I don’t hate my body | There is something to be said about being comfortable with your body. In fact, it feels freeing. I remember really feeling self-conscious about my body as young as seven, comparing the width of my legs to my best friend in our gymnastics leotard. Of course, that feeling only grew more intense over the years… through middle school when I was mortified by how lanky I was… through high school when my body began to shift and curve every two weeks it felt like… and through college when my body weight was scrutinized by 18 men every weekend (perks of coxing). At some point last fall, I remember that every time I saw a picture of myself or my reflection in a mirror, I would cringe and “hate” on something new: my hair, my legs, my arms, my stomach, my teeth, my weight, my complexion…
It did not happen overnight, but I committed to thanking my body every chance I got. Switching my thoughts from, “My arms look bad,” to “Thank you arms for having the strength to carry and balance six packages down five blocks.” Changing my behavior towards my body eventually changed my attitude towards it. I don’t define myself as my body, but we’re certainly a team in this game called life. And if we’re on the same team, I think we should definitely play nice.
I’ve worked for myself for 11 months | I really chalk this up as a huge accomplishment. When I quit my job, I had planned on getting another one in January. I thought I would hate working alone and the thought of “blogging” full-time didn’t sit well with me at all. I actually did hate it for a while. It was a challenge to go from working in group environments my entire life (school and then my job) to spending my days alone, two feet away from my bed, at a desk by myself. Boring. However, something amazing happened. While I still don’t really love saying that I blog full-time (too many years of brainwashing to believe what a “real” job looks like I think), I love what I do. I’ve always loved blogging but it was always second or third on my priorities list. Now, I get to do what I love first…. and have a life. This was the biggest realizations for me, and also the biggest reason why I never started looking for jobs again.
When I worked in an office, I would come home at the end of the night and either not want to move from the couch or would have to spend hours working more on my blog to finish something important. Now, when the end of the day rolls around, I’m anxious to get out and do something. I want to have dinners with friends, do things at night, and have fun on the weekends. I have both the time and the energy to do that. I randomly did get a job offer a month ago and declined because I enjoy having a life. (A year ago, I would have JUMPED at the opportunity and burned that candle at both ends with enthusiasm.)
Being fiscally responsible starts by being fiscally aware. Knowing what your income is, how you can supplement that if necessary, and then measuring that against your expenses and saving goals. Just like a company, there’s a couple ways to be more in the clear: make more money, spend less money, or make more & spend less. I use Mint.com to track income and spending and find that it holds me accountable. It also shows your personal wealth grow over time, which I find to be a great motivating factor. I actually hit, and well surpassed, a goal for myself that I didn’t think I would hit until I was 30 this year. Again, part of that was being able to dedicate my time fully to what I love doing, blogging.
I’m turning into my mom | I’ve said it before, and I’ll say again… I’m turning into my mom more and more every single day. The things I do, the things I say… it’s insane. I will walk by a mirror and SEE Meesh looking back at me. And my actions are absolutely my mom’s. Most recent example: I have a loaner car this week from GM and, naturally, I go to pack some things for when we’re on the road. I put together a bag and the first thing I do is put a roll of paper towels in it. I didn’t even think about how that is SO MY MOM until I was loading it into the car. (My mom always had a basket in the car for trips with a roll of paper towels right on top.) Then I found myself hoarding napkins from Starbucks and drive throughs and putting them in the pockets of the door. I love my mom and couldn’t be happier to have a little fortune-telling glimpse into the woman I’m going to turn into. (I just didn’t think it would be so soon!)
I should note here as well, that I see myself turning into my dad too. I never understood why he was so adamant on turning off the lights and the air conditioner… and now I open that electricity bill every month and get it. Speaking of paper towels, in true Phil fashion, I will compare the cost per sheet for every roll until I figure out the best deal. I’m also seeing myself get emotional like my dad does. One of the classic Phil stories is that he saw sisters saying goodbye at an airport once and he cried watching them as they hugged and hugged. He still tears up to this day thinking about it. Lo and behold, I witnessed parents saying goodbye to their son this weekend as he started his first semester at college… I climbed into the car and just bawled.
I fell in love | I’m not someone I would label as a relationship person. I had a couple of boyfriends in college, but nothing serious. (Mostly because I was more interested in school than hooking up at parties.) And in college, I had rocky connections with a few people, but again… nothing serious. When I moved to New York, I was under my “thirteen year plan.” I didn’t envision myself being in a relationship until I was 35. Because life has a funny way of doing things, I ended up meeting Garrett early last summer when he moved to the city. We were both busy and preoccupied, but I definitely had a crush on him that first night we met. It wasn’t until Labor Day weekend that we finally had the chance to really hang out together…. I pretty much knew then. As luck would have it, I quit my job that following Tuesday and suddenly we had more time to get to know each other. The rest is history… but this was definitely not something I expected to happen at age 24.
I’m a dog person now | Fun fact: I used to be terrified of dogs growing up. Whenever I went over to my best friend’s house, her family would have to put Travis, their golden retriever, outside. Dogs have always been a creature I never understood and I certainly didn’t understand how people could be so in love with them. I dog sat the sweetest lab a couple of summers during college and I bonded with Tucker (Little V’s brother’s dog) during my junior year. Then I was slowly figuring out why dogs were so great from working in a dog-friendly office. I even took a dog in after Hurricane Sandy and loved having him around for that week. Getting Teddy was and wasn’t spontaneous. It wasn’t because I had been searching for months. And was because it happened so fast when I finally found him. I don’t think I was ready at all when I brought him home that first day, but the timing is never really perfect for any of these things.
Having him was hard at the beginning (really hard), but I love that little guy so much now and we’re in an amazing routine together. I love walking around the city with him every morning, he makes me laugh all the time because he’s a little weirdo, and he’s definitely softened me up quite a bit. Never in a million years would I have thought that a) my apartment would be littered with dog toys, b) I would let a puppy sit on my bed, and c) that I would feel so attached to an animal.
I find myself at a crossroads | Right now, something that I’m facing is this stretch and pull between “having it all.” Part of me is ready to forge ahead and make huge career decisions. A couple of those have been in the works for over a year, but when I started to make those choices at 23, they felt way more solid. “Of course this is what I want!!!” I remember thinking. While I don’t not want those things to happen, I find myself also wanting to settle down and nest a little bit. I’ve been saving my money and can move out of the city and buy a house if I want. And I kind of do… but I also kind of want the career. On one hand, 25 seems so young; I know I’ll look back when I’m 30, 45, 60 and laugh at how old I felt turning 25 and how I thought the decisions I was making were so monumental. On the other hand… aren’t those decisions I’m making now shaping who I will be at 30, 45, and 60? For now, I’m just taking it one day at a time. One choice at a time. And seeing where things lead.
PS In case you were wondering about the 25 before 25 list I made last year… I did a few of the things randomly, but mostly discovered that I’m not a good list follower or a good list maker. I still want to and plan on doing the things eventually, but this year brought along a lot of changes I didn’t expect. The biggest takeaway is that I did a whole lot more that wasn’t on the list than what was on it.