This time last year we were headed to the airport for a trip to Portugal. For the last few years we’ve made it a tradition to skip gifts and head to somewhere new for our birthdays (Craig is 8 days younger than me, I know I’m a cougar). This year has been INTERESTING. It feels like more change and growth has happened for me personally in this past year than any other before. Someone asked me in a Q&A recently where I saw myself in 5, 10, and 15 years. I really didn’t have an answer. I’ve never really been the 5, 10, 15 year plan type. I can’t say that I thought much about turning 35, but to be honest it feels really good.
One of the best things to happen to me in my 30s is the realization that age is really a mindset. In my 20s I remember thinking I was such a grown up, whatever that even means. I did so many things because I felt like it’s what I should do, not because I wanted to. That decade taught me a lot, but I don’t miss my 20s at all. In my 30s each year gets better. There’s still hardship and life is complicated, but I’ve never felt more in tune with myself and happy with my life. Of course I say that now but a few months ago I was in a DARK place, being sick will do that to you, it’s just a reminder that nothing lasts forever.
In less than two months I’m going to have a baby. That’s a sentence I truly never thought I would write, and yet here we are, and I’m feeling very grateful. In many ways turning 35 feels quite significant and while I haven’t really spent a lot of time thinking about what life will be like a few weeks from now, I have thought a lot about some important lessons I’ve learned the last few years. Here’s a few…
At 29 I left a good-paying job (with great benefits) where I was recently promoted, to move home and start a blog. Pretty sure no one thought it was a good idea. I had no idea what I was doing and made no money doing it, but it made me so happy. My job and our life in NYC brought me so much anxiety it was sucking the joy out of my life. I didn’t want to live that way.
It was hard, we sacrificed a lot and there were many years I worried and wondered if we’d make it. But here we are, six years later and we accomplished things we never thought we could. Of course, it’s easy to say that now because it worked out, but if we hadn’t tried, we’d never know.
It’s ok to ask for help.
Honestly, this is something I’ve only recently become comfortable with. I hate asking anyone for help. Not only do I want to be able to do everything myself but the thought of asking anyone for a favor would make me cringe. The truth is, plenty of people WANT to help and if they do, let them. When I was really sick with HG this summer I basically couldn’t work for three months. I was physically and emotionally beat down.
At the time, a few readers and followers asked: “what can we do to help?” It literally made me cry because I just thought wow, these are people I’ve never even met, I start crying just thinking about it. So I asked if you would write testimonials for me on the Fohr.Co platform about why you follow me. And you did, in record numbers. Because of it, I just signed on to an incredible partnership that I’ll share more about very soon. It doesn’t have to look like that, but if someone asks if you need help and you do, tell them how they can.
Be with someone that complements you not completes you.
Craig and I have been together for 14 years. We have truly grown up together in so many ways. We met when we were 20! Who we were then and who we are now are not the same, but I can honestly say I think we bring out the best in each other. No one allows me to be my truest self or understands me better than Craig. No one supports me more deeply and fully, but also respects and encourages me. Our relationship isn’t perfect, none are. But we are truly partners in life and I’ve never been more grateful for that.
Collaboration over competition.
We all see this phrase thrown around a lot but in the last few years, I’ve been so lucky to have a group of women so eager to support and encourage one another. Work and personal relationships look differently for everyone, but if you really evaluate the people in your life and your support system, do they lift you up, celebrate your successes and bring you comfort during difficult times?
To be honest, when I first started blogging I had too many experiences that left me feeling so shitty. So much cattiness and competition and mean girl behavior that is the antithesis to how I want to live my life. It made me really pull back from the “blogging scene” at the time. But in the last two years, I’ve come to know so many incredible women, not just in blogging but in so many different areas of my life, who inspire me regularly. The people you surround yourself with can really change how you experience life.
I think so often as women we do this, sometimes without even knowing it. We apologize for having an opinion, for taking up space, for asking to be included, for wanting a seat at the table. One of the most gratifying lessons I’ve learned over the last few years is that being true to yourself, having conviction, sharing your opinion and not apologizing for who you are gives you so much power. It’s not always easy, but it’s always worth it.
Give people a second chance.
We’re living in a strange time. There is a lot to be angry about right now, no doubt about it, but outrage culture has essentially become mainstream and it is seeping into everyday life. Social media has made it worse. We’re all human and we all make mistakes. I’m not making excuses for anyone, including myself, but in general, if someone screws up, and they genuinely recognize it and work to make it right, we need to give them the chance to do so. Everyone deserves that.
Find your passion and it will give you purpose.
When I started to hone in on what I’m passionate about it gave me a new sense of purpose. It was a risk to take from a business perspective, but one I knew I had to take. I was floundering and I felt burnt out. Focusing on the things that matter to me helped inform my decision making in business and in life. Your job does not have to be your passion. Your passions may change. All of that is ok.
Have a sense of humor. Be able to laugh at yourself. Life is too short and too precious to be taken too seriously.