What I'm Carrying into Year 30
Read Time: 5 Minutes
I’m turning 29 on Saturday, which means I’m entering my 30th year.
My 30th year!! What the heck?!
I work for the business my parents started, and when the company hires someone, they are given a stack of cards with words on them. Qualities, traits, values. They are instructed to choose their top 10 and then their top 5 out of those.
Since I came on suddenly as part-time help, I never took the test. But I saw the cards the other day and decided it would be fun to try.
I laid all the cards on the table I could see each of them. One that immediately got sent to the top was Creativity. Obviously. Another was Growth, because I want to constantly learn and getter better.
The one that I didn’t expect? Legacy.
I was drawn to it, like it was the first time I’d ever considered it something that meant anything to me.
Suddenly, I wanted more than anything to leave a legacy. Not one made of thousands of dollars or prized possessions. I wanted a legacy marked by kindness, by vulnerability, by bravery and resilience, by open doors and open hands and an open heart.
I recently attended my third Yellow Conference in LA. It’s one of my favorite events I’ve ever been to, which is why I keep going back. I used to measure my life by school years, but now it’s events like this that help me to see how far I’ve come and how much I’ve grown.
And honestly, this year, I was ashamed of what I saw.
I felt like the same version of myself that had shown up two years ago, except maybe even more inside of herself.
I remember showing up to the first conference feeling a little embarrassed that I didn’t quite have everything figured out. I was a used-to-be, sometimes-still photographer who was currently working a day job she didn’t really like, but who really wanted to be a writer.
I dreaded the question: What do you do? I owned it, though, because I think it’s better to admit you don’t have it figured out than to pretend you do.
Dreams were planted that year. Injustices in the world were made more clear to me. I walked away inspired, with hope.
But when I showed up the next year, nothing much had changed. When someone asked me what I did, I’d give them the same recited explanation from the year before. It made me hesitant to connect with anyone, really, because I kind of felt like a fraud. Still, I did my best to own my season, to be honest about where I was.
Through it all, the dreams that were planted the year before started to grow some roots and take shape. I actually felt optimistic. I felt burdened. Commissioned, even.
I went home and straight into a really hard year. I was diagnosed with some health issues (look for more on this next week) and I got into this cycle of trying to figure it out but just feeling worse. It took a lot of my attention. It distracted me.
So when I showed up at the Yellow conference for the third time, I didn’t even want to think about what I would say when someone asked me: what do you do? I pulled those old lines out, my trusty response.
The funny thing is, the theme of the conference this year was “Our Ownership.” Questions like, “What will you take ownership of?” were asked.
All along I thought I needed to be owning my season, which I do, but what I needing to be owning even more, is the place I want to be, the place I see myself happy and fulfilled.
In her talk, Alison from the The Alison Show talked about the importance of gratitude. She guided us in a meditation of sorts, where we thought about the things we were grateful for. Then, she instructed us to start being grateful for the things that haven’t happened to us yet, the things we want to happen.
At the end, she made us stand, with hands lifted to the sky, and yell, “I love my life!” Not just once, but several times.
I sat there with tears in my eyes, realizing how hard it was to say those words, but how soothing they were at the same time.
It’s time to start loving my life.
This is the legacy I want to live. I don’t want another year to go by where I don’t make any attempts to move from where I am to where I want to be. I want to be known for being too light to get stuck, for having a soft heart and a resilient spirit, for loving unapologetically and living fully.
So as I enter my 30th year, here’s a few things I’m holding onto.
1. Stop waiting for things to be perfect.
Because they won’t be. Your house will never be clean enough. Your office will never be organized enough. You will never always feel 100%. You will never have all the resources you need. Those aren’t reasons to stop. You’re more creative than that.
You have to realize that the biggest thing holding you back is yourself.
2. Stop letting health derail you.
If health is holding you back, and you know the steps to a healthier you, then what are you waiting for? Not doing the thing you know you should is self-sabotage in its ugliest form.
3. Own the life you dream about.
You can own your season, but when will you start claiming the life you want? Because here’s the thing, it’s yours if you only say so. So say it! Go stand inside that dream and take ownership of it. Give it gratitude and call it yours. No one else will do it for you.
4. Love your freaking life!
What’s stopping you? You have one life and it’s way to short to spend it any other way than in love. If you don't love it, then you get to change it, babe.
5. Remember the legacy you want to leave.
What do you want to be remembered for? What do you want to be known for? I'm begging you, go do more of that.
“It doesn’t serve anyone when you sit around thinking you’re a big piece of crap. No one benefits from that.” - Alison Faulkner
What kind of legacy do you want to leave? What do you need to take ownership of? Let me know in the comments.