Not a Year of Yes. But a Year of Firsts


Life moves fast. Sometimes crazy fast. It feels like just a few years ago I was unpacking boxes after saying yes to grad school in NYC (it's been 15years actually). It also seems like 2 months ago I was chilling on the Danube in Budapest after saying yes to vaca with a good friend (it was a year ago). But each year that I celebrate holding down the adulting gig it seems harder and harder to carve out time for some serious yes fun and milestones.

It seems like living your best life can and should be as easy and cool as it looks on IG. Right? Hah, not quite...not for me anyway. So, some time ago I made a conscious decision to not just say 'yes', but make every year count and include a year full of firsts. Sounds simple right? It's easy to say yes once and a while to things in your comfort zone. But try actively doing firsts once a month, or once every few months.

Some firsts for me have included leaving a decent FT gig to take a contract gig at a company I've always wanted to work for (I'm now FT there!). Getting tatts (plural), saying yes to helping someone lead a passion project that I have zero background in (they trust me so I trust their judgement), saying yes to a blind date...that's not a first for many but it is for me. Competing in a cooking comp (I bake I don't cook with good reason!). Going to a Sneakerhead event alone because none of my BFFs are at my level of hypebae when it comes to sneakers. Sitting on a panel and talking about my career. This was a sweat-inducing first but I did it.

Each of us will, of course, have super different ideas of what a first might be. And that's perfectly ok. Like doing a solo trip, that's not a first for me, I've done it loads of times. A first for me is going on a trip with a group bigger than my #GirlSquad. Why? Bigger can equal more drama and too many egos to manage.

The most amazing thing I've discovered now that I commit to a few firsts every year, not just saying yes, is the sense of accomplishment. I'm like 'yeah I did that, I had two panic attacks, but I did it, go me!'. The feeling of kicking fear, panic or self-doubt to the curb is so great with each first. Who doesn't want that feeling?

Friends ask me not only why I do it, but how I do it and how to start. Some of my tips are:

  • Start small with your no to sky diving unless that's an itch you've been waiting to scratch

  • Your firsts should be meaningful to you and just you, this is fuel for your soul

  • Do firsts unrelated to your daily grind

  • Pick firsts that play to your untapped passions, since the feeling of accomplishment will be so great

  • Share your plans with your squad...they are your best cheerleaders

  • Don't put a time limit on your firsts, otherwise, it will start to feel like work and much less like fun and soul fuel

Most importantly, your year of firsts should make you feel proud, accomplished, braver, more clear-headed and a bit more like the bad a** you know you are.

For example, whenever I look at my tattoos, I think, 'yep, glad I did it and heck yeah I'll do it again'.