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Another birthday in the books. Once again I took the time reflect on what I’ve learned this year. It hit me. How do you let go of the best and worst year of your life?

The Brunette Blend-Another Birthday Reflection- Twenty-Four-woman with food in hand

24 was many things, both wonderful and tragic. At 24 I got married. It was a day of celebration, love and happiness. There are so many smiles in my memories and in photos.

At 24 I lost my dad. It shattered my heart, spread the pieces far between and took pieces away, forever leaving an uncompleted puzzle.

I’m pretty sure this is the definition of extreme high and low moments. I thought to myself, what a year, but not so secretly dreaded September 24th. A part of me so desperately doesn’t want time to move forward. As we all know, it does and all we can do is learn. Here is what I learned this year:

Strength: I’ve learned how much strength I have, how much my friends and family have. This year hasn’t been easy, but somehow I’m still standing. I have bruises, scrapes and soon to be scars. I’m still here. Strength isn’t holding back tears. Strength is managing and pushing through all odds.

Stay in your lane: this is a big one. Don’t focus your energy on what others are doing. Honestly, WHO CARES? Something great comes when you’re passionate, authentic and yourself. No matter the situation, focus on your tasks and goals and how YOU will reach them. Someone’s route isn’t your Cinderella fit.

Fearlessly be yourself: cliche, but there is only one you and no one better to be you than you. (Dr. Seuss, is that you?)

Don’t settle: whatever the circumstances are, don’t settle for less than what you want and deserve. I’m not saying diss every opportunity because it isn’t ideal. Will it get you to the next step? Will it help reach your goal later? If you checked the box “yes,” you aren’t settling. You’re a motivated and strategic person working with purpose.

Find that glimmer of happiness, hope and motivation and hold it close: It’s easy to get caught up in the negatives or let them consume you. Any positivity is good positivity that continues to fuel.

Be strong, fearless, positive and determined.

The Brunette Blend-Samantha-Signature