Winter Wonderland In Washington: Five Things I Learned In 2016

 

How is everyone doing? I hope everyone is having a warm and stress-free holiday season. I took a much needed two week break from blogging due to travel. If you follow me on Instagram, you would know that I recently visited my parents in Washington about 20 miles from Downtown Seattle. This was our first time traveling as a family of five and despite my worries about traveling with an infant, Baby D did surprisingly well on the 2.5 hour flight.

As always, we visited the famous Pike Place Marketplace and made our usual stops at Pike Place Chowder, Ellenos Greek Yogurt and The Original Starbucks. We’ve been there many times before but this time was extra special because there weren’t too many people. It was nice to be able to walk around and visit our favorite places without the usual long wait and lines.
winter-wonderland-2The most memorable part of this trip was seeing our first real snow at Snoqualmie Pass, which is a mountain pass that carries Interstate 90 through the cascade range in Washington state. We ended up at a place called Hyak Sno-Park located on Exit 54. This place is awesome for families because it has clean, heated restrooms (with warm water!) and well groomed sled and snowshoe routes. We weren’t prepared for sledding but we got to take plenty of photos and play in the snow.

Being from California, this was a rare sight for us. The snow in Washington feels and looks different, where everything is soft, powdery, fresh and new. Such vast whiteness of a world covered in snow humbled me, and made me reflect about the things I learned in 2016.

As the year comes to a close, I contemplated about the things I learned in 2016 and things I want to remember for the new year. Here are five things I learned in 2016. Some are old and some are new but every single one of them are important, I believe. I hope you enjoy reading and that they inspire you to think about your own five things.

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1. Hard times pass

Sometimes when things are bad, they get real bad. I mean, why is it that bad things happen all at once? I’ve gone through moments that seem so bad that I begin to question my own faith. Did God forget about me and my prayers? Am I doing it all wrong? This year I thought this on numerous occasions because I’m human and life can get really messy sometimes.

Luckily I now know that hard times ALWAYS pass, and that something that seems so horrible now ends up not being such a big deal weeks or months down the line. Just as every good moment passes, every bad moment passes too. Remember that next time you’re stuck in a situation that feels hopeless and difficult to endure.

Hard times pass and you will be well again.

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2. Gratitude is key

I learn and re-learn this lesson daily through my special needs daughter. Instead of complaining about what we lack, it’s important to be thankful for what we do have. Without the daily practice of gratitude, our lives will always be unhappy and half empty because there is no way we can have it all.

When you think there is nothing to be grateful for, think again. We are alive, which means we have another shot at life, another chance to take, another opportunity to make things better.

If you can read this, you are blessed more than beyond measure.

3. Vulnerability is power

I believe what makes me most likable and relatable as a person is not my strength but my vulnerability. This does not mean I’m weak, helpless and play the victim. In fact it means the exact opposite. When I’m vulnerable with others as well as myself, I’m well aware of my weakness and shortcomings and have worked through them enough to share them with others.

Being vulnerable enables me to be more empathetic, open, honest and understanding.

I lived twenty somethings years with fear of vulnerability. I was scared that people will see my shortcomings and therefore tried hard to mask it. In the end, it made me less happy and people who are already living an authentic life can usually tell and call my bluff. I was acting, not truly living.

Look up. Everyone has shortcomings. No one is perfect. Behind closed doors, everyone is struggling in one way or another. This is not something to hide but something to share. It makes us more relatable, likable and human.

Be authentically flawed, not fake happy.

Vulnerability is power. Once you realize this, you will see what kind of gentle power it brings to your relationships.

4. Let go of control

The moment I accepted that many things in life cannot be controlled, more freedom I felt in my daily life. This is especially important in motherhood when there are a million things that can go wrong every single day.

This means I no longer stress about things I can’t change– such as whether my child will be okay at school or whether or not I should’ve done this or that. We all have these moments, right? When I begin to worry I ask myself “Am I worried about something I can change?” If the answer is no, I push out the negative thought.

There are many things in life we cannot control, even in regards to our own children. We can guide, love and support them, but we can’t (and shouldn’t) change their abilities and temperaments.

Accept the things we can’t change and let go.

5. Make happiness a priority

 

I used to make “doing it all” or “doing it right” my priority as a wife and mom. I ended up unhappy, overwhelmed and depressed.

When chasing perfection became a source for disaster, I decided to make changes and chase after something else, something more meaningful, lasting and fulfilling. I made happiness a priority.

Instead of “doing it all” or “doing it right,” I do what makes me happy.

Instead of “doing it all” or “doing it right,” I do what makes me happy. Whether it’s maintaining a clean house with the help of cleaners, hiring help so I can get a few hours to write and work, or eating out for dinner because I’m too tired to cook for the whole family, I make my happiness a priority.

I used to think chasing after my own happiness was being selfish as a wife and mother. I thought I need to sacrifice my all to make others happy. Today I know that happiness doesn’t require my whole sacrifice, it simply requires that I can better discern what I can and cannot do.

Today I know that happiness doesn’t require my whole sacrifice, it simply requires that I can better discern what I can and cannot do.

When mom is happy, the whole family is happy. When mom is less stressed, the whole family is less stressed. When mom is fully enjoying her life, it helps rest of the family fully enjoy theirs too. We moms have that much power over our family’s environment.

What do you think about my list of five things I learned in 2016? Which is your favorite? If you were to create your own list of five things you learned this year, what would it be?

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Angela
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23 thoughts on “Winter Wonderland In Washington: Five Things I Learned In 2016

  1. Naya @ Lactivist in Louboutins

    Oh your pictures are so beautiful! The pacific northwest is on my short list of places to visit. One of my biggest lessons from 2016 was that hard times pass. it can be so hard to remember that when you’re in the tough time, but it won’t last forever.

    Reply
  2. lesley sullivan

    We lived in Washington for several years, and I miss it so much! I’ve been to all the places you mentioned, and love them all! There is something about the atmosphere that brings out so much happiness! I hope you enjoyed your visit

    Reply
  3. Angela

    Great post, Angela. I am going through a particularly difficult time as I write this… My mom is dying right in front of my eyes. I feel like I’m in a movie. Everything you said is ringing with new meaning to me at the moment. Life is short – be grateful for the blessings we have now. xo

    Reply
  4. Stephanie

    What beautiful photographs! Just scrolling through them is making me feel calmer and ready to take on your advice (and, if my child will ever be willing, stomp around in our snow!)

    Reply
  5. Jessica

    Oh my gosh these photos are breathtaking. I am making happiness my priority for this new year, such a good resolution!

    Reply
  6. Aimee

    I truly enjoyed this post, Angela. I found myself nodding in agreement with every word; and yes, gratitude is key. I am going to contemplate my five and I will get back to you…

    Reply
  7. Audrey

    Ur 5 lessons really spoke to me .. Especially happiness I was afraid to seek it as it would mean I am a selfish mother a bad daughter in law and daughter .. In the end w mil and mum encouraging me and their help I managed to get part time job for my work which I love totally (the work not the office politics). Even with hourly night wakings by the baby I look forward to work where I can read plot and absord.

    Reply

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