Tag Archives: lessons

A year of lessons, a year later.

yearoflessonsheader

7/20/16.

WHAT?

I can’t believe a year ago today I finished writing A Year Of Lessons. It was absolutely one of (if not the) most transformative experiences of my life to this day. It wasn’t just a year that I lived and documented, but it was one that I created and shaped because I intentionally chose to see something special (both the good AND bad) in every single day. I learned gratitude and dedication and vulnerability and perspective and persistance and all those nights sitting on my college apartment floor at 3am after a horribly long day but still writing and hating my life finally added up to something. Looking back today, A Year Of Lessons was such a wonderful gift I granted to my future self, and hopefully to some of you all who hopped on the ride and read along.

This is exactly why I’m so in love with storytelling and words and writing and art, and sharing it with others. Because it’s a message from the past for the future. When I was unpacking my very last box from college a few weeks ago, at the top of the box was the first month of lessons from my blog printed out on paper. I read some of them and was completely shocked at the effect it had on me: I cringed at some, laughed at others, and couldn’t stop the smile on my face from spreading at most. The words on these pages were still so powerful, and reminded me what I still need to learn but also how far I’ve come. Later that day, I was editing my new podcast (https://soundcloud.com/user-986375572) (eep so excited) and something a professor said in an interview over three months ago had beautiful meaning then, but in that very moment, in my circumstances at that point in time, it moved me to tears. Stories are like time capsules. It’s a gift; a whisper and a warm smile from God saying, “You need this.” Words can move us and transform us and they transcend time and space. They’re little messages. Little signs.

This blog was never just a blog to me. The writing was never just writing. The job you hold, the things you go through, the people you meet… they’re never just that. They are experiences, and they are lessons waiting to happen. At such a crucial time in my life where I’m at a crossroad beginning a new journey that i’m not 100% sure about it (I’m working in DC!!! This was not my original plan at all!!! But I’m excited!!! And scared!!! And also confused at how one metros!!!), this was the perfect reminder to be open, be excited, and to learn.

Thank you, AYOL.

And thank you to you all.

Both are forever engrained in my heart. <3

All my love,

<3

Mia (Your newest post graduate… I did it!)

To stay updated with me and my ~crazy~ life, and to hear about my future/current projects, follow me on my social media accounts!

Twitter: @yourstrulymia_

Instagram: @yourstrulymia

Tumblr: yourstrulymia

PS… something that’s square and binded together and may have a little (or a lot) to do with A Year Of Lessons may be happening sometime in the near future… stay tuned ;)

“It isn’t easy.” A guest lesson by Michael Galfetti.

I’m tired of people thinking things will be easy.

I feel like people think “once I get my dream job” or “once I meet the right person” or “once I find God” that life will be easy.

But that isn’t true.

Being in love with your soulmate will not be easy.

Discovering who you are will not be easy.

Being caring and open will not be easy.

But the thing is—you will not be satisfied with an easy life.

The challenge is what makes life all the better.

Here’s the thing: life is hard.

But don’t ever let it stop you from doing what you want.

In fact,

life being difficult probably means you are doing something right.

-Lesson by Michael Galfetti-

Wu34mDKY

Michael Galfetti is a junior at George Mason University studying Government and International Politics. The picture was taken on his study abroad in El Salvador (that is also where he gained the perspective that allowed him to write this blog post). Where he learned about women’s fight for their rights in the country. He has an interest in working internationally and recognizes the role the West plays in international development. You can find him on twitter at @spaghetigalfeti.

 

Lesson #357: Get her to the Getty.

7/12/15.

As soon as the museum director said “There’s a great power in observing anything” in the orientation video, I knew it was going to be a good day.

Today we took a trip to the Getty Museum.

11027485_10204919620814437_6771853089776415716_n

When we looked up from the bottom of the highway, we spotted the large white museum sitting atop a tree-scattered mountain with a beautiful view. If ever a building could be majestic, it was this one. Upon riding the tram up the mountainside and stepping into each of the massive buildings, we found the interiors rich with paintings, busts, sculptures, photos, and decorative antiques lining every wall and corner of each room. Outside of the gorgeous stone and marble walls, we zig-zagged down a staircase into the garden. There were bright green trees, plants, flowers in full bloom, and a small stream running through the garden that dropped into a waterfall. Everything about the museum was pristine, well designed, and absolutely breathtaking.

11225401_10204919622334475_3277221720217098429_n

11742711_10204919622694484_3920476522981127380_n11694761_10204919623294499_3886030508633502235_n

Although we stuck together as a group at first, we quickly realized that the only way to really experience the art was to experience it ourselves. As certain pieces of work caught our eye and certain exhibits drew our attention, we began to split off and explore the mysteries of the museum on our own.

I stopped and viewed many of the paintings, sculptures, and antiques, listening to the stories behind the art on an app for the museum through headphones. The last exhibit I went to and the one that captured my heart, was the photography exhibit, “Light, Paper, Process: Reinventing Photography.”

10393773_10204919624134520_1060393183184231548_n

I strolled through the wooden-floored rooms, taking in the pictures of birds with their wings spread and the moon floating through the night sky. I was pleased with the pictures; they were beautiful, but it was easy to just look at them, appreciate them, and quickly move on. Then a small corner room in the back of the exhibit really captured my attention. All of the photos in the room were by a photographer I had never heard of named Matthew Brandt.

I walked over to a series of photos by him titled Rainbow Lake. For these photos, Brandt soaked the prints of the shots he took of a lake in the actual water from the lake. I thought they were fascinating and interesting, but another piece of his was drawing me from across the room.

The first picture of the day that I was completely and utterly enthralled with and completely stopped by, was his photo titled Mathers Department Store, Pasadena, 1971. At first glance, it’s only a photograph of a building falling over. But something about it was magnetizing to me. I immediately typed in the code under the painting and listened to the picture’s story on the Getty app; I now understood I felt that way for a good reason.

Brandt’s voice filled my headphones, telling me how he looks up old photos in the Los Angeles Public Library Archive. When he finds a photo he likes, he takes it. This specific photo happened to be of a department store being torn down in Pasadena, California.

He went to the site in the picture that exists now, and swept up the dust from the ground there. Brandt didn’t go in with his camera or any other tools. Just a small bin to put the dust in.

He brought back the dust to use as pigment over the picture.

00036082-3

00036082-3 “Mathers Department Store, Pasadena, 1971”; Matthew Brandt, American, born 1982; Pasadena, California, United States, North America; 2013; Gum bichromate print; Image: 110.5 x 143.5 cm (43 1/2 x 56 1/2 in.); 2014.17

Brandt said he did this because he was fascinated with the “conflation of time.” I’ve always been fascinated by time and its mysteries and wonders as well. It was at this moment that I fell in love with the photo even more.

To be completely honest, when I got to the previous paragraph, I realized I still had no idea what I wanted to say in this lesson. I knew I wanted to talk about my trip to the Getty and my fascination with the Matthew Brandt photo, but I had no idea what the actual lesson was. The photograph was riveting and captivating and genius—but what did it teach me?

I originally thought: “Ooh, this could spark thought and discussion about time and the past and the present and how the two join together sometimes.” But it quickly dawned on me that from the very beginning, I knew what this lesson was truly about.

When we are captivated by something; when we are fascinated and floored and curious and in awe—we should chase after those feelings and capture them.

We should explore it, and think about it, and discuss it.

To me, that’s the definition of appreciation: loving something and caring enough to recognize it and acknowledge it.

We won’t always know or understand why we are so drawn to something.

And in a sense, it doesn’t really matter.

But what matters is that we give it the appreciation it deserves,

and then we share it with the world.

It’s like a smile for the soul.

I don’t know about you—but I think we could all use a little more of that.

11698781_10204919621414452_4584544639910454078_n-1

Day 357.

Lesson #356: They say bad things happen in 10’s… and 20’s… and 30’s.

7/11/15.

You know when one bad thing happens? And then another? And another? Then so many bad things start happening that you begin to wonder if you’ll ever see the sunlight again through the heap of horrible things piling up on you?

Okay, that was a little bit dramatic.

No tears, but today was definitely rough day.

My external hard drive crashed in the middle of editing a good friend’s wedding video, I had to drop a ton of money on a new drive without even knowing if I would be able to get all the files back, I came across something that I didn’t even know would still hurt, and I was behind on my blog posts, amongst a list of other things. Add in one little thing here and one little thing there, and soon my entire day was a hot mess. About the only good part of it was a phone call with my dad and a huge chocolate chip cookie.

I went to a coffee shop around the corner that I had never been to and did some work alone, and it turns out that my day got a lot better with just that small action. It was just distracting enough, but it also gave me the space to think.

11752625_10204919620654433_4940619710741372397_n

I typed up a little list of some things that I learned.

1. Be gentle. With the things you handle, and with yourself.

2. Outlines work on everything and anything. It’s the best way to get organized. Seriously. If you learned nothing else from middle school English class, remember this.

3. Schedule time at least once a week to be alone. And I don’t mean “alone” as in coming home to an empty house or sitting in your living room while your friends or roommates or significant other is out. I mean “alone” as in out doing something alone. Alone, as in surrounded by people. Being purposefully alone. Re-centering yourself in the presense of other bodies is a very powerful, refreshing, and empowering thing. You’re not tucked away in the usual comfort of your own mind as you sit on the couch; you’re just ever so slightly aware of what’s happening around you, and you’re forced to be in tune with yourself. You’re out, and you’re doing your own thing. You’re spending time with you.

4. I’ve come to a resolution about a certain thing, and the resolution is that it’s just not going to hurt any less. I don’t mean it’s going to hurt forever—because it can’t. But I know that right now, and for a very long time, it’s not going to hurt any less without action. I need to seriously separate myself for a while, or it will never get better. T-swift said that bandaids don’t fix bullet holes, and that’s the truth. But what she didn’t tell us (until next single) is that you can’t keep putting bandaids over open wounds. I need to accept that it hurts and work to get past it by creating space. As I’ve said in a previous lesson, realizing something is a completely different lesson than actually executing what you’ve learned. But at least I’ve gotten as far as the first one. Wish me luck.

5. When I spoke to my dad today, he reminded me of the most true and fundamental thing we need to remember. Bad things that happen to us—and even the bad things that we bring on ourselves—will only make us stronger and better. You can’t afford to get all frustrated over it. You have to take it as it is, learn from it, and know what to do next time. It’s as simple as that.

I’ve learned so much about myself today. How I become hesitant and introverted when I go into crisis mode; how tough I can be, but how fragile I am too. I realized that I am stronger than I give myself credit for. I realized that I am confident and independent, but I sometimes rely on others for answers that I need to find myself. I realized that it’s okay to rely on others for a push sometimes, but NEVER for validation. I learned I am meek and shy when it comes to being wrong, but regardless, I always admit when I am. I learned that I am most discombobulated and frantic and not myself, not when I’m stressed, but when I’m nervous. And all of these are things I want to work on.

As we get closer and closer to Day 365, I’ve realized that the good times teach us something wonderful, but the hard times aren’t just hard—they teach us something as well. There is no good feeling that comes with mess-ups, mishaps, or moments gone wrong. But the greatest feeling that rises from it all, is the feeling of a lesson learned; of a little piece of betterment for ourselves.

Use it to carry on.

Day 356.

Lesson #350: Don’t go chasing waterfalls?

7/5/15.

TLC, don’t hate us.

We didn’t stick to the rivers and the lakes that we’re used to,

because today we hiked to see a waterfall in Malibu.

Unlike the last hike to the Hollywood Sign, though, we were much more mentally and physically equipped this time—with the right shoes, an actual plan, and a larger crew.

11412237_10207434237721239_3742894699646208464_n

Escondido Falls, Malibu Beach

What we weren’t prepared for?

The waterfall being old, dusty, and completely dried out.

When we started on the trail through secluded streets behind beautiful Malibu homes, we were looking forward to be rewarded with a cool pool of water at the end of our hot, sweaty hike.

11230656_10204878970198197_1192252180380447717_n

We began navigating through dirt paths and then onto rocks that started stacking higher and higher. Before we ventured too far, we ran into a couple and asked them if we were going in the right direction, since we had come to a fork in the trail a few moments earlier. They told us yes.

They also told us—

waterfall?

Yea.

Not really a waterfall.

They forewarned us that the water was non-existent other than a slight trickle that dripped of the edge of the stone.

Not going to lie.

We had a serious WTF moment.

But what I love about our group is our serious can-do mentality.

We literally let nothing stop us, like, ever.

So we took it as a challenge.

A lack of water never hurt anybody, right?

(Don’t answer that)

11063478_10204878961117970_8173377711331376106_n

All 11 of us climbed the mountain. We helped each other along, and gave each other guidance and support on the ropes and sliding rocks (but also laughed at each other when we fell because we’re obviously great people).

In the end, we made it to both falls. The higher one, with a breathtaking view and beautiful stained stone, but no running water. It had a lower plateau with a big rock we could stand on, and access to an inside nook of the once bumbling waterfall. The lower one with just enough trickle, and extravagant green foliage and moss that tucked the cliff-side into its own comfortable corner.

11707562_10204879557652883_4986484294142197557_n11059843_10204878960597957_590110704580812057_n-1

Once again, our hike through the unknown was absolutely priceless.

And truly beautiful.

I guess you could say today’s lesson should be don’t go chasing waterfalls.

But as much as I think I have the right to say that’s true right now,

I know it’s not.

The true lesson here, is this:

Just because something doesn’t turn out beautiful in the way you expect it to be, doesn’t mean it’s not beautiful at all.

Beauty isn’t just in the eye of the beholder. It’s everywhere.

My advice to you?

Definitely go chasing a waterfall sometime.

The adventure in itself is worth it.

Dreams are hopeless aspirations in hopes of coming true.
Believe in yourself, the rest is up to me and you.

-Waterfalls by TLC

Day 350.

Lesson #349: Make some noise.

7/4/15.

You’re never going to make any noise if you stay quiet.

In order to shake things up, make things right, or get things changed,

you have to raise your voice.

What great person ever did without speaking up and speaking out?

It’s terrifying (noted), but you’ll never know if it’s worth it if you don’t try.

A great lesson in time for today.

Happy Fourth.

Day 349.