24 Hopes for 24

I turn 24 tomorrow on June 23 and it seems crazy to me that I’m ACTUALLY (basically) 24. I can remember when I was in middle school and my teacher’s daughter came in one day; she was 24! She looked so old to me. Well, maybe old isn’t the right word – she looked stable, maturesuccessful – all the things that come with age. Now that I am that very same age, I’m not sure I’m where I thought I’d be in life as a 12-year-old staring up at someone double my age and imagining my own future, but I am pretty proud of my journey thus far. Here are my hopes for my 24th trip around the sun.

#1: Live life on my timeline.

As a one-day-short-of-24-year-old, I definitely don’t think I’m old. On the contrary. I feel like I’m so young, and that there is so much more life ahead of me yet to be lived. I see engagements and baby announcements on Facebook nearly every day, and while I am happy for those friends and family members, I just cannot imagine that in my near future. I have so much to do BEFORE that. Taking two businesses full-time at 22 can delay your timeline 😉

#2: Keep doing me, for me.

To be completely honest, I love that my one and only priority right now is ME. What I want, what is best for me, what I can potentially benefit from. There will be decades upon decades where this is not the case, and I think I need to enjoy the selfish years as well as I can to prep myself for the times where I will always come second, whether that be to a husband, kids or even just a dog 🙂 {Side note: I’m nowhere near dog mom stability! I had so many of you DM me about my new apartment telling me if I was living alone and had space for a dog, I should pull the trigger, but I travel so much that I don’t think it’s fair to a little fluff ball!}

I think we have established by now that I am not really stable – I think “not yet settled down” is the more appropriate term. By that, I mean that I am always on the go, spontaneously making plans, booking flights, etc. One day, I think having a more “settled” life will be great, but for now, it is not conducive to my businesses or my personal interests. Teacher’s Daughter – 1, Caitlin – 0

#3: Value relationships over my pride.

Time has a funny way of showing you what is really important and teaching you the lesson of picking your battles. In the past, during an argument or disagreement, I would shut down and focus solely on my hurt without understanding why or how the other person acted the way they did. Sometimes this meant we never worked things out or saw each other’s point of view, and I’ve grown away from people because of that. While at the time I thought I was protecting myself and standing up for my feelings, I was mistaken. It was easier, and selfish, to do that. I see now that most relationships are more important than my pride, and I hope I continue to broaden my understanding of the other in the future.

#4: Accept (and learn from) the past.

All that above being said, there is no use crying over spilled milk, and what has occurred in the past is over and done with. Dwelling on it and wishing things could have been different is an inefficient use of time and emotions – all I can do is continue to take lessons from the things that have happened to me and ensure things happen differently in the future.

 

#5: Go back to Pure Barre? Or start SoulCycle?

Basically, I want to get in a workout routine where I feel accountable again. Going to a physical class makes me get a better workout in because I’m competitive and because I feel like the other regulars are counting on me to be there and give my all. I loved Pure Barre when I belonged to the LP studio but because of traveling it didn’t make sense for me to resign at the time! But Soul Cycle is paid per class, and I’ve heard great things about it. Maybe it’s neither and it’s a completely different class. We will see!

#6: Elevate my blog.

Sophisticaition is turning 3 next month, and it’s crazy to me to look back on the journey my little blog has taken me on. I hope that I continue to improve it, grow it, and tailor it to my audience.

#7: Care less about what others think.

Your life isn’t yours if you constantly care about what others think. Considering that a large part of my job involves social media, even when you know that only your opinion of yourself matters, it’s hard to not let the negative comments get to you. People have said mean things about my skin, my hair, my body, my friends, my family, my job… With social media, everyone has an opinion, and they can share it with you through the safety of a keyboard. If a certified 10 like Kendall Jenner gets negative comments, of course I’m going to get them, too. At the end of the day, I only care what I think of myself, as well as what my close friends + family think of me. Some nameless person on the internet who thinks I’m fat, or boring, or *basic* doesn’t count. (Buuuuuuuut. I have recently put blocks on my Instagram comments to hide rude or abusive comments, and am looking into similar options for my blog comments. Doesn’t hurt to have tech help for once!)

#8: Continue to give back.

Most of you know that I was really involved with PUDM in college. It was an integral part of life, and I’ve kind of felt a void since graduation. Most of you probably don’t know that I have recently founded Blogging for Good, an organization to allow bloggers to utilize our influence to make a difference. I feel like there is virtually no CSR in this industry full of fast fashion and fake tans, and I intend to change that. I feel it’s selfish to have this platform and not use it to try to better the lives of others in any way I can. Whether that is donating PR gifting boxes to domestic violence shelters, volunteering time to local charities, collecting money for disaster relief, or even just telling our audience about the great charitable organizations out there, there are so many ways that bloggers can blog for good. This is a huge passion project of mine, and I hope that it truly blossoms this coming year.

#9: Capture a second of every day.

Nick recently showed me an app that records one second from every day for a year, and he started doing it not long before his college graduation. I want to do that every day this coming year! I think it’s such a fun way to look back at the year, and it allows for all the big events as well as small everyday moments to be included.

#10: Just keep swimming!

This job is hard. This city is hard. Heck, this world is hard. There is so much hate and anger out there! Obstacles are sure to arise out of all that negative energy. The important thing is to keep going and spreading my light. I know that there are major obstacles ahead, and I can only hope that in the words of Dory, I just keep swimming, and keep going even on the hard days.

#11: Be mindful of my position to influence young girls.

Recently, one of my favorite bloggers let me down. She posted a before and after of a shot she took. I was expecting to see some cool filters and color edits, but what I saw was a photoshop job to her waist and legs. I could not understand why I was so upset to see her edits. I guess it’s because if this amazing “I wish she was my big sister because she’s so smart and nice and pretty” blogger thought she didn’t look good enough the way she is naturally, why should I with bigger boobs + a bigger waist? And then it clicked for me – I am a 24-year-old, and I’m even contemplating this; what about all the young girls who follow her? What does that tell them about their bodies? This whole thing really struck a nerve with me. I was really self conscious about my body in middle school and high school. If I had seen a role model of mine do this, I don’t know how it would have affected me. I really do take my position as a role model for young girls seriously. I have gotten emails and DMs asking me about picking classes, asking a boy to a dance, learning how to apply makeup… some from girls as young as 12. I love being able to be a “big sister” to them, to help them see how beautiful they are inside and out, and I really hope that this year I can continue strengthening those relationships. I consider building these girls up to be my biggest responsibility as a blogger.

#12: Save, save, invest, and save.

Not going to lie, I was recently looking at my dividends and had a quarter-life crisis about my retirement. It sounds crazy typing it out now! But as someone who is self-employed, I don’t have the same 401(k) and other retirement savings options that many of my friends do at corporate jobs. I really hope that in this next year, I continue to save and invest not only for short-term expenses like flights and furniture, but for retirement and potentially buying a house and a car down the road.

#13: Check in on my friends.

If recent weeks have taught us anything, it’s that even those people who appear to have it all together can be hurting inside. I want to be more intentional with my time with my friends, even those not in Chicago, to make sure everyone is doing well and knows that there is a support system if they need it.

#14: Travel often.

I am blessed to be able to travel for my job, and I want to continue traveling as much as possible! We never know what tomorrow holds, and while I am able to have these amazing opportunities to hop on a plane, I need to take them. Some destinations I would love to visit in my 24th year: Munich, Rome, Barcelona, Los Angeles, Nantucket, Vancouver – just to name a few! I would travel around the entire world if I could.

#15: Find a good devotional.

My relationship with God is ever-evolving. I’ve started to share more about that with you through IG stories, but I try to not come off as preachy or pushing my beliefs down your throats! I was raised Catholic but I’m connecting more with Christian literature overall. I want to find a really good devotional this year! I have seen so many great ones posted online, and maybe this means trying out all of them until I find one that really speaks to me. As long as I find *the one* for me!

#16: Know when to keep my mouth shut.

We all know I talk a lot… But sometimes it is not my place to comment or pass judgement. Building off what I said above about knowing to pick my battles, I hope I continue to be aware of when to be a support system without comment and when my opinion is requested!

#17: Don’t forget where I came from.

I have such a complicated relationship with Saint Louis. On the one hand, I am one of the directors of STL Bloggers, and there is such a vibrant and joyful group of creatives that have become my friends in STL! On the other, Saint Louis has a looooot of baggage for me, and going *home* to Saint Louis doesn’t always feel like I’m going home. I hope that my relationship with my hometown continues to evolve as we both reinvent ourselves this year. Maybe we’ll become closer. Maybe I’ll realize we aren’t a good fit. Either way, I’m from the Lou and I’m proud, as Nelly says, and I want to help the creative community there blossom no matter where I put down my roots.

#18: Figure out where my heart feels at home.

Going off of that… Saint Louis may not feel like home, but to be honest, Chicago doesn’t entirely, either. I moved here after college because that’s what you did at Purdue – you graduated, got a job offer and moved to the city (Or, you moved to Indy, and that was sure not happening for me). I have grown to love and respect Chicago. It’s a tough city. It’s no New York, “If I can make it here, I can make it anywhere,” but it sure is hard to find yourself, let alone start a business here. I think its challenges and shortcomings have pushed me to grow and elevate my brand as well as myself. That being said, do I think I will do what I see so many others doing and make a life for myself here? Buy a nice house in the ‘burbs, take the Metra in for date night, pop out 2.5 kids and buy a boat and/or dog? I have no idea. For all I know, I could be doing that in 3, or 5, or 7 years.  Maybe I will realize that my heart is at home in Chicago after all. But, there’s the same chance I go somewhere else entirely. I hope that this year, I make strides toward realizing where that could be, if not Chi.

#19: Eat more vegetables.

I actually love vegetables but I am so bad at buying groceries, especially when I am traveling! I end up getting UberEats like crazy or event hopping for the food, LOL. I do admit that I am getting better at balancing healthy eating and the occasional cheat meal, but I hope that this year I really develop a balance as well as a knowledge of food where I don’t have to rely on an app to track my nutrients and calories.

#20: Feel less guilty about saying no.

I am a people pleaser when it comes to work. I try to take on any projects offered to me and go above and beyond what is put in my contracts. I feel really guilty when I say no to opportunities, event invitations, or even just plans with friends when I’ve had a long day and need a mental health bubble bath. I hope that this year, “no” becomes a bigger part of my vocabulary, and I begin to embrace its power.

#21: Trust my gut.

Typically, I can read any situation or decision if I listen to my intuition. When I don’t listen because it’s too hard/complicated/etc. it comes back to bite me. I want to get better about not second guessing myself and learning to trust my gut instinct. It never leads me wrong!

#22: Find another hobby.

Blogging began as my “me time” and a fun hobby through which I made friends. It’s now my job, and though I do love it, it’s still a job to me. I haven’t dug into painting, graphic design, music, or any of my old hobbies in a while, and I really would love to pick one up again to give myself a breath of fresh air on long days.

#23: Make another kickass Halloween costume.

I don’t think you understand how seriously I take Halloween. I love having great costumes that aren’t what everyone else does. Last year, I was Fake News and Lizzie McGuire. Both were hits. I really hope something important (or completely unimportant but funny) happens in pop culture that I can utilize in my next costume 😉

#24: Be happy.

At the end of the day, regardless of the number on the scale, on my client reports, or in my bank account, I hope that I am happy.

 

I love each and every one of you. Thank you for being on this journey with me and for bringing so much joy into my life!

Leave a Comment

3 Comments

  1. Annaliese wrote:

    Such a beautiful post! My 24th birthday is in September and I feel like I could relate to a lot of these. Happy birthday to you! <3

    xoxo A
    http://www.southernbelleintraining.com

    Posted 6.22.18 Reply
  2. Kate K. wrote:

    I love this list – it’s a good mix of idealistic goals and concrete benchmarks! I’m turning 24 this year too, so I may have to adopt a few of your ideas for my own life too. 🙂

    Posted 6.22.18 Reply
  3. This was a great post. At 24 your wisdom doubles over. Protect it. Happy Birthday:)

    Posted 6.29.18 Reply

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