Birthday Reflections – 31 Things I Learned This Year

Today is my Birthday and I’m so happy to begin a new year and a new chapter of my life! I’m turning 31, wow I can hardly believe it. A decade ago I was celebrating my 21st in New Zealand (where I lived for a year) at a gay bar hosting a drag queen show because it was the only bar in town open on Easter Sunday, which happened to be my birthday that year.  That sometimes feels like yesterday and sometimes feels like a lifetime ago.

Happy Birthday

I love birthdays, and that’s why I’m putting together my very first giveaway for you all! I’m so excited to share the celebration and gifts with one lucky winner. Blogging has been such a key part of this past year for me and I love doing it so I wanted to share the birthday love with you all. :)  It will be up next week so keep an eye out.

Love it or hate it I’m totally one of those “birthday week” types and have been for years. To me birthdays are a great time to reflect on what’s working in our lives and what is not. Looking back on the past years joys and lessons allows us the space to give thanks and decide what needs changing. Below are some of the lessons I learned and the grateful moments I have experienced.

  1. Enjoying a fancy birthday lunch (last year) right on the water at the Hotel Del Coronado with my Mom, Sister and Baby niece was a wonderful break from the chaos of moving.
  2. Road trips are amazing! I love them and am a pretty darn good passenger.
  3. Being able to walk to where you workout (for me to the pilates and yoga studio) means you go SO much more.
  4. Hearing doves in the morning living in the heart of the city makes me feel calmer and more connected to nature even when there are trash trucks driving down the alley, LOL.
  5. Instagram is still my favorite social media platform.
  6. Diving 6+ hours with a few days notice to meet Bay Area friends for a camping trip during the Labor Day 3-day weekend in Kings Canyon National Park when all the campgrounds are full will work out and you will find a camping spot if you keep the faith.
  7. Going to The Blogcademy was awesome and I’m so glad I flew to San Francisco, invested and took a chance on me and my blog (heart).
  8. Being a homeowner is hard, choosing to find joy in it is key for your sanity.
  9. Walking to your neighborhoods farmers market and seeing how far $30 can go and knowing that those $30 are much more impactful in your community than $30 spent at the grocery store is money well spent.
  10. Starting a backyard garden and compost setup still intimidates me.
  11. Getting to go to Disneyland with your 2 year old baby niece for her first time is a day you will never regret.
  12. Enjoying San Diego sunsets will never get old.
  13. Green is still my favorite color even if I sometimes think it’s blue.
  14. Being bold and doing what you really desire is often super uncomfortable…I guess that’s why it’s called growing pains.
  15. Remembering everyday that I don’t have to be perfect in terms of living green but I do need to remember that I can have a positive or negative impact on our planet and everyday it’s my responsibility to find the multiple opportunities there are to make smarter, better, greener decisions.
  16. When 10 plus friends show up for your husbands August birthday camping trip you planned and it rains the whole time (yes in Southern California) you still have tons of fun going for quick walks around the campground when the rain breaks for a bit and drink way too much.
  17. Arches is now my new favorite National Park. You must go!  
  18. Making friends is harder when you get older but then you find out that most people that have moved around a lot feel the same way. If you put yourself out there and ask groovy people to keep hanging out and before you know it you have an amazing new group of friends.  
  19. Going on a woman’s retreat in the mountains of Colorado is always a good idea.
  20. Most gluten free baked goods are inedible.
  21. My vitamix is still my favorite kitchen appliance…green smoothies anyone?
  22. I still love to dance all night and no longer need many drinks to do it. New Years this year I had only one drink and was on the dance floor till 2am.
  23. I LOVE National Parks! Tyler and I went on two amazing road trips one was 11 days the other 4 days were we drove, camped and hiked everyday in different National Parks. They are such treasures.
  24. Having great co-workers makes all the difference in the world when it comes to enjoying your job.
  25. Looking for the moon at night and noticing what stage she is in always makes for a better nights sleep.
  26. Setting intentions is everything, we choose to be happy, we choose how we want to experience life and the more I practice mindfulness in my day to day life, meditate and journal the more this point becomes clear.
  27. The green beauty community of bloggers/vloggers are so awesome and I am totally inspired by them.
  28. When you come home and your husband says he found a great deal for a 10 day trip to Cancun and Chichen Itza in 3 weeks you put in your time off request at work the next day.
  29. Watching friends and family get married will always be such a joy. To be invited to witness and celebrate that day is so special…and tons of fun!
  30. I’m so grateful and proud of myself for blogging every month this past year. I hope you have been enjoying it as much as I have.
  31. Living simply is the best way to live. With less stuff comes less stress. You have to release and let things go to make space for new things to come into your life.

monument valley

Chichen Itza

New homeowners

The Blogcademy

mountain wedding


San Diego Sunset

I hope you all have a fantastic weekend! Lots of love to you!

Simply Alyson Peace & Love






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