Notes on the First Year of My 30s


photo by Radian Photography , styling by Janet Lucia St. Clair

It’s my birthday!

More importantly, it’s the one year anniversary of my trip to Italy - when you spend your birthday in Rome, it’s hard to think of something to top that for the following year! This year will be much more low key, which I am glad for, since it’s been a busy year for me.

I love birthdays because I think they are a great time to reflect on where you’ve been, and where you’re headed. It’s like your own personal new year, and I love a fresh start. This past year has been pretty crazy for me. I started it in Italy, and like normal, I thought things would slow down after that, but really what happened is that I hit the ground running and haven’t looked back since. Add in some traveling, family, friends, weddings, engagements.. It’s been a whirlwind.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what I want my career to look like moving forward - last year at this time I felt like I was really fighting burnout, and I thought my trip had been enough rest, but now I can see that wasn’t actually true. Burnout for me doesn’t mean I’m just super tired overextended, so I think I missed the signs. I almost always have ideas or things I want to pursue, even when I am burnt out, but my ability to deal with the normal problems and issues that come up when running a business just plummets. I can have the best clients, everything can go smoothly, but behind the scenes I’m still an anxious mess because I know if literally anything goes wrong I’m going to lose my mind. It took me almost another year to realize this about myself, but now that I know, in retrospect, it feels like I’ve been beating my head against this wall for a while now.

For me, I think the solution will be to simplify. I started a business so I could have the freedom to live the life I wanted to live, and I somehow turned that into a job that I felt accountable to all the time. I’ve learned in the past couple of years that I don’t like being busy all the time, and I need a lot of free time in order to feel like myself. I like having time to think, and work on projects, and I want to feel more present when I’m spending time with people who are important to me.

alison caspian jordan lake

I want to spend more time painting and less time answering emails, and I want to feel like the work I am doing is bringing joy and beauty to the worlds of my customers.

I also want to get a lot more comfortable saying no - I want nothing more in life than to be helpful to everyone, but just like Marie Kondo told us to get rid of physical objects that don’t spark joy in order to fully appreciate the ones that do, I need to do that with my commitments. I am so bad at saying no, you guys, so this is going to be hard. I’ll keep you posted.

That’s pretty much all I have to say about that right now! I’m excited to see how this year goes for me, and as always I’m grateful to be turning another year older. I hate how getting older is seen as a bad thing - even my grandma is like ha ha ha you won’t be young forever! Maybe this is my paranoid side talking, but I see every year I get to a) be alive, and b) no horrible tragedy befalls me as such a gift. I feel way more confident and stably happy at 31 then I did at 21, and I feel like having the benefit of time to grow continue to grow into the person you want to be is so beautiful.

share this post! pinterest, facebook, twitter?