LESSONS FROM 2018 // How To Live Before You Die

I want to start by saying thank you for those who have followed my adventures from 2018 into this new year!

2018 was without a doubt the hardest year I’ve ever went through.. But with every situation I came out with a new lesson learned and a stronger/wiser self. You see if I wouldn’t have went through all of that I wouldn’t be who I am today, I wouldn’t want to make decisions in life the way I do, I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing this year and so many more opportunities that haven’t even happened yet wouldn’t being arising.

I want to start off with a quote from a podcast I listened to a couple days ago.. It inspired me a lot to write this post and share the honesty with you guys, most importantly myself as well. Just because it brought up a very good point and lesson I learned.

Im going to the link it at the end of this post because there’s another really good quote which I use in the next lesson I learned

You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something - your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.
— Steve Jobs : How to live before you die

This is the BIGGEST LESSON I learned this past year..

Lesson 1) Doors shut for new ones to open

One situation that relates to this is getting fired from my job I was at for two and a half years. I remember honestly the day before this happened.. Talking to a girl who had done the freelance life for awhile telling me how she traveled the past year and worked from home. You know how it goes. I remember asking her “How do you even know when to make that jump though?” like honestly “Do you mark a day on a calendar and are like ‘YUP that’s the day I drop my whole life’ or what?” She goes “I honestly don’t know and you probably won’t know either until it comes”

- I shrugged it off and didn't think much more about it knowing I’d have that time to pursue it probably after Thailand.

A day later, no joke. I got let go from my job for something that was completely out of the blue and to me very unfair.. But after everything I had went through leading up to this, I cried about it for a day and moved on. I had went through worst this year.

I now work at a job that I’m at 3 days a week. I have 4 days off to write more for my blog, take photos and then plan future travels. (Which I can’t wait to share with you guys)

I wasn’t really getting anywhere at my job with the salon knowing I would be leaving in a few months for my Thailand trip. It was stressing me out more than it did any good for me honestly, it kept a stable paycheck into my bank account. But with all the doors that have opened up from me getting let go. I know it was a blessing in disguise.. How does one even know that though in the moment?

How does one know anything “bad” in your life happening could be creating new opportunities for your future self?

We really don’t until we get to look back at it.. But I’ve gotten used to myself saying that doors will shut for new ones to open when in the moment of a tough time.

Sometimes we lose people we don’t think we will because it means that we get to find a new part of ourselves in that process or that we appreciate the people in our life even more

OR we don’t get that job we thought we wanted because a better one is waiting for us and we just haven’t found it yet

Whatever it may be. Life is always in constant motion, that means it comes in waves of good and bad of hurt and happy. And I think that’s honestly one thing we all, myself included need to keep reminding ourselves everyday.

That everything happens for a reason and we may never know it until months or years later. But with a better mindset it allows ourselves to not linger on a feeling or situation so long.

I’ve gotten so good at asking myself “Okay so what’s next?” in an exciting way.. Because I swear once you accept that life is so out of your control and you must go with it, it get’s so much better. You just have to trust in the process of it.

This was something that was really hard to come to terms with since I’m someone who wants to be prepared for everything. I have a plan for usually literally everything. So when so many things went wrong this year that were all out of my control, I knew that I was going to have to begin to accept it.

Since then my mindset has changed for the way I approach any rough patch in life and leaves me excited for what new opportunities lie ahead. I swear everything really does happen for a reason, but you’ll drive yourself crazy trying to figure out that reason in the moment.

Okay this next lesson is going to be probably hard for anybody to relate to because I’m sure nobody has gotten in like a near death experience BUT

Lesson 2) Life is SO DAMN precious and fragile

This came from when I got in my car accident

It was honestly my first “real” big problem I’ve dealt with in life. You can go through heartbreak, friends turning their back on you, Taco Bell being out of Baja Blast and everything else in life you think is horrible. Because we know those feelings have to end some day.. Right?

That night at work about 9:30PM my brother calls me “Niki the freeway by your work is literally at a dead stop because of a huge accident I can barely see it up ahead, but take the backroads when you’re off” I got off 30 minutes later and of course I took the freeway home, completely forgetting. I saw all the brake lights up ahead and started slowing down then I eventually came to a complete stop. The person behind me pulled up at a decent speed and then as soon as I looked back infront of me knowing they were stopped and I would be here awhile. I heard the biggest shatter of glass break and then in my rear view mirror I saw I swear the intro for “CSI Miami” because the biggest flames engulfed. The only thing I could think at that point was that my car was the one on fire, I tried getting out but my doors were locked and I was still in the middle of the freeway. I pulled over more and finally got out realizing my car was smashed literally in half and the guy who was once stopped behind me, was completely on fire in the middle of the freeway flipped over. Another car that had hit him was in the field next to the freeway on fire and also upside down.. I was all alone so I stood there for what felt like an eternity wondering if I was okay and if most importantly they were okay with the conditions I was witnessing in front of me. I called my family and they got there as soon as they could but the freeway had shut down at the point because of two accidents that night, me being in one. That whole night I couldn't even process what happened, it wasn’t until the next day when I realized I didn’t have a car and was looking at the photos from what felt like a dream I had the night before.

Without a doubt it was the most eye opening situation I’ve ever been in, in my life. Since it was the most real life experience I’ve had with myself. Just literally a reminder that I am suppose to be here and living life fully everyday. In the shortest way possibly summed up, I can’t even believe I’m alive everyday and that I got through the 2 months after that without a car. Without freedom. Without hiking or exploring alone. My daily life.

It taught me honestly how to be fully present in the now. How to appreciate the littlest things as a good conversation with a stranger, stopping for an extra 5 minutes when sunset is happening, the friends who have stayed in my life.. And so much more.

Just things that used to go unnoticed.

It’s hard to speak about this to anybody just knowing people can’t relate to it until you’re put in a situation like that so I feel like I’m praising life to everyone on a spiritual level or something lol

But another quote/question I had heard in the podcast from Steve Jobs which I really liked and felt that needed to be shared just because it’s something you can probably relate to more:

He says-

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like, ‘If you live each day as if it were your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.’

It made an impression on me… And since then, for the past 33 years I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself, ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I’m about to do today?’

And whenever the answer has been, ‘no’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life.
— Steve jobs - how to live before you die

I’m not saying I want us all to go around thinking about death or anything like that.. But if you really were to know that time, how would you live your life up until that point? What steps can you take to get there? How can you make it happen?

I just forget sometimes how truly beautiful and grand life is, when you look at it in all aspects possible. The capability we all have to set out on any goal we have in life and ACHIEVE it is such an empowering feeling.

I swear a month after I got in my car accident and I started really applying myself to life and trying to set out on my passion to make it a reality. I’m not there at all, but just seeing little growth is the most humbling feeling ever. It’s just crazy how much there is to do in life, how many people there are to meet, so many places to see, feelings to be felt and so many “first time” experiences waiting to happen. And the only thing that is stopping yourself is you..

Which leads me to my next lesson

Lesson 3) Love yourself and the life you have the ability to create

A lot of the times the only person that is stopping us from accomplishing our wildest dreams is ourself.. The thoughts we say in our mind, like “I don’t have time for that right now” or “What if it doesn’t work out?” or “I don’t think I can have that lifestyle I see others living”

-All those thoughts I most definitely have/had and it came from not loving myself or believing in myself.

Truth of the matter is that nobody spends as much time with us as we do ourselves, so if anybody should love you it’s you. This was the hardest thing I’ve personally done this year..

It came from losing people I never thought I would or I guess I wanted to lose.. It hurts like hell getting so close to people, giving parts of us to them that we haven’t shared before, trusting they won’t leave. For them to do so.

I never understood the reason for the many instances of which this happened to me the past year:

  • From heartbreak because of the timing not being right

  • People using me for their own advantages

  • Friends showing their true colors to me and turning their back

Whatever it was, I never understood it and I never would until again I’m looking back at it now.

I learned how strong I was to go through situations by myself, how kind hearted I am to not turn completely cold on people, how loving I am because of the appreciation I have for the people who stayed in my life, how free spirited I am based off my connection with nature since that’s where I always run to.

I really got to spend time with myself this year which resulted in me loving all the parts of myself I never thought I would. Because of that I feel like I’m worthy of the life I dream about, I’m determined and motivated enough to get it and I know how hard working I am to realistically get there.

Self love is not something that happens overnight. It comes through the darkest situations, the empty moments we have with ourselves, the thoughts we tell ourselves and the way we look at ourselves.

It is a never ending practice, but you have to start somewhere.

You cannot depend on anybody to love you for yourself because you will always be left disappointed.

You cannot depend on people to make your life desicions for you or put in the hard work to get there.

Nobody has to live your life everyday besides you so loving yourself and the life you create for yourself everyday is so so important. And again a practice that takes time..

People come and go but you are stuck with yourself forever.. Make sure you enjoy that time alone with yourself. But most importantly, if you don’t I hope you find the courage in yourself to make changes that allow you to be happy with yourself and your life.

We really only do get one shot at this life thing.

Lesson 4) Document every moment

I found myself this year looking back through my photos, journal entries, rewatching my videos and listening to old songs so much more than I usually do. I created so many great memories and don’t get me wrong I have a lot to vouch for that, but sometimes I wish I had more to look back on.

A lot of my photos are landscape shots or of me infront of a mountain just standing there. Things yes I love to look back on because those places are so beautiful. But my favorite photos and videos I reminisced on were those goofy ones, the photos that weren’t suppose to be on my camera really but I just felt like taking for fun. The horrible dancing videos of Cierra and I on hikes. The inside jokes that I recorded with me crying from laughing so hard.

The raw and real moments.

I just really want to be documenting more than I do already for this next year. Because there’s not a single moment I want to ever miss or be trying so hard to look back on. I want to feel myself right back in that moment, whenever I’m in need of that feeling again. It’s overwhelming knowing that, that moment is something that won’t last forever.

Just a small millisecond of the life you’ll look back on years from now..

-I hope it’s all worth documenting

Right now I’m already thinking of my next blog post which is going to be my goals for 2019 because a lot of lessons learned are inspiration for future goals.

Everything “bad” that has happened in my life has been a constant reminder that I’m alive and it’s the beauty of life. The good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful. With everything in between, it all molds us into us. The unique, us.

Without any of those tough times I wouldn’t be who I am today.

These are just some things I personally learned throughout the past year from some of the most eye opening experiences I’ve had. I hope that in some way you can relate or take everything I said and create all your own lessons from 2018 and use them for motivation throughout this year.

Thank you as always for taking time out of your day to read my posts and letting me share my heart and soul on this little corner of the internet that I get to call my own..

I wouldn’t have it without you guys

Lots of love,


-Here’s a link to the Ted Talk I listened to that helped inspire me to write this


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