Before 2017, After 2018

2017 was the year of learning that I am the only person in control of my life. And that if I want to change the trajectory of my life, it starts with me.

I showed up to 2017 slightly cocky. I thought everything was great, I had just exited a five and a half year relationship in August 2016, and I was truly happy to be separated from that previous life. I was getting myself into a fitness routine, Dine With Shayda was consistently growing, and I was humming along at a job that I was very good at. But after the breakup everyone kept telling me that I needed to take my newly minted single life to figure out who I was. And so when 2017 struck I found myself hitting some lows that I hadn’t ever really experienced before. I thought I knew who I was and because I didn’t, I stumbled around a lot in 2017.

I did hit some highs: I found a home gym at Athletic Outcomes, and created a fitness routine that I am pretty religious with. I left a job for the first time ever. I had been with WP Engine for almost 6 years plus it was my first job out of college. I experienced a lot there, but I also grew to be comfortable. I had to get out of my comfort zone and realizing that was pretty freaking scary. However, sitting at my new job at WebDevStudios, 10 days in, I can confirm that shaking life up, leaving something good for the unknown, those are the exciting moments that shape us into the best version of ourself. Plus I really love the team I’m working with and the work we do for our clients, so I reel re-energized! Dine With Shayda got to cover Austin Food and Wine festival, Texas Monthly BBQ Fest, and grew to 11k+ Instagram followers. I traveled to Paris, New York City, Chicago, Denver, San Diego, Nashville, and San Francisco. I made “Just Fucking Do It”, my mantra, and then I put it on a necklace to remind myself that whatever it that I’m afraid of, whatever it is I want to face and conquer, all I have to do is just jump and say “let’s do the damn thing”. Because what’s the worse that could happen?

As far as lows: Dating in 2017 has been ridiculously hard. Having just gotten out of a relationship the prior year, I wasn’t trying to jump into anything serious this year. But I’m in my late 20’s, at some point, I’d like to settle down. This was and continues to be one of the hardest things I dwell on. I struggle because part of me doesn’t want to run into a relationship with the wrong person for the sake of being lonely. But the other part of me is living her best life and wants to absolutely share that with someone who I can build a life with. And coming onto the dating scene in the age of Snapchat, Tinder, Bumble, etc is so uncomfortable and IMO has caused both sexes to devalue other human beings without even meaning to do so. We now ghost each other without so much of a thought that we were talking to a living and breathing human being. I’m also going to admit that I don’t really know what I want to do with my life. And as someone who generally gets commended for “having her shit together”, there’s so much behind the scenes that I need to improve. Being honest with myself about this has been something that has pushed me to the edges of my comfortability. It’s hard to admit that you need to re-evaluate the direction your life is going. And it took me this whole year and then some to just be comfortable saying that out loud.

When it’s all said and done, I’m extremely grateful for 2017, for the experiences it brought me, and the opportunities it opened up for me. But I also want to establish a great foundation for 2018, and acknowledge that I still have learning to do.

2018 will be the year that I embrace growing up and growing old.

I want my goals for 2018 to be focused around building on top of my highs last year, and to especially create a healthy relationship with my lows. I don’t want to sit here and wish for a better dating experience, but the reality is I can’t really control other people. And if I learned anything in 2017, it is that I am in control of my life. So I’m choosing to focus on the things that I can control, the things that bring me closer to truly experiencing what honest to goodness happiness looks like, and to remember that there are lots of people who surround me who love me unconditionally. That’s a beautiful thing that I want to appreciate more this coming year. I want this year to bring back passions of mine that I lost, and create passions that I didn’t know I had. 2018 is all about being happy with the right now, being in the present, and learning to react only to things that are within my control.

I know that I want to establish a skin care routine. Something hit me a few weeks ago, I was NOT paying attention to my skin at all. And I’m pretty fortunate, my skin is fairly normal. No oil, not a lot of acne, I wash with a generic face wash twice daily and that’s it. Maybe slap some lotion on when my face feels dry. Seriously, my face is low maintenance. But that’s not the point. Your skin is like on your body, forever, until you die. And I want my skin to last as long as possible. Chemicals, heat, time, those are all damaging, and I’m realizing I’m not providing nutrition to my skin at all. So that’s changing, thanks to a bunch of you for immediate feedback from IG stories, I am meeting with a few skin care professionals and setting up a routine ASAP.

Another area that I want to get better at is preserving and savoring family time. My father is a first generation American. He moved here from Iran during the revolution. Regretably, I’ve never been to my fathers home country, and have only really experienced his culture through his cooking. But what I’ve mistakingly never taken an interest in, is how to recreate those dishes, which to me is what little culture I have from my dad. I’m writing this for posterity and accountability, I am planning to have my dad teach me 1 Persian dish a month and then video record it as a living diary. I am inviting my immediate family, and the intentions are that we would do this together and document it together. My family is one of the most important things to me and I’m so lucky to live in the city that I grew up in, which allows me to see my family more frequently. But the reality is, we’re all getting older, so I want to make sure to savor those little moments we do have and make real meaningful memories.

The same idea is extended to being more experiential with life in general. Learning to really cook, using ingredients and spices. Knife skills. Going on trips with friends, going on more trips period. Being a little more impulsive with people and making memories and cherishing each other. I want to get better at documenting things. For writing down my feelings. For living up to my decisions.

I recently was reminded about this quote by Robert Frost, “the best way out, is always through”. I resist life sometimes, I want to numb myself to feeling things, from being honest with myself, from speaking up. It’s time to be uncomfortable.

It’s time to be more present.

To embrace the pain, happiness, good, and bad that comes with life. BUT, most importantly, to learn and grow. We all have one life to live, we can either sit still in our safe zone, or we can cross the line, and go out dancing our hearts out giving it all we’ve got.

What sounds more fun? 🙃 Welcoming 2018 with this lil number and my favorite bottle of tequila.