Another year, another birthday. I took some time to reflect back on my twenty third year yesterday and boy let me tell ya, it has been a year. The last 12 months have been full of ups and downs, new challenges and exciting changes. So much has changed, yet so much hasn’t. I changed my name, became a wife, got a dog (nobody saw that coming), entered adulthood, learned how to work from home and made some incredible new friends. But, at the end of it all, I’m still the same old me. I only drink good coffee, practically live in leggings, love to cheer on my Wildcats and get so much joy when I open Adobe Illustrator on my MacBook Pro. Through all that has changed and all that has stayed the same, I want to share with you the twenty three things that I learned during my twenty third year.
1. Marriage is awesome… like really awesome.
This obviously had to be number one as it is by far the biggest life change of the year. Ethan has always been supporting, encouraging and loving so no big change there, but it is so amazing to have someone that truly experiences every joy an every struggle along side you. Also, working from home all day everyday gets pretty lonely, so having someone that comes home to you is a definite advantage in my favor (I spent 7 months driving to his house multiple times a week, I love his family but I didn’t love driving all the time. Now he gets to drive every day, ha!)
2. Inside dogs actually aren’t the worst thing in the world.
If you’ve known me very well, you probably still find this pretty hilarious. In February I made a spur of the moment, totally irrational decision and brought home an adorable australian shepherd puppy. The little ball of fur quickly grew up, learned that the carpet isn’t a good place to potty and turned into the best friend I never expected. I often joke that Waylon is my coworker, which isn’t entirely untrue, he sits at my feet (or jumps in my lap) all day, he loves snuggles and likes to drive Ethan crazy. Waylon is easily the best irrational decision ever.
3. Never let anyone else determine your worth.
Listen, I understand how easy it is to live in your comfort zone, afraid to speak up or make a change, but sometimes change just has to happen. In today’s digital world, everything seems to have become more competitive overnight. That can be a blessing or a curse, it’s all about how you look at it. Just know that if you are feeling undervalued in any aspect of your life, there is someone out there who see’s your true worth, you just need to OWN IT.
4. Your health is an investment worth making.
Most of us spend our days plugging away behind a computer screen, which is great, but it can make it so hard to focus on what’s actually going on with your health. I have had many realizations in the past year and have fixed many broken habits. I am entering year twenty four happier and healthier than I have been in a long time, and I plan on continuing to improve this aspect of my life. Let me just say, if you are constantly tired or craving sugar, that’s not normal and something needs to change!
5. Working from Home is hard… but so rewarding.
I have worked in several settings, including retail, office and even cubicle life. I really have enjoyed all of my previous jobs, but I thought that working from home was the “perfect” answer. You see people on Instagram who make working from home look like it’s not actually work at all. Sure there are perks, like you can use your “lunchtime” to workout, go on a walk, do the dishes, take care of laundry or take a nap, but in reality, I don’t even take a lunch break most days. When I worked in an office it was almost the status quo to spend at least an hour (if not more) being unproductive. There are people to chat with, you have space to walk around, or you’re just having a slow day so you can scroll social media. Sure, you can do all that while working from home, but I’ve found that I’m so much harder on myself and therefore more productive when I’m on my own. Seriously, it’s tough y’all.
6. Always take time for yourself.
To go along with #5, it is so important to make time to take care of yourself. There have been many days over the past year that I have worked straight from 7:30 am to 5:30 pm. Sounds like a lot of fun, right? Well, it can be, but it’s also incredibly exhausting and soul sucking. When you are your own accountability, you have to really listen to your needs, whether that means taking a nap, sleeping in, going on a walk, or simply getting the heck out of the house. You know what you need better than anyone else, so don’t neglect yourself!
7. God has your back… always.
Like I said, this has been a year full of struggles, but one thing that remains true is that God has always provided for me exactly what I need. Not sure how you’ll pay bills? Pray. Feel inadequate? Pray. Overcome with frustration? Pray. Feeling disappointed? Pray. I have personally experienced multiple instances this year that I simply couldn’t do it on my own, but God came through and it all worked out.
8. Do the scary thing.
This piggy backs off my last point, it’s okay if you don’t feel qualified, if you are overwhelmed with doubt and fear. Just do the thing. For real. Step outside of your comfort zone and dive on in. You don’t have to know it all, the best lessons are learned by doing, even by failing. I mean, what do you have to lose? You either stay where you are, or you take a risk, learn important lessons and keep moving forward!
9. Done is better than perfect.
I am adopting this motto for the next few months. I threw myself into this website, started a Facebook page, and created a new Instagram account. I’ll be completely honest, I have a lot that I would like to change, but for now, I am happy, I am content and I am more focused on serving my customers than I am perfecting my brand. For now, it works. I have these platforms and I get to serve you, which is truly all I want. But, there will be changes coming so stay tuned for those!
10. Good coffee takes time.
Sorry if I offend any Keurig lovers out there, but honestly your coffee tastes awful to me. I can’t help it, I’m just spoiled. I am really picky about where I buy my beans (locally roasted 15 miles from home), but more importantly I am such a snob when it comes to how the coffee is crafted. When I make coffee, I make it because I enjoy the process, it’s like therapy to me. I prefer to grind my beans using a hand grinder, and I very much prefer pour over coffee. It takes longer, but it’s a beautiful and peaceful process that allows me space from all the hustle and bustle of daily work. It’s been a few years since I really enjoyed coffee, but this year I am loving it!
11. Always choose Hyllningsfest.
This is a lesson I learned in October, when my sweet hometown’s biannual Swedish festival. If you’ve never been, just know that it is magical and you’re missing out. My words cannot do it justice, just go ahead and plan a trip to Lindsborg October 2019. Back to what I was saying, this year I was mid bull sale catalog and having a breakdown the morning of Hyllningsfest. The deadline had been missed (out of my control) and I woke up to an entire day’s work that had been added to my to-do list. Emotionally, I was in a bad place and ultimately decided that it was too far beyond my control. In the end, I 100% do not regret indulging in Vikings on a Stick that day, and the catalog got done just fine on time (still late, still not my fault).
12. Planning a wedding is hard.
Being on the other side of this, I would really love to add an avenue to help brides navigate through the planning process. I recently had a great chat with a mother of a bride and gosh it just felt so good to help her through planning. My advice to anyone getting married is, seriously. It doesn’t matter. You don’t have to have every single detail exactly perfect, if it’s not done, you are the only one who will notice. You’ll look back and wonder how a day could have possible gone by so quickly. The wedding is a big deal, decorative chalkboards are not.
13. Texas really is the best.
I mean, I already knew this but visiting hill country just solidified it. For our honeymoon, we decided to visit the small town of Fredericksburg, basically the German version of Lindsborg in Texas. Need I say more? We shopped main street, listened to live music, ate great food, hiked enchanted rock, visited Luckenbach, and snuck away to Llano to check out a famous BBQ joint, which leads me to…
14. Pecan Cobbler is a thing… an amazing and delicious thing.
Five words: Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que. The meat is amazing, but definitely don’t skimp on dessert. Of course the peach cobbler was great too, but we’ve all had that before.
15. Staying out later than 10 pm is hard.
I don’t know when it happened, but somewhere in the last 4 years I became an old lady. If you ask me to stay out past 10 pm, there is a very good chance I will sleep on the way home. I know, I know, it’s pathetic and embarrassing, but this girl needs her sleep!
16. Just because hygiene is optional, doesn’t mean you should skip it.
Do you know what happens when you work from home? You see your husband and your dog everyday, but that’s usually it. No social outings, rarely any visitors (hey parents!) and honestly no “reason” to dress up. What that leads to is dirty hair and re-wearing the same outfits on repeat (hello leggings and hoodies). What that shouldn’t lead to is skipping showers and never changing clothes. I won’t pretend I haven’t been at all guilty of this, but gosh I feel so much better when I spend just a few minutes getting my life together to stop acting like a hobo (sorry, traveling vagabond is the correct term).
17. The fridge isn’t an unlimited resource.
If you work from home, you understand what I’m talking about. It’s hard to make time for an actual lunch, so you might find yourself grazing the fridge. In theory, it’s not a bad idea, but in reality, it’s better to avoid. Take 5 minutes, whip up a sandwich, throw together an actual meal. The problem with grazing is that you never actually get hungry, but you definitely run out of food faster. I have a handful of meal staples that are quick and easy and don’t leave me coming back for more.
18. Friendships that are meant to be, will be.
I might not get out of the house much for real human interaction, but I absolutely believe I am surrounded by the best friends. They’re supportive, encouraging and continually show up. Some friendships will last, while others won’t. That’s perfectly okay, it’s part of life and the changes we all go through. Learn how to adapt to those changes, to love the friends you have and to encourage those you’ve grown apart from. It will all work out in it’s own sweet way.
19. Invest in yourself.
This week I’ve spent $100+ on myself and my business. I know, to most of you it doesn’t sound like much, but to me that is a real investment. I’ve purchased tools that will help me grow personally, push me to step out of my comfort zone and ultimately, further my business. I struggle so much with purchases that benefit me specifically, I’d much rather spend that money on something we need as a couple, but I’ve realized that if I don’t invest in myself, I will never grow in the ways I need to in order to be successful.
20. Cooking actually doesn’t suck.
Doing dishes still sucks, but I actually like cooking. My mom is probably laughing right now (she’s also probably the only one still reading, I don’t mind) because I never could get the hang of cooking, when I would try it typically turned into some sort of comedy show watching me attempt a meal. But, I have always known that I perform best under pressure and cooking is no different! I was thrown into the fire, forced to feed someone other than just myself, and as it turns out, I actually haven’t done too bad of a job.
21. Having a #girlgang is priceless.
I have made so many amazing connections this past year, meeting likeminded ladies that are on this entrepreneur journey alongside me. It has been so amazing to have the support and encouragement of close friends cheering me on! The part that I love is that we all have unique interests, passions and talents, but we are all working towards a similar goal. To design a life we love and to help others along the way. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?
22. Do more of what ignites your fire.
This past year has definitely had it’s share of months where I’ve felt bored and stuck in work that I don’t enjoy. I’ve experienced feelings of burnout, but I’ve also learned what I truly love and am passionate about doing. In this next year, I am turning my focus to what brings me joy, what I am truly the best at, and what I can help the most people by doing. I hope you find what that is for you, too.
23. We finally made it to the end.
Wow this has been a list. It has been so good for me to chat through the past year, the highs and lows and the lessons I’ve learned. My biggest piece of advice for myself and for everyone reading this it this: don’t lose sight of your dream. Whatever you want in life, I truly believe it can be yours. We each have our own unique dreams and I hope you will chase after yours with all you have, letting nothing stop you until you get there.
I’m so thankful that you have been a part of this year of my life. Your love, support and encouragement pushes me to keep going, to face my fears and follow my dream. I hope that you will join me on this journey so that we can live and learn alongside each other, in pursuit of the passion that ignites our souls.
I hope you’ll stay tuned for all that is to come!
Photo Cred: Wedding day images by DLC Photography.