Ahhh, tomorrow is my 28th birthday!! It’s hard to believe a whole year has gone by since this day last year, and I think it’s safe to say 27 was my biggest year yet. I get teary eyed thinking about all that life offered me (and my husband) in the last year because together, we experienced more ups and downs than ever before. Tons of firsts, big life moves, and lots of lessons learned! Last year I wrote a post on 27 things you may not know about me, but this year I wanted to switch it up and talk about 28 things I’ve learned in 28 years, and a little about each lesson. So cue the confetti and let’s get to it!
1. Follow Your Dreams // This has probably been the biggest (and most emotional) lesson learned for me, and most of it has come from year 27. I always dreamed of owning my own business, working for myself, and living the American Dream – and year 27 made that a reality. It was hands down the best move I’ve ever made for myself. Mentally and emotionally, it needed to happen. I loved my corporate job for a long time, but it never “satisfied” my entrepreneur mindset. I always knew there was something more out there for me, but it wasn’t until my blog came to fruition that I realized this is what I was made for. I know people thought I was crazy, hell – my own husband thought I was crazy. I was 27 years old, making six figures since 24 years old, my car was paid for, cell phone was paid for, gas was paid for, and I got to travel with the company to really fun places. So why would I ever want to leave and give all that up? I felt miserable. My passion wasn’t making someone else wealthy, the money didn’t make my dreams of a bigger picture go away, and it was eating up all of the time I would have had working on what I owned. I woke up every day knowing I could earn all that back, and then some if I just put in the same amount of time (if not more), into my own business. This was such an emotional struggle for me because my husband also works at that same company, and for a very long time did not agree with my thought process on this. I couldn’t comfortably leave my job, without knowing he was okay with it. We are a team, and my decisions are also his decisions. So I fought through it until we could both be on the same page. Since that day, I have worked harder on this than any job I’ve ever had, but I wouldn’t trade it in for the world. I feel free, it’s rewarding, I wake up excited for the day every day, and just like my instincts told me – we are just fine, because when you love something you’ll find a way to make it work and if you’re not willing to take a risk, you’ll have to settle for the ordinary. My only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner.
2. Family Is Everything // This isn’t a new lesson, but one I was reminded of more times than not. Earlier this year, Shane’s dad had a major heart attack with 100% blockage in the right coronary artery. Thankfully he is okay, but both of us realized we don’t spend enough time with family. I come from an extremely small family, while Shane comes from an extremely large family. Both of our families live on opposite sides of the country so we only get together a few times a year. As I get older, I long for more quality time with them and wish they were closer.
3. Quality Time Together Is My Love Language // I think it took me a while to figure this one out but year 27 highlighted this for me. Both Shane and I have spent the entire year traveling more than we’ve ever traveled in the 5.5 years we’ve been together. The majority of our travels have not been together, so as they say – absence makes the heart grow fonder. I’d take quality time together over anything these days!
4. Stay In Your Own Lane // I think you can learn from watching others who have been successful, and the one thing they all have in common is that they stay in their own lane. Don’t be afraid to be uniquely you, what you like might not be what others like – and that’s okay. That’s what makes you, you – and your brand, your brand.
5. Learn When To Say No // I spent a lot of this year saying yes to everything. Yes to every event, yes to every trip, yes to every social gathering etc. and to be honest, I am exhausted. I spread myself too thin this year, and need to be more strategic in the future.
6. Hire Help // I like to be in control of my brand, communications, and well – basically everything in life, ha! However, I couldn’t do it all alone this year. I hired Kristina to help me part time with The Cheeky Been, and it was the best decision I ever made. Not only is she a good friend to me, I’ve been able to get so much more done with her on my team.
7. Hire Someone Who Doesn’t Want To Learn From You // Piggybacking off of hiring help, Amee Song gave this piece of advice at the RewardStyle conference this year and I thought it made so much sense. If you’re hiring someone who wants to learn from you, you will spend most of your time teaching them and most likely will lose the knowledge base at some point. Instead, hire someone who makes you a better person!
8. I’m Most Creative In The Mornings // I’ve never been a morning person, however, I’ve learned in this last year that I’m most creative and most productive first thing in the mornings. I’ve forced myself to be a morning person over the years, and it’s proved to be worth it!
9. You Can Only Count Your Best Friends On One Hand // This is a lesson from my dad, and not a new one. He’s been saying this my whole life, but it could not be more true! I was worried when I left my corporate job that my friends from work would become more distant since I wouldn’t be seeing them every day anymore – but in all reality, they have remained my best friends – and for that I am so grateful. I love them to death!
10. Blogging Is A Full Time Job // And by full time, I mean it’s 7 days a week, 24 hours a day and it never stops. I work way more than a 40 hour work week, and it’s extremely difficult to turn it off. I would love to teach myself to take time off and truly enjoy certain trips without worrying about content. Vacation was way more fun prior to blogging!
11. You Can’t Put A Price Tag On Travel // I’ve spent my entire life traveling around the world! My dad is in the cruise line industry and for as long as I can remember we have been joining him on the ships. The Cheeky Been has also allowed me to see so many places in the US that I’ve never had an opportunity to visit, and I think travel opens up your eyes to different cultures/ways of life that no history or geography book or class can teach you.
12. Take Care Of Your Skin // While this may seem like a weird “lesson” to have learned, I wish I would’ve put more emphasis on this sooner. As I am approaching my thirties, I am noticing way more fine lines, wrinkles and impurities in my skin than ever before – and have thus made my skin a priority. Spend the time and money on a good skin care regimen as early as possible! It will be worth it later.
13. Our Wedding Day Was The Best Day Of My Life // 27 brought marriage and while this lesson might be cliche, I wish I could relive our wedding day over and over again because it truly was the best day of my 28 years on this earth.
14. Don’t Put All Your Eggs In One Basket // I read an article recently that said Millennials on average have six streams of income. If/when something happens to your main stream of income, you have others to fall back on. I personally have four.
15. Worry About What You Can Control, Not What You Can’t Control // As the years go on, I spend more and more time worrying about things that happen that are out of my control. Age bears responsibility, so when these instances affect my life I tend to stress over them. Shane is really good at reminding me that it’s not worth stressing over, and to refocus my time on what I can actually control.
16. I Get The Most Joy Out Of Giving // Birthdays and holidays have always been a favorite of mine. I get super excited about purchasing the perfect gift for the ones I love, and it warms my heart to make others happy. Sometimes I get so excited, I can hardly stand it!
17. I Workout For Me // I’m thankful my mom instilled good habits in my sister and I from an early age. We have always been active, and focused on healthy eating habits but I’ve learned over time that I truly feel the best inside and out, when I workout regularly and eat clean. Working out for me is far more than physical appearance. It’s a stress reliever, it allows me to clear my mind, it releases happy endorphins and it truly helps me feel good overall. I actually enjoy working out and eating healthy!
18. Invest In Yourself // Most of you know, I workout with a trainer in Charlotte. Yes, it’s not cheap. Believe me, I cringe every time my monthly payment is due – ha! BUT, the benefits far outweigh the cost. You only get one body, so take care of it. We all focus so much time on material items, and have no problem swiping that card for a new bag, shoes, car etc. but we all tend to forget that we need to be around and alive to enjoy those items, so your most important investment should be your body. More on that here.
19. Rid Yourself Of Negativity // Thankfully I don’t have a lot of negativity in my life, but what negativity I did have looming around I got rid of a long time ago, and it was the most liberating feeling of all time. Life’s too short to surround yourself with the negatives.
20. Be Grateful // Be grateful for what you do have, not what you don’t have. It’s so easy to get caught up in what everyone else is doing or buying on social media, that you forget to be grateful for the gift of life. I’m guilty of this and constantly need to remind myself that the life I live is a blessing in itself.
21. Being Kind Is More Important Than Being Right // This is one I’ve experienced a few times from afar, and in my own life (especially in marriage). It’s easy to let your ego get in the way of relationships in the name of being right or proving a point. Sometimes I have to step back and remind myself that the relationship is more important to me, than being right.
22. Success Is In The Eyes Of The Beholder // Everyone’s version of being “successful” looks different. As long as you are happy, you are successful in my opinion.
23. Slow Down // Being in your late twenties comes with the pressure of planning everything out, getting it all done before kids, figuring out your purpose on earth, making it to the top as fast as possible etc. This year has taught me that I need to slow down. Let life unfold on it’s own, take time to weigh out opportunities, and just enjoy the ride before it passes me by no matter what happens.
24. It’s Okay To Make Mistakes // Even though I have a platform that provides advice or inspiration, I am still human and I still make mistakes. It’s okay to not know everything, it’s okay to embrace my limitations and learn from them, because that’s life. We learn from it, and move on. Sometimes I think there is a stigma attached to bloggers that we should be perfect humans because we are putting content out on the Internet, but in all reality how relatable are we really if we don’t make mistakes sometimes? I am learning to embrace those moments, instead of feeling ashamed of them.
25. There Are Two Types Of Friends // Friends you do business with, and friends that stick with you throughout life.
26. Small Habits Lead To Big Rewards // It takes 21 days to build a habit. If you repeat them daily, they become part of your routine and not so much a chore. In the long term, you reap big rewards from the small daily habits you created. For me, some of the small habits I have reaped big rewards from are lowering my sugar in take (especially in coffee), walking at least 10K steps per day (I wear a tracker), and incorporating at least 30 minutes of cardio/activity into my routine six days a week. In year 28, I need to add in “making the bed daily” – haha.
27. You Are Who You Hangout With // Surround yourself with people who long for the same goals and aspirations as you. This is a lesson Ro talks to me about a lot – and he has been practicing and preaching it for years. I talked earlier about having a small circle, but all of those people in my circle embody the same positive energy, goals, dreams, and attitude as me. When you surround yourself with positive people, you will inherit their energy and traits to only propel your further.
28. Coffee Is Life // Last but not least, keeping it light hearted because this girl cannot function without coffee! I must have a coffee first thing in the morning every day, and if I’m at home it will always be a Nespresso! Anyone who knows me, knows it isn’t a pretty sight if I have to wake up without coffee!
Phew, that was a long list! If you’ve read them all, you go girl. We are headed to the mountains this weekend with a group of my closest friends to celebrate my birthday and I honestly cannot wait! It’s been a while since our little group has done vacation together, and I actually think it’s the first time we are all traveling together with our husbands and staying in the same house – should be interesting!
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