31 Lessons from 2015

Hey, it’s almost 2016. That’s wild.

In November, I decided to opt out of resolutions for 2016. Why? I’m not so sure myself, but what I came up with instead just seemed right.

Every day in December, I reflected on a lesson that I learned this year. Sometimes it hit me clear as day. Other times I perused old blog posts and pictures until I felt genuinely touched by a sweet or painful memory. Regardless, I wrote a lesson down every day this month. A short blurb to remind me of what I’ve learned this year.

It helped me reflect upon 2015 and rather than try to set goals for next year, I want to just keep in mind what life has taught me.

Maybe these are only lessons for me. Maybe you’ve already learned them. Maybe not. That’s why I’ve decided to share.

Life is good and experience is quite the teacher. So without further adieu,

31 Lessons from 2015

  1. Don’t put toothpaste by your mouth to get rid of a zit. Ever. Unless you want a chemical burn and a fun story.
  2. Squash every lie you tell yourself in terms of changing yourself to fit within a group. If they’re your people, they’ll love you anyway.
  3. Don’t minimize your own perception of how your actions affect others. Sometimes the truth will come out of the woodwork.
  4. “Sometimes the strongest thing you can do is let others in.”
  5. Ground yourself. Be present. Embrace the moment. You won’t get it back.
  6. Do that really scary thing. Always do that really scary thing.
  7. Stop making yourself so busy. (This is a tough one.) It’s exhausting. And you deserve rest.
  8. ‘Defeated’ does not belong in your vocabulary.
  9. Happy dancing is encouraged.
  10. DO NOT SUPPRESS A GENEROUS THOUGHT. Small acts should be done with great love.
  11. Be you. Be Juliana. Be authentic. Let things fall where they should.
  12. You can tell your stories. Someone may want to listen.
  13. Shut up and notice things.
  14. Some moments are meant to be kept to yourself.
  15. Don’t hide your joy ever ever ever.
  16. Accept it. You have to learn to accept what’s hard.
  17. Small victories should be celebrated unashamedly.
  18. Slowing down is hard. But good, I think?
  19. People change. Some don’t. Love this. Breathe it in. Keep going.
  20. See life with your arms open.
  21. There’s something peaceful about working alone in an empty kitchen.
  22. Rediscover joy in all things.
  23. Anger is a cover-up emotion. What’s your real problem?
  24. “It takes guts to be gentle and kind.”
  25. When in doubt, belt to Colors of the Wind.
  26. Fall in love with who you are and what you’re becoming.
  27. If you need to, forgive yourself for what you were.
  28. Life is a storybook. Try to read someone else’s pages.
  29. Being confused and lost is okay. It should be encouraged. Doubt is powerful.
  30. Don’t eat donuts for breakfast.
  31. It is beautiful. And by ‘it’ I mean whatever you will ever or can ever possibly think of. It is beautiful.


Happy 2016, all.

Let’s do this.




Feeling this too real.

What a wonderful thing it is to be unabashedly and unapologetically yourself. 

Let the light that shines within you draw your people to you like moths to a flame.

Happy Monday, amigos!


What travel is to me.

Hi. You probably don’t have to know me well to notice that I love traveling. 


Traveling is not merely the act of marking a place off of a bucket list.

God, I hope that’s the last thing it is for you.

To me, to travel is to live. To laugh at comfort zones. To try and fail and to find the energy to laugh about it. To get over the world view you once carried. To see that all people all over the world are good. To recognize the beauty that’s not just in your backyard. To notice how all of us humans want the same thing. To love. To give a piece of yourself away. That’s better than any souvenir. To be unabashedly wide-eyed. To risk. To be terrified and exhilarated. To find peace and understanding. To somehow feel so small yet oh so big. To feel the ground. To breathe the air. To know that this is your element. To be present and far. To travel is to be, in its very essence, a part of this world.

Without further adieu, pictures from this year’s Mexico and Italy experiences horribly out of order because the WordPress app cannot keep up.

Jalpan. La Sierra Gorda Queretana.

Las Adjuntas. Sierra Gorda Queretana.

To Mexico.

Querétaro Beer Festival.

Excerpt from Tracks (that I read in Mexico.)

Dolomiti, Italy.


Mexico D.F.. National Museum of Antrhopology.

My homestay in Mexico.

To Italy.

5th wheeling like a pro in Italy.


Cinque Terra.


joy joy joy

If you have read my blog for a while, you’ve probably noticed that I feel passionately about a lot of things. I’ve probably posted about passion more times than I could count. I know how passion works like a magnet and I feel drawn to people that are willing to share it. But it came to my realization the other day that I’ve always focused and really mulled over the passion in my own life.

So for the past few days I had been trying to focus on what lights other people up.

In my opinion, passion equates to joy. Joy for life, joy for others, joy joy joy.

A feeling so great and incredible that it really cannot be put into words.

I think that sometimes we shy away from getting to know that aspect of other people because we’re afraid of being shut down or we’re afraid of being overloaded with information. You know what? Open your arms and take it all in.

This passion is what makes us. It can also set us apart. To ask and to tell are both vulnerable, courageous acts. In the moment that you open yourself to truly speak passionately, you risk being ridiculed. In the moment that you dare to prompt someone’s story with a question, you risk being scoffed out.

Please please please seize the fear and run with it. Run until you’re red in the face. Until you’re breathless and laughing and feeling how alive you are.

I have two friends that come to mind. I’ll call them Friend One and Friend A because it somehow feels wrong to make one of them Friend Two or Friend B.

Friend One speaks so lovingly and deeply about her family that it blows me away every time. Even if it’s a story about a family member acting like a fool, it obviously comes from a place of love and gratitude and I respect that so greatly. Whether she’s aware of that or not, I don’t know. But in every story and conversation about her great big family, her smile gets bigger and her eyes look like she’s replaying a happy memory to herself.

Friend A has a story to tell. Riding across the country on a bike is an experience in and of itself, but to develop such real and human relationships along the way is where the story lies. A carries this around with him, bursting at the seams, as would anyone that has had a formative experience. But to witness the overflow is something else. Experiences cannot be put into words, but it’s still a beautiful thing to try.

Passionate people inspire us and challenge us and change us and make us see life differently.

And we become those people without even realizing it because there’s always room to grow.

Never ever ever shut your mouth about what you care about. Please never ask for permission to talk about it, to me especially.

Don’t smother that fire inside of you. It’s working its magic and it’s not finished yet.

If you don’t know where to start when talking to someone else, I recommend this question:

“What lights you up?”

Oh, all the ways I would answer that question.

Go make things happen. Go listen to what someone has to say. Go grow.






Sometimes you have to just shut up, go on a walk, and sort through lots of thoughts.

I thought about what hurt me and hugged it close to my heart; then I let the wind take it.

I wish I could walk all night. I wish I could watch the sunset a thousand more times.

Fall 2015.


This semester was stressful and crazy and busy and unforgiving as all get out.

However, this semester was fulfilling and wonderful and beautiful and unlike anything else and I wouldn’t have changed anything about it.


I am looking forward to five weeks off more than I can ever express. Yet, somehow, I’m going to miss the insanity that fall 2015 brought me.

I faced challenges and myself. I learned so much about nutrition and life and my incredible friends. I shocked myself and let myself be transformed by others.

Ultimately, it was the most memorable semester I have had yet.

Thank you for the memories, fall 2015 semester. You were the thorn in my flesh and the bounce in my step.



P.S. Written while procrastinating studying for 218 final, sitting in the SAC, staring at the Christmas tree, and listening to Stay Alive by Jose Gonzalez.


and today

This is a thing that happened today and I wanted to think about it for a few hours before I shared it with anyone… So here, digital diary… It’s December 10th, 2015 and:

Today I was walking in the Greenbelt and I passed a woman, about my age, crying on a log. I felt her pain in my heart, but kept walking forward. After all, it was not my job to intrude into her life. I could feel for her and think about her, but that was all I was expected to do.

I walked for another 20 minutes until I found myself back at that girl, still crying. I, again, walked straight past her but after a couple hundred feet, I stopped. My breath was taken away by the thought that it wasn’t my job to comfort that woman at all. But my very reason why I’m here. On this Earth. On this path of the Greenbelt. At just this time.

I thought about how “we’re all just walking each other home.” I thought about how it’s not my job to intrude into her life. I thought about how every fiber of the fabric of my being was pulling me to tell her that she was not alone.

So I turned around. I walked straight back to her and she pulled a headphone out of her ear and I said:
“Hi. From one stranger to another: you can do it. Whatever it may be, you’re strong enough for it.” And then I smiled, so hard.

I had been so afraid that she would yell at me and tell me to go away. But instead, as I nervously spoke, her pained face turned into a smile.

I have no idea what was happening in her life. I never will. I have no clue what’s going on in your life either. But I do know, lovely reader, that you are so not alone. And I know that you can do this. You are such a champion. And life is going to throw ridiculous obstacles at you that will bring you to your knees. Stand. Even when the weight is heavy.

I hope you never repress an urge to tell someone, anyone, how wonderful and loved they are. Because we all deserve to hear that.

Share some love with whoever you may be with right now. And do so with no regrets.

We’re all so human. And so pained. And so full of struggle. And so capable of helping to relieve the pain of others.

Let’s act on that, cool?




“It’s a terrible thing, I think, in life to wait until you’re ready. I have this feeling now that actually no one is ever ready to do anything. There is almost not such thing as ready. There is only now. Generally speaking, now is as good a time as any.” -Hugh Laurie

Alright, Dr. House. I see you.

year ago

This time of year I get self-absorbed.

Woe is me. I have exams and assignments and things to stress about.

And all of these things do stress me out A LOT. And I’m working on understanding that I’m allowed to freak out and focus on stuff in my life that’s hard on me.

But Juliana from a year ago was smart.

Click me to see what I’m talking about…

So although Genetics has me wanting to rip my hair out and lie on the floor motionless, I still want to know how you’re doing.

How’s your day been? Do you have finals this week; and if so, how are they going? After this week, we can grab a hot chocolate and just kick it.

Sound good? It sure does to me.

I’m off to cram from an exam tomorrow morning and I’m trying to just accept that this wackiness will make a great story some time from now. All I can do right now is work hard and let it happen.

Much love,

Juliana Marie