December 31, 2019

A Year In Review: 2019

FILED IN: Lifestyle

With the turn of the decade upon us, I’m taking stock of the last year. If you’ve been following me for the past 12 months, you know that 2019 started off real rough. Without being overly-dramatic, I had hit my personal rock bottom— at least it felt like something very similar to rock bottom.

If you’re new here, I’ll save you the sob story. But basically, within the first few weeks of the year, I lost my job and was perpetually sick with no visible light at the end of the tunnel. My life was resembling something along the lines of a hot mess, and I assumed that 2019 was doomed.

I spent the greater half of winter feeling sorry for myself. I wasn’t having any luck with the job hunt, and was becoming a frequent flier at my doctor’s office. I also wasn’t working out at all. Optimism and positivity seemed like a distant relative that I hadn’t seen in years. However by spring things started to turn around. I was landing more interviews, signed on as a consultant for a few freelance clients, and decided to focus all of my downtime on my blog. Money was running out, but with a few side hustles I was able to get by.

So, while the year started off rocky, it turned out to be one of my best years yet. Here’s how it all played out.

January — I spent the first half of January fighting a month-long bit with Bronchitis, which resulted in an asthma diagnosis. My theory is that my lungs just never fully recovered from being sick for so long, and here we are. Towards the end of the month, I got laid off from my job of almost six years. It rocked my world (and not in a good way). I tried to turn the month around with a weekend trip in Tahoe with my best friends, but I was on the struggle bus. January sure knew how to kick a girl while she was down.

February — I had a panic attack nearly everyday about my health, and stopped working out. I visited my best friend in Southern California, and then we bopped off to Big Sky, Montana. I almost bailed on this trip because I was so paranoid about my asthma. In fact, my asthma held me back a lot this month. In February, it really started to hit me that I was unemployed (not to be confused with funemployed), and I was stressing. I didn’t know where I was going or what I wanted to do.

March — By now I had started to get more serious about finding a job. I signed on as a content marketing consultant (contractor) for a leading competition swimwear brand in the sports industry. This was huge for keeping my skills sharp, my resume active, and my bills paid. I also started to (consistently) monetize on my blog and Instagram. Eventually, I started working out again after nearly two months off (the longest I’ve gone without exercise, ever). March was the first month of 2019 where I felt hopeful.

April — April was a game changer for The Ocean Minded (TOM). I decided to focus the majority of my free time (I was still unemployed at this point) on my blog and Instagram. I went to Coachella and Revolve Festival for the first time (so fun), and then back to Palm Springs two weeks later for Stagecoach events and Neon Carnival with PacSun. These were my first ever “influencer” events (I brought my mom, and we went to Disneyland before). I went from 6,000 followers to nearly 10,000 followers in the span of a month. I was also applying for jobs and interviewing more aggressively. I knew that my severance money wouldn’t last me much longer, and the unemployment was getting real.

May — I turned 29 in May, and decided this was my rock bottom (or the closest I’ve been to rock bottom, anyway). I never expected to be unemployed and single at 29 years old. I had been interviewing for jobs, with no luck, and was feeling really discouraged. My best friends and I went to Scottsdale, and while we were there I got a rejection letter from a company that I really wanted to work for. I was at a loss, but kept things moving. Mother’s Day weekend I told my parents I felt like I was at rock bottom. And then things turned around. Towards the end of the month, I met my (other) best friend in Santa Barbara for a few days. While we were there I hit 10,000 followers on Instagram and got a job offer from a tech start-up in San Francisco. The tech industry wasn’t my first choice, but the salary they were offering was nearly 2x what I was making at my last job (there’s a ton of money in tech, people) and I was desperate. May taught me that everything is temporary, and when you’re feeling down, there’s only one way to go: up.

June — June was full of a lot of changes. I took one more trip to Palm Springs to spend the week with my family, and the weekend with some of my best blogger friends. I met a lot of new Insta-friends in real life, too. Following that trip, I started my new job in San Francisco as a Social Media Manager for a presentation software company. Adjusting to a new job, in a totally new industry (I was coming from a swimwear company, so tech was out of my wheelhouse), was challenging. I knew nearly nothing about working for a start-up, and had a lot to learn, but was excited for the opportunity to expand my resume (and my bank account).

July — July was iconic. I fulfilled my longtime goal of attending Miami Swim Week, with some of my blogger friends. Being able to watch the Monday Swimwear runway show, as an influencer in the audience, was a literal dream. This was also my first time to Miami. At this point, I was seeing a lot of traction on my blog, and was making an average of $1,500/month from paid collaborations with brands. With the new job, the contractor work, and my blog, I was working harder than I ever had in my life. July taught me a lot about self-motivation, and success.

August — August was fun. I went to Hawaii with 3/4 of my girl gang, and had a blast drinking Bikini Blonde beers and floating in the ocean. A few weeks later, my roommate and I hung out with country singer Chase Rice and his band after their show in Fresno, California. This month I got a handle on some financial responsibility (for probably the first time in my life), and started plunking away money in my savings account. I was getting a late start to one of my 2019 goals—to save $7,000— but better late than never (right?).

September — I landed my biggest paid collaboration to date with Pantene, which was cool, but the most noteworthy part of September was that I became a Revolve Ambassador. When people would ask me what my dream collaboration is, my answer has always been Revolve. And this year I made it happen. Aside from Miami Swim Week, this was my greatest blogging accomplishment since I started this gig in 2016. Later in the month, I got Botox for the first time, because the first half of the year likely gave me a lot of worry lines.

October — This is the month I feel like I really started bonding with my coworkers, and enjoying my new life in San Francisco. Post-work happy hours became a weekly thing, I learned how to become more comfortable with being alone, and thus kicked off my solo bar tour series. Two weeks in to October my direct boss quit, and I took on all of her responsibilities in addition to my own. October pushed me to be better, and more motivated, professionally and individually. Halloween weekend I took a second trip down to Fresno with some of my best friends from college— because I’m not all work and no play. We went to our alma mater’s homecoming football game. Talk about a trip down memory lane to round out the decade.

November — I had three noteworthy events this month: a Clinique Pop-Up event that I was paid to attend, our San Francisco Pizza Tour, and the Revolve Awards. Although I went to Revolve Festival in April, we won those tickets, so the Revolve Awards was the first Revolve event I was personally invited to as an ambassador. Being at the party among my biggest idol (Natasha Oakley), and retired reality stars from Bachelor Nation, was so surreal. As a result, I felt an onset of imposter syndrome (more on this later) in November. At this point, I realized that I had gained 10 pounds since January. I was feeling extremely insecure, and started to pay more attention to my appearance and my health. The following week, I bit the bullet and got my eyebrows microbladed (shaded)— which was debatably one of my best decisions of the year. I also signed up for Orange Theory Fitness (another great decision) and started committing to fitness again.

December — As the year comes to a close, I can’t help but look back on how far I’ve come. I wish I could go back to January and tell myself to have patience and give myself the grace I needed to get through the first half of the year. 2019 taught me about loss, perseverance, the meaning of hard work and success, how to be content with being alone, and self-worth. While it started off on the wrong foot, this year was truly one of my best. I grew so much professionally, and personally. I closed the year with my first ever solo hotel collaboration— something I am very proud of— and my first real massage. Not too shabby, 2019.

I have never felt more inspired, or motivated, than I do right now. While 2020 has some big shoes to fill, I have even bigger goals. I am so eager to see what the new decade will bring (hopefully a man, ya feel me). Happy New Year!

xx, jordan

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