March 22, 2018

30 Things I'd Tell My 20 Year Old Self -- 30th Birthday Post!

It is my 30th birthday today!! Gosh, that happened quickly. The past decade has been a ride, to say the least. A lot of good, tough, exciting, challenging and fun has happened over the last ten years. Just a few highlights:

I traveled abroad with the Univ. of Oklahoma among several other memorable trips
I graduated college with a degree in Graphic Design
I met Blake Elliott
I opened Taylor Elliott Designs
I married Blake Elliott!!
We got our two labradors, Charlie and Toby
I ran a half marathon
I left my 8-5 to pursue TED full time and have worked so hard to grow it
I had products featured in People Magazine and HGTV Magazine
My mom got a kidney transplant (!!)
Harrison Blake Elliott joined our family

The highlights seem to shine bright when I think about the last ten years. While I am deeply proud of the highlights, I have also grown to be proud of the not so shiny bits and pieces, too. A lot of strength and character were built during the harder times. I'll be honest, my early 20's weren't easy for me. I seemed to struggle in many areas: knowing what I wanted, what I wanted to be when I "grew up" and relationships. I didn't love school, I dabbled in a lot of things trying to figure out what I was good at and I tried a lot of different jobs, too. Nothing really seemed to fit and I felt like I was constantly searching for my place, with both relationships and my career path. I put a lot of pressure on my young 22 year old self to have it figured out. I wish I could go back and give myself a hug because that was a big expectation and standard to put on myself. If you've found yourself in a similar situation, be gentle and patient with yourself.  

One of the most distinct details that stands out is how present God was during the last ten years--I don't think I realized his presence at the time--but looking back, I feel like everything happened for a reason, things ended up falling into place and He ultimately led me to Blake and together we have our beautiful baby boy. My world. The reason why I am telling you this is because the journey is just as important as the destination. The journey is beautiful and while sometimes there are bumps in the road, God is faithful. As I look back at closed doors, it's because God had a better door for me. He may not have opened the door right away after closing another door, but every single time He did open a new door and His doors have always been way better than mine. To translate, God's plans are always better than the plans we have for ourselves. 

I wanted to share 30 things I'd tell my 20 year old self with the hope that sharing my story and the things I have learned encourages you in someway today:

1. It's okay if you don't have everything figured out the day you graduate from college or even if you don't have it figured out 10, 15 or 20 years after college. Work hard and pursue your passions and you'll figure it out. Just don't give up.

2. Though college was fun, you'll find that post college is even more fun! And starting a family is even more fun than that...

3. Darling, you are just too darn hard on yourself. You're doing great. Be a little more gentle and kind to yourself.

4. You're going to feel directionless and lost sometimes, especially when you're trying to figure out who you are. That is okay. Welcome those feelings and let them make you stronger.

5. A "no" might feel like a rejection but really it's a blessing in disguise. Both in relationships and career. God is shutting a door to open a better one. Trust Him.

6. Sometimes relationships don't work out, personally and professionally. Try your hardest not to burn bridges. It is better to not carry that weight on your shoulders.

7. When you say yes to something, you're saying no to something else. So, it's okay to say no. And learn to not feel guilty about it.  

8. The impressive things will often times be made up of a lot of unimpressive things. 

9. You're going to have bad jobs, bad bosses and just general uninteresting jobs. It isn't going to be a waste of time and it isn't going to be for nothing. You'll learn from those experiences and those experiences will be beneficial to you in some way. 

10. You are not destined to have a mediocre job, marriage or life. These things take a lot of really hard work and dedication. But it'll be so worth it.

11. There are a lot of "shoulds" tossed around in life. If something doesn't feel right to you, listen to your gut and let that "gut feeling" be your answer.

12. If someone consistently makes you feel less than or is feeding you negative thoughts, give yourself permission to reevaluate the importance of the relationship.

13. Wear sunscreen, always.

14. God made you unique and different. Boldly and bravely be you. 

15. If something is important to you, you must fight hard for it and never give up.

16. Sleep is very important. It's easy to skimp on sleep when you've got a lot to do but the work you'll produce (and your overall mood) will be so much better after rest!

17. If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door.

18. Don't be a negative Nancy, no-one likes her. And in return don't let someone else's negative comments get to you or hinder you from pursuing your dreams. 

19. Choose kindness, always. You never know who is quietly struggling or fighting some sort of battle. 

20. People might not remember the things you say but they'll remember how you made them feel.

21. Keep your word, always.

22. Be an "includer". It hurts to be left out so don't ever make anyone feel that way. 

23. You can do anything you set your mind to (my mom constantly told us this growing up and she's right).

24. Don't be afraid to speak up, your thoughts matter: in a relationship, in business, etc. If you don't ask or speak up, you will most definitely never get what you want.

25. You control your money, it does not control you. Save, contribute to your 401k and donate when you are able to. 

26. God has equipped you with everything you need to fulfill your dreams. Go get those dreams, girl!

27. Life is too short. Take the trip, eat the cake, buy the cute dress. 

28. Gossip is not cool and it's hurtful. What Sally says about Suzy says more about Sally than it does about Suzy. 

29. Give without expecting anything in return. 

30. Love is a choice. And say I love you a lot. Your people need to know you love them every single day.

 Thank you so much for reading along. I hope you found a tid bit of encouragement :) Have a blessed day. -Taylor


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