2014: To be fearless.

2014 is almost over. It’s unbelievable. It feels like just yesterday I was planning out my 2014 New Year’s Resolutions… So silly!

See last year I had one resolution. To be fearless. My goal was to do one thing every single day that was out of my comfort zone. To do one thing that scared me. Unfortunately, like many New Year’s resolutions, my exact idea was short lasted.

Luckily for me, it bloomed into much more than I could’ve ever hoped for.

2014 taught me many things. But ultimately, this year I learned what it means to be fearless. Contrary to what the word itself suggests, it does not mean having no fears at all.

No no no, what it means is to not let those fears into every nook and crevice of who you are.

I think that fear is healthy. And pretty dang incredible. It taps into one of our most primal instincts: fight or flight.

This year I learned how to look my fears, my demons in the face. And laugh.

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I did things I would’ve never thought possible for me. I met incredible people. I laughed. I cried. I smiled. I woke up every single day with a fire in my heart. On some days it wasn’t quite so bright. But I learned how to feed it.

I traveled. I adventured. I sought out adrenaline rushes. I crossed borders. I discovered my physical limits and pushed past them. I made incredible friends. I discovered who I am, who I want to be.

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I learned how to be unafraid. I learned how to live.

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I wanted to round up as many pictures as I possibly could for a visual depiction of my years, but I found it was hard to do so for two reasons:

1. I didn’t take many pictures. I embraced moments instead of capturing them.

2. Honestly, there are no pictures or words to describe this crazy, beautiful year of my life.

Nonetheless, I have some!

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And my personal favorite…

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It’s been the best year of my life. I can say that with no hesitation.

I guess as 2015 approaches, there’s one thing I want everyone (myself included) to remember…

The ticking of a clock. The flipping of a calendar page. A number changing from 4 to 5… None of that changes who you are. It doesn’t grant you another opportunity to start afresh.

And that’s because it’s all up to YOU. Who do you want to be? What do you want to accomplish? Do you want to keep being afraid of the life you’re leading?

You get to choose. You get to choose happiness. To choose a different path. To choose who you do or do not want in your life.

It’s yours. Get after it. No hesitation. No fear. Just choose.

As you count down the clock on the 31st, I hope you know that it won’t make anything different.

You have to make things different. How? You just do. It happens the moment you just decide.

Live openly. Live freely. Live fearlessly.

Love,

Juliana

P.S. When I was getting ready to fly to Portland, I was scared. Flying kind of terrified me. However, I decided to tell myself that I was not afraid. Over and over and over I repeated it in my head until I actually believed it. After that, it was truth. I wrote a poem on the plane and I always felt as thought it would be better spoken aloud, but I’m going to write it here anyway, because it helped me actually crush a very legitimate fear of mine. ABSOLUTELY CRUSH IT.

Haha, this is the whole journal entry:

“Bear Cub” 12.15.14 @ 7:33 p.m.. Somewhere over TX.

I like fear.

I like it because I think the only thing we’re actually afraid of is who we become when we are afraid. when we’re fearful. when we’re scared.

We turn into these people that we don’t want to be: pitiful, hesitant, stressed.

We let our fear consume us.

We let it eat us whole.

It doesn’t even need to chew.

One second we’re alive and well and the next?

The next second you’re in the belly of the beast.

No survivors.

Our fears are a seemingly incurable disease – destined to attach to a host and suck the life out of it.

We are those hosts.

Sometimes we think we’re safe.

We think we’ve worn repellent.

We think we’ve washed our hands.

But the fear is like a tsunami. A tidal wave. A riptide.

Your pool floaties won’t save you.

How discouraging. What a lost cause.

Not exactly.

You see, we all have the ability to squash our fears like bugs.

You know they say that if you’re ever being attacked by a shark – poke it in the eye.

Big bad Jaws will get his feelings heart and

will

swim

away.

When a grizzly bear is preparing to attack you, you’re supposed to go into the fetal position.

You’ll seem weak.

Like a baby. A cub.

The big, scary bear should

leave

you

be.

Because in that moment, you are not you.

You are telling yourself over and over:

“I am a bear.”

“I am a bear.”

“I am a bear.”

“I am a bear.”

When the fear us about to swallow you alive:

You are a bear.

You are a bear.

You are a bear.

I am a bear.

I am not afraid.

I am not afraid.

I am not afraid.

You tell yourself that over and over and over and once you believe it – fear sure as hell will too.

You are a bear.

I am a bear.

I am not afraid.

I like fear.

.

.

.

Because I am NOT afraid.

To succeed.

I’ve been scrolling through Pinterest quotes for the last hour because I had two cups of coffee after 4… While I was reading, this quote caught my eye:

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And it bothered me greatly. Maybe it’s because lately I’ve talked to a lot of people about what they want to “do” with their lives. Maybe it’s because after every conversation I’ve realized how little I think about the money I’ll make when I graduate and get a job. Maybe it’s because I don’t agree with many’s definition of success.

Because what does it mean to succeed? To have the money to buy whatever your heart fancies?

To be honest, that sounds plastic.

I think that, yes, success is different for everyone. But I also think that it should not be defined monetarily. And I think that it’s completely up to you whether you’re successful. It shouldn’t be relative.

Sometimes I think about my major. I think about what my first job will be like. I think about the work I’ll do. I think about the people I meet.

I don’t think about my paychecks.

Maybe you think I’m naive.
But here’s the thing, here’s what I want to “do” with my life:

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I’m not going to school to be rich. To have a large house. To wear the fanciest clothes.

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I go to school to help cultivate my ideas. To figure out what I can do to help.

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I see my glass as half full. Being filled. Until my cup runneth over.

I can’t envision my future self. I can’t see numbers on a bank account. Because I’m too busy with the now.

I can do something every single day. And to me, that’s joy. And in my opinion, that’s better that any kind of success.

Day 1

Good morning!

Yesterday was pretty fun. I walked almost 11 miles. Hahaha!

Yesterday I woke up at 7ish and went to the main guest house for breakfast. A bakery down the street supplies the hostel lots of bread every morning and the coffee shop across the street supplies reaaaaally good coffee.

Afterwards, I got ready to face the cold and headed out to Stump Town Coffee. I got an almond milk cappuccino and it was nice!

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As I was drinking it I decided to head to Forest Park next. I figured out what bus to take and sort of just hopped on. Luckily, the bus driver was super nice and she helped me out a bit.

Once I got off I had to walk up some huge hills to get to the trails but it was worth it.

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I decided against walking all the way back so I requested my very first Uber. It was convenient and cheap, but Uber is pretty evil sooooo…

I ended up taking a nap at the hostel because I was tired and cold. When I woke up, I headed to the coffee shop across the street for a pick me up. The coffee really is so good. And they had vegan pastries! This one is a banana chocolate chip muffin. I’m pretty sure Portland is more vegan friendly than ATX.

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Afterwards, I called yet another Uber to take me to the Historic Mississippi District. There were LOTS of funky shops and I went in and out of almost all of them. I decided against getting another ride home so I walked back to the hostel. It took a while! I got to cross the Mississippi River by foot which was pretty neat.

I think that I like the Pearl District the best… It reminds me a lot of S. Congress!

After I got home I walked some more to Trader Joe’s to buy stuff for dinner! The hostel has huge fridges and kitchens so that you can actually make things! I ended up eating veggie patties, vegetables, and pita chips with an obscene amount of hummus.

It gets dark at 4:30ish here so I kind of holed up inside because I was cold and tired and I had gotten a really early start! I got a lot of sleep though and I feel really good now!

I’m thinking I may run to Washington today!

Love,
Juliana

12 Hours Later

Almost 12 full hours after leaving my apartment, I have:

Flown from ATX -> SFO -> PDX.
Taken my first solo taxi ride.
Checked into my hostel.
Met a recent UT grad! \m/
Showered.
And now I’m ready to rest up for whatever tomorrow brings.

I’m really hungry, but this still rocks so hard.

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What Calm Feels Like

Today has been very mellow. I like it and hate it a lot.

After going and going and going all semester, it feels weird to not do anything. I’m babysitting tonight, but other than that I’ve had no school to study for, no work at da Bean, and it’s a rest day…

I’ve cleaned my room (an end-of-semester) tradition, burned some candles, ordered some Christmas presents, made lunch, took a nap, and just straight up chilled.

I leave for Portland on Monday night and I plan to do as much as possible while I’m there, so I guess just chilling is good for now!

Nonetheless, I really want to do stuff, but at the same time I feel too lazy to do anything. Ya feel my pain?! I don’t want to go out and about, but if someone came over and laid on my floor with me and played cards or talked about life that’d be great!

I’m going to enjoy the calm as much as I possibly can before my winter class begins on Monday. The spring semester should be VERY busy and I’m looking forward to that!

Best,

Juliana

“We’re all just walking each other home.”

I am a really huge fan of quotes. I think it’s because I’m not very good at crafting my thoughts into beautiful, elegantly smooth sentences. So, instead, I appreciate other’s abilities to do so.

Tonight I really want to talk about this:

“We’re all just walking each other home.”

How beautiful, right? And how amazingly accurate.

You guys, lately I’ve been thinking a lot about how we treat people. In my short 19 years of life, I’ve already witnessed humans doing incredible things for or with other humans. I’ve also seen people hurt each other: physically, emotionally, mentally. You can do it with your words and your prestige just as much as your fists and strength.

I’m sure many of you have heard the quote that’s something like “be kind to everyone you meet, for everyone is fighting a battle of their own” or something along those lines. We’re all the same. Age, race, ethnicity, sex, gender, vocal accents, hair color, physical features are all unique effects on our bodies, but inside, we’re equivalent.

It is for this reason that it astounds me when someone seemingly goes out of their way to be unkind or to make life difficult for someone else. Because let’s be real guys, life is hard. I 100% believe that life is a beautiful thing and it is so amazing, but it can also be really difficult. And that is not unique to just a few. We all experience it. Sure, it may be to different magnitudes, but when it comes down to it: we can all feel hurt. We’ve all felt sadness and loneliness and stress and rejection and just straight up pain of some kind. We all know how much it hurts. We all know how much we want to avoid it. So why don’t we help each other avoid the pain? Why don’t we go out of our way to help people through it?

Selfishness? Maybe. Honestly, I just think that we forget that the stranger that just walked by can feel exactly as you feel. We get a little self-absorbed, but not in an inherently selfish way. I think that sometimes we just think to ourselves, “I am me. The people around me are just white noise.” I’m not calling anyone out, because I know I’m guilty of it too.

However, I do think that we can change. Throughout this semester, there have been times that I just wished for a stranger to walk up to me and ask if I needed a hug. Because there were times that a hug was really all I wanted and I would’ve taken one from anyone. I wanted someone to notice my face. Not for me eyes or nose or freckles or blemishes, but for my emotions.

I dare you to notice someone. I dare you to remember that you’re not the only one that feels. I dare you to be kind. Tonight. Tomorrow. Every single day.

“We’re all just walking each other home.” Sometimes we need someone to lean on. Sometimes we just need someone to cheer us on. But we always need someone.

I dare you to remember that.

Love,

Juliana

Finals.

Well hey.

I’ve been crazy busy lately. Yesterday was the last day of classes for the semester and now it’s time for finals. Lucky for me, I only have one on Thursday. Unfortunately, it’s OChem. Soooo the next couple of days of my life will be dedicated to filling my brain to the brim with reaction mechanisms.

This past week I had three exams: nutrition lab final (I got a 92!), sociology exam #4 (grades aren’t up), and NTR 312 exam #3 (I got an 84). I was studying so much that I barely even ran this week. Yeah, it was crazy.

I am exhausted. I’m taking today off from studying completely so that I can go watch one of my favorite homegirls KILL IT at her half marathon today! Then I work a midshift tomorrow, followed by a 10 miler, and the the studying extravaganza begins. Good vibes and coffee are always welcome. 😉

The apartment is decorated for Christmas! We have a small, but real, Christmas tree and tinsel and stockings and lights and a bowl of mini candy canes. Oh, and on Wednesday I took a picture with Santa on campus. It was hilarious, but that may have been because I was exhausted and stressed to the max.

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I leave for Portland in 9 days and I am so so pumped. The only thing I really have planned is that I’m going to rent a bike to get around the city! I may or may not go bungee jumping off a bridge while I’m there. 🙂

Geez I cannot believe this semester is over! Last fall was pretty rough and unpleasant for me, so it felt like it lasted forever, but this year it flew by! I loved my classes and I’m really going to miss my assistant position. Nonetheless, I went through the semester with no regrets and I cannot wait to see what the spring brings!

Not to mention, this 5 week winter break will be niiiiiice. I have a week off in January for an adventure, but I’m not sure what I’ll do yet. Ideas? I’m thinking maybe a Louisiana trip because it’s one of the closest states. Or maybe New Mexico? Or even the Grand Canyon in Arizona! Where should I go?! East or West?!

Anyway, sorry this post has been all over the place. Life has been a bit hectic lately, but it’s been good!

Also, in regards to everything that has been happening in America lately… I’m sure that if you know me well you know I have my own stance on everything. But when it boils down to it, a human life is a human life. And in my opinion, all lives should be valued equally. NO life should ever be lost due to brutality or negligence. I’ll leave you with this to think about:

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