New Year, New Beginnings

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Happy New Year, friends!

May this year bring you endless joy. I hope you take a risk, that you do something that gives you butterflies in the pit of your belly, that you live a life less stifled, and that you exceed your own expectations. You absolutely can and you absolutely must. Let's make this one of the best – personally, professionally, wholly.

I’m making a lot of changes around here and I hope you like what you see in the months to come. In the meantime, I won’t be posting until Spring. (I’m sorry.) But, I promise you this, new content, updated posts, better tips and recommendations await.

Go where you feel most alive, take the paths that are unmarked and unknown.

Cheers to a most beautiful 2019! The best is yet to come...

💕Valerie

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.

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.

The Secret Key To Making Happiness A Thing For Yourself

Does happiness seem like an elusive concept? We all want it and we all can have it. I'm sharing with you the secret key to making happiness a "thing" for you! 

The Secret Key To Making Happiness A Thing For Yourself

In my 20's I spent the whole decade running from insecurities and chasing "happiness" through success in my career and empty happiness in material things. This changed during a humbling trip to Southeast Asia in 2013 and reconfirmed itself during our 18-months of continuous digital nomad travel in 2014/2015. 

I know what you're thinking, travel and epiphanies... So cliché. I know.  But it's true. (You can read more about that here and here.) 

At 31, I'm learning not to take myself too seriously. But most importantly, in my 20's, I've learned that being happy is just as important as being healthy. And happiness is not about having more money or better stuff. It’s not about more friends or a nicer house. There's a difference between empty happiness and real happiness. 

Empty happiness is all the things that we think will that bring us happiness. It's those superficial and materialistic things. Real, genuine happiness are the things that bring us joy. They are the unconditional love from family and friendships, the feeling of adopting a pet from a shelter or helping others. It's that warm fuzy feeling we feel inside.

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Shift Your Attitude and Perspective

Each one of us is in the pursuit of happiness. We aren’t on Earth just to exist. We want a full life. We want to make the most of our days. Yet for many of us, happiness is a mercurial and elusive concept. Maybe a shift in attitude and perspective is the answer? 

Life can unfair, which means the odds will sometimes be in your favor and sometimes they won't. Instead of having a pity party, think about all the good in your life. 

Maybe your life isn't exactly what you had envisioned for yourself. And, that's okay.

We all have images in our minds of what the future holds and what we want. Maybe you wanted children that play on a soccer team or a husband with a full head of hair or a dope career paying six figures. Maybe it was a big house or a flashy car.

Life often shifts and welcomes things we didn’t expect, but instead of focusing on what you thought, focus on how it brought in. You may have a bald husband, but he may also treat you better than any man ever has. Your kids may be "computer nerds" instead of athletes, but already they are showing signs of academic greatness. Your job pays just O.K., but your excelling and love what you do and enjoy where you work. The truth is that most people simply "don't know" what they truly want, which is why you should enjoy what you have because you chose it.

Happiness Starts With Gratitude

If you can't pull yourself out of a funk, remember that happiness starts with gratitude. 

Gratitude is the “quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful.” The next time you're throwing yourself a pity party, flip the script and think of everything you're grateful for. This might be your family, your friends, your health, etc. Redirect your focus, and you’ll see that while your life isn't perfect, it's not bad either.

We Are In Control of Our Own Happiness

Know that; we are all in control of our lives and our own happiness. Only YOU can change that. If you can't pull yourself out of a funk, remember that happiness starts with gratitude

Gratitude is the “quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful.” The next time you're throwing yourself a pity party, flip the script and think of everything you're grateful for. This might be your family, your friends, your health, etc. Redirect your focus, and you’ll see that while your life isn't perfect, it's not bad either.

No matter how much money and success you earn in your life, you always stand the chance of feeling like something is missing. Most of us tend to concentrate so hard on what is missing that we make ourselves unhappy. That's why you need to realize the difference between empty happiness and real happiness. Once you find the latter, you'll feel like your life is complete. 

Ask yourself, what are you grateful for?

Share what you're grateful for here!

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.