Today marks 5 years of me having this little slice of web to share with you all. What seems like 3 weeks but was really 5 years ago- I was a junior in high school. I was a few months into 16 years old and equally as busy as I am now, but with far different activities. I was already preparing for college and was eager to get out into the world and see what it all had to offer me. Always being a little mature for my age (which I’m a firm believer comes from being an oldest child), I have looked forward to my twenties since becoming a teenager. Something about the age just seemed overall very sophisticated and full of adventure.

Well here I am. Five years later and a few months into 21 and I like to think 16-year-old Ally would be pleasantly surprised at how this quick glimpse into her twenties have gone thus far. Not sure if we’d count the takeout pizza for dinner and bawling at Toy Story 4 that I did last night “sophisticated”, but I’ll take what I can get 😉 I have experienced a lot over the past year and few months and I think It just hit me a few days ago what I *really* want my twenties to be about. If I could focus on ONE aspect, It would be little joys.

My favorite posts to go back and read over the years are the ones I wrote on happiness. Now I’m still not sure why I thought I had the credentials to be talking about such a big topic at that age, but boy did I sure know what I was saying. Five years ago taking time to focus on happy things was such a priority to me and is something I feel like I have unfortunately lacked the past few years when I let everything else life throws at me get in the way. So starting today and from now on, I want to start myself, and to challenge you as well – to focus on those little joys in your life.

I put together a small list, just ten things, that bring me happiness and pure joy at this point in my life. Not only is It an amazing thing to reflect and use gratitude, but I am excited to try to do this every week and to look back on my weeks and what brought me joy. #TenLittleJoys

Leave a comment below with one of your #TenLittleJoys !!! I’d love to see what is bringing you happiness this time of year! Until next time!

xoxo, Ally

Coming Back from The Brink of Burnout

Whether you’re a new reader (hi, welcome!) or someone that has been around this website since approximately 2015 (yikes, hehe) allow me to introduce myself:

Hi, my name is Ally, I’m a junior at KU who loves navy stripes, her golden retriever, spending money on coffee, and I do too much.

I’ve put off writing this post for about as long as I put off doing my laundry and writing my weekly lesson plans for practicum. First because every time I tried, the concept seemed narcissistic and hard to discuss without sounding full of myself. Second, because writing and posting, meant admitting it was true. For my own sanity of keeping the first reason off the table, I won’t use this post to sit here and list off everything that fills my agenda…and my google calendar…and the multiple sticky notes floating around my binders and desk and car. So to be vague, I am busy. Like the kind of busy where free time is rare to where I don’t know what to do with it, and when I do, my mind still seems to be a running to-do list of what I need to be doing AFTER that free time is up.

As you can imagine and I’m sure lots of you relate to, being a full time student, working a part time job, holding leadership positions, and managing to find time to eat and sleep and catch up on your friends’ lives seems nearly impossible most days until it’s all done and we pass out .5 seconds after climbing into bed. I KNOW lots of you can relate because our generation. Loves. To. Be. “Busy.” Being “busy” and “stressed” has almost turned into a fad and trend of our generation, and frankly, it SUCKS!!!

I used to be like most of my generation in that aspect until a month or so ago. I was absolutely guilty of using my packed schedule as a guilt trip on occasions, or to almost rank myself among my peers in my head; as I assumed they were doing as well. “Who is spending the most hours at the library tonight?” “Who got the least amount of sleep last night?” “I have 3 tests this week, can anyone beat me and have 4?” IT IS EXHAUSTING. Physically and mentally! Exhausting!!! I was so used to the routine of go go go and why? I’m not even fully sure. Some days I swear I would have the busiest days and go to sleep that night still feeling like I accomplished nothing. Basically it was like Sunday scaries every day of the week 24/7/365. I was starting to face every millennials biggest fear: burnout.

All that changed when I simply realized: I didn’t like feeling that way.

I didn’t like being tired all the time! I didn’t like going to all my meetings, but thinking about the next one before finishing the first instead of being engaged in the conversation in front of me.

I saw a quote on a t-shirt in an online boutique that stated the infamous quote “she believed she could so she did” but instead of the oh so fitting with our societal love of doing things for the sake of doing things “so she did” it stated: “but she was really tired, so she rested. and you know what? The world went on and it was ok. And she knew she could try again tomorrow.” & wow did that literally hit me harder than anything on my to-do list. It was REALLY that easy, If I didn’t want to feel that way…I didn’t have to.

Now I understand that there are obvious obligations like academics and work and things that one can’t jut “not do” if they don’t feel like it. Trust me, tried that mentality once in my polysci class, don’t recommend for the GPA. BUT, one CAN take a nap, one CAN stop watching Netflix and go to bed, one CAN, and hear me out here fellow overachievers…say no.

I won’t lie to you and say I went from 0-100 on relaxing and that my schedule went from booked to free as a bird at any quick rate. I also won’t say it was easy to begin not to overcommit. When you’re used to a life of a full inbox and a marathon pace of meetings, moving life to a speed walk instead of a sprint is tricky and to be honest, I felt guilty at first. But once I started seeing differences in my anxiety, my overall health, and my day to day mood, I committed to keeping my to-do’s intentional and things did get easier.

So this post is for all the people that do too much. I’m proud of you!!!! I am!! I know all too personally and well the satisfaction of a nicely crossed off to-do list or the excitement (and also the same time immense regret) of every “yes of course I have time!” Or “no problem I can do that for you!” I know you think you’re doing what’s good for you by doing EVERYTHING. But you know what I want to be proud of you for instead? Doing. Nothing. I know when you’re used to doing everything, doing nothing feels like the hardest possible thing to do. But just like the technology you’re reading this open letter on right now, you need to charge yourself as well.

I haven’t taken a full 360. I don’t wake up at 6 and do yoga as “me time” (props to you that do. You’re forever my inspirations.) and I sure as heck still have days where i basically just write MEETINGS in all caps on my agenda page. I‘m still being my demanding self and loving it. I love the rush that comes with the pace of my many tasks, and I am so thankful for the problems I work on and the people I collaborate with daily. HOWEVER, you’ll find me saying “no” a lot more often so that I have more time to do NOTHING. Everyone’s “nothings” look a lil different: some mean meditation, others, like myself, mean unneeded grocery store trips that end in who knows what that I absolutely didn’t need.

To end with a quote from TheEverygirl that sums up what I do hope you can begin to fuel your days with:

Here’s to me doing a lot more less. I hope you all can use these words as a push of courage and vulnerability to do the same.

Until next time, xoxo, Ally

18 lessons from 2018

So here is my annual start of the year post in which I spill little tidbits of things I learned over this past year and boy oh boy was it over the top with lessons learned. I want to keep this post short and simple because I hope to do a post elaborating on each individually later throughout the year. So without any fancy intro, here are 18 things I learned this past year:

ONE: Change is inevitable, however it’s a lot easier to embrace it than try to fight it.

TWO: You are a product of your own choices. Big & little, your choices are what make up who you are. However, you are not responsible for other’s choices, don’t give yourself blame where it’s not yours.

THREE: There will ALWAYS be someone that disagrees with you or is certain your way is wrong. This is okay and doesn’t mean you need to change for them.

FOUR: Even on your worst days where you want nobody, you need your friends. Starbucks runs, movie nights, just laying in their room, they love ya for a reason!

FIVE: Even though #3 is all true and valid, you will also be wrong sometimes. This is where the importance of having a growth mindset opposed to fixed comes in handy. (if you haven’t heard of these terms, Google them ASAP. I have used them in my leadership / personal development since high school and now even use them in the elementary classrooms I work in, they’ll change your mindset!)

SIX: Drink. more. water.

SEVEN: Some times you literally aren’t going to ever use things you do in school or things you have to memorize absolutely ever again. But, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still try on them.

EIGHT: There should always be time for things you love doing.

NINE: Gratitude is free and endlessly rewarding

TEN: You get back what you put in. Applies to relationships, your bank account (oops), school work, anything that includes a reward requires effort on your part as well

ELEVEN: You can never know exactly how someone feels in any given situation.  Never expect someone is feeling and thinking exactly like you, because they aren’t.

TWELVE: Be your own #1 fan!!!

THIRTEEN: Never do work just for the gold star. Apply for things, work for things, do things because you love them and they are meaningful for you. Doing things for your own satisfaction will always be more fulfilling than for approval of others.

FOURTEEN: Your dreams should always be bigger than you think you can accomplish. Dreams and goals are two different concepts. Set yourself goals to make your dreams reality.

FIFTEEN: Sleeping in is good for you when your body needs it. On days you don’t have anywhere to be, let yourself get the rest.

SIXTEEN: Sometimes the scariest things to do, words to say, or decisions to make will be the ones that have the best impact on your life. Do them with faith.

SEVENTEEN: Trust your gut and that lil feeling and voice inside you. They’re right about just about everything.

EIGHTEEN: Being kind & standing up for who / what you believe in will always be the golden rule. You can only complain about who / what you haven’y tried to fix. People depend on people, so don’t let yours down!

That’s all for this post friends! Stick around for posts coming up soon! Until next time!

xoxo, Ally