Good Morning Critters!!! Every day when I drop Lillian off at daycare I say "Gooooood morning, Critters!!!" to all of her classmates! You can take the educator out of the schools, but you can't take the Catholic school habits out of the educator. Or something like that! I want to start every post now with Good Morning Critters!!! How does that sound?
Earlier this week Claire and I were out at lunch at the Presidio Golf Club Cafe (yes, we were just there for Lillian's birthday party but it is a nice quiet spot that is off the beaten path and allows us some privacy for our business meetings. I was joking with Claire that we are basically members at the golf club) and Claire was asking me what I wish I had known when I was twenty six, her current age.
I'm not sure if this is clear by now, I think it's pretty evident, but I take my role and job as big sister to Colleen and Claire seriously. Very seriously. I know a lot of pieces talk about how special it is to have a sister, I am loving the new Vanity Fair issue all about sisters, but one thing that cannot ever be explained to others is how special the role of big sister is. And lucky me! I get to do it twice. Colleen let me practice on her and Claire helps me get it right.
It took me some time to even remember what I was doing when I was 26 so I went through the photo archives and found this photo of me from our engagement photoshoot and was instantly brought back to this time in my life: newly engaged to Jesse, working at Sacred Heart Prep, just moved in to our first apartment together, and excited and energized about what was ahead.
There are some things I felt like I did right, and that's mostly because of the guidance of mom and dad and watching Caitlin, and then there are some things that I really wish I did differently. Here are some of the things I would tell my younger 26 self. Also, I've been watching this video of Emilia Clarke over and over because she is so darling when she's not being Queen of Dragons.
Travel as much as possible. Jesse and I were fortunate to take a few trips but definitely not as many as we would have liked. Between tight budgets, lots of weddings, busy work schedules and my grad school obligations, it was hard to make traveling frequently work. I have a feeling when it comes to travel that when you have time, you have no money. And when you have money, you have no time. I guess I always thought that traveling would happen at some point. But the truth is, our careers have only gotten busier and now with Lillian, jetting off to London is a little bit more complicated and expensive. But it makes weekend trips and family trips to Hawaii so much more enjoyable.
Constantly challenge yourself and grow. Go to events, lectures, anything that helps you grow. Go back to school, travel, move to a new city, do anything that seems hard at first. Your 26 self is great but you don't want to be your 26 self when you are 30, 35, etc.
Know friendships will change. Friendships change so much post-college and that's great. You'll find that you gravitate towards people who are in similar situations, going through the same life stage, and who share some of your guiding principles.
Know when to end relationships. This is something I am always working on. I feel sad when friendships sort of fizzle out and am always the one trying to rekindle a connection. But truthfully, I've learned friendships should end when the other person isn't trying or doesn't care. Also, it is so important to end relationships that are unhealthy-- for me this relates to my professional experience. There are a handful of times I wish I had left a job, transferred or done something to get out of a negative experience of working with people who were difficult, mean, and just plain horrible. There are so many jobs available now, new careers popping up, and new ways to make a living that I wish I had taken the risk of leaving jobs sooner. I always thank Lillian for being my lucky charm and setting me on a new career path.
Work with great people. Echoing what I just said. But working with great people is hands down the biggest key to success, job satisfaction, productivity, and happiness. I am so blessed to sincerely love all of the people I get to work with through Curran Creative. It makes work so enjoyable and motivates me to work harder.
Have something that is all yours. This is so important. Have something that you work on or enjoy independently. While friendships change and you start to see less of your friends, having something to do solo is key. It is something to fall back on in times of transition, happiness, and joy. For me, it has always been running, writing, and painting (actual walls, not canvases). It is especially important when you partner up with someone because it allows you to keep something that is just yours.
Buy fewer, better things. I have always purchased a mix of high and low items over the years but guess what, it's the better quality items that are still hanging in my closet-- like this pink Kate Spade dress that I still have and almost wore to Lillian's birthday party. For Lori's bachelorette party I didn't buy a single thing, I went shopping in my own closet and got so much satisfaction out of wearing things I already owned. It made me feel so proud that I know my personal style so well that something I wore years and months ago still reflects who I am.
Don't compare yourself to others. I've actually never done this but the more I talk to other women who are trying to start their own business I hear them say how they're not ready to put themselves out there and they wish they had this and that and they don't want to be criticized....blah, blah, blah. Just stop. Just stop. Who cares. Don't compare yourself to others, it get's you no where. Spend time on doing things and thinking things and dreaming things that will get you somewhere!
Learn about finances. Buying fewer, better things is great but there is more than that when it comes to adult finances. Save money, learn about the stock market (I am still trying to do this) and just learn about personal finances and business finances.
Embrace technology. Jesse has taught me that technology is a tool and you should let it work for you. Have the best tech items that make your life faster, better, more efficient.
Focus on yourself. Be the center of your world because let me tell you when you have a baby it is all about them, rightfully so. But honestly, one of the biggest reasons why I love motherhood so much is because I spent enough time focusing on myself and now I can put that energy into Lillian. Don't worry about others thinking you are selfish or self-centered, get it all out of your system before you have a baby and have to find a spare two minutes to brush your teeth and your hair.
Remain optimistic. It's easy as you get older to get more cynical but it is more important than ever to remain optimistic, positive, and actively seek moments of happiness. I try and do this every day. Some days it's harder than others but focusing on the positive helps so much.
Avoid arrogance. I never really knew how much disdain I had for arrogance until a recent conversation I had in which it was abundantly clear that this person had no idea how arrogant they were being. Arrogance + a lack of self-awareness= run as fast as you can away from the person. It was almost comical because after reconnecting with this person I realized how even more calm, secure, and happy motherhood has made me. Arrogance doesn't get you anything except some spit in your food (too gross, but I can't help but think that's what happens to arrogant people). If there is one trait I appreciate more than anything it is the perfect intersection of confidence and humility. Which is why I always have to share the great things about Jesse.
Did I miss anything? What would you add? Thanks for reading, Critters!