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Relax, Relate, and Release: Lessons from the DR

Last week I spent a magnificent 6 days on a beautiful resort in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic! I was able to spend time with family, relax by the beach, eat unlimited food (Planet Fitness will be seeing a lot of me), and let my hair down a little. While relaxing was my main goal for the trip, I spent a great deal of my time reflecting and learning a few things about myself and others. Here are 5 things that the beautiful DR taught me.

Parents really do understand.

One of my fave moments of the trip was being able to have some adulting conversations with my dad. Though it was mostly him doing the talking and me the listening, I must say dad dropped a few truth bombs on ya girl that left me speechless. Sometimes, us kids, especially as adults, feel like we have it all together and because we now have responsibilities we know what’s best. Mr. Dyson gave me the rundown on life and how I can change my perspective to live it better. Though he and his generation sees life differently, it was refreshing to hear him acknowledge and empathize with our struggles as millennials. Even though I may not get everything right and will still choose my own path, I loved the fact that those conversations showed that it may not be expressed often, but contrary to what Will Smith convinced us to believe, parents (sometimes) do understand.

Don’t feel guilty about taking a break.

If you’re like me, the words “relaxation” and “break” may sound as if someone is speaking a foreign language. If I’m honest, sometimes I dread those words because I feel like there is always something that can be done. Not being able to check and respond to my work emails gave me a sense of anxiety that I couldn’t even imagine. I know that it is an imperative time for the company I work for and I felt guilty for leaving my coworkers hanging for seven days. One day it hit me, “Girl you WORKED HARD for those vacation days. You’ve had some difficult work days over the course of these past few months. Take this time to recuperate and rest so you can present a better you when you return”. Truth is, no one can be a valuable employee if they are running on empty. If you aren’t able to take a few days off, take some time, even if it’s an hour a day to regroup and get yourself together. You, your employer, and friends will thank you for doing so later.

Your 20s= Exploring and Growth.

Being surrounded by family and friends showed me some things about myself, both liked and disliked. Over dinner one night, I confessed to my best friend some of my ugly truth I discovered and how badly I wanted change. She helped me realize the freedom I have to do so and the beauty in being okay with change. This is what your 20s (or 30s, 40s, 50s,etc.) are for. We put ourselves in this box of “I thought this way for years so this is how it is” and don’t oftentimes see our way out. This stage of life that I find myself in will require unlearning, growing, mistakes, and tons of lessons. I have my seatbelt buckled and I’m ready for the ride.

The world is out there waiting for you.

Seriously. See the world while you still have the chance. There is so much beauty out there and many cultures to experience. If international is out of your way right now, start with exploring a neighboring new state or city. It’s so worth it. What are you waiting for?

Bump fears, live your life.

This has been the running theme throughout the course of the trip. It all started with the phone calls and text messages I received BEFORE (and even during) my trip regarding the news and current state of the Dominican Republic. Now of course, first instinct is to be cautious because of everything that was (and still is) being reported, but after praying about it and talking to my dad, I didn’t feel the urge to cancel the trip. I knew that I was going to be covered during my time there. Now fast forward to the actual trip and I saw how much of a scaredy cat I really am. I found myself saying no to any little thing that challenged what I knew and my comfort zone. It got to the point that one day, my cousin’s friend asked me “Tia, what do you do? It seems like your list of things you DON’T do is longer than the list of things you actually DO”. It was in that moment I wanted the ground to swallow me up. How was it that a person that barely knows me could read my whole life like a book? After the embarrassment died down, I did some self reflection and realized she was right. Who wants to go to a new country and just do the norm? Though I did conquer a few fears during my trip, I realized I can’t fully live my life until I release my hold on the reins of life and just do it. Stop thinking so much about the past and future and just be in the present.

What are some things your recent vacay taught you? Let me know in the comments!