4 Lessons Learned From My Recent Trip To Florida

4 Lessons Learned From My Recent Trip To Florida | hawk + pearl

Last week, I went down to Florida with my mom to visit my grandpa. We haven’t been down there in a while, so it was nice to not only get out of New York for a bit but to also spend quality time with him (which I’m sorry to say doesn’t happen often enough).


I’ve been so caught up with working full-time again (one reason why I’ve been slacking on here) and doing a million other things that I haven’t had a chance to breathe or think.


During our four-day getaway, I finally had time to reflect — and now I’m setting aside the time to write about my reflections and share them here with you.


Here are four lessons learned from my recent trip to Florida:


1) Family is irreplaceable.

4 Lessons Learned From My Recent Trip To Florida | hawk + pearl

You only get one family.




However, it’s not that black-and-white.


You are brought into this world and thrown into living with a group of people without choice. Sometimes you don’t get along with your family members, and I’ve found that’s fairly common. But sometimes you’re lucky and become best friends with your siblings, cousins, and/or parents, and that’s something special beyond comparison.


Keep in contact with your loved ones and regularly tell them how much they mean to you. Hold them close, cherish the memories, make new ones, learn from them, and always kiss them hello and goodbye. You never know what tomorrow will bring.


You only get one family.


2) Love is the point of life.

4 Lessons Learned From My Recent Trip To Florida | hawk + pearl

My grandpa is 88 years old now (or 88 years young, rather — he might have more energy at 88 than I do at 24). Any time and every time I see or speak to him, he never fails to remind me just how much I mean to him and how much I meant to my grandma (may she rest in peace) as well.


If I had to, I couldn’t count how many times he’s told me the story of how they sold their place down in FL a few months after I was born just so they could watch me grow up…


I couldn’t count how many times he’s described his six-decade-long fairy-tale relationship with my grandma and how lucky he is for striking jackpot twice in finding happiness again with his new girlfriend…


I couldn’t count how many times he’s told me how much he loves me and my parents and my siblings…


…and every single time he does, I can’t help but smile nearly to the point of tears.


“We’re something,” he said this week, as he spoke of the amount of love in our small family — and we sure are.


Love is the point of life. It truly is. There is absolutely nothing that compares and brings joy to a face like that which is brought about by love. Pure, happy, TRUE love.


PS: That’s a photo of my grandparents from back in the day. Is that not the best thing in the entire world?


3) Travel more often.

4 Lessons Learned From My Recent Trip To Florida | hawk + pearl

Life is too short not to experience it to the fullest. At times, it tends to become a routine of work, work, work, go to the gym, squeeze in time to see your friends and family, shower, prepare tomorrow’s lunch, try to fall asleep before midnight, repeat, and stress in between — but that’s not a life at all.


It’s time to book more vacations and quick trips both local and far to see the places you’ve always wanted to see. It’s time to stop worrying about how much it’ll cost to take off and do it. You need to just DO IT.


And last but not least…


4) Stop stressing.

4 Lessons Learned From My Recent Trip To Florida | hawk + pearl

Sitting in a window seat of a plane, looking down on the thousands of tiny, sparkling city lights, I couldn’t help but think about how minuscule our seemingly monstrous problems truly are.


We tend to get so caught up in our daily lives that it becomes practically impossible to see outside the box. We become consumed by our thoughts and fail to realize that our issues don’t matter NEARLY as much as we perceive them to.


Stop stressing and start smelling the roses. There are infinity things to take for granted and an equal amount for which to be infinitely grateful.



If you read this far, thank you! This was more of a personal post/diary entry than anything else and I hope someone somewhere reads it and takes something away from it.


Remember to keep your loved ones close, love more and more often, travel far and wide, and stop worrying so much. Life is way too short to do otherwise.


Morgan Mandriota is a freelance sex, health, and wellness writer and the creator of hawkandpearl.com and highlyuntamed.com. You can read her content on Betches, BuzzFeed, Thought Catalog, and a bunch of other places on the internet. When she isn't writing, Morgan loves traveling, hiking, eating tacos, and training Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Follow her on Instagram, Twitter, and everywhere else @morganmandriota.


  1. Lori

    This has got to be my favorite blog of yours yet. So wonderful, so heartfelt, and so true (not to mention so well written). Thank you.

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