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26 Opportunities in 26 Years...

Opportunities are lessons we learn from, grow from, and even grow through. Here's my 26.

P.S... thank you, James, for the trick candles; we finally had cake 10 minutes later. :)

My mentor often states that there isn't any new information out there, and she's right. So, these "opportunities" I'm about to share with you , maybe you've experienced them too, and if you have, I'd love to hear your perspectives or experiences - at the end of the day, we're all just trying to do the best with what we have. Goodness, if there's one thing I've really honed in on this past year, is acceptance of that; acceptance that I am human. Did you know you're allowed to make mistakes?

John Maxwell states the following: "If you failed yesterday, that ended yesterday. If you were successful yesterday, great, that ended yesterday." This is a powerful statement in my eyes because it takes you into a deeper place of understanding temporary circumstances, even the good ones.

*Disclaimer: This is a longer blog, but I promise you, my heart was poured into each of these 26 opportunities. I hope you find something tangible, and something that may make an impact in your life.

1) Love and Anxiety are Completely Different Things.

The concept of butterflies has been romanticized to the extent that we often equate comfort with boredom. However, love can embody comfort—it can mean the absence of fear. It provides a space to be authentically yourself and a sense of security in prioritizing your needs, and trusting your partner to do the same.

Feeling uneasy around someone might indicate a red flag. The notion that tension and inability to relax signify passion or excitement is a misconception; in reality, it serves as a warning. Regardless of physical compatibility, the anxiety it brings isn't worth it.

2) Accountability is HUGE.

Ooooof, I learned this one this year. I learned it and lived it HARD. I've been put in numerous situations, and while taking accountability is the best thing you can do, it will not always resolve the situation. Here's what I'll state as a fact: when you hold yourself accountable, you demonstrate integrity and maturity. This showcases your commitment to ethical behavior and a sense of duty towards others.

In simpler words, own your stuff. You'll never be wrong when you do the right thing.

3) You WILL Outgrow Physical Spaces, and that's OK.

I moved this year. Well, last year if we're being exact... I moved into a different city in November, in 2023, and I'm very happy with my decision. I absolutely LOVED my first place, and miss it dearly. I used to live on the beach. I could walk out on to the sand whenever I wanted to, I could see the sunset every night, and I could even start a leak in my neighbor's living room by washing my dishes. Yep, you read that correctly.

Here's the lesson: You will always get what you pay for. I was paying a decent amount to live ON paradise... but after a while, I realized I wasn't living IN paradise. The days began to feel long and short at the same time, and as I grew in my career, my businesses, and what I found the most joy in, I found myself simply paying to live ON what was paradise. I love my new home, and I love not flooding my neighbors living room. (I'm sure they appreciate that too).

4) Self-Abandonment is Not an Act of Love.

Okay, soooo... what's this one mean? Well, let's break it down into exactly what it says. I'm a giver, I always have been actually.

While there may be occasions for compromise and moments of flexibility, you should never reach a point of breaking. Exhaustively giving of yourself doesn't benefit either you or the person on the receiving end. Taking care of yourself is often the most beneficial thing you can do for any relationship, in any capacity - this is not a statement only intended towards a romantic relationship. In fact, my partner and I have a very give and take relationship, and for that, I'm grateful.

5) Let Them.

I'm going to be honest, because you know, accountability and stuff. This past year, I made some people mad... not on purpose, of course. I noticed that some people were not along for the ride as I began to grow in my career, in my personal growth, in my relationships, in the moves that I made, and even into a more confident version of me. In the beginning of last year (at the age of 25), I would've let that take me down.

So, let them be upset with the boundaries you've made. Let them be uneasy while you're growing. It's not your responsibility to please everyone (PS - have I mentioned I'm a recovering people-pleaser?)... so let them.

6) Don't Hit the Snooze Button.

There's nothing glamorous about this one. Just don't hit the snooze button, ok? Read about the scientific reason behind this, it's less for me to type. :) Read it here.

7) Your Doctor Doesn't Always Know What's Best for You.

Growing up in a home with a mother as a nurse, it seemed pretty standard that whatever the doctor said or suggested was always the best way. This past year, I learned that sometimes advocating for yourself is the best thing you can do. I've never frowned on medication, in fact, I've been quite indifferent to it over the years, until I learned that I was taking something considered to have lethal effects, and that was the scariest thing.

This year, with a new doctor and a new team of medical professionals, I've never felt more supported and SAFE with the plan to completely put my body through a 360 degree "transformation". There's more to this story, and feel free to reach out and ask if you feel as though you're in a similar boat, but for now, what I'll end this part with is to simply be your own advocate.

8) Seed Oils are B A D. (Thanks, Ryann!)

My body has been through quite the ringer this past year, and even years before. This year, I had a tumor removed from me, a tumor from my breast. Breast cancer runs heavily in my family, and I lost one of my favorite people to it, my Aunt Sherrie.

It's not advantageous for me to go through every food with you and why it's either a part of my lifestyle or out of it now, but as far as seed oils, I try to avoid them as much as I can, and here's why.

9) Protect Your Peace.

Protecting your peace is a fundamental part of maintaining mental, emotional, and physical well-being. It involves consciously safeguarding your inner tranquility, balance, and overall sense of calm amidst life's challenges and uncertainties.

I cannot express how important it is to guard yourself in this way from anything that may cause your peace to be disrupted. I also can't express enough how vital it is when finding a life partner, that they are also one that not only brings peace into your life, but loves and respects you enough to protect yours.

10) Do Something that Scares You Once a Day.

Listen, I'm kind of a scaredy-cat... BUT, I still try to do something daily that scares me. I especially do something that may scare me when faced with the pretense that something or someone says "you can't do that."

I'm not telling you to go bungee jumping or skydiving anytime soon, but try to do something outside of your comfort zone. If I would've stayed in my comfort zone, this blog probably wouldn't exist, and I also wouldn't be speaking on the stages I'm able to, today.

11) Some People Don't Deserve Second (or Third, Fourth, or Fifth) Chances.

This one is a tricky and sometimes messy one. As a recovering people-pleaser, I noticed myself giving my energy to those who in turn, only sucked the energy back out of me, and how does that equal up? Well, it doesn't.

There's this thing inside of you called your gut; I'd advise you to listen to it as intently as possible.

12) Celebrate YOU.

You're pretty incredible, and it's up to YOU to remember that. I spent about 2 years working with an incredible life coach, Denise Marsh (check her out here, she's the best) We worked deeply on the intertwinement of external validation and internal validation. I learned that much of the external validation I was constantly seeking came from a very deep connection with my childhood self. She(me) was always called the "Million Dollar Child", and as admirable as that may sound, it put an immense amount of pressure on me to (try to) live up to that.

With that, external validation, while this can be nice, is NOT the answer. Celebrate YOU. Every part of you. Every milestone. Every accomplishment. Clap for yourself. Be proud of yourself. It IS possible to validate yourself internally, and I can't encourage you enough to do so.

13) No One Can Take Your Voice.

I do mean no one. For a little over a year, I noticed I had lost my voice a bit... it felt muffled and almost muted. Boy, did I turn that around real quick (refer back to opportunity 11).

Keep speaking. Keep existing. Keep being you. Keep doing what you LOVE.

14) If it’s Not a HECK YEAH, it’s a No.

This one is pretty self-explanatory. If you're not overly passionate about something you're doing or about to do, it's a no. If you're uncomfortable, it's a no. If you simply don't want to (in most cases), it's a no.

Say no to the things that give you that icky feeling in your gut. Really.

15) Sometimes You have to Heal from the Same Thing Multiple Times.

Unfortunately, this is 100% true. Healing is not linear; it is full of unpredictable ups and downs, and that is OK. The amount of things I've been on a healing journey from in the past few years are more than I can count. The bigger ones I've endured are ones that I'd expect a wide amount of time to heal from.

Oh, and guess what? NO ONE is allowed to tell you when you're supposed to be "good" or healed from something that happened to you. End of discussion on that one.

16) Get Outside.

The healing powers of simply walking outside for 10-15 minutes a day (or more if you can) has such an impact on your overall health.

Whenever I feel overwhelmed, stressed, or simply feel "off", some Vitamin D is what my body finds solace in. Get outside and ground yourself as much as you possibly can - you'll never regret simply getting outside.

17) Schedule Blank Space (and Don't Fill it).

From a super young age, being busy was like a personality for me... and, well, I'm still very busy, but now I've learned to schedule in what's call "blank space". I used to do this for myself last year, but quickly found myself seeing it as "open space" to schedule in as much as I could, which totally defeated the purpose.

Scheduling in blank space allows you to not only give yourself some room to breathe, but also to digest and reflect on different areas of your day, step outside if you need to, or this blank space can simply act as a buffer in between tasks, meetings, or whatever you may have going on in your day.

18) People Follow You, Whether You Like it or Not.

Being as open as I am online, it's crucial that I'm cognizant on everything I say, post, or even repost from others. There's people who will follow you or people who don't, and whatever way you feel about that, you've got to be ok with it.

The most important thing I can be is myself; authenticity is what resonates with those that you impact.

19) You Don't Need Alcohol to Have Fun.

When I freshly turned 21, it was the "thing" to go out, drink as much as you could, and then try to have brunch in the morning. I couldn't even imagine trying, or even wanting to do something like that today. However, 5 years ago, that was a large part of my "fun".

Today, my "fun" looks like grabbing happy hour snacks and maybe a glass of wine with a girlfriend, or grabbing coffee and having an intentional meet up, to talk about allllllllll of the life things. I promise you, there's much more to having fun than incorporating alcohol.

20) Action Breeds Action.

Have you ever played with dominos? When one goes down, the rest follow. Action breeds action. This goes the same as to say inaction breeds inaction. Get moving. :)

21) Stop Being SO Hard on Yourself.

You know the saying, "we're our own worst critic"... it's true. I can't count the number of times that I've been so hard on myself to actually making MYSELF cry. Typing this out right now is even kind of silly. Just stop being so hard on yourself, you're a human, humans make mistakes, and if someone is holding you to some type of unrealistic standard to never make a mistake, RUN.

22) Do Your Best.

I hate to break it to you, but you're not perfect. No one is, actually. As long as you're doing your best, that is what matters. If you only have 40% today, and you operate at 40%, then you're giving 100% of what you have.

23) Self-Care is NOT Selfish.

You've got to remember to take care of yourself. You have ONE life, ONE body, and ONE chance to make an impact in this life. Take care of yourself in whatever way feels best to you, and do not ever feel guilty about it.

24) Game Nights In > Going Out Downtown.

I have to say... a game night in is such a WIN over having a night downtown. For one, it's WAY cheaper. It doesn't cost an Uber(there and back), it doesn't involve being sweaty in countless bars with strangers, and it won't make you feel sick the next day. A whole win.

25) Trust Your Gut.

Speaking purely from experience, your gut doesn't lie. If something feels off, it's off. If something feels wrong, it's wrong. Ask questions. Do the due diligence.

I've learned this both in the physical way (literally, I had a chronic appendicitis that could've killed me at any time), and metaphorically, as in something felt off, and it was. Trust your gut... I promise, it really won't lie to you.

26) It's OK to Pivot.

Does anyone else think of the scene from Friends? Watch it here. I had some (major) curveballs thrown my way this past year, and since this blog is now *after my birthday, even more. All I can speak to on this one is to let you know that it's 110% OK to make a pivot in your life. Life is all about learning and growing.

Make mistakes, in fact, make A LOT... the more mistakes you make (come on, within reason people), the more you'll learn.


Happy 26th year on this earth to me!


1 Comment

Elizabeth Young
Elizabeth Young
Jan 30

I love this Alyssa!! You have learned a lot in your 26 years!! I know you will continue to inspire so many people, because you speak from the heart!!♥️ ♥️♥️

Alyssa Manhattan.jpg

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I'm so glad you're here! Thank you for taking the time to check out this post. I cannot wait to continue to share even more with you!


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