WHAT MY PARENTS TAUGHT ME ABOUT LIFE

February 9, 2019

LIFESTYLE DESIGN 

You’ve probably read about, or heard the term, “lifestyle design” before and it’s piqued your interest. That’s why you’ve visited my site, and why you’re reading this blog. (Thanks, by the way!). Great news! Your curiosity is going to be rewarded.

Lifestyle Design is a rather simple concept that creates happier people and happier lives. According to the website “Tiny Buddha”, “lifestyle design embodies the attempt on your part to design a life of your choosing, whatever that looks like. It’s your life, your plan, and you call the shots.” Sign me up, right? Balancing work, travel, whatever you’re passionate about, and spending quality time with the people who mean the most to you is how life should be lived.

When I discovered the term several years ago I realized that, though the phrase was new to me, the concept was not. I had, in fact, been raised by this idea. Putting a name on the concept only solidified what was to be my purpose in life.

THIS IS NORMAL, RIGHT?

Let me back up a minute. I grew up in Napa, California. Yes, people actually live in Napa. My mother homeschooled my sister and I until we were in the seventh grade. My dad was a self-employed CPA. He worked non-stop for the four months of tax season – off to work before the sunrise and home well after dark. The other eight months of the year my family had the freedom to travel. To me, this was normal life. We took our studies with us. We learned wherever we were. Didn’t all families do this?

We had a vacation home in Camp Sherman, OR, where we spent a large majority of our time. The four of us resembled the Maclean family from the movie, “A River Runs Through It” as we lived life to the fullest in the Deschutes National Forest. On the banks of the Metolius River, my dad would begin to shed his CPA skin and feel rejuvenated again, reconnecting with nature through his fly-fishing rod and reel. We explored Oregon, Washington, Idaho, California and Canada, never missing a national park or an important fishing spot. We hiked miles and miles of trails, creating invaluable family memories.


 


Family walks along the river, fishing, and canoe rides were a weekly (if not daily) occurrence in our family.

MY PARENTS WERE MY FIRST LIFESTYLE COACHES

My parents created this “normal” for my sister and I, because they valued time together as a family. Adventuring, discovering, and learning experientially was worth more to them than working 9-5 jobs and making six figures. They designed the lifestyle they wanted and made choices to ensure it would continue. As children do, my sister and I learned by example. Our parents were showing us how enjoyable life could be; that we could design our lives however we wanted.

I am forever grateful for the way they chose to raise me and my sister, and the love and support they instilled in us from a young age. Now, as an adult, I realize how hard they worked to create a lifestyle that gave us everything –memories and experiences that can never be taken away. They equipped me with a way of thinking that has drastically shaped the decisions that have influenced the lifestyle I’ve chosen for myself.


One of the many special trips to Hawaii – We’re a unique bunch 🙂


Mother-daughter cruise to Baja!


Disneyland was one of the many places we went regularly as a family growing up. I think I was 1-year old on my first visit!

MY ‘AH-HA” MOMENT

When it was time to apply to colleges my dad sat me down for a heart-to-heart talk that changed the direction of my life.

When he’d started college in the late 1960’s, he wanted to study Environmentalism. However, in those days there didn’t seem to be much of a future in the field, so he pursued a more practical profession and majored in Business.

He told me that being a CPA had provided him with a comfortable lifestyle, the ability to provide for his family, and the freedom to roam as we did for months at a time. But, he regretted not following his passion. With all the wisdom a parent hopes to impart on their child, he encouraged me to pick a career that I would be passionate about, and regardless of what I chose, he and my mom would be supportive.

For the first time, I truly felt like I understood my dad and saw him as a person who had dreams and aspirations yet to be fulfilled. All the times he had said to me, “I’m still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up,” finally made sense and sank in, in a big way.

The conversation we had that day continues to shape my life. It’s been the one question I come back to time and time again when I’m deciding on a path for my future, “Will this choice bring me closer to my passions?”


Contemplating how beautiful life and Guatemala is while overlooking Lake Atitlán.

WANDERLUST 

I, somewhat, followed my dad’s advice and got a degree in graphic design. Though I loved the design part of it, I realized that working for someone else did not bring me happiness. I’d graduated college and started working at the height of the recession – 2010. I was laid-off three times in the span of two years. Finding my place in the workforce as a young professional was extremely disheartening. I quickly learned that I had to diversify my skillset to find a steady job in the uncertain economic climate.

While unemployed, a friend shared with me the business concept of a travel club membership – members could take vacations and travel at uniquely affordable prices. Since the theory of wanderlust had been instilled in me at an early age, I instantly fell in love with the concept, and joined her in the business.

As I began sharing the travel club concept I realized how many people had put traveling on the bottom of their life lists. Travel had been relegated to a far-fetched idea or a “bucket list” situation rather than a “To Do” list. Because travel was high on my priority list, and I had been taught how to make my priorities realities, I wanted to help others do the same.

This first entrepreneurial experience showed me my next step in life. I wanted to help people understand that they too could build a life based on their passions. Their wants and desires could be realities.


My first scuba diving experience in St. Thomas U.S. Virgin Islands – After that I was hooked!


Hanging out with some colorful characters on the Road to Hana in Maui.


Taking in the grandeur of ancient ruins in Iximche, Guatemala.

I’M TONIA. I’M A LIFESTYLE COACH.

For the past seven years I’ve cultivated a business doing exactly what I love – inspiring people to be bold and break the mold. I dispel the myth that success equals going to college, getting top grades and securing a “good” job. I help my clients create a lifestyle that makes them fulfilled and happy, every day. Together we redefine, recreate, and implement changes to make their lives happier, and that feels amazing!

Lucky me, I’m living by example. I continue to follow my wanderlust, and the path I’ve created for myself allows me to do so. In fact, right now, I could actually be crafting this blog post at a café in Paris, or on the beach in Tahiti. Hmmmm… makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

Hanging loose and getting some shave ice in Hawaii!

I CHALLENGE YOU

Now that you’ve learned about me, let’s talk about you! I challenge you to think about what “success” means to you. Don’t let the words or opinions of others float into your head.

Think back to when you were a kid or teenager.

What brought you joy?

What did you always dream of doing, accomplishing, or seeing?

Feel into these thoughts. Do they bring up sensations of excitement, anticipation, or happiness? If so, these aspirations are a strong place to start as you re-examine the path you may want to follow.

There is not one way to live life. There’s not just one definition of success. Your life is what you choose to make it, and no one else has the right to tell you what that looks like except you!

Are you interested to dive further into creating a lifestyle based around your passions? Talk to me! Let’s start a conversation.

You’re also invited to subscribe to my newsletter! Every other Wednesday I share a mix of new content, pep talks, travel insights, events, and special announcements that I think you will thoroughly enjoy – Sign up here!

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