making the most of life’s milestones



For those of you who read the blog, you know a lot’s changed in the past nine months. I replaced Graduate Student with Registered Dietitian on my resume, left my apartment in Chapel Hill for the excitement of San Francisco, landed a job beyond my wildest dreams and ran off to Italy to marry the love of my life.

You’d think after eight years in a college town I’d be ready for big city living. Or after six years of studying and numerous dietetic internships, I’d feel like I had earned my dream job. Or after dating the man I’ve loved for four years, I wouldn’t have nervous butterflies walking down the isle. After all, each of these milestones has been years of hard work in the making.

Becoming a RD, moving to a big city, landing my dream job and getting married –these recent milestones have been nothing short of amazing. What I wasn’t fully prepared for though were the big changes that came with them.

The truth is, part of me misses Southern living and being a student in Chapel Hill. I sometimes sit at my desk in downtown San Francisco and wonder whether I’m capable of the great things my bosses think I am. And you know what? I didn’t really feel married until the hubs and I had our first argument last week. Something about having to kiss and make up finally made marriage feel real.

No matter how ready I felt or exciting they’ve been, navigating a new career, learning a new city and becoming a new wife hasn’t necessarily been easy.

I know many of you are chasing milestones of your own. Maybe you’re studying for a degree, moving to a new place, training for a race, planning a wedding of your own… I thought I’d share just a few things I’ve learned about embracing achievements and making the most of new adventures.

  1. Live in the moment – Enjoy life as it is now, whether it’s your last few days as a student or your first night in a new apartment. You might miss something wonderful if your mind is stuck on the past or preoccupied about what’s to come. Some of my fondest memories from Chapel Hill were my last!
  2. Celebrate your accomplishments. Spend an entire day exploring your new city or plan a post-exam fiesta with friends. Don’t miss the moment getting caught up thinking about what’s next. The hubs and I indulged in a large pizza and bottle of fancy champagne the night I got my job offer!
  3. Accept the challenges – Things may not be quite what you expected or you might occasionally think you’ve gotten in over your head. Take it one day, one moment at a time –and remind yourself: Great things are rarely easy. I’m constantly reminding myself I got my job because I am 100% capable of doing great things.

Hopefully sharing what I’ve learned from my recent milestones will help you make the most of yours when they happen!

What milestones are you working towards –and do worry about any of the changes they may bring?

How do you make the most of new and exciting but sometimes scary changes?


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  • This is so great. I am spending my last 3 days in San Diego before moving up to LA for medical school (granted this is nothing like moving across the country, but I am definitely getting nervous). I think just trying to live in the moment is the best advice you can give.

  • I love the post so much. Also, I needed this so much like others. I recently went through big milestones in my life – pregnancy and parenthood. Just a month ago, I gave a birth. It was my first pregnancy, so everything was so new and challenging. As I entered a new journey of motherhood, caring for a new born baby is much harder than I pictured. But reading your post reminds me of much important things. I need to live in the moment with the baby, celebrate any small achievements I made in motherhood, and accept any new challenges with “joy” and “smiles.” Thank you!

  • What an amazing post just when I needed it! I wrote something similar recently as I went through many big milestones this time last year, graduated grad school, moved to a new city, began my first real job, and moved in with my now fiance. It is incredibly exciting, but all a lot to manage and catch up with emotionally. Love your tips to stop and drink it all in rather than letting it buzz by.

    Congrats on all of your big moves recently and just remember, you are worth it and you can do it!

  • Gosh, I love this post. I can relate to the feeling of so many changes… 2012 was full of quite literally life changing moments for me, many of which at the time devastated me and I thought were for the worst. Now, as I sit in my new home in San Diego feeling caught off guard that I’m the happiest I’ve been in far too long, I feel like everything happened for a reason. It can be easy to forget to live in the present, though, and let the changes and corresponding effects wash over you/settle in.

    …Oops, that was way longer of a ramble than i was expecting to leave. ;)

  • I’m working towards getting through medical school in one piece, and making sure to enjoy bits and pieces of my youth along the way. It’s always something that makes me anxious about this chosen career path, but I know I can make an effort to create some treasured memories.

  • So true. I’ve been learning the same things the past year or so. Marriage, career change, new city…the whole bit. I’ve learned it’s healthy to question because it reminds me why I’m doing what I’m doing. Change is a lot at first but it all comes together beautifully!

  • It seems that we are (almost) in the same boat! I wish you luck in your new job! Keep up the great work, the blog is looking fantastic.

  • Such a beautiful post! I love your honesty and reflection.

    I’m working towards the graduation/RD/moving milestone, but i’m trying to make the most of my time Georgia and explore as much of the southeast as I can. Although it may not be my #1 choice, it is a great place, after all, and this is my chance!

    Every year I make a “goals” list, mostly things to do places, to eat at, and experiences to have during the school year. This year is pretty packed with agenda items, and is going to be awesome :)

    Love ya!

  • What a great post- I’m feeling the same lately after going through a lot of change in two years. The past two years I’ve got engaged, got a promotion at work, moved in with my now husband ran my first marathon and got married. Now, it’s important to be appreciative of all those accomplishments and start the long process towards selling our condo and getting a house, working towards my first triathlon and having our first baby in the next few years!

  • I have the feeling we’ll be transitioning to life in SF for quite a while longer, too. Definitely takes a while to feel settled after a big move!

  • I love this post. Milestones are terrifying and exciting all in one go, and its so easy to miss the moments if you’re not careful. You never really know where the next one is going to come from, or what is going to change, so embracing the now is so so important.

  • Love this post. I made the switch from New York to Chicago last year and I still feel like I’m in transition. Changes are hard, but it forces you to figure things out. Gotta keep truckin along :)

  • very true.sometimes I get overwhelmed with so many things happening in my life but its always important to take a step back and take things slow.

  • I’m a sophomore at the University of Alabama (studying to become a RD!) and I think being a college student is a milestone in itself. I’m working at enjoying where I am at this very moment instead of stressing about countless things – the freshmen fifteen, working, studying, having fun – that might otherwise suck the good out of this once in a lifetime experience!

    • Yay! Good luck with your classes and make sure you keep having a good time :) The time will absolutely fly by.

  • Thanks for sharing. Great advice. I am working on my degree in Food and Nutrition to become an RD. As a non-traditional student (a career changer) and a single mother, I often get discouraged and pray that all my hard work will pay off. I know in my heart this is what is right for me. Thank you so much for the encouraging words.

    • Hi Annette! It absolutely WILL pay off! Keep following your heart – from the sounds of it you’re not only doing what’s right for you but you’re setting a wonderful example for your children!

  • I love this! You are such an inspiration to me! I’m working towards becoming a RD and SF is my dream city… someday, my husband & I hope to be able to afford to live there (maybe when I graduate). Thanks for sharing!! :)

    • You’ve picked an awesome career and an awesome city – but I might be a teeny bit biased. Hope to see you out here in the future!

  • Thanks for the inspiring post! So many of us are trying to overcome challenges, whether it is just one or multiple at a time. Your points are great ones to remember when trying to make the most of things!

  • Thanks for the wise words, Elle! I’m in the middle of finishing a degree, job-searching and preparing for a (probably international) move and the only thing that’s keeping me sane is remembering to take things as the come and to enjoy life as much as possible in between all the stressful moments. It’s a season of change, but also a season of growth and I’m glad to have some company along the way!

    • Change can be stressful and completely wonderful all at the same time. Best of luck to you with finishing your degree and that potential international move. :)