Yesterday I turned 30 which means it’s time for my annual birthday advice post.
I am definitely not an all-knowing woman in the areas of life. . .but I do think I’ve lived through some interesting seasons that keep me on my toes and I’ve always been the type of person who is open to learning through a challenge instead of shutting it out.
What. A. Year! There was a lot of physical moving (Connecticut back to Charleston, Charleston to San Diego, and soon back to Charleston), lots of friendship growth, new explorations, facing fears, and becoming more grounded in who I am as a woman. I’m actually going to steal a line from my year twenty-nine post because it still rings true: I’m learning to live in that in-between place where you just take what life throws and try to respond gracefully and with a smile on your face and joy in your heart. I don’t always succeed, but I am trying.
. . .
1 || Be upfront & honest.
2 || Manage your expectations.
3 || Do The uncomfortable thing.
1 || Be upfront & honest.
I truly think we would live in a much better place if we all followed this advice. If you have something to say to someone, say it, with respect and grace, but gosh darn it just say it! If you are having a disagreement with someone, or feel hurt by them, OR even YOU have hurt someone – just open those lines of communication and start to come to a resolution. Be upfront about your convictions and beliefs and stand by them, it’s ok to not always be on the same page with someone – that doesn’t mean you can’t be friends. Instead of talking about someone behind their back in a gossipy circle (🙋♀️ guilty) go to that person and tell them what you think and see what can come of it. We live in a super PC world where we’re constantly being conditioned to think that if you don’t agree with someone or believe/live/speak differently from them that you can’t love them or co-exist with them. NOT TRUE FRIENDS.
I’ve always had a naturally confrontational personality and that hasn’t always been the best when dealing with others. Over the years I’ve learned how to soften my personality and delivery when having important and difficult conversations…I used to be (and still sometimes am) super rough around the edges. I’ve told my friends how much communication means to me and a simple text of simply “I don’t have time to respond to this right now but I’ve read it” or even “I really don’t want to speak with you right now” works WONDERS. I mentioned about about this PC world and how we are force-fed that we should all believe the same thing and if you disagree then you’re basically a horrible person. NOPE, I’m not buying it. I probably disagree with 50%+ of my friends/readers/followers on some hot-button world topics due to my spiritual beliefs and personal convictions. Does that mean I go around throwing Bibles at people, wagging my finger at them, and just being rude? Noooooooo. I love them. I open the dialogue to hear each other out and learn from each other. Open, Upfront, Honest COMMUNICATION goes a long way in this world and with me. I’ve gone through some experiences this past year that have shown me how vicious and mean women can be. I thought I left all of that behind in High School but no, we just get more vindictive as we age and sometimes more hurtful with how we try to tear each other down. It’s my belief that this could have all been avoided if everyone was able to be upfront and honest with the other person and come to a resolution instead of talking about people behind their backs.
2 || Manage your expectations.
We live in a world full of expectations; expectations in ourselves, our relationships, our jobs, our finances, etc. and it’s completely overwhelming. Expectations can be a beautiful thing when growing into your individuality and learning how to communicate with others. Healthy expectations are just that, healthy! Today I want to talk about the unhealthy ones, the ones that drive you mad and can create confusion in life.
I was just talking to my bestie yesterday about how much I’m struggling with expectations. I’ve mentioned it more than once recently on this blog space about this constant struggle and even now it’s just frustrating. My job, this blog and photography, have A LOT to do with social media, marketing, and creating content. Normally I’m fully aware that most of the pictures I see online are carefully curated (like my own) to help portray a certain aesthetic, especially if we are working with a brand we are wanting to highlight. I recognize that it is a highlight real, the best foot forward, and this isn’t the day to day life that we live….AND YET. . .
Yet I find myself measuring my fitness, my body, my finances, my marriage, my friendships, my relationship with Jesus, my home against the standard instagram/pinterest/blogs put out there. I see someone doing a killer workout and chastise myself saying “you didn’t push hard enough today” or a couple reading books together every night and thinking “why aren’t Eddie and I doing that”, or another friend being able to redecorate their home . . . the list goes on and on and on and I’m sure that people even do that with my posts.
That just isn’t what I should be spending my time or energy on.
Expectations can be deadly.
They can steal your joy and create bitterness or resentment if they are negative and continue to fester. I’ve found that I’m often “let down” because I’ve bought into the lies of the world of what my body, my marriage, my friendships, etc should look like. INSTEAD of taking a break and seeing what is actually important for me and to me. Force-fed expectations can lead to disappointment when there really is no need for the feelings of disappointment because your expectations are wrong. I just was walking through this thought process while celebrating my birthday!!! I’m lead to believe that a birthday celebration should look a certain way (a huge trip, a pinterest worthy decorated party, a massive gathering of all your family and friends) and if it doesn’t I get let down. I had to speak truth into that lie and see that my local San Diego friends threw the most AMAZING birthday party for me where we ended up laughing and playing card games and just having an amazing time. My husband ordered me two presents that were SO ME and we went hiking and got some poke and watched some redbox movies. IT WAS PERFECT. Maybe not everyone else’s version of perfect, but it was mine!
It’s also good to take a step back and see where you are in your life right now. Are your expectations feasible at the moment? Example: I want to spend more time with my husband reading and having more in-depth conversations. Realty: He’s gone a lot and we have to prioritize our time when he is home; I can’t expect to read every night together laying in bed if he isn’t home every night.
3 || Do the uncomfortable thing.
Take that scary step of faith and just go for it. Try something new in your business. Go on that date. Push towards that super hard workout. WEAR THE SPORTS BRA! Laugh too loudly. Embrace the weird. Cry. Sing loudly off key. JUST DO THE UNCOMFORTABLE THING. It’s so easy to get stuck in this place of comfort and complacency and then we wonder why we feel like we aren’t doing anything new or enjoying our day to day lives – maybe it’s because you need to get uncomfortable. It’s good to be uncomfortable. It challenges us and pushes us to keep growing.
I used to laugh incredibly loud all the time; I used to just DO the weird thing without caring if it embarrassed me. Somewhere over the last 10 years I became more censored and would belittle myself if I felt like I was making others uncomfortable with my joy or happiness or even deep conversations. In the last few years I’ve began to let those chains of bondage slip off, and while I’m still NOT where I was, and never will be, I’m walking towards this new place of embracing who I am and what I enjoy and sharing that with others. If I want to look like a fool on the dance floor because I’m feeling the music, watch out I’m just going to dance. If I want to see what my body is capable of with a workout, I’m going to do it. If I’m going to attend a conference / workshop / etc for my business knowing absolutely no one and feeling uncomfortable….sign me up.
Some Stuff From The Last Year…
// We went to NYC for a day!
// I was able to finally experience Acadia National Park and it was beautiful.
// I often hear a lot of “no’s” and shared some of my thoughts on it.
// IT SNOWED IN CHARLESTON! This is so rare and I was so happy I was home to be able to experience it!
// I changed “Taking Steps Home” to “A Loved Life” – it was such a weird but also GOOD transition.
// On my cross-country move I hit the Grand Canyon and was truly awed at the beauty and vastness of it!
// Eddie & I crossed off another National Park and It was magical. Sequoia National Park is just stunning.
// I’m a go-go-go person and I had a slap in the face lesson in actually pausing.
// I took a step back and shared my thoughts on how I saw God working through my single season.
// Desert seasons are hard y’all.
// I LOVE decorating spaces. . .and I share a glimpse into our current master bedroom space here in San Diego.
// Another super vulnerable post was shared.
// I had to brag on the husband, Eddie, and how much I loved him, because y’all I can’t imagine my life without him.
Location: Clevenger Canyon South West Trail, Escondido CA
Outfit: My Monthly Ellie Subscription Box