This is 29: Six Things I Learned In the Past 365 Days

brains over blonde 29 bday

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Tomorrow’s my 29th birthday, so I reread the post I wrote a year ago when I turned 28 entitled “The Wisdom of your Late 20s.” Lol. Little 28yo wise ass me had NO IDEA how much I would learn and grow and change in a year. If I could sum up this year in one sentence it would be: “Welp, that didn’t fucking go as planned.” I can’t believe I had the audacity to preach late 20s “wisdom” on my 28th birthday.

I cringe as I read that post, but I’ll never take it down. Just like I’ll never take down my post about planning the wedding that never happened or my post on Forever 21 bodysuits from back when I was still defining my brand and apparently thought I was a pseudo fashion blogger (again, lol.) My parents love to remind me that “THE INTERNET LASTS FOREVER,” so why wouldn’t I take down these posts that no longer represent who I am? Because they tell the story of where I’ve been and remind me how far I’ve come.

I’m imperfect. I’m constantly growing and evolving and I may make mistakes and change my mind as I learn and grow. And growth is beautiful. So I’m not going to erase the traces of where I came from (and what made me, me.)

So this birthday I’m not going to pretend I’m a 29yo shaman that knows everything about the “late 20s.” But I am going to take the opportunity to reflect on everything I personally have learned in the past 365 days of my life (& I encourage you to do the same!)

6 Lessons from my 29th year on this planet

1. There’s so much I don’t know

There’s so much I don’t fucking know. My god, I sounded like such a know-it-all last year. Lately, I’ve come to realize that there aren’t many things we humans actually KNOW. Last year, I “knew” I was going to marry my ex and buy a home next year and have babies a few years later. Welp, we all know how that turned out.

Wanna know a rly good way to find out what you don’t know? Share your entire life on social media and put your opinions on display for people to analyze and judge and critique. The B/B fam isn’t a bunch of average Jills. You guys are smart af. I learn something from you literally every. single. day. In order to do that, though, I have to be open to different perspectives. I have to be willing to change my opinion when I get new information. I have to accept and acknowledge when I’m wrong. If you’re anywhere close to as stubborn and opinionated as I am, that’s not always an easy thing to do. But if you don’t, how will you grow?

So be a curious cat. Ask questions. Don’t just be open to other perspectives, SEEK THEM OUT. Don’t get too tied to any one belief and always be prepared to let go of what you once thought you knew.

2. Trust yourself

My friends who have known me the longest always joke that I’m a “little bit psychic.” Sounds nuts I know BUT I MEAN HONESTLY I HAVE THE TRACK RECORD TO BACK IT UP. Except that what we once jokingly labeled my “psychic ability” I now realize is just my intuition (lol). It’s that little voice inside that we all have, but too often don’t listen to. We let the voice get muffled by outside influences and expectations. This year I learned to silence the noise and really, really listen to my inner self. Even when it was fucking hard. So hard that it nearly broke me. It shattered my worldviews and the life I had planned for myself. But once I finally listened to my inner voice, I grew more in a few months than I had in years. I was happier, even if it was harder. Now, I trust myself and take time every day to meditate* and tune into that inner voice. In fact, “trust yourself” has become my new mantra. *I’m ALL about the Headspace app btw.

3. You are only responsible for yourself

If you were a fly on the wall in my therapy sessions, you’d know “you are only responsible for yourself” is the lesson my therapist is drilling into my head over, and over, and over again. I haven’t mastered it yet, but I’m working on it.

All my life, I’ve taken on other people’s happiness as my responsibility. Lots of women do this. When I called off my wedding, my biggest concerns were 1. my ex’s feelings 2. my friends/family’s feelings. WHAT ABOUT MY FUCKING FEELINGS? The idea that I would go forward with a wedding I was unsure about because I was worried about OTHER PEOPLE’S FEELINGS is ludicrous (btw, I just tried to spell that as “Ludacris” like the rapper, lolol.) But I couldn’t see that, because I felt responsible for other people’s happiness.

By taking responsibility for other people’s feelings and happiness, I was actually doing them a disservice. My ex deserves to marry someone who is 100% sure.

You and your needs are valid. Your feelings are valid. And they should be your top priority. Btw, no one else is responsible for you either. So be responsible for your own happiness first.* (*Although I’m sure maybe when I have kids I’ll say the opposite – always put them first. Who KNOWS all the ways I’ll learn and grow after that life change! But I digress….)

4. Take care of your skin

brains over blonde skincare no makeup

SKIN IS IN PPL

I used to think skincare was something I’d worry about when I “got older.” I mean, I guess I am older now, but whatever. This year I got kinda obsessed w taking care of my skin; it’s the most important part of my beauty routine. I’m not shitting you, I see a HUGE difference. I look younger than I did last year, and it’s not just the Botox.

Your skin is a living breathing organ (your body’s largest organ, in fact), and it absorbs every little thing you put on it. So, like, maybe u shouldn’t slather toxic chemicals on your face and rub aluminum deodorant* on your armpits (RIGHT OVER YOUR LYMPH NODES). *I highly recommend Kopari’s delicious coconut deo instead!

Start w the basics: TAKE OFF YOUR MAKEUP* & wash your face morning & night w toxin-free face wash (that means NO BAD STUFF aka 100% vegan, cruelty-free, paraben-free, sulfate-free, gluten-free, fragrance-free… yes I sound a lil psycho but I’m 100% serious.) *Patchology Clean AF wipes are my fave for makeup removal. For face wash, I’m obsessed w the 3-step routine from Bioclarity, but you guys know this. I also exfoliate with a Clarisonic face brush.

But if u rly wanna be a skin #overachiever (or psycho) like I am, you gotta invest a good 20min in your skincare every day. Trust me, it’ll be worth it. And time is no excuse bc 1. u can multi-task while u face mask* (duh) and 2. when u take care of your skin, you don’t need to spend so much time on makeup. In fact, I almost never wear makeup anymore bc I love my natural glowing skin so much! Bare, healthy skin is so beautiful. *My absolute fave mask is La Mer’s hydrating mask (and ya, it’s expensive af so trust me I wouldn’t recommend it unless it was THAT GOOD. Plus, I tell myself I’m saving that money by never buying makeup.) I also LIVE for Patchology eye and lip gels (I keep these in the fridge for a cool lil treat) & Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench for hydration. I use Benefit’s Porefessional primer to mask my pores so when I DO wear makeup, I don’t have to wear much.

Oh, and remember that Baz Luhrmann song “Wear Sunscreen?” Turns out that advice was legit. I always hated the oily consistency of sunscreen (plus I’m allergic to most kinds), but Supergoop sunscreen is invisible & changed my LIFE. Ugh, I sound like my mom right now, but she was right.

We invest our money, we invest in our careers, but not enough ppl invest in their skin. Treat it right so your true beauty can shine through. Your future self will thank you.

5. Don’t make assumptions

You never fucking know what’s really going on in other people’s lives. My guess is only 1 or 2 people in your life know what’s really, really going on with you (if that). So don’t pretend you know what’s going on with other people.

After I told my parents I was thinking of calling off my wedding, I took an excruciatingly emotional drive from Palo Alto back down to LA. I cried the whole way. The cat was out of the bag and I was smack dab in the middle of one of the lowest lows of my life. I pulled off on the grapevine to get gas, and there was a long convoluted line at the single gas station. A woman cut me off, pulled in front of me, and then rolled down her window, leaned out, and yelled “YOU FUCKING BITCH!” It’s kinda funny now that I think about it, but in that moment it was devastating. I pulled to the side of the road and started bawling my eyes out. I’M NOT A FUCKING BITCH. HOW DARE SHE. IF SHE ONLY KNEW WHAT I WAS GOING THROUGH RN. HOW COULD SHE BE SO MEAN?!

Then I realized, I don’t know her either. I mean honestly who the fuck knows what was going on in her life that day. I of all people should have understood that. So I let it go. Instead of assuming SHE was the bitch, I assumed she was having a terrible fucking day too. It wasn’t personal. It wasn’t about me at all.

I’ve taken this lesson with me when trolls leave mean comments/DMs on my Insta. I have no clue what they’re going through or what their life circumstances are. Remember that. It’s probably not about you. It’s not personal, so don’t take it personally.

We assume so much about other people based on tiny little glimpses that we get into their lives. Rather than giving people the benefit of the doubt, we extrapolate and project what we THINK WE KNOW onto who they are as people. Those assumptions can get us in a lot of trouble. They cause us to misjudge people. Don’t make assumptions. The only assumption you should make is that you have no idea.

6. DO YOU

If you follow me on IG, you know that I say “do you” and “bring the realness,” like, a lot. Here’s why. When you put yourself out there, the REAL you, the universe rewards you.

First of all, you’ll be happier. Faking it is exhausting. We all have enough going on already, we don’t need to add pretending to be something we’re not to the list.

Second, being real will attract the right people into your life. You never know who will love and connect with who you REALLY ARE until you show them who you really are. This means you also have to KNOW and ACCEPT who you really are. Own it. Yes, this makes you vulnerable. But vulnerability is what makes you human, and it’s the central part of human connection. Vulnerability allows other people to relate to you emotionally, and emotional connection is how you build relationships.

This year Brains over Blonde has given me the opportunity to be me and do me at a much larger scale. Putting myself out there is scary (especially on the hard days, and trust me, there have been some rly hard days this year), but the juice is worth the squeeze bc it’s allowed me to bond and connect with all of you. It’s allowed me to build new relationships all over the world. So take the risk, do you, and GO THERE with people.

This year B/B will be all about being real.

My birthday post from only 365 days ago reads so cheesily to me now. I thought I was sooo self-aware and real, but I wasn’t taking a lot of risks. At least, I wasn’t being real to the extent I am today. And I will never ever ever stop being real. My realness is the reason I’ve learned SO MUCH in the past year. I’m so much wiser than I was even five months ago. I’ve learned to trust myself, to ask for help, to change, to put myself first, to live my LIFE. And to live it MY way.

I plan on learning and evolving every single day until the day I die. That’s part of the reason I love getting older; because I get just a little bit wiser. People often joke that women stop celebrating birthdays at 29 and lie about being 29 for as long as they can pull off. But that’s a load of crap; DON’T BUY INTO IT. I can’t WAIT to see what “wisdom” my 30th year brings.

Obviously, I don’t have it all figured out. I would LOVE to learn from all of you (& for all of us to learn from each other!) WHAT HAVE U LEARNED IN THE PAST YEAR? Plz share your wisdom below!

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