10 Lessons Learned In 2021

Julia standing in Buffalo

Hey there, friends! It’s been quite a while since I’ve written a blog post here. (In fact, it’s been more than two years, which is truly unbelievable.) 

2020 and 2021 seemed to be a blur for so many; we navigated so much uncertainty and changes to our routines and lifestyles, and it seems as though my blog truly had to be moved to the back-burner out of survival.

That said, there were so many things that I learned in 2020 and 2021 in particular, that I felt like what better way to jump back into my blog with both feet than by sharing my top 10 lessons learned in 2021!

I hope that these lessons inspire you to live your life on your terms:

  1. Ditch perfect and show up as you are: Life is so much more enjoyable when you can let your unfiltered self take up space. Letting yourself show up as you are is the greatest gift you can give yourself.  Rather than trying to fit into some box of what you think you should be, embrace ALL of the unique characteristics, values, preferences and quirks that make you exactly who you are. There’s only one of you and the world wants to see you.
  2. Don’t be afraid to reach out to the creators you admire: Jera Bean is one of those for me and in February 2021, I connected with her to include her in a digital presentation I did for Agorapulse‘s Instagram Summit all about Instagram. Her response to the portion of my video that included her was EPIC and I’ll never forget it. It’s thanks to social media that I’ve built so many beautiful relationships.
  3. Lean into technology: 2020 and 2021 taught me to lean into tools. Having family FaceTimes with my parents and/or family in Brazil has been tremendously fulfilling. These tools are such powerful vehicles for staying in touch in today’s world.
  4. Nothing beats the sibling bond: My sister is one of my favorite people in the world but we never get enough time together in person given that we live in different states. Getting quality time with her over the summer, and seeing her play with my puppy Gouda, made my heart feel like it was going to burst. Take the effort to carve out time for your loved ones; you’ll never regret it.
  5.  Don’t let past heartbreak make you bitter: I ended my last serious relationship in June of 2020 and man, was it a difficult ending. It was messy and emotional, and took me longer to heal than the breakup I experienced with my ex-fiance in 2017. It’s easy to let heartbreak make us cynical and bitter, but man is it worth keeping your heart open. I have been falling in love with an amazing man since we met in April of 2021 and the experience has been nothing short of miraculous. Not a minute goes by where I’m not grateful for our paths crossing, and proud of myself for keeping my heart open to whatever comes my way.
  6. Love is always worth celebrating: In August 2021, I got to see one of my closest friends marry the love of her life. (Also, I wore sneakers and was the person dancing (sometimes by myself) the whole time.) 10/10 recommend attending a wedding alone at some point in your life.
  7. Only YOU can make your dreams a reality: Nobody is going to hand you a permission slip to do hard things. You have to show up, consistently, for yourself and put in the work and effort to get where you’d like to go. Sharing my message on stage at #SMWL21 was a MAJOR dream come true and made me so clear that public speaking is my calling.
  8. Volunteer for a cause you REALLY care about: This will be one of the most fulfilling decisions you make in your life. Being on the Board of Directors for University at Buffalo’s Alumni Association has been one of the greatest decisions I’ve made in my career. It feels so rewarding to get to give back to the university that helped shape me into the professional that I am today.
  9. Do brave things: My mom recently retired and moved across the country to Pittsburgh, marking her second cross-country move in 8 years. She’s constantly modeled the importance of making your own path and doing what brings you joy. My mom walks to the beat of her own drum and has constantly inspired both my sister and I to do the same. Having a parent that acts with bravery helps me see how important it truly is.
  10. Never lose touch with your inner-child: Stay goofy. Have fun. Be silly. Giggle loudly. Life is short, so make it enjoyable. If we want to survive this “new normal” of life with masks and isolation, we have to find ways to infuse joy into our hearts and bodies. Taking time to have a dance party and/or snuggle your dog is exactly what you need to be doing every day.

While I don’t know exactly what 2022 has in store for me, I know that it’s going to be a year of abundance and alignment.

I’ve worked so hard to get to exactly where I am today and feel filled with hope and optimism about where I’ll be in January 2023.

What are YOU most excited about this year? Which lesson above most resonated with you?

I’d love to know!

1 Comment

  • Donna Jornsay says:


    I just read your 2021 Top 10 and feel honored that my bravery has inspired you. Yesterday I had to be brave for Finn and get into a go kart (alone and going 20 miles/hour) so Finn would feel brave enough to try it. PS. He loved it!

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