Gift-giving guide.

One of my favorite things in the world is giving gifts! I absolutely love sharing joy with my family and friends, whether it’s a small gift just because or something a little bigger for an occasion. I also think I’m pretty good at it. However, I think that anyone can have a talent for it with the right thoughtful mindset!

To me, all gifts are meaningful. I appreciate someone taking the time out of their day even if to only think about me. That’s why I love cards, anything handmade, photos, whatever it may be! When I am thinking of giving to others though, I think gifts can mean more than we think. Some people may be materialistic and that’s why they enjoy receiving gifts, but I think for a lot of people it’s something different. A couple reasons that a meaningful gift can be more than just a material item are:

1. It shows the other person that you are thinking of them.

2. It reveals that you know things about the person and what they like/love.

When I am thinking of what to get someone I love, I try to think if they have mentioned anything around me that they need or would love to have. This comment could have been from six months ago, but that person will be appreciative and probably surprised that you remembered. It does not have to be something extravagant, but it will make the person feel as if they are actually listened to.

If that doesn’t strike up any ideas, I like to think of what I know about the other person. Do they like funny gifts, sentimental gifts, or maybe even both? From there I will pick a path to go down. I have bought silly socks with puns on them for friends that love puns. I made a basket for a friend that spent the summer here in California with items that I thought would remind her of her time here. For a friend that loves sunshine and needed to make her room feel more like home, I picked out different succulents and plants and had them arranged in a beautiful pot with a macrame wall hanging to go with it.

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A magical farewell.

The reason I think this is so important is because people love and deserve to feel known. I want to spend my life making sure my family and friends know that I see them, and I appreciate who they are and the things they appreciate. It’s really not about the money, or the items themselves. It might be silly to think you can say such important things with favorite candies, a funny shirt, and some stickers- but I’ll keep trying.

First dates.

A few nights ago I went on a date. A first date, to be specific. The last time I went on a first date was almost four years ago now.

Three of those years were spent in a long term relationship (a story for another time); the other year-ish has been spent figuring out how to be me again. I learned a lot in those three years, but it all could be considered almost nothing when compared to this year after. I did not know what it would feel like to be a year out from the end of such a significant relationship at that point in my life.

It is good. I am happy, and know I am loved as well as have plenty of love to give. If you would’ve asked me at certain points during those three years, I might not have been able to give that complete answer.

It feels fun to get back out there, but also a little strange to be back in this place that at one point in time I thought I might never experience with anyone new again. Alas, the story changes, thankfully, for the better.

Here’s to being in new places with new people. Places that are fun, exciting, a little uncomfortable, nerve-inducing, and also overall temporary. It’s time to enjoy every season of life.

Gratitude.

I am so grateful for my family. I am grateful to have beautiful, wonderful friends that I love. I am grateful to always be learning and growing.

Gratitude is so incredibly powerful. This is obviously not an original idea; there are many authors, psychologists, and humans looking into the benefits of practicing gratitude daily. The people in my life that I look up to the most live a life of gratitude. In my opinion it is something we are born with the capacity for, but is something we need to put into practice to grow. The more gratitude is practiced, the easier it becomes a reflex to turn to not only when it is easy (but when it is necessary).

A lot of my thoughts can be anxious, and I know that I need to actively change them to make the difference that I would like to see. Also, when you are grateful, I don’t think you can take anything for granted. This has become extremely important to me through certain life experiences lately. Taking a step back out of my own head to examine my thoughts is something that can be difficult; it takes a lot of self-awareness. I know that this is something that is worth it though.

I’m hoping writing this will keep me accountable not to be perfect, but to be in practice.