I'm turning 33 tomorrow and it got me thinking...32 was a HUGE year for me and I learned more than any in other year of my life. It's funny, I still feel 25, and some people tell me I should lie and stick with that age but I'm proud to be 33! I've worked my butt off becoming the person I am today and I kinda like her! So here it is, from career to friendship to married life, 32 things I learned while 32.
I took a massive leap of faith last year and started my own show Monica Goes. It began as a way for me to be seen as a host and get auditions but I fell in love with what I was creating. I never expected it to be where it is today and how starting my dream job turned into starting my dream life!
1. In the words of Nike...JUST DO IT! It's scary to take that first initial step but if you don't like it, you can stop or change but you have to start! You'll find out pretty quickly if it's the right or wrong choice for you and it might just change your life.
2. Don't be afraid to switch it up. If you think something should change, change it! If you want to add things or switch your style its fine! Just because you started releasing blogs once a week doesn't mean you can't do it every other week if it's too much. If you always say the same sign off and hate it, don't use it. Your audience will adjust to the new style.
3. Know it takes time. This is a hard one! We want 5,000 views immediately and sponsorships in the first month but it pays to be patient. Which leads me to...
4. Enjoy the process. I find sometimes I get so stressed out with the day to day I forget how much I love what I'm doing and why I chose it. When I step back, the stressful stuff is still WAY better than doing something I hated.
5. Be thankful and give back. I love to watch other people succeed! If you get a shoutout, give one back. If someone follows, follow back. People will want to keep working with you and you can even cultivate great friendships!
6. Choose wisely. At first I wanted to do every product review that came along. I realized I had to pick things I knew I loved and wanted to promote. I want people to trust me and promoting things I haven't used or don't like is not the way to do that.
7. Invest in your future. It's tough sometimes when you're not making any money yet to pay for that conference, or get the best camera, but it pays off in the end (or at least I believe it will) and it makes the process so much more enjoyable!
8. It's ok to take a break. There are weeks I get back from a trip and need to write a blog, edit footage, promote what's out, keep up on social media, AND work a paying job! It gets exhausting and hinders the whole enjoying the process. So now I TRY to give myself one day a week where I'm not doing something for the show. Sometimes it means canceling #adventurechat or putting my phone away but it helps.
9. BALANCE. Also another tough one for me! Sometimes traveling and working on the show is so enjoyable I bail on friends or give up time with my husband or stop working out. So I've tried to get better at balancing it all out, keeping up a good schedule, and showing up for others. Something I'll definitely have to get better at this year
10. Did I mention balance? I know this is kind of a two-fer but it's true! I decided with my husband that if I have a lot of trips and his work schedule is crazy we need to try to have date day in between. It helps us to reconnect amidst the madness and I feel better going into my next trip.
11. Figure out what works for you. You've probably heard this a million times (I had too) but it's so much harder in practice. I knew we were both super independent when we met and then for some reason the crazy ring (engagement band) went on and I felt like we needed to be together all the time and go to bed at the same time because that's what every article tells you to do. For some weird reason, our crazy schedules work for us! We're happier doing our own thing and sharing our stories with one another.
12. Agree to disagree. I tried so hard to get us to see eye-to-eye on every point! It's impossible! There some topics we just have to lovingly accept one another's opinions and move on.
13. Don't try to change one another. I know, everyone knows this right? Wrong. Again it's that crazy ring! I didn't think suddenly he would take off traveling around the world with me but I thought "hey we're married so he'll compromise". And he does, but it's on his own accord (which is better anyway because who wants someone to begrudgingly go with you after a fight).
14. Fulfill the things you don't match up on in other areas of your life. When we first got married I had such a hard time with him not being into travel or socializing. I was the backpacking party girl and he doesn't drink or have a passport! So I learned to fill my social needs with girlfriends (wine trips do wonders!) and I found a way to incorporate my love of adventure into my career.
15. Cherish when they share. Sometimes it's tough when I'm working on something and he wants to tell me a story and I know he gets annoyed if I come home and start talking while he's watching a movie. But I've never regretted stopping what I'm doing and listening to his day. Because the truth is, it's so much better than when you are both silently in opposite rooms and have no idea how each others day was.
16. Talk about the future but DON'T freak out about it! I am a planner and I tend to get panicky if I don't know where I'll be in 5 years. But the truth is, none of us do and everything could change tomorrow (like my Dad lovingly reminds me after every panicked phone call). And we may not even want the things we do today down the road so why pick fights over what MIGHT happen.
17. Learn when to walk away. I have this crazy side that only my poor husband gets to see. There's something about our spouses that gets under our skin like no other. I'm not great at it, but I'm learning when to walk away or take it down a notch.
18. FUN, FUN, FUN! My favorite thing about my husband and I is that we are like little kids! We spent our one year anniversary at Disneyland and went back all year. We wrestle and have nerf guns. It makes being around each other a blast!
19. Make time for them. Look we all get tired and pjs and the couch sound fantastic but if you've said you'll be somewhere, be there. I'm not great at this but it's one I'm really trying to get better at because I know how hurt I am when people bail.
20. It's ok to say no. Along with showing up when you've agreed to be somewhere, it's ok to say no. This was hard for me because I wanted to be in the loop and I didn't want to be that boring married lady or miss out on anything epic but when I forced myself to go out I never had a good time. Now when I go out, I know I've purposefully made that choice and am happy to be there.
21. Protect your relationships. I have a big mouth. I am an entertainer and have a blog! I like to talk with my friends about everything! But I've found I used to do this too much. When I shared everything about my relationship they started forming their own judgements and that's never good or fair to your spouse. Luckily, my husband knows me very well and sometimes he will say "have a girls night, I know you need to talk". And I do, but I am aware of how often and making sure to also share the great stuff.
22. Don't Gossip! Talking too much comes in many forms! I used to see gossiping as a way of bonding. "oh but we're concerned about her..." but it never feels good afterward and it doesn't help the person you're talking about at all. I'm trying to get better about addressing my issues with the people I have them with instead of 3rd parties.
23. If you have a problem, address it. I don't like conflict! I tend to try to let it go and it eats me up underneath and either comes out in an explosion or in passive aggressive ways; neither one is healthy. I'm really working on setting those coffee dates and phone calls to talk about what upset me. It stops things before they eat me up and can sometimes save an amazing friendship.
24. Let go of the negativity. I am VERY susceptible to people's emotions. If people are bubbly and positive it's infectious. And sadly so is negativity. I've found that at work if someone complained about a table, I was real quick to jump on board with my awful story of the day, and the cycle continues. It's hard to stop it but I've tried distancing myself from negative people and sometimes, sadly, that means letting friendships go.
25. Cherish the ones you have. The great thing about getting older and saying no is that when I say yes it's because I want to and it's because I cherish my time with those people. I have come to LOVE my girlfriends! I was always one of the boys and hated the cattiness of girls but when you find quality women, you lift each other up and empower one another. I find the best friendships are the ones you leave feeling like you can conquer the world with!
26. Faith is a game-changer! Everything in my life felt so hard and impossible two years ago because I felt like I was trying to do it all alone, but I wasn't! I just hadn't given my life to God. Whatever that means to you, having spirituality and faith not only helps us to keep striving to be our best, but it grounds us in the here and now and helps us live in gratitude. Since accepting Jesus, my life has a sense of peace I've never known before.
27. It's ok to not have it all together. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in thinking I found God, I'm starting my dream career, I have an amazing husband why do I wanna cry and not leave bed today. Just because things are going well doesn't mean I have to have it all together all day, every day. Sometimes I need to give myself a break and be ok not being ok for that moment.
28. Comparison is the devil! Social media can be brutal! You see the best parts of someone's life and it makes you feel like somehow you're doing things wrong. But EVERYONE is feeling that way about one another so we need to stop comparing! It's hard when I see people buying houses and having kids and then I put in perspective how different our lives are and how grateful I am for the things in my life and it reminds me how great I have it!
29. Don't give up on family. I'm going to say to an extent. There are toxic relationships that sometimes need to be let go of and I understand that. But the ones who've been there the majority of the time and always tried their best, deserve forgiveness. Cutting people out because you're angry is a dangerous spiral that pride makes it hard to come back from.
30. Be grateful. Sometimes it's tough but there really is something in every moment to be grateful for. When I get caught up in comparison, or negativity, or stress, reminding myself of what I'm comparing to, the positive things in my life, and why I'm stressed (because I'm doing what I love) makes it easier to be grateful.
31. Give back. I always thought "giving back" meant volunteering and felt guilty that I haven't done as much of that over the past few years but I've learned that giving back can come in so many different forms. Having an inspirational talk with a friend, taking someone on a hike who's new to town, calling my grandma when she's feeling down. Sometimes I forget how little things can make a difference and how I need to be more aware of these easy opportunities to give back.
32. Love and Let go. Life, career, marriage, friendships, it's all about loving and letting go. I can be a tough cookie and cut people and things out of my life because it's easier. The times I've let go and forgiven it's always been worthwhile. And it makes for a way happier life not carrying around that anger! Understand that everyone is just trying their best and give people the benefit of the doubt.
PHEW! I told you 32 was pretty big! I started my show, ran a marathon, and traveled all around America. And it's not just this year...it's been a long learning process over the years and I'm still a mess trying to figure it all out (as we all are). I know there are so many things I still need to work on and each one of these points above I struggle with at different times. I tend to learn through trial and error and making mistakes two or three times before I figure out the answer.
I share this very personal blog not to talk myself up or pat myself on the back for where I am today but in hopes that if you're struggling with any of these things, know that it's normal! I have a lot of younger friends who keep saying they feel "crazy" because they made a mistake here, or feel lost there but I think it's something we all go through and learn. We're all just doing our best, so wherever you are, you're doing great! Bring it on 33, I kinda like where this is going!
Now I want to hear from you! Whatever age, wherever you are in life, what are some lessons you've learned? Any tips for the rest of us trying to figure out this whole life thing? Comment below!