and getting lost in your thoughts. Let all of the thoughts come and go—as you forget and become aware that you are meditating, it’s best not to resist any thoughts, including ideas, songs, conversations, images, feelings, or sensations. Embrace all mental experiences without concern, remorse, or regret.

In a typical meditation, you’ll begin by noticing your breathing for a minute or two, then you’ll get lost in thoughts for a minute or two, then you’ll remember you’re meditating, and slowly return to noticing your breath for a little while, then you’ll get lost again.

Come Out Slowly

Check your timing device periodically, and after ten minutes, slowly open your eyes and bring yourself out.

Use Guidance

If the above tips are still a bit daunting, try using an app Headspace or Calm to help you with a guided meditation. I have found these apps to be very helpful, especially when you are first getting started.

Valerie Fidan

Valerie is a San Francisco native who gave up the comforts of home to travel the world continuously. Now based in Portland, OR, Valerie is a Social Media Marketing Consultant, helping solo entrepreneurs and small business owners DIY their social media by teaching them the in’s and out’s of SMM. She enjoys health hacking recipes, a good cocktail, yoga, hikes, live shows, puns & dad jokes.