My 29th Birthday

Today is my birthday! I legitimately feel old, not because of the number, but because I keep forgetting it actually is my birthday. Usually, I have a good sense of it because it’s always around Labor Day so my birthday equals the end of summer. This year though? Farthest thing from my mind. Now that I’m thinking about it, maybe it says more about the crazy (but amazing) summer I’ve had than my birthday. Who knows.

It’s my last year in my 20s! I know a lot of women tend to celebrate their 29th birthday for a few years (if you know what I mean), I’m actually looking forward to my 30s. I figure my birthday post next year will be a lot more substantial and meaningful because it’s such a “big” year.

Last year I wrote about four lessons I learned. It was a much bigger year (mostly because it included a breakup) and I’d say that going through those things pushes you to learn a lot more about yourself.

I knew I’d still write something for this year’s post and I have been toying with what I would say for a while. Honestly, this year seems like a blur. So much has happened and changed (like moving to New Jersey!). There weren’t any major pitfalls, so it was pretty much smooth sailing, which I cannot complain about.

I thought that this year, I could share one thing I think I “nailed” and one thing that I still need to work on. (Basically, I’m giving myself a performance review for the past year 😂) I knew exactly what they were without thinking too much because it’s been at the top of mind for a while now. Funny enough, they’re sort of related to each other.

Gingham Cake

What I Did Well

If you told me that I would be able to just “go with the flow,” I would think you were crazy. For most of my nearly three decades of living on earth, I have been the opposite of going with the flow. I’m a planner and I don’t like surprises. I want to go into everything in life as prepared as possible.

In the past, I would…

Overpack so I’d have everything I could possibly need. Carry large handbags with all the essentials for every kind of emergency that might pop up. Only go on trips with advance notice and lots of planning. Look up menus at restaurants beforehand, research multiple forms of directions, say no if I was even slightly unsure of how something might play out.

I don’t know what exactly changed, probably just getting older and having fewer “effs” to give, but I just don’t care that much about everything being perfectly planned. I am much more willing to do everything and anything.

This isn’t to say that I love every minute of it or don’t worry about not having something I need (the packing anxiety might always be with me), but I still GO. I’m, at least, saying yes and just doing it. And you know what? Things have a way of working themselves out.

Just this week, as a perfect example, I wasn’t sure if I was going to DC on Tuesday or not. And it was 2 pm on Monday… I was, to be fair, a tiny bit stressed, but I figured, if I’m going, great and if not, then I have two more days at home. Felt like a win/win… and, of course, by 3 pm, my train and hotel were booked and the trip went off without a problem.

All things considered, I’d still prefer things to be planned, but I know that I can (and will) go with the flow if I need to. It’s just opened so many more doors for me and made me realize that everything works out and it’s OKAY if things don’t go exactly as planned.

What I Want to Do Better 

Playing off with the positives of going with the flow, I do feel like just because I can just roll with whatever, it doesn’t mean I should or have to completely or at all. There have been more than a few occasions where I’ve gone along with something, even though I didn’t really want to or knew it wasn’t for me. Sometimes I haven’t done my best to stand up for what I need (or want) in a certain scenario. Part of it is that I want to be easy going and low maintenance, but I still have my own set of needs and wants. And, I’ve learned and know, that if I don’t establish what they are, no one else is going to.

I think my tendency while going with the flow is to think of things as binary: I go along with whatever and don’t share my input. It’s actually much more fluid and I just need to be better about standing up for myself. It’s not being high maintenance, it’s expressing what I need in a particular moment.

When I have expressed something that I want to do or gave a suggestion for something I downright need, I always feel better and enjoy the experience, whatever it is, so much more. And I’m not asking to move mountains or anything. so it never affects people as much as I imagine it would in my head.

So, cheers to making the most of my very last little bit of my 20s! 

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Happy Birthday! I just turned 30 a few weeks ago and I kind of prepped myself to have a mini-meltdown, but to refer back to the Morgan Freeman image you linked a few weeks back, I think my bank of effs is finally running out (#hallelujah). Enjoy the last year of your twenties!


Happy Birthday Carly! I just recently discovered your blog and have been HOOKED. I will be celebrating my 29th birthday soon as well! I wish you a last 20′ something year filled with love, light and health! 🙂

Erica Klein

Happy Birthday, Carly! I really need to go with the flow more often. I am also a planner…loved hearing your view. Hope you have an amazing birthday!!


Happy Birthday, Carly! I love your idea for this post. I relate to it so much because I often wish I did a better job of “going with the flow”, but when I do I sometimes feel I’m not being myself for fear of being perceived as “high maintenance”. This is something I am continuing to practice as well. I wish you all the best this year!

Aislinn Santoyo

Hope you had an awesome birthday Carly!
Loved this post because I relate 1000% and I myself am working on it.
I have a feeling this year is going to be great for you!


Happy Birthday, Carly!! I hope you have a wonderful day and that this is your best year yet!

Teri Jordan

Happy Birthday🎈🎈🎈 I enjoy your blog, so please keep writing. Let me offer you a warm orthodox christian blessing . “Many Years, Many Years ,May God grant you Many Years” Happy Birthday!


Happy Birthday, Carly! I hope 29 is your best year yet, and you fully enjoy this last year in your 20s. I will be celebrating 29 as well in January!


Happy Birthday, Carly! You are my favorite blogger, and it’s been so fun following you the past five years. I hope your day is filled with happiness, good food, and cake (preferably covered in gingham).


Happy birthday Carly! I can totally relate about trying to plan every little thing but sometimes you just have to know no matter what everything works out, even better than you could ever planned. Love reading your blog, it’s the only one I make time to read everyday

Ashlin van Roon

Happy Birthday! Thanks for sharing these! I had a friend who gets nervous to speak up for what she wants occasionally and started working on it by speaking up in restaurants when things don’t come out as she ordered them. A small way to be more assertive, but not unreasonable.


Happy Birthday Carly!! I just want to say that your blog is probably a blessing in disguise for me. When I first found out about your blog, I probably read all the college posts and the posts about anxiety. But what really helped was that your blog was always there for me! I just read a post and I feel so much better about myself. I just want to say that I love your blog and I hope you have an amazing birthday!

Ps. I think you would make an amazing podcast!


Happy Birthday to my favorite blogger ever!
I genuinely relate so much to you I always say “SAME!”
Of course, we’re not the same but in certain things for example the planning, I am exactly like that and yes! I hate surprises.
Wish you the very best this new year! As always, (I know it’s risky these days), thank you for sharing bits of yourself! Love your blog💜
Happy Birthday!


Happy Birthday, Carly! I can totally relate to going with the flow more, especially with trips. Ironically, with one coming up this weekend to DC! I too struggle with speaking up and have been practicing boundaries, they are hard for a lot of the same reasons. Enjoy your awesome day!


I am about to turn 30 and I can totally relate to your “What I Did Well.” (So much so that I’m commenting, ha!) For me, it was a perfectionist syndrome that I was finally able to identify, which allowed me to give up that perfectionist mindset. Realizing that it was OK to not have every little thing go exactly the way I thought it would gave me so much freedom. It sounds like it has for you too!

A Girl, A Style

Happy (belated) birthday, Carly! Hope you had the best weekend and were throughly spoiled.

I totally relate to this – I’ve been trying so hard to be less uptight about things always going to plan or being done just how I like them, and mostly I’m so much more relaxed and willing to ‘go with the flow’ nowadays (but like you I am also terrible at standing up for myself).
I remember setting myself a ‘bucket list’ of things to do in my 29th year before turning 30 (I didn’t achieve all of them, but it was fun to have as a guideline), but I have to say – I love being in my 30s now!

Wishing you a wonderful last year of your 20s!

Briony xox


Hey Carly – I think this is only the second or so comment I have ever written (can’t remember).

I have been religiously reading your blog for years. I had my 29th bday back in December and just really relate to this post at large. Throughout my 20’s I was hyper type-A, obsessed with order and perfection, so insanely hard on myself and always stressed over tiny details. At 29 something seriously, deeply changed. Now that I’ll be 30 in Dec I can say I am also just rolling with it. I don’t care about any of that stuff anymore. I’m type-b! I seriously have chilled out and my life is SO much better for it. My 30’s are going to be awesome and I can tell yours are going to be to.