Thirty-One

Thank you for all of the well wishes, calls, and messages yesterday! This years celebration was much more tame. I’d even dare to take celebration out of the mix completely and call it “just another day.” Though, it wasn’t just another day because I think birthdays are something special!

My 30th year wasn’t at all like I’d hoped it would be. I remember writing a similar post to this last year gushing about all the things in year #29 that made me feel so alive. (Read about it here because it’ll make you smile!) I miss that girl. The pre-pandemic, feeling-like-she-could-conquer-anything fearless soul of a woman. She is a hero to my present self and didn’t even realize it.

I’m sure I’ll elaborate on this more in my year end review but 2020 threw us all for a curveball, it wasn’t just me and it wasn’t just you. It wasn’t just the virus or the protests or the election or the fires. It was all of it, all at once, constantly. It was watching families and friendships disappear over DT vs JB, two old men that most of us will never meet. It was inserting COVID-19 into every single conversation instead of the weather. It was seeing how polar opposite people feel about the BLM movement, about the feminist movement, about equality. It was watching people you love lose their jobs, others getting sick, and even more having to postpone their lives because of these “trying times.” It’s really easy to focus on the shitty stuff of this year, it so is. And I’m not going to pretend this year hasn’t been crap because it kind of has been.

I’m beyond blessed to have been employed throughout this mess when so many people weren’t as fortunate. But it hasn’t been easy. I’m a single woman living alone and the majority of my social life revolved around the relationships I formed with people I see 8+ hours a day. That was taken away, gone, poof by transitioning to a work-from-home life. I hit a new type of low in my 30th year, even lower then when I went through the toughest year of my life. I often found myself sitting still watching the world spin around me with gushing love sentiments, beautiful marriages, and sweet babies cooing so far out of reach, it felt impossible. I started going to therapy for the first time ever this year.

I was sad A LOT, I am still sad a lot.

But that sadness, the frustration of the year, the dreams lost, the wtf is happening roadblocks that keep coming up.. I chose not to let it define my 30th year or my 2020. I think it’s really important to acknowledge the tough parts of life because we all fall into the trap of a filtered version especially on social media, myself included. But the good stuff has been really good too and if we all take time to truly evaluate our lives, I hope you have some good stuff to share too. And I hope that good stuff quite literally trumps all the things that made you sad.

In my 30th year, I traveled to Iceland solo, made it to Hawaii before the shutdowns began and learned how to snorkel. I celebrated my nieces 4th birthday by making cupcakes together and we painted pumpkins just a couple of weeks ago. She even learned how to spell my name without any help this year! #auntiewin I sent care packages to people and letters. I went on long hikes in area state parks, swung on swings for the first time in years, and called my grandma more than usual. I went tubing TWICE, joined a 16-week fitness boot camp, and (socially distantly) ran away to Montana for a week to find some quite in my very loud mind. I met incredible people from across the globe that may not have happened without a pandemic and one of my favorite people in the world (my brother) got married!

This year didn’t totally suck, it’s just really overshadowed by the dark clouds above us. I had to shift a lot of dreams in the way of cancelled trips and a limited social life but a lot of really fantastic moments filled my 30th year too. I know it’s not easy but there is a silver lining in an otherwise weird AF whirlwind and I hope you can see that. To quote the pre-pandemic, feeling-like-she-could-conquer-anything fearless soul of a woman from a year ago:

If you’ve made it this far in my ramble, I hope you’re living your best year yet and if you’re not, you deserve to be. If I’ve learned anything in life this far, I know that I was always the only person ever holding myself back from happiness. You have to choose it daily. I used to (and sometimes still do) let people determine my mood and my choices. Some days will suck but that doesn’t mean weeks or months or years have to. You’re more kickass than you give yourself credit for! Remember that.

Thank you again to every single person who wished me well yesterday! Thank you to my uncle who calls me and sings to me every single year, to my mom for a girls day on Sunday, to my birthday twin for sending me flowers. Thank you for lifting my spirits and for filling my heart with so much love. It’s incredible to see how we’ve had to adapt in a socially distant world but still have the ability to reach each other. Cheers to the next 365+ days and to health! God is good. ♥️

I Bought Shoes Instead Of Booze.

Last night a group of co-workers went to a local bar for some drinks and music. I heard it was a great time. I would have loved to go but I didn’t. Mainly because I didn’t want to spend the $25 or more on a taxi there and back, $7 on a cover charge, and who knows how much on drinks. And besides, I didn’t want to feel like shit today.

Although I’m ultimately glad that I chose to stay home, it bums me out. Am I that much of a loser? I’m only 24, am I acting like an old hag? Am I cheap? I mean, I wanted to go. I like my co-workers (most of them anyways) and it would have been hella fun but I didn’t want to waste my money on it.

Instead of dwelling on what I didn’t do, I went to Payless and bought some shoes. Good compromise? I think so. Although I missed out on some memories that were made, at least I have shoes to show for my money rather than a hangover. Right?

Another Quiz.

It would be hard to believe that just a few short months ago, the BuzzFeed quizzes that we are all familiar with were barely spoken about in comparison to today. It seems almost overnight our news-feeds went from the usual humdrum of every day life to quiz result after quiz result after quiz result.

The funny thing is, it isn’t even annoying. Well, not to me anyway. It’s always like ‘yes another quiz!’ And if I’d already taken it I’d compare myself to what that person got. Super cool 21st century shit right there. We’ve found out which state we actually belong in (Wisconsin) to which actress would play us in a movie?” (Jennifer Lawrence). I’ve probably taken 15 or more of these over the last month. The great and addicting thing about them is as follows:

1. The Format. They all have the same boxed layout for every question. Simple and easy.

2. Answers Are Relatable. Just about every single question has an answer that will appeal to any single person.

3. The Result. No matter the result you get, you’ll always have a small paragraph explaining who you are and usually it makes sense.

Although there’s a simplicity to the quizzes and we already know the facts about ourselves – it is like we all want a deeper understanding about the one person we know everything about. Ourselves. Take horoscopes for example. We were all born on our designated days. Our sign will never change but so often you see your horoscope blasted everywhere you look. It’s in the newspaper, your favorite magazine, online, it’s everywhere. I’ve known my astrological traits and characteristics before I knew how to add and subtract, yet I yearn to know more. To thrive off of a better understanding.

Why? I don’t know why? Maybe we all just want to have a better understanding of why our lives are working or not working. Why we view the glass as half empty when we live perfectly full lives. Maybe we want to have the reassurance that we are old souls and that our temper is derived from something deeper than the surface.

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I recently took another BuzzFeed quiz. The latest question: “What Grade Are You Getting In Life?” And would you believe that I got a B-?! A “below average” grade? I believe it. I was actually expecting a “C” based off of the answers I gave.

I live a good life, I know that I am blessed. I mean I have an amazing family and support system. I’m in a happy and loving relationship. I have an okay paying job. Any debt that I have is manageable I guess. So why did I doubt myself when scrolling through the quiz? Well, although I’m content with my current situation, I am disappointed in my life path.

As I’ve mentioned on many occasions, I’m not where I had dreamt I’d be at this point in my life and apparently I haven’t accepted that force of nature yet. I also don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. I’d love to go back to college not only to soak in knowledge but to better my career but where will it lead me? My deepest passions are photography and writing. Having an excuse and saying “but that won’t get me anywhere” is chalked up to a bunch of bullshit. Will 2-4 years of $20,000 a year schooling realistically pay off? I don’t know. But will it make me feel more fulfilled? Probably.

I don’t want to live a poverty stricken life. I want my future children to live good rounded lives. Be able to do things and go places without having to worry if mom and dad can afford it. I want to own a home. Not a fixer upper, dump of a place but an actual home. A beautifully decorated by me masterpiece.

I want to be successful, be happy, and travel but I’m so far from that it’s ridiculous. I’ve changed my “current situation” so many times since I graduated high school so I know that it can be done but how can it be done if you don’t know where to start or what to do? So if anyone is looking for a blogging, picture taking, good with numbers, multi-tasking, organized, traveling wanna-be, museum loving, hardworking woman…hit me up. I’m all yours!

And it’s not just a career or school path in life that’s preventing me from turning my B- into an A+. I just don’t know where I want to be. I know that I want to go abroad for more than just a 10 day vacation. I know that I want to live in a huge city but I also want to settle down in the country. I know that I want to own an art studio to exhibit mine and other artists work. I know that I want to get healthy and be more social. I know what I want, we all do. How are we supposed to take what we want, balance it with what we have, and somehow be completely and wholeheartedly happy with the result? It’s not possible, is it?

What grade would you give yourself in life? Click here to find out what BuzzFeed gives you! Do you think that we’re harder on ourselves than we should be or does that make us pursue things at a greater level of determination?