Also, don't forget to pre-order your Winter Mantra Box® because we’re almost sold out! We are shipping in a little under two weeks and you definitely don’t want to miss this one!
Every year for the past few years, I’ve written a more personal post on my birthday. Here’s last year’s, and here’s another from when I turned 32. Today, I’m 35! I don’t feel at all overwhelmed or panicky about my age. My thirties have been my favorite decade so far, and so I’m really enjoying being right smack in the middle of it. A lot has changed in the past year.
I stopped caring as much about things I can’t control. I spent a good portion of my life caring about stuff that was beyond my control. What people thought of me, how people might react, what might happen, etc etc. That’s a great recipe for living with low-level anxiety. But if you’re not about that life, realizing that you have control over the focus of your attention, you can literally just stop caring about the things that used to keep you up at night. It’s so freeing. Am I perfect? Do I never care about what people think? No and no. But I’m a lot better than I once was, and that matters to me. This was really great book to help with getting your mind right. I read it in three days and learned so much.
I started to laugh at things that might’ve upset me in the past. In my line of work, where I’m dealing with people online, I’ve come to truly understand that you cannot make everyone happy. You just can’t. You can put out the most lovely, free, educational, helpful piece of content - be it a video or a blog post or an App - and there will still be someone out there who’s got something to say about it. When I was looking for a commercial space for YBC®, I was debating between a (too) small space right in the middle of this gorgeous town that was under budget, or a (perfect size) space on the outskirts of the same town which was over budget. And someone slid into the DMs saying, “Or you could go to an impoverished town to help bring business into the area and not get sucked into the status of a good town.” It was just so incredibly rude, especially given that I’d spent the past three and a half years in a dangerous part of Hartford, fearful every day as I walked my dog. Sirens, drug needles and cat calling were things I heard, saw, and experienced daily. I was sick of it. I’d done my “duty” trying to support the local economy. When I dumped $25,000 into an App, I could “only” afford to put out Version 1, which would support iOS. Version 2, which would support Android users, would have to wait until I had another $25,000 to put up. As soon as it was launched, some Android users demanded, “Where’s my version?!’ and “I’m just curious,” (you know the tone), “if you’ll be holding a giveaway for Android users just like you are for iOS users when our version comes out?!” No consideration for how hard we had to work to earn the first $25k. No consideration for the fact that we felt badly that we couldn’t bring it to everyone right off the bat. And in those instances, you can get mad, or you can laugh. After years of getting mad, I was just sick of that being the default reaction. And also, what’s the point of getting mad? People see mere glimpses into what I do via Instagram. They don’t have the full context, and I can’t expect them to understand my reasoning. They have a few seconds as they scroll through, and they make their judgement call in that moment. So of course they won’t get it. My advice to people out there doing something similar, laugh and move on.
I let go of friendships that felt one sided. I’m still a little sad about some of these friendships, but for years, I felt like I was either called only when people needed something, or I felt like I was always the one reaching out. A lot of my friends have kids and their lives are very different from mine, but I’ve got stuff going on, too. Between a divorce, frequent international travel, a new relationship, moving, and doing my own continuing education which requires that I fly to a different part of the country over 15 times in a year, I would say I, too, have a busy life but I was able to make time for the people in my life whom I care for. I finally decided I’d no longer be reaching out to continue what felt like one sided friendships. I don’t even know if they notice. But it’s ok. Moving forward, I’m nurturing the good friendships I do have, and am so appreciative of them.
I continued to challenge myself professionally. This past year, I signed up for my own extended training, and in June I will be a 500hr yoga teacher. I’ll be honest, and say that initially, this was a business move. If I’m a 500hr teacher, I can write a 500hr curriculum for YTTs, which is the next step. When you eat, sleep, and breathe yoga and the business of yoga, more yoga in your “free” time might not feel exciting. So, no, I wasn’t excited to embark on the journey, but I was inspired after the first module, which was a restorative yoga teacher training. The second module, a meditation teacher training, was even more inspiring. Like, life-changing status. And it continued from there. All of the sudden, my love for the study of yoga was reignited. I was reading books that quenched my thirst for a deeper understanding of how things are. I was sitting in on discussions that stirred my soul. I was excited again.
I continued to challenge myself personally. My relationship has been something that has really challenged me in the past year, but not in the way you might expect. After my divorce, I was cautious. I didn’t want to get hurt. I hesitated when discussions about me moving in started. I’d catch myself falling into bad old habits in terms of communication. But each time, it was like I had two voices in my head. There was one that was like, “Ahhhh!!! Hold this relationship at arm’s length so you don’t get hurt!” and then another voice that was like, “Give it all you’ve got.” I don’t want to get into it too much here because I really value the privacy of my relationship, but I do want to say that if you listen closely, there are always two voices inside of us. And we have the power to determine which voice we amplify, and which voice we turn down. There is usually one rooted in fear and one grounded in truth. My suggestion would be to amplify the latter. I’ve done that, and it has served me so well over the years.
Generosity is still a resolution. Years ago, I decided I would be more generous with my time, money and energy. I started giving more, without any expectation of getting anything back. I simply wanted to give just for the sake of giving. In a way, it’s a bit self-serving, because it just feels good to give. My love for generosity was reignited when I read Thirst this past year. It’s such an inspirational book. We don’t have to give in big ways in order to be generous. I’ve been getting up to make my boyfriend breakfast and prep his lunches in the mornings. I’ve donated my services to people in need. I’ve volunteered my time to advise others. I’ve given to complete strangers for no reason - paying a grocery bill when they were short, buying coffee for the person behind me, paying compliments in the elevator - just little things, but I know they make a difference.
This next year is about continuing down this path of learning, growing, and trying to maintain a balance between work and my personal life. I recently moved, so I’m feeling a bit unsettled, and I think this year will be about new beginnings. I’m excited for June, when things finally will settle down a bit more, and I’ll be able to focus on my commercial space, and start to have more of a routine. As always, I want to thank you for being a part of my journey, and for all your support and encouragement over the years. I appreciate all the YBCers out there. Cheers to the year ahead!