Today's my birthday. I turn 32 and I couldn't be happier about it. To my younger readers, your thirties are where. it's. at. I've never been happier, and all my friends in their thirties say the same thing. I think it's because you're just suddenly more comfortable with who you are.
I've learned a lot in the past few years as I regained my health, got in the best shape of my life, embarked on this business venture, and made a lot of wild dreams come true. I am so grateful for my journey and I thought I'd share some of the things I know to be true at 32. Some are silly, some are more serious, yet all have served me well, and I hope they speak to you, too.
1. Energy is contagious.
Have you ever met someone who lit up a room when they entered it? There are a few people in my life like that and man, when they enter a room, you can feel it. This is going to sound out there, but bear with me. I believe we all walk around with a certain energy. When someone has great energy, I can feel it. The energy feeds me and inspires me and makes my time with that person so delicious that I walk away feeling even better than before we hung out. Whenever I get together with friends, I always walk into it trying to bring my best energy. Of course, when we are sad or irritated, that certainly changes things, but it's possible to share what's going on with yourself without dumping it on someone, you know what I mean? So I'm always conscious of that. Choose the people you spend your time with wisely, and soak up that good energy when you can.
2. Friendships ebb and flow and that's ok.
One certainty in life is that people change. I am not the same person I was when I was fifteen, eighteen, or twenty-five, and neither are my friends. Sometimes we just get so far off course it's hard to maintain a steady friendship. That made me sad for a really long time. One of my very best friends and I were just so different that it felt like maybe our friendship was fizzling away. For no real reason, aside from the fact that we just grew apart, we stopped talking as much, and then one day, we just picked up where we left off and talked on the phone for about four hours. I realized that friendships ebb and flow and that it's ok, and nothing to get stressed about.
3. If you have a weird job title, find a solid one-liner that covers everything in a nutshell and be confident about your delivery.
When I started blogging, it was just a thing I did for fun. I wasn't really trying to monetize, and I considered it a hobby. But after a series of unfortunate situations out of our control, my husband retired from playing professional hockey, and I needed to make some money, so I started monetizing. The business quickly grew when I hired Lauren, and soon I was paying not only her, but myself as well, filing for an LLC, trademarks, etc. It somehow turned into an actual, viable business. When people asked me what I did for a living, I didn't know what to say that would accurately describe all that we do. We have a YouTube channel, a quarterly discovery box program, video bundles, international yoga retreats, blog consulting, private lessons, a blog and a book. Blogging is still a relatively new thing, so when I tried describing it, people's eyes would sort of glaze over and I knew I lost them. So now I say, "I founded a yoga lifestyle company and am a yoga instructor. We have a blog, youtube channel, and just landed a book deal, among other things." It's short, to the point, and people get it. The key, I've learned, is saying it with confidence, like blogging is a totally normal thing to do, haha.
4. Learn to ask people about themselves.
For the longest time, I was a hermit. I still kind of am, at heart, but I've been challenging myself to go out more, make friends, and be a more friendly person. I think I am friendly, like at my heart (haha), but I feel pretty awkward most of the time when talking with new people. The key, I've learned, is to ask people about themselves. What do they do for work? What about it do they love? If you can get people to talk about themselves and their interests, you can usually find a common ground and something to connect on, which makes social situations far more enjoyable than just sitting around making small talk about the weather.
5. Believe in yourself.
From a young age, I was pretty determined. If someone told me something I wanted to do couldn't be done, I would silently curse them out and say, "Watch me." Over the years I have learned that no one will be there for you more than yourself so you need to get in touch with what it is you want and need, and go after it without a second thought. When people tell you something can't be done, remember that it is more a reflection of their own limiting beliefs and has absolutely no bearing on you and your capabilities.
6. Selfish isn't a four letter word.
This wise little tidbit comes from the father of a very dear friend of mine. I've been a huge advocate for self-care. And the phrase "self-care" conjures up images like a spa day, a quality girls' night in, etc, but what I realized is that it's a synonym for being selfish. And when we take care of ourselves, or, for lack of better word, when we are selfish, we are bettering ourselves so that we can be the best wives, husbands, moms, dads, friends we can be. When you take care of number one, you're essentially doing everyone else in your life a favor. So be selfish.
7. Make your dreams so big, people get uncomfortable when you talk about them.
If there's one thing I live by, it's that I don't see a glass ceiling for myself. I honestly think anything is possible. I'm a dreamer, but I take my brain with me. When I had the idea for a delivery box service, someone very close to me, who should have been my number one cheerleader, actually said, "I don't really see anyone paying for that."
You just have to let comments like that go, and realize what they say is a reflection of their own self-limiting beliefs. Instead, work hard, and make your dreams come to life. If I told you my current dreams, you might laugh cuz they're big and outlandish, but I don't see any reason why they can't come true. Dream big, work hard, and trust your journey. Just like with the yoga journey, you'll get there when you get there.
8. Stress is a beast and is not welcome in my life.
I have had some major stressful things happen in my life. Some so bad they brought about longterm panic attacks and I had to see a psychotherapist twice daily just to make it through the day. While the days of anxiety are long gone, this past summer old symptoms started creeping up on me. I began to feel the death grip of depression on my neck and the pain of stress in my jaw. I saw a number of doctors who examined me and all came to the conclusion that nothing was physically wrong with me except for some inflammation, and when I stepped back and looked at my life, I realized I was stressed to the max. I made a conscious effort to de-stress, and have been implementing those strategies every day since and my quality of life has greatly improved, and the inflammation in my body disappeared, as well as the depression and jaw pain. Stress is the enemy. Learn to conquer that beast and enjoy the innate sense of peace that's been with you all along.
9. It's important to unplug.
I firmly believe this, but I especially believe this to be true for people who spend the majority of their time online for work. It's kind of a blessing in disguise when I hit a place on my travels that doesn't have wifi. It feels nice to be off the grid for a bit, and refocus on the things I often take for granted - the beautiful weather, the sound of my breath, the constant beat of my heart.
10. Keep learning.
When I started my business, I wanted to keep learning but I didn't have the time or money to invest in business school, so I decided to read what I could, talk with anyone who may have experience, and soak up all the info that I could. I subscribed to Entrepreneur, Harvard Business Review, and bought a bunch of books off of amazon to keep me on my toes. There is always a way to keep learning, even if going back to school isn't in the near future.
11. Do what you need to in order to make your life easier.
This is something I learned from The Happiness Project. Nothing makes me more miserable than deep cleaning my bathroom. Scrubbing the tub makes me rage in ways I cannot explain. I don't know what it is about my knees digging into the side of the tub as I vigorously scrub the opposite corner of it that makes me want to have a complete tantrum, but it is what it is. I can do anything else! I don't mind doing the dishes, scrubbing the kitchen floor, bathing the dog, cleaning the fridge - but the tub just ruins me. Some things aren't worth losing your sanity over, so I hired a cleaner who comes every two and a half weeks to do a deep clean of the bathroom and kitchen. It's a luxury that I am so grateful for - to the point that if there are hard financial times, I am willing to forego dinners out and Starbucks and take on an extra private lesson to pay for it. If there's a way to make your life easier and cause you less stress, I say go for it.
12. Be who you are, unapologetically.
I used to edit who I was to fit the people around me. I'd bite my tongue when they'd say things I inherently disagreed with. I laughed at jokes I didn't find funny. I didn't wear lipstick even though I loved it, because the people around me weren't into make-up. And then I realized that life is too short to be editing who you are. Be who you are, unapologetically. The people you're with - if they're truly your friends - will love you regardless.
13. Do things that make you uncomfortable.
As a result of my long struggle with Lyme disease and subsequent stomach issues from all the antibiotics, I found myself somewhat of a homebody. I mean, to the point where I didn't want to go anywhere or do anything with anyone who didn't know 100% what was going on. It was just easier and safer for me. Now, easy and safe has its place. I'd argue that when you're recovering from a long-ass illness, easy and safe is a good place to be.
But once I started to get better, I knew I had to get out of my comfort zone because very little growth happens in the comfort zone. So I started doing things that scared me. I went to Thailand. I went to India. I taught yoga class - in German (!!) (I don't really speak German!) to native German speakers (!!!!). I started a blog even though I was nervous about what people would think. I started taking risks again, and I couldn't be more thankful that I have. From those risks have sprouted the best life I could've made for myself.
14. Pajama sets are the best.
I used to just wear ratty old whatevers I had laying around from my high school days (woof), and then I bought a pajama set and it changed my life. I don't know what it is about nice pajamas, but in thinking about it, I was reminded of this thing I saw on Oprah. (I tried to find it so I could share on here but I can't find it.) Oprah was talking about days where you don't really have anything planned and you just hang around the house. She was like, "You know when you get up, have no where to go, so you just put on the same shirt you've been wearing around the house for the last few days? Don't do that. Put on a clean shirt. You're worth it." Woah. I mean it sounds sort of silly, but it really does make a difference! Put on something clean, something you feel comfortable in and instantly your mood is lifted. I think that's why I really like pajama sets. (My go-to is this one, but I've really been wanting to try this brand.)
15. Everyone knows something you don't.
I've learned that every single person I meet knows something I don't and therefore, there is always an opportunity to learn and grow. Keep this in mind when dealing with particularly difficult people and you'll go far.
16. Learn to drive a stick.
It's just nice to know that no matter where you go in the world, you'll be able to drive. This has served me well in my travels because a lot of countries I've been to don't even have automatics for rentals. It's also more fun :)
17. When you go somewhere new, learn the basics in the native language.
Whenever I go to a place where English isn't the native language, I try to learn a few basics: please, thank you, where's the bathroom, have a nice day. It was hysterical in Greece because, woah, have you ever heard Greek?! Nothing is pronounced like it looks (also, you can't even read anything because #thegreekalphabet) but people sure did love it when I tried! Sometimes the effort is all you need. It challenges any negative stereotypes people may have about Americans, helps to break the ice, and believe me - people are often so proud of the fact that you gave a few words of their native tongue a shot that they don't care if you mispronounced them!
18. Self-deprecating humor is so lame.
So lame! Nothing irritates me more than when I see a smart, beautiful person put themselves down in a joking way. Come on! I want to shout, You're better than that! Treat yourself like the smart, kind, lovely person that you are. How you treat yourself sets the standards for how others treat you.
19. Do the little things.
You can tell a lot about a person who doesn't push the grocery cart back after they're done unloading the groceries. Do the little things. Make the effort. Take the few minutes it takes to do the right thing. Whether or not karma is real, it just feels good to do what's right.
20. Sing often.
If you follow me on snapchat (@yogaby_candace), you know that I do a lot of Stop Light Karaoke. It started as kind of a joke and to make people laugh, but it's honestly turned into one of the highlights of my days. Life is way too short to be down, and singing lifts me up. Give it a try and remember that if you can't sing good, sing loud.
21. Learn to take a compliment.
This is something that took me years to learn. If someone paid me a compliment, like, "Oh you did such a great job," I'd say something like, "Oh no I didn't, didn't you hear me stumble on that last line?!" If someone told me I was beautiful I'd get all weird and fidgety and say, "Oh please, no I'm not!"
That's so lame. It's up there with self-deprecating humor. Just take the freaking compliment and say thank you because 1) it'll make you feel good, and 2) you'll stop looking like a jerk. That's right, I said jerk. Because here's the thing. When you negate someone's compliment, you're basically telling them that they're wrong. And that's rude. :)
22. People see the whole package.
I've definitely battled my fair share of insecurities. I hate being seen without makeup, I have this one tooth that's pointier than the others, and since the summer I've been battling a recurring breakout on one small part of my face, but my friend said something to me that was so brilliant and has stuck with me any time I'm feeling kind of blah about myself. She said, "People don't scrutinize us the way we scrutinize ourselves. They see the whole package." And it's so true. So put those insecurities aside, stay present in every moment and own who you are in all your perfectly imperfect glory.
I just want to take a second to say thank you for all the support you've shown me over the last few years. I appreciate you so much, and if you have a life lesson you'd add, I'd love to know what down in the comments below. xo