December 30, 2015

sweet girlfriends at my gatsby-themed thirtieth back in november.

So... this is 30. My birthday was about five weeks ago, and this year is dwindling to a close in a matter of hours... so what better time to highlight three decades of living, memories, mistakes? Of worries and agonizing loss and big surprises and timeless stories. It's really kinda hard to wrap my head around, but I'm getting there. But, thirty? Deana Carter said it best: "I still remember when thirty was old..."

I'm kicking off this decade of life as single for the first time since I was living under my parents' roof--which is exciting and somber, and daunting and new.

I want to do everything and do it well, to be the best at it all--competing with no one but myself. And I've asked myself why? What's to gain from another board position? Another project? Another after work endeavor? And you know, I honestly don't know. What I do know is that I was never equipped to sit still--being busy is what brings me joy... my Mimi lovingly likened me to "a maggot in hot ashes" but even I know there's a scarily fine line between the allure of bustle and exhaustion of burnout.

This year, more than ever, I'm asking, where did the time go? I've bounced from small group Monday to Junior League on Tuesdays. Networking events and social hours here and there, and feeling guilty that I'm not working out more, or taking Maizie to the dog park, or savoring and growing from my alone time. How do you snap out of that routine when it's so ingrained in who you are? So, here I go with my attempt at rewiring myself.

Last year, I scribbled out 29 things I have learned in my blip on earth. So in an effort to have some sort of documentation of where I am now, here are 30 more.

1. This one is a little bit of a repeat from last year, but it demands mentioning again, as it's been a theme for me this year: the best of friends just effortlessly become family. Similarly, this year has been a test--lots of relationships to stare at long and hard and consider: is this truly good? Only a few are meant to stand the test of time and that's okay: ridding yourself of people who aren't for you just frees up more room for the ones who build you up, warrant your love and attention, and renew your soul by filling up those little corners of your life where they seemed to just live all along.

I undoubtedly have some of the most grounded, loyal, hilarious and thoughtful friends in the world, and I pinch myself for how lucky I am, and how much better of a person I am because of them.

2. Thirty now isn't what it was when our parents were thirty. It's okay--gasp, even standard--to feel lost. It's taken a while, but I am comfortable in the unknown, knowing it's never permanent, and most of the growth in life comes from wading through the gray area.Sometimes it's easier said than done, but embrace it... from what I hear, being lost is just a part of life. Rest easy, you'll get to where you're going. One of my favorite movies this year ("This Is Where I Leave You") has the best, best, best quote interwoven into its script:

"Anything can happen... anything happens all the time."

3. It's 100% okay to miss or love someone you know you can't have in your life. Sometimes the absolute hardest thing to do is turn around and walk the other way. You really are stronger than you think you are.

4. Eyebrow threading hurts like a bitch. Jury is still out on if the precise result is worth the endless eye-watering. Just trust me--don't do it. Don't listen to what I said about being stronger than you think you are.

5. Splurge on bras, towels, yoga pants--and I've said it before and I'll say it again: find a cheap mascara that works for you.

6. I will always be judgmental about bbq and tacos. #texasforever

Relatedly, sometimes you have to get out into the world just to truly gauge how wonderful the place in which you started out is.

7. A hangover at thirty is far, far worse than a hangover at twenty. After you rage, take advil before you go to bed... drink double the water you think you should and keep makeup wipes and b12 drops in your nightstand. Trust.

8. Intentionally spending time away from a screen is one of the most energizing things for my soul. Being outside is even that much better. I have been intentional in taking time away from anything with an "i-" prefix, and subsequently made mental notes about how much more clearly I can think, and how much more I appreciate those around me.

9. You really need to trudge through the hell of a bad job to fully understand how great a good job is. That said, when you find that good job, cherish it and work like hell. You spend way more time with colleagues than you do the people you love at home, so do your part to make it a good environment. Don't complain, don't be entitled.

10. People remember the things you cook well... so find a recipe (or five). Make your own signature dish, and savor the way your heart fills up when you're asked to bring it to the next shindig.

11. I'll never be a capsule wardrobe kinda girl, but there is something deeply empowering about finding the outfit formula that suits Trench, wedges, statement necklace. Invest in good pieces and getting dressed will never feel like a chore.

12. There's nothing wrong with being a creature of habit--every day I start with strong coffee and NPR, and every day I end with yoga pants and puppy snugs. And I'm all the happier for it.

13. Facetime your parents. Even if you see them frequently or live nearby--it's really cool to see them learn a technology that evolved in our era, but better yet, realizing that they're not the same age as they were when you were living at home is sweetly sobering, and every moment you have can be precious--even if it's on a screen.

14. It will greatly benefit your soul to know what soothes you--and to take strides to create an environment for it. I started mindfulness exercises and meditating this year, made more time for yoga, and yeah--even essential oils--and as much as I formerly wrote it all off as pseudo-witchcraft, it has really changed me. It doesn't all have to be holistic--being outside with Maizie, no headphones, just immersing myself in the world refuels me like little else can. Some nights, sharing a bottle (or three) of wine with a girlfriend is the absolute perfect formula to pull me back on my feet. Figure it out and go with it.

15. Just because crop tops or fringe ain't your thing doesn't mean you don't belong at the music festival. Plan to go to at least one in your life (I wholeheartedly recommend ACL!!). I daresay you won't find that level of fun at many other events.

16. Take the time to learn what your insurance covers and what your investments mean--car, home, health, 401k. You're a grown ass woman. No more excuses (see also: My Resolutions 2016).

17. When you take the time to engage in debate with someone, keep it respectful. No one being challenged by ignorance or arrogance--especially regarding topics of passion... remember that in the throes of this political season. ;) And also, do your homework. Educate yourself.

18. Always trust your gut. Give people the benefit of the doubt until their actions don't warrant it anymore. And when you're feeling rough, take a long shower, blow-dry your hair and vacuum your place. It's kind of tough to feel down when you're looking good and your home is spiffed up.

19. A fridge without multiple cheeses, salsa and an abundance of wine is just a frosty, lit case of sadness and lost potential.

20. The Avett Brothers said it best... "decide what to be, and go be it." There's no true formula for happiness in this world, and everyone's chasing a different dream--but the truest lesson I've learned is that you have to pave your own way, and strive to be true to yourself. Stop seeking validation that is empty anyway. You won't be the girl that everyone is for in this lifetime, but that's okay--cling to those who you are for.

21. And don't beat yourself up if you didn't accomplish everything on your to-do list over the weekend. Hell, don't beat yourself up at all. The world will do that plenty. You have to be your own biggest fan in this lifetime. Learn to look at your hurt as yet another thing you've overcome--nothing is a true loss if you take the time to learn from it.

Also? This is somewhat related: remember how painfully curated social media is. Your life is way better than you're likely giving it credit for.

22. Buy an address book, keep it updated. I really love that I've had friendships that have spanned a long enough timetable that I own a tattered, whited-out collection of addresses to prove it.

23. It's totally okay to have a theme song... orrrr soundtrack.

24. Back up your beloved photos to something that has nothing to do with barometric pressure.

25. It's totally acceptable for dreams and expectations to evolve. We're always growing, so the things we want and hope for in life really need to shift right along with us.

26. Take the time to truly connect with people. Put your phone down and listen to what you're being told. Make plans and stick to them. I want to be remembered as the girl who you could call at 3 a.m. with whatever quandary you had... the one who sent cards for no apparent reason, remembered dates--big and small, and was so crazy about her little dog, that she baked all of her treats and shared them with all of her friends' dogs too.

27. Go to great depths to find your cause. Pour your heart and soul into it. Nothing is more heartwarming than getting lost in helping someone else... big or small.

28. Learn to say no. This overlaps into so many areas of life--professionally, personally... it is empowering and offers a sense of direction not found many other ways. Take charge of your own life and truly embrace the things that you want to spend your time doing.

29.  Make it a point to take food to a new mom. Tell her how well she's doing... and ask her how she feels. I've had so many dear friends become mamas over the past handful of years, and very often, all they want is to sit down and vent about mamahood. Listen to them, make them feel heard.

30. One of the toughest lessons I've learned is how the idea of "home" changes. You should know you can always go home again... but in the end, it's the people around you who make "home" what it is.

Here we go, thirty.

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