One Year, Make It Count

Happy New Year! It is exhilarating writing /14 next to all dates because 2014 is the year I graduate. I distinctly remember coming to orientation at USF in summer 2010 and seeing all the teddy bears, t-shirts and more stitched with Class of 2010. I said to my parents,  “Hey! One day those are going to say 2014.”

Well hello, 2014 and what a ride it has been to get here. There have been multiple posts in articles, magazines, social media, etc. with the theme of NEW YEAR NEW ME. I think it is very important to keep goals, but I also think the best changes come from experiences we don’t think too much about.

Here is some advice to making this year count because every year only comes around once, and you get 365 (366 when we’re lucky) days to make that year count.

1. You ‘don’t need no man!’

Lavaliered!

Some of you who know me may remember when my Facebook name was, “Danielle dontneednoman Kushner.” Professional, right?  I used to stress about others being in relationships, and always wondered what was wrong with me that I could not find commitment from others. After a break up that that taught me a lot, I motivated myself to not focus on who liked my photos, who was texting me, etc. Now I have my one year anniversary tomorrow (Jan. 11, depending when you’re reading this) with Matt, and I know we are in a healthy relationship that I deserve. I don’t need Matt, but I truly want, love, appreciate and am overall a better version of myself because I have him. You know who you do need? – family and good friends, so give them a call more than you do now. I have another  personal goal to call my mom, dad & sister more while reaching out to friends I don’t always hang out with. So my iconic Facebook name is still true and hilarious. Be careful who you friend zone, I should have started dating Matt four years ago!

2. Put the phone down. Unplug. 

“Today I finally overcame tryin’ to fit the world inside a picture frame.” – John Mayor.

This is ironic for me to say because I tend to feel that I need my phone out when hanging out with friends, at meetings, etc. But I’ve recently been called out on it and I appreciate that. This is a goal for myself this year: When I am out to dinner, at a meeting, or any where else where I should be listening to others my phone will be inside my bag on silent. Matt sent me an article that notes you actually remember moments less when you take a photo! We become so consumed with how many people like our pictures we post. If I like a photo enough to post it so who cares who else does? Whether I get 1 like or 150 likes, it should not determine my satisfaction in any situation. I only consistantly ‘Instagram’ food because I think food is beautiful and I am proud to be creative with healthy food. Keep posting your moments, but remember what moments need to be lived. In my defense… can all my GroupMe’s not blow up when I’m out? Here is a video, “I Forgot My Phone”,that really sealed the deal for me:

3. Traveling doesn’t mean going to Europe. 

Traveling is the only thing you can spend money on that makes you richer. According to Google definition, to travel means “make a journey, typically of some length or abroad.” Typically, but not only. This is potentially my last year in Florida so I want to make that count. Some of my travel goals for this year are to stay at the Nick Hotel, re-visit all four Disney parks, spend more time in St. Pete + Clearwater beach, and actually use my Busch Gardens pass before it expires in May. In 2012 I went to Israel and in 2013 I spent the summer in New York, which will always be two of the most enriching experiences in my life. I hope this year you have big plans to just get out there even if it is just taking a road trip to a unique museum that is 30 minutes away.

I challenge you to Google the top things to do in (insert where you live) and do the first thing on that list that you have never done or have not done in the last five years. Or, just read outdoors every now and then. But if you do decide to go to Europe . . . enjoy!!! And remember to not spend the whole time Instagramming!

Videos that will make your day, you just need 3 minutes.


Maybe you’re having a stressful day or week. Be it finals, end-of-the-year deadlines, graduation or the like – take the chance to watch at least one of these videos. I have watched all of these, and have shed tears for each one (warning). Be inspired by people who truly make a difference! I’d love to know which one is your favorite. They are broken down by how much time you have – 3, 5 or 10 minutes. Enjoy!

If you have at least 3 minutes: 

‘Super-Sized’ Random Act Of Kindness
They pay for those behind them in the drive-thru line, and only ask that they pay it forward.

Alex’s Lemonade Stand
Alex was an inspiring young girl whose love for life carries on past her own.

If you have at least 5 minutes: 

Take A Seat – Make a Friend
Soul Pancake really took inspiration to a whole new level. Strangers are asked to share a seat in a ball pit and ask life’s biggest questions.

CBS WKBT News Anchor’s On-Air Response to Viewer Calling Her Fat
I actually just posted this on my Facebook this week. If you have not seen it yet, I highly encourage that you do so. Remember that bullies do not define your self-worth – but the positive voices of all who love you do.

If you have at least 10 minutes: 

Anti-Semitism on the Rise? ABC Primetime “What Would You Do?”
What Would You Do? Is one of my favorite TV shows. Actors and actresses portray scenes of oppression and see how others react. This is a real test of the bystander effect. You can watch other clips on Youtube, I chose this one since it shows oppression against my own religion.

Greatest Marriage Proposal Ever!!!
UGH. Seriously never gets old. This is a popular one, but this proposal will make you wonder how your future soulmate could ever top this. This guy wins.