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On The Other Side




Weeeelcomeeee to the other side of my unhinged, irrational ideas of what 30 would be.


Last Sunday night, I sat nestled in the corner of a velvet couch counting down the minutes to midnight. Since the age of 25, I anxiously wondered what those exact final minutes would look like. According to a google doc I found from 2015, I would already be:


- Living in a high rise apartment building in Tribeca

- Creative Director at a global advertising agency

- Married with a Goldendoodle

- On Forbes 30 Under 30

- Running a side marketing business with a brick-and-mortar office (how would that even be possible while simultaneously being Creative Director at a global agency too?? lol)

- Have a New York Times Bestselling Book

- Reach a million views on a Ted Talk

- Have designed a clothing line and presented in New York Fashion Week

- Have Oprah as my personal mentor (again LOL WHAT)

- and celebrating my 30th birthday in the Maldives


Okay, I know you're probably thinking... GIRL. As I read through the other 20 line items on that google doc, I thought the same. Some of my items did come to fruition, such as moving to NYC! Or doing professional photoshoots. However, I will admit I was hit with a wave of sadness. Staring long enough at the screen for a few tears to escape the corners of my eyes. So I started thinking- why was I sad? What was the motivation tied to those goals? Why hadn't they happened yet? Before I hit full breakdown mode I paused.


I might not have those things, but what would I not have now, if I did?


The answer shook me in ways I can't imagine.


- Some of my best friends and lifelong sisters

- Opportunities to travel abroad for work

- Other mentors (who aren't Oprah) that I will love and respect for life


Along with many more things, but most importantly clarity.


When I wrote that list in 2015, it was everything I felt I NEEDED to be by 30. Not necessarily what I wanted. It reflects me turning every passion I have into a monetized business venture, which I absolutely can say is unnecessary now. It also negates the power of the word "yet". My biggest pitfall was forcing myself to believe if I didn't accomplish all of these things by 30, they were a waste of time. I felt like "Why write if you're not going to end up being a bestseller"? I romanticized Hollywood's unrealistic projections through movies and sitcoms. Like believing I could ACTUALLY live in Carrie Bradshaw's apartment on a writer's budget wearing $400 shoes every day.


I spent the latter half of my 20's relentlessly chasing these goals. I stubbornly forced so many of those items, even when they didn't feel right. Yet, as I chased over time I realized, "Maybe... that's actually not what I want?"


Maybe that's not the right career path?

Maybe that's not my forever person?

Maybe that's not something I turn into a business?

Maybe that goal is still possible but is going to take longer than five years?

Maybe I'm not okay with certain things anymore?


I hit all of those speedbumps over the past 5 years, particularly the last two given the state of the world. However, without them...I wouldn't have the clarity of going into my 30's feeling hopeful. Each bump slowed me down and gave me time to focus. Sure, life hit the fan (quiitteee a few times), but to recap what those last few minutes of my twenties actually were...



11:55 pm- I took a second to acknowledge I was physically sitting in Nevada. Even though my relationship is no longer, I wouldn't have made the decision to come back here during the pandemic, if I wasn't in it at the time. I also wouldn't even be connected to half of my closest people now.

11:56 pm- I quickly checked the IG page of the business I feel 1,000% passionate and ready to launch/lead. (After 16 other iterations of ideas and attempts since 2015)

11:57 pm- I received an early birthday text from a mentor who is like a second mom to me.

11:58 pm- I thought about the countless stories, jobs, projects, friends, experiences, and memories that shaped the past decade for me. I stared long enough out the window from the top floor, long enough for those same tears to well in the corner of my eyes.


When the clock struck midnight, I felt the exact same. As I danced around I realized why.


This birthday is simply a continuation of the life I've already been living. There is no magical shift. There is just me and there is just you too. Day by day life might seem the same, but every choice and opportunity is continuing to morph us. No, our life may not look the way we expected right now, but also look at what it IS. Having goals is amazing and I encourage people to dream big. Just also realize we are allowed to change. In fact, we can't control it because change is constant. It simply depends on us slowing down, taking time to listen to our gut, and leaning into what feels right. Don't become cemented in "ideas" of who you should be. Exist freely as what you currently are and trust you're going in the right direction. Doing all of those things I exactly why this is the most peaceful birthday I've ever had.


It's not scary on the other side of 30. In fact, the grass is greener and more expansive than I've ever seen it for me before.

Sincerely,

Shelbs