This won’t be exciting for anyone reading it, but I’m going to write it anyways – because it is my birthday.

This past year has been exciting, terrifying and adventurous to say the least. Here are my top takeaways as I enter my 38th year.

  1. The non-traditional family. I do not have a great relationship with my family, which is partly my fault and partly their fault. What I have realized in the last year is that we all have a choice. I choose my friends, my dogs and my husband. All of you have loved me regardless of my aggressive and abrasive personality. Whether I am angry, sad or reclusive – you are always there for me. From girl trips to birthday dinners to family dinners to just grieving with me – you are my family.
  2. Travel. I made a promise to myself that I would travel extensively beginning in 2015 and I have kept that promise. From Spain to the Bahamas to Puerto Rico to a cruise to Mexico to Europe. As I sit here writing this blog looking out at Huddersfield, England I am filled with gratitude and happiness. Life is short, embrace it and don’t let anything stop you.
  3. I love my independence. I chose not to have children or to take my husband’s last name. It may seem trivial to some or crazy to others. The fact is, I love Bode, my dogs and my career. If you don’t understand that or judge me for it, then screw you. Everyone has the right to make their own decisions and you should not have to defend your life choices.
  4. Let them in. I lost my beloved Murphy this past year and it was the hardest thing I have ever endured. He was my everything, my best friend, my shadow…it is hard to even write about it now. I have never grieved so openly but with grief comes clarity. Those that accept you in the hardest of life’s moments are those you should share your life with. Say thank you, tell them you love them and grieve with them. You will come out on the other side.
  5. Self-reflection is key. I have made a lot of mistakes, acted impulsively and hurt people in the process. Recognizing your faults and your strengths will only help you grow. Never be afraid or unwilling to apologize and to talk about your weaknesses, you will realize they can be turned into strengths if you are willing to listen and reflect.
  6. Say thank you. I am incredibly blessed and I try my best to show this through my actions. I am still incredibly uncomfortable with affection and personal attention. This often comes off as aloof, I just would rather focus on 834 or you. So, I say thank you to all of you who have taken the time to send a card, wish me a happy birthday, send flowers and continue to reach out even if I go radio silent.
  7. Do what scares you. Get up on that stage and talk about failure, admit you don’t know everything and push yourself to do what terrifies you. There is a lesson to be learned in everything you do. Growth happens in the scariest moments of your life.
  8. Courage is hard. Doing the right thing and making the tough decisions takes courage. Courage means you won’t always be liked or understood, but to me it means I am making the right decision for my business and my life.
  9. Owning a business is the hardest and best thing I have ever done. Hiring and working with the brightest people in my industry is humbling and fulfilling. My 834 team is amazing and I hope each of you knows that – being a boss isn’t always fun and you definitely won’t be the most popular but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

38 is going to kick ass and that is because of all of you. Thank you for making 37 my best year.

P.S. To my sister and brother – thanks for loving me through all of those really awkward and angry stages…and the current ones.

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