Recently it seems like I’ve had more of my younger followers reaching out seeking advice. 21-year-olds feeling defeated in dating, or girls fresh out of college feeling lost when it comes to what direction they want their life to go. I’m sure I felt this way as a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed 22-year-old, too. However now that I’m nearing 30 it has put some things into perspective.
If you would have told me 7 years ago that I’d be single and desperately searching for a job at 29, I never would have believed you. I mean, come-on, I expected to be married with my second child on the way by now. But here’s the thing, self-made timelines are bullshit, and you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be. Had I been married and a mom at 25, I likely would have never started this blog and met some of the incredible people that I have. I probably wouldn’t be taking annual friend trips with my oldest, three best friends. I never would have started a big job in the city, and would have missed out on all the extra freelance opportunities. And I definitely wouldn’t be the person that I am today. I’m not saying I still don’t want all of that (I do), but I want it when the time is right. And who’s to say when the right time is, really?
So this one is for all my young, restless followers who are feeling lost. It’s for all of my girls closing in on their thirties who feel left behind. And it’s for every single girl who needs to hear it.
You’re allowed to invest time in yourself, and do it unapologetically. Whether it’s sweating for an hour each day, or getting a weekly manicure, invest in yourself. Set up time blocks for yourself, if you have to, and put them in your calendar so you don’t break them. If you wouldn’t bail on your friend, don’t bail on yourself— even if it’s something as simple as committing to a workout class. After all, you’re your longest relationship. And to be frank, you freakin’ deserve it.
You’re a catch, even if the right guy hasn’t caught you yet. Being single doesn’t make you damaged, it just means that your guy hasn’t found you yet. Don’t let your insecurities consume you when it doesn’t work out with someone you were interested in— that just means they weren’t your person. If you’ve been single for what feels like eternity continue to put yourself out there, but realize that you can be content with it just being you, too. Do you while you can. Focus on bettering yourself so that when the right person comes along, you’ll be the best version of yourself regardless of whether it works out with them or not. Understand your self worth, and don’t ever lose sight of it.
You’re brilliant, even if you can’t land (or keep) a job. When I got laid off, I was so embarrassed. I thought, “I’m clearly replaceable.” It hit my ego like a ton of bricks, and I started to doubt my knowledge in the industry. The interviews (and rejections) didn’t help. I thought I was at rock bottom, until I realized that if this is what my rock bottom looks like then I’m doing okay. You’re smart, and you’ll be an indispensable asset to the right team. The way my bosses talk about my experience now makes me laugh that I ever questioned my skills. Own your strengths, acknowledge your weaknesses, and sell yourself — because the right company will recognize your brilliance.
You’re beautiful, even if you can’t shed that extra 10 pounds. In the spirit of transparency, this year I have gained almost ten pounds. I wish I could say that it hasn’t effected my confidence— it has. But here’s the thing: that extra 10 pounds is late night pizza with your best friend, drinks on a first date with a great guy, and skipping the gym to go hang out with your family. That 10 pounds is your happiness, it’s you living, and it’s beautiful. Don’t let the number on the scale define you. Of course, life is all about balance. If you want Taco Bell, eat the damn cheesy Gordita crunch. Don’t beat yourself up over it, you can try harder and eat the kale tomorrow. Allow yourself the grace to enjoy life, and love the skin you’re in regardless of whether you’re a size 24 or 34.
Your time will come, even if it doesn’t feel like it. Read this, and then read it again— things will get better and things will fall into place. Whether you’re starting a blog, growing a business, changing careers, looking for love or trying to start a family— things will happen when they’re supposed to. As cringey as it sounds, don’t rush the timing of your life. Trust the process and trust that what’s yours is out there and it won’t pass you by. We have to believe that. We have to keep the faith that everything happens for a reason.
You deserve better, even if you’re scared to admit it. Whether it’s a toxic relationship, a draining friendship, or a job you hate— you can do better. Hold yourself, and your time and energy, to a higher standard. I say this from experience with one (or two) toxic relationships. And I know it’s hard to see when you’re in the thick of it, but you’re better than the stress and pain you’re putting yourself through. Trust me. You’ll look back a year down the road and be so thankful that you decided to put your well-being and happiness first. It’s not selfish, and don’t let anyone tell you differently.
You don’t have to have it all figured out. The wild thing about life is that nobody really knows what they’re doing, and that’s okay. You don’t have to have it all figured out— not at 21 and not at 36-years-old. Deciding your likes and dislikes, finding your passions, defining who you are now, and figuring out who and where you’ll be in five years is all a learning curve. There will be obstacles, you’ll have questions, and you will ride the highs and the lows, but it will all put you on the path that you’re supposed to be on (whether you realize it or not). Enjoy the ride and accept that you can figure it out as you go.
It’s okay to say no. Saying “no” to something you don’t want to do isn’t selfish, it’s admirable. Stick up for yourself, for your beliefs, and for the things you want. Don’t brush off your feelings to appease someone else’s. If you being strong minded offends people, you can show them the door.