12 Lessons Miami Taught Me


Miami Skyline from Brickell
Miami skyline.
My one year anniversary of living the Miami lifestyle Drake loves to rap about is quickly approaching and my mind is buzzing with analyzations of my experience. Let’s answer the question everyone is dying to know! Are Drake’s lyrics the truth about Miami? Yes and no. “Still in Miami, most of these girls are too messy” is definitely accurate and might I add a contagious disease! Kidding...kind of.

I like to think of myself as a pessimist so that when I say positive things everyone is all like “omg you are sooooo positive,” but this isn’t what’s happening here. So don’t expect this post to be about “why you should vacation in Miami.” Although social media might tell you otherwise my friends will reassure that this isn’t my favorite city. It has it’s amazing upsides but I ultimately learned it isn’t for me and that is totally okay!

So here are the lessons Miami taught me. I probably would’ve learned all these at some point but Miami decided it would be a blast to jam pack 12 life lessons in a year.

1. I am not good enough for Miami.

From the beautiful women with perfect EVERYTHING to the rich who live among the clouds overlooking the water, it's hard to feel like you are good enough. I sincerely wished to be one of these people until I realized that they too wish to be one of "those people". Here is the thing, Miami demands all of you. It demands that you match its beauty of sparkling blue waters and sunny days. Miami can sense your low self-esteem and quickly hunts you down.

So each one of "those people" spend lots of money & go into debt for the perfect body, car, apartment, and the ultimate high. In reality even “those people” are not good enough for Miami. The moment I gave up trying to fit in, like that one crappy ex you’ve had enough of, surely Miami was soon enough begging for my attention. Lesson here? I learned that my favorite thrift finds, my unmanicured nails, my dark roots sitting on top a mass of messy blonde hair, and my lack of Gucci sunglasses didn’t actually matter. I stood my ground and stayed true to myself, my goals, and more importantly my budget. Miami taught me perfection isn’t my goal.

2. Try it all.

Try everything. If you don’t find what you are looking for at least you’ll find out what you’re not looking for.

3.There is no beauty in the struggle.

I hate when people say there is beauty in the struggle. Like where? When it's 2 am and I'm crying because I miss my family? Panic attacks in the middle of the grocery store because life is passing me by and I haven’t reached my goals? When the killer moral and alcohol induced hangover hits you on Sunday? Let’s get real, struggling is not beautiful, stop romanticizing such difficult and human emotions. Struggling is struggling.

We all have our dreams ripped out of our hands. We all have jobs, habits, or routines that suck the life out of us. We all have to set aside what we want for what we need. We all have to do what is necessary instead of what is fun. Ready for the lesson? It’s a phase and it will pass and then it will come again and then it will go again! There will be easier struggles and there will be harder struggles. It’s just a part of life.

4. Not everything has a reason.

This may sound dire and absolutely negative but hear me out. Why can’t you sleep at night? Is it because you are overthinking? What if I told you the experiences you are over analyzing actually don’t mean anything?

Let’s say you forgot to set your alarm so now you’re running late but still need a cup of coffee. Well, maybe yeah you wouldn’t have spilled your coffee onto your new DVF dress if you had set an alarm and weren’t rushing to buy coffee, but it doesn’t mean anything. It doesn’t mean you have bad luck, that you are doomed for life, that you are clumsy, or any indication of how the rest of your day will turn out. Just like that, I have made about 95% of your problems disappear. We as humans are consistently trying to find reasoning and meaning to our lives. Hello, I am here analyzing my life! It’s literally the human condition! WELCOME TO BEING A HUMAN! Just let me save you all that time. Most things are a series of coincidences some good and some bad but at the end of the day, just coincidences.

FINE, if you are still a skeptic then stop being a pessimist. Think about how that spill delayed your morning routine, which led you to be stuck behind a car accident. What if you had been on time? Could that have been you instead? Note: I don’t like this theory because it assumes that bad things happen to other people to serve as a lesson to others. I don’t think anyone's life is so worthless as to be used as a lesson. BUT that is a whole other story.

The point is not everything in life needs a reason. Bad luck is literally just bad luck sometimes. I promise it ends.

5. How to (REALLY) clean an apartment.

Finally a practical lesson. Mom are you seeing this?!?

6. I don’t want to party.

I graduated college and remember telling my best friend “Omg I don’t know how people graduate and become so boring. I love drinking and will never stop.” HA! Here I am, 8 pm on a Friday night, ignoring invitations to go out, and watching Netflix with a face mask on. Also, how good does it feel to wake up at 6 am, do some hot yoga, and get an iced coffee? Can we get a round of applause for me? I traded in late nights for early mornings. Mom, again, are you reading this?!?

7. How to be alone.

Someone once told me...okay that “someone” was a jerk I once dated (SOML). Rolling my eyes as I type this.

Said jerk once told me, “the more personal an experience/emotion, the more universal it is.” (He totally read this somewhere, btw.) Think about it though! What is the most personal experience you have ever had? A death? A heartbreak? Loneliness? Depression? Think about how EVERYONE goes through this. That thought alone calms me down.

I am very social. I love being around people. I love relationships. I love talking and socializing. Guess what I didn’t have in Miami? Family, friends, people, relationships. Loneliest year of my life. Hardest year of my life. There are two types of people: 1. Exhausted alone, energized with others 2. Exhausted with others, energized when alone. I am the first one so that exaggerated my feelings of loneliness.

I was literally forced to be alone because no matter how I tried Miami is not a very friendly city. I met amazing people along the way but it took some time. I learned that I would rather be alone than in bad company and how to enjoy being alone.

8. Allowing myself to change.

I suppose this relates to lesson #2 but after trying all the stuff I didn’t like, I have a clearer vision of what I want and my expectations. Mainly, I learned that I will constantly change and that is okay. Up until 22, I knew exactly who I was and what I wanted. As soon as I started experiencing the real world I did a 180. I had been denying myself the opportunity to get to know this new person I was becoming. I forced myself to be who I always was which stunted my growth and happiness. I did what 22 year old me would have loved and here I am, 24 years old and not exactly thrilled with my life. Allow yourself to change. Allow yourself to become the complete opposite of what you had expected. I don’t believe that you become more “you” as the years go by. I believe that you just learn to allow yourself to forever evolve.

9. The value of money.

Oh boy. I tell everyone I made more money living off my parents in college than I do as a diploma and job having adult. Fine, I was spoiled then I was introduced to the real world. Bills literally will take all your money and laugh at you. So now that $30 Zara blouse has become 6 iced coffees. I never said I learned money management. I said I learned the value of money.

10. How to make time.

You have time. You just have to use it. Hence why I love waking up early and having “me” time.

11. How to fulfill commitments.

As a true millennial, I can’t even commit to a laundry detergent brand. I promised myself (and my parents) that I would commit to a job, a city, and an apartment lease for a year. When you first move somewhere everything is exciting and it’s easy to keep commitments. The hard part is when a couple months in you realize this isn’t for you. With the heavy responsibility of a large rent bill, I had to keep my promise. It would have been selfish to do what I wanted, leave, and let my parents pay my rent as I “figured life out.” I kept my promise like an adult and I am so proud to sticking with something for a year even though it wasn’t ideal. I learned that the enthusiasm will at some point disappear but honoring commitments are so important.

12. Courage to pursue the life I want.

It’s so weird to be saying goodbye. It’s not that I don’t want to leave it’s just that I know as soon as I leave I will be closing a chapter. It will be one of those defining moments where everything changes from one second to the next. As I mentioned in lesson #8, I had spent the last 24 years nurturing and feeding this person that I have come to realize is no longer here.

Coming to terms with the fact that all the things I had wanted for 22 years had changed has been the most difficult obstacle. They always say that being honest with yourself is the most difficult thing to do. I think this new person has been trying to emerge for two years but I kept her suppressed because dealing with the fact that I no longer knew who I was or what I wanted was too scary. My college self would be thrilled with my current life, young adult me isn’t too thrilled. It feels like the end of an era.  

*Cue Fight Song by Rachel Platten*  
Humor me, play the song,  it makes for an epic closing!

Miami was the last heartbreak I needed to completely tear me apart. I was hanging on to a heart, soul, and mind that was barely held together by dollar store tape and super glue. I was forced to throw away everything and start over. It was what I needed to let light in and force darkness out. It feels like all the “frozen grief,“ as Sarah Jones likes to say, finally melted away.

I feel strong. Something I haven’t felt since 2015. Here is to leaving behind all that held me back and to accepting new visions, goals, and roads. I leave Miami with the courage to seek new dreams and follow that ever mystifying “happiness.”

Watch out world “cause I still got a lot of fight left in me.”

One last note: Thank you to all the amazing people I met in Miami. You made this past year bearable, interesting, fun, and hopeful.

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