Today, I am 31. Thirty. One. I certainly don’t feel 31 at all. I run around the city wearing neon pink and leather shorts and five inch heels…. Carly Rae on my iphone, never too far from a pack of gum or tube of (pink) lip gloss. I make a living playing on the Internet. Oh, and I blog, and am old for blogger standards (yet still have so much to learn.) People meet me and think I’m 24. While it’s flattering that I can pass for that age, I realize that I must come off as pretty darn immature.
Whatever. (Picture me holding up my hands in a W, Cher Horowitz style.) When I was younger I thought I’d have everything figured out by 31. Married with kids. In some high powered career with a corner office wearing Theory business suits and Loubs… or running my own business. It’s funny how time slips by and before you know it you are at that age where you’re supposed to have everything “together.” But then you get to that age and realize you actually don’t have life figured out or know nearly as much as you once thought you knew.
The thing that I’m realizing more and more is that I’m okay with not having everything figured out… nor do I particularly care to conform to society’s definition of success. Get ready for a brutally honest post.
I’m most certainly not saying that I want to be mediocre… I’m not saying that I don’t have ambition. I might actually be too ambitious for my own good at times. What I am saying is that here in New York, it often feels like quality of life and real, genuine happiness is pretty underrated. At the risk of stereotyping an entire city, it often feels like New York is one big treadmill. Get up early. Work late. Head to the gym and hit the treadmill hard. After that, network! Drink! Hit up the hottest new restaurant! Sleep a little, and do it all again. This lifestyle is exhausting and I know firsthand because I’ve been there.
Here’s a little confession for you. My favorite thing in the world is to come home from work and hang out with my boyfriend on the couch and watch Jeopardy. I would also like to confess that I hate networking. I rarely go to work related functions or blogger events because I have a hard enough time calling home and seeing my friends. There are certain bloggers that I see out at everything and I honestly don’t know how they do it. I genuinely respect it, but it’s not me. I’m happiest at home, snuggling on the couch with the boyfriend, working on the blog, crafting on the floor, or enjoying a bottle of wine with friends. Of course I like to go out, explore the city, try its many restaurants… but that whole treadmill thing is not for me.
Blogging has an entirely different set of pressures. Within the blog world, there is this incredible entrepreneurial spirit which I love… but since we’re being honest, I think it encourages some bad decisions. If you’re not doing it full time, does that make you a lesser blogger? If you don’t leverage your blog as a platform to start your own business, are you doing something wrong? You haven’t quit your day job yet? You don’t have an agent? I think that traditional work experience is pretty underrated here in the blog world. I see bloggers launching businesses left and right with no real work experience. While I applaud them for being so courageous, I just don’t think it’s the best idea. The blog world romanticizes being a full-time blogger or working for yourself. I think that both things are great, amazing things… if you are truly ready for it, have the traffic to back it up, and the experience to know exactly what you need to do.
Blogging also encourages a lot of bad purchasing decisions. I see 22 year olds buying $700 shoes and can’t figure out how (or why?) they are buying them. I hope they aren’t using credit cards. I can tell you from personal experience that it is not worth it. All that crap you bought is going to be out of style in a couple years but you’ll still be paying for it. I’m not here to judge anyone’s shopping habits. If you can afford it, go for it. I shop a lot and heartily encourage it if you can… but I also have a full time job and a blog that I monetize. I am also 31, live with my boyfriend, and since we’re being honest, don’t pay very much (by New York standards) in rent right now.
All of that said, I have a very strong work ethic and have had a tremendously difficult time this year balancing a relationship, friendships, family, my job, and this blog. I maintain a positive attitude and try my best to make things look easy but the hard truth is that it has been anything but. These are first world problems though, so I try not to complain. I have a pretty great life. The thing is, as I get older I realize more and more that all that stuff I once thought was so important actually is not. I’ve realized that my own personal happiness is what needs to come first. And not the kind of happiness that comes from accumulating more stuff.
This year is going to be the year I take better care of myself. I’ve been really focused on my health and eating better. I’m making a point each day to slow down and appreciate the small things.
I’m excited about so much this year. We have some ah-mazing things up our sleeves at BaubleBar. Stripes & Sequins is getting a massive makeover in the next few months. Stefan and I are going to Europe for nine days next month. I’m finally feeling healthier and sleeping better thanks to my nutritionist. I’ve lost weight and I actually enjoy getting dressed again. And I can not wait to go home for the holidays.
I’m so thankful for this blog, for the community it has introduced me to, and for all of my amazing readers. You (and your comments) make my day. I don’t say that often enough. I’m thankful for my parents and family. For my boyfriend. For having such an awesome group of friends. I’m thankful for the roof over my head, for a closet full of clothes, for my job, and for my coworkers. It’s really nice going to work every day and loving the people you work with. I didn’t do a birthday wish list this year because there isn’t really anything I wanted terribly or had to have. We’ll leave out the fact that I’ve been shopping up a storm so there wasn’t really anything left for anyone to buy me. I’m thankful for quiet time, for red wine, and my big comfy couch. And just for fun… I’m thankful for Instagram, for Phillip Lim, Jenna Lyons, iced coffee, and neon pink. I think I’ve covered the bases now.
My life is not perfect, but it definitely is good. If you made it to the end of this post, I’m impressed. I’m not usually one for essays, but it’s my birthday and I’ll do what I want. Don’t expect another one of these for a while.