And just like that, another year has flashed by.
I don't know about you, but the past several years have all seemed to fly past me at a speed that makes my head spin. On one hand, I feel like I managed to keep up, running at a borderline frantic pace. And on the other hand, I feel like I didn't do enough, sitting idly by while others ran laps around me. I know neither the former nor the latter is necessarily 100% true, but 2019 was certainly a mixed bag for me (perhaps it was for you, too?) -- and I wanted to take a bit of extra time here at the beginning of 2020 to really let that sink in.
These review posts are a bit of a tradition around these parts and I truthfully love how reflective they've become in the past few years, with 2019 being no different. Given how fleeting and over saturated content creation feels these days, it's easy to undervalue a year's worth of work until I really force myself to sit down and review, not just the triumphs but the defeats as well. Or at least, the shortcomings. And one of my biggest takeaways this past year, was allowing the word "should" control too much of my headspace.
I "should" be doing more. I "should" have reached that career milestone already. I "should" have saved more. I "should" have what he/she has. I "should" have more followers. Should. Should. Should.
While there's nothing wrong with recognizing a desire or a goal, I find that when I throw the word "should" into my orbit, it's usually coming from a place of comparison. And if I know only one thing about the internet to be true, it's that it can be a breeding ground for comparison -- a constant highlight reel of other people's lives, a reality that I'm aware I likely feed into as well as a content creator myself. These shoulds weren't fueling me with the desire to do more, they were robbing me of enjoying my own growth process -- a losing battle really, because my journey won't ever look like yours, it's not meant to. Just like your journey won't look like your neighbor's -- and whether we realize it now or much later, we're all better off because of it, honestly.
I suppose I'm rambling at this point, so I'll try to sum up my feelings at the outset of 2020 here: These first few weeks of January always feel the same -- with tons of sweeping resolutions and goals being thrown left, right and center, but the older I get, the more I realize that outlook doesn't serve me anymore. I'd rather focus on the small, daily habits that hopefully build a better foundation for progress and try not to sweat too much of the details or milestones along the way. Just because it's January 1st, doesn't mean we need to completely overhaul our lives and possibly beat ourselves up if (or when) we fall short. I, for one, know I could use a bit of grace every once and while, and chances are, you could too.
So without further adieu, here are the HIGHS and LOWS of the 2019...
Stopped creating content for the sake of creating content: What do I mean by that? Well, first of all, it's easier said than done and I'm by no means free of this weight, but I made an active effort this year to only create the type of content I wanted to create. The type of content I could look at and feel proud of. Regardless of how it performed. Regardless of what other people were creating. Regardless of algorithm updates. I was tired of feeling beholden to certain expectations of what constitutes as "good content" and instead, wanted to create from a place of "this excites me." And you know what? I've never felt more inspired.
Launched TTT Classics: With the above in mind, I brought an editorial series to life this year -- our TTT Classics -- that truly feels like ME. I've always adored classic movies of yesteryear and wanted a way to bring them to life in a modern, contemporary way. At first, I wasn't sure how it would resonate with a lot of you, but thankfully, I think it struck a chord. It brings together a lot of my passions -- storytelling, styling, location scouting and narrative concepting -- and I hope to only grow it more this coming year. After launching this series early in 2019, it was the first time I felt a noticeable shift in content feedback from you guys -- the resounding bottom line being that it felt "different" from other content creators. And let me tell you, in a sea of content that's easy to drown in, I feel honored to get that type of feedback.
Moved into a new apartment with my guy: After spending the better part of the past 1.5 years bouncing back and forth between our two respective apartments, Ty and I moved in with each other. And it's been so amazing this past year setting up our home together. In a city as fleeting as New York, it's been really lovely feeling a sense of home with him.
More vulnerable content: More long format writing was a big focus for me in 2019 and while I feel like I may have fallen a bit short, I think we covered some great ground nonetheless. I shared my thoughts on body inclusivity in the influencer space, started a dialogue on fertility options as you enter your 30s, detailed how I handle ruts and mood funks, committed to buying smarter, tried to shed light on the perception of confidence and shared my journey with perioral dermatitis -- to name a few.
Learned how to truly be selfish with my time: This past year, I worked hard at saying NO more often. No to events and projects that didn't fuel my vision. No to people and relationships that were one sided. No to trains of thought that only brought me down. I wanted to really evaluate how I was spending my time to make sure every moment was well considered. I'm still getting better at this, but I'm finally feeling more comfortable turning things down when I know they don't serve me or my vision in the long run.
Imposter syndrome: As much as I love working for myself, there are far more times than I would like to admit where I ask myself, "Am I really all that good at this?" "What gives me the right to do this?" "Surely, someone else is better at this, who cares what I have to say?" Imposter syndrome is a slippery, slippery slope and while I'm actively trying to quiet the doubts and remind myself that no one expects me to be an expert on something, it still creeps in from time to time. Does anyone else suffer from this? I'm working on a longer, more in-depth post about this later this month, but would love to hear from you guys!
Self-image: The first of part 2019 was rough, from a self-image stand point. I struggled with a pretty nasty bout of perioral dermatitis, followed by a severe flair up of hormonal acne -- all for the better part of February, March and April. I'm no stranger to skin issues and insecurities but man, this still threw me for a loop. And because so much of my day to day work required me to be on camera, it was hard to hide or ignore and I let myself get pretty down about it all -- which only made me feel more uncomfortable, since I was allowing something as superficial as my appearance to dictate my mood. Those skin issues have since subsided and I've become much more acutely aware of the power of positive self-talk.
Struggled with my work/life balance: I've never been great at striking the right balance between work and life but this past year in particular was especially uneven. I'm guilty of waking up and instantly starting my work day, oftentimes working up until bedtime -- a reality I recognize can't continue. And the fact I haven't really gone on a vacation in recent memory where I didn't feel the need to create content? Well, as you might have guessed, I've ended this past year feeling more than a bit burnt out.
Didn't prioritize certain relationships: Friendships are two-way streets and without going into too much detail, I've felt the weight of dropping the ball when it comes to some of mine. A big focus for me in 2020 will be rekindling and nurturing some of my friendships.
Felt far from my family: My most recent visit home for the holidays made me realize just how far I feel from them all. It's really true what they say, you'll wish you spent more time with them when you could have and for fear of this sounding overly dramatic, one of my bigger goals for 2020 will be to spend more quality time visiting my family.
As always, this past year's successes would be nothing without all of you and your amazing support, so at the risk of sounding like a broken record, none of it ever goes unnoticed. Thank you and I can't wait to share my 2020 intentions with you tomorrow!
To go to the original posts (in order of appearance): ONE // TWO // THREE // FOUR // FIVE // SIX // SEVEN // EIGHT // NINE // TEN // ELEVEN // TWELVE // THIRTEEN // FOURTEEN //FIFTEEN // SIXTEEN // SEVENTEEN // EIGHTEEN