31 AF

As a Gemini today is my favorite day of the year. It’s my birthday and today I’m 31. Seems crazy to think about, but here we are. I always enjoy reflecting back on the previous year, whether that’s around New Year’s or around my birthday. A lot can change in a year.

This birthday isn’t a monumental birthday and I’m not doing much for it as I just celebrated my bachelorette two weeks ago and life is consumed with the last couple weeks before the wedding. But that isn’t to say lessons weren’t learned in the last year.

Make time yourself. I’m currently in a career position where I’m extremely busy. I’ve always been someone who ends each day with a zero inbox and completed to do list. My job doesn’t allow for that these days. There’ always more to be done. I’ve realized that I have given up some of my mental help while trying to do too much and please too many. In that, I temporarily  lost myself. I didn’t take care of my mental or physical being, which resulted in more unhappiness.

Moral of the story if you can’t please everyone and you can’t do it all, so making sure you are pleased will only better ensure you are doing your best in all other aspects. I know life gets busy and we’re all tired at the end of the day, this is something I’ve struggled with for the last year. Though it’s not always easy, I’ve figured out a routine that works for me – working out before work, spending quality time with my dogs, coming home and trying my best to be present and stay off work email so I can enjoy the night with Erick and the pups.

Don’t expect anything. Whether that’s from your significant other, work, friends, family, anyone. When you expect something to go a certain way, it inevitably won’t go that way. I’m still learning that you can’t control others. People are wild cards. Communication is also tricky. This was a huge take away during marriage counseling – you may think you explain something clearly but it doesn’t translate to the other person. You can only control yourself and how you handle situations.

Be grateful. Stemming from the last point, be grateful for everything and everyone in your life. Even when things might not go as you imagined, that doesn’t mean it’s wrong or bad, or it’s not teaching you something. You can be grateful for people, situations, ideas, plans that went by completely “wrong”.


Erick and I almost left Chicago a few months ago. Through many long talks, cries, and ultimately realizing all the great things we have here in Chicago, we didn’t. We ultimately committed ourselves to Chicago. I’m forever grateful for this decision. Who knows where life will take us. Our daily motto has become, “when you wake up, you just don’t know.” Because that rang true for us for the majority of early 2018.

 Spend time with those who matter. If I have one “regret” from the past year it’s from not spending enough time with people who I truly care about. We’re all busy and have a lot going on, but making time for those important to you is the most valuable gift you can give someone.


As our pastor and his family embark on a new adventure outside Chicago, I’m regretting not spending more time with them while they were here. After spending some time with them over the last few months, I’m regretting not doing that sooner and more often.


This can even be said for my pups. With trying to complete 100 tasks a day, they don’t always get the love, attention, and exercise they need. I’m trying to be better about including them on outdoor runs, and giving undivided cuddles to each of them. But it’s a constant reminder to be more present and spend time with those who matter.

There are always lessons to learn, and each year brings something new. I’m excited to see what 31 brings and even more excited to spend it alongside with those most important to me. Cheers!

Amanda Failla