Today I am 30. It feels so good. On my 20th birthday I drank cheap $5/pitcher beer with my best friends in Chicago and snuck into a bar with someone else's ID and we danced to Miley Cyrus. This celebration has been a bit different. ;)
I keep telling everyone who asks why I’m so obsessed with turning 30, that it’s because I feel like with each decade of our life we come so much more fully into ourselves. And I like that. I like that I am different than I was 10 years ago. I like that so many things I love have stayed the same. I love the new people that I orbit with, and I adore those who have been orbiting with me since that night of Miley Cyrus and bad beer.
You’re probably here for the list. I know I would be. So here it is.
Here are the biggest lessons I learned in my 20’s.
Darling take care of yourself. - Name a fad diet - I’ve tried it. Name a workout trend - I’ve probably tried it. It took me 10 freaking years but I’ve found what works for me. And guess what? It isn’t anything special. It’s eating healthy foods and moving my body around on the regular. I eat whatever the hell I want. But I realized this decade that when I eat good food, I feel SO much better. I spent the years of 20-24 essentially surviving off camp food, take out, pizza, captain morgan’s & cheap beer. And my body was not happy. I also spent those years waffling between a regular workout routine and then not doing anything for months at a time.
I feel better today than I ever have. And guess what- I’m not smaller. This is a key freaking point. I am not smaller. My pant size has not gone down, but I FEEL so much better. Take care of yourself. Sleep. Rest. Move around. Eat something green and lots of things that grew from the earth. Eat the damn dark chocolate. Have the ice cream cone. Don’t beat yourself up. Listen to your body and you’ll be amazed what it’s telling you.
And the sleep. My god the sleep. It’s so important. Please please please- get regular sleep. It’s not cool that you can function on 4 hours. It’s not amazing that you ‘don’t need lots of rest.’ It’s self-damaging. Lay your pretty head down and close your eyes and just sleep.
Women need women. I am a firm believer that every woman I orbit with, fell into my life at the exact moment I needed them. I don’t care if you’re married to a woman or a man. Women need women. It’s okay that your friendships grow and change and go through seasons. You are not the same person that you were when you were 15. I will not be the same person when I am 40. Having women who come into your life at just the right time is a beautiful fulfilling part of this journey.
I talk all the time about the importance of friendship. And to me, friendship is NOT someone who makes you feel insecure or less than. So the person in your life you are calling a ‘friend’ who makes you feel that way needs to be dropped like a hot potato.
Sit at a table with the women who get you. Bonus points if you aren’t wearing a bra and you’re sobbing into a tuna fish sandwich while your bestie is breastfeeding her child and pulling chips out of the cupboard for you. (may or may know this from experience). Triple bonus points if months later the one who you sobbed to is sobbing to YOU while you fetch snacks and she blows her nose into the same napkin you just ate donuts off of. Because life is hard, lady. And your friends are the ones who will be there for you with snacks and tissues and blankets on the couch and will say ‘this is shitty and sad and hard, and we are gonna figure it out. We always do.”
Mom was right. I wish I had the smart idea at 20 to start a list in my phone entitled “things mom was right about” it would probably have 100 items by now. If you read this blog on the regular you know that I am extremely close with my parents. They literally are the damn greatest. And while I am very similar to my dad, (We don’t take shit. We are insanely loyal. Screw us over we basically hope you die. We love sleep.) my Mom was right about so many things. She is the reason our family can function. She is our queen. And she was so freaking spot on about my 20’s. She’s answered countless sobbing mess phone calls. About work, about school, about my health, about my goals, about stress, about my period, about the business, you name it- she can handle it. And damn was she right. Her lessons always come down to patience. Everytime. And she’s almost always the first one to be able to tell I’m running myself down, “I don’t want you to get sick.” Her classic mind reading lines include: “You sound tired.” “It’s okay if you’re upset.” “I want what is best for you.” “Honey, this is part of life.” “Take a deep breath.”
Whoever plays a ‘mom’ role in your life- they’ve got mad lessons to teach you. Listen.
You don’t have to be who you thought you were. -Why am I sobbing right now? I used to tell everyone that by 30 I would be living in Paris, working for CNN. I would never marry. Never have kids. And wasn’t ever going to end up in Michigan. I was a great television reporter. But it’s ok that I’m not that anymore. So much of our 20’s is spent obsessing over our jobs, our careers. Working our way up ladders and shattering ceilings and landing big contracts. And I thought for so long that my path was set for me. Until it wasn’t.
The biggest struggle I had in starting the business wasn’t that I knew absolutely freaking nothing about starting a business, it was that I wasn’t going to be who I thought I was. And that is scary.
But today I see - there were so many lessons in all of this. So many teachable moments. I learned invaluable skills climbing that ladder. I was given incredible opportunities. And it’s okay- that it went in another direction. I’ve written before how without my first career I would never have found my second. This is life people. Take the lessons you are being taught and use them to create something that makes you a better version of yourself.
We are fluid. We are changing. It is ok that you are not who you thought you would be. It’s ok that you are doing something different. Its ok if you want to be doing something different, you can start taking the steps.
Creating will save you. This winter I had a miscarriage. It was, without a shred of doubt the hardest thing I’ve ever been through. It happened to fall the same week I had to teach a workshop. “Can you cancel?” a friend asked me. “I can go teach it” a flower friend offered. “The show must go on” I replied from a blanket hut on the couch, I looked like the Mucinex characters- just setting up shop for 6 days of sobbing in some weird dingy room with no lights on and food scraps everywhere. I hadn’t showered, left the house or worked. I splashed some water on my face and put on an apron and marched my ass to the workshop.
By some miracle Anna was in town and able to work. To this day I don’t know what I would have done without her that night.
“I can’t do this” I thought moments before people started showing up. I was a shell. A ghost. There is this moment at that workshop that I don’t know if I heard her wrong or she really said it but at the moment I wanted to run for the door, Anna was arranging the buckets and I swear to god she said “We. Are. Okay.” who knows if it really happened. But it mattered.
She had set every single thing up. I had just stood there and drank a smoothie with my eyes glazed over fidgeting with my hair and nervously playing with an earring.
And then people started walking in and I reminded myself to breathe air into my lungs and I opened my eyes real wide to stop them from making more tears and I smiled and I started teaching.
I do a demo at each workshop. I talk and explain and show and crack some jokes. And when I finished that demo, I turned it around to look at it and in absolute total shock I said “Oh my god this is really good” and everyone laughed. Because it is funny. It’s so Kalin. But you know what- it was really good- and for a brief moment- everything was ok. I made something. And it worked. And I was going to be ok. The flowers saved me in that moment. Creating. I’m sobbing as I type this.
The next day I woke up and for the first time in a week I got out of bed and did something. It was like creating had started putting me back together. The flowers had reminded me I’m really talented. The flowers had fixed it a little bit. Creating will save you.
Having a teammate is the best. I’ve spent this entire decade dating / loving on / partnering with / marrying / cohabitating / arguing with / dusting a farm off with / laughing with & smooching on Matt Sheick. We talked the other day about how he has known me this entire decade. We are so different now than we were 10 years ago, but the important stuff has remained unchanged - and only gets better. I freaking love doing life with this man.
Like how we change. Relationships change. Growing together is an artform. When I was 20 you know why I liked Matt? He was fine as hell, he made me laugh and being together was exciting. Everything was fun. Our adventures. Our trips. Our travels. He was fun to hang out with. He was smart. 10 years later he is all those things- and so much more.
Even when he drives me crazy. Even when we are both SO stubborn and so first born and hard working that it can lead to sometimes what I call ‘not so cute’ moments. He is the yin to my yang. I am not an easy person to be married to. I am fun, and funny, and ‘special’ as I always say. And sure- you wanna impulse buy crab legs at Costco, let’s do crab legs! But I am also demanding AF. My standards of human kindness are so high that sometimes I am reminded that I’m too hard on people. But Matt Sheick blows me away on the daily.
Being on a team with him is the best part of this decade. Even when that team was on opposite sides of the globe (true story). Even when that team was broke as a joke. Even when that team didn’t have a single shred of an idea of what it was doing. We were a team. I love you babe.
Moments matter. Things don't. Look, I drive a 2008 Honda Odyssey Minivan with nearly 200,000 miles on it. But I don’t think twice when I’m opening a nice bottle of wine to share with friends. These are my priorities. I don’t care what gets me down the road as long as it has airbags (and preferably cruise control) but the candles burning down and glassware clinking is important to me. Moments. The people who surround you.
I will also inform you that I made my husband drive me and my best friend around town to get late night food last summer when we were drunk and we sat in the third row of that minivan and called Matt our Uber driver and were being ridiculous and the leg room back there is AMAZING. Did I mention it was 8:30 pm? Because #thisis30. But seriously- look into a van all you 30-somethings who are still resisting.
I’ve written before that the carats on your ring finger don’t mean you are more loved and upgrading your lease is not as important as upgrading your standards of happiness. At the end of your life on your deathbed you won’t be reflecting on that handbag- but sure as shit you’ll be remembering the faces you spent time with.
I’m only just getting started. That’s the best part of all of this. I feel like I am JUST getting going. It’s like wearing shoes that were a little bit too tight, so you get a new pair and they are a bit too loose, and one pair hurts your heel, and another is weirdly not breathable - but then, you get that perfect pair. And they fit just right. You are just now getting going.
I have such big dreams for myself that a rational person would laugh in my face if I spoke them outloud.
Not me. I do not laugh or think I am over dreaming or think any of what I want is not possible. Even on the shittiest of shit days- I can still remind myself its gonna be ok. It will work out.
30 is a blank page. A new chapter. This decade will surely bring everything I want, nothing I am prepared for, everything I’m scared of and things I only dreamed of.
But I freaking cannot wait.
Happy Birthday to me.
Thanks for being here