All the Lessons 2018 Taught Me

Happy New Year!

The start of a new year always makes me reflect on the last year and what a year 2018 turned out to be…

My sweet daughter turned one whole year old. My eldest lost FOUR teeth and won his first medal in his first chess tournament. My middle learned to ride a bike without training wheels and began to write and read. We took the boys on their first real camping trip. I managed to carpool three kids to three different schools (do not recommend). I ran my first half marathon. Now & Gen celebrated its first anniversary and we hit one MILLION followers (holy sh*t, you guys!).

It’s been a wonderful whirlwind and I think I succeeded and failed multiple times at all things. In fact, I kinda feel like I fumbled my way through most of 2018 – and not very gracefully. But that’s what it’s all about, right? We live and learn, and I definitely did a lot of learning this year…

Some lessons of 2018:

#1. I’m bad at saying no.

I don’t want to let family or friends down so I overcommit myself. Then I end up doing too much without doing things well—or being fully present—which ALSO makes me feel like I’m letting people down. It’s a crazy-making cycle of guilt I am determined to break in 2019!

#2. I can’t make everybody like me

This is a hard one because I’m a people pleaser at heart. Of course I want some people to like me, but it’s not possible or really even desirable to be liked by everyone all the time. We are not always going to agree on politics, or fashion, or parenting and that’s ok. It’s my path and my journey and as long as I’m respectful and stay true to myself then I can’t worry about what other people think.

#3. Stop and smell the dirty diapers

As hard as this phase is with the kids, I also love it because they are so sweet and spunky. I’ve got to remember to enjoy the small things because the time flies by so quickly.

#4. It’s ok to ask for help

Three kids is no joke. With Jared gone during the week and my family in California, I’ve realized I need as much help as I can get from in-laws, other mom friends and our nanny. It takes a village and sometimes I have a hard time admitting that because I feel guilty (shouldn’t I be able to do it on my own?) and I know we are extremely lucky to be able to afford childcare. I think it’s important to be honest about how challenging it is—even in the best of circumstances—so moms (and dads) don’t feel guilty asking for help. However you can find it—a nanny, daycare, grandparents, mom group or babysitting-swap with a friend—we all deserve support and a little time to take care of ourselves.

#5. Always make time for date night

I thought scheduling time with your partner was lame and unromantic…until I had kids. Finding time for your significant other with little ones is SO HARD. It started to feel like Jared and I were dating again—and not in a good way. It was a “When is he going to call me?!” or “What did they mean by that text??” kind of way that made us both feel a little hurt. Our schedules were always out of sync, making it easy to misread situations or read too much into things. We finally started scheduling proper date nights and it. changed. everything. Now we sit down and look at our calendar for the month and block out time just for us. We’re usually home by 10pm and half the time we spend the night talking about the kids anyway, but it really helps to reconnect and get back to the basics of dating and flirting again.

#6. It’s ok to shine

This fall, I joined the boys and ran the Seattle half marathon. I finished faster than I expected and was really proud of myself, but kept downplaying it whenever someone congratulated me or acknowledged my time. My instinct was to blow it off as a fluke, like I just stumbled into it by accident. But the truth is, I worked REALLY hard! I ran my heart out and was excited about how well I did, but admitting that somehow felt impolite or braggy. Why? I’m now training for the Boston marathon and I don’t want to hide how excited I am about it or how proud I am of myself for committing to it. We’re always so fixated on what we didn’t do or what someone else did that we didn’t. Maybe we’d stop doing that if we gave ourselves permission to celebrate ourselves a little too?

#7. Embrace growing pains

I was so excited to start this blog. I’d been looking for a creative outlet and thought it would be a fun way to connect with you and share my perspective and curiosity. The response was incredible—and slightly terrifying. I had no idea it would take off as fast as it did and I definitely wasn’t prepared to support it (in case you’ve ever wondered about my erratic blogging schedule, haha). It’s been a crazy learning curve and I’m incredibly grateful for your encouragement and support as I figure it all out. I have big dreams for Now & Gen and can’t wait to share them all with you!

I guess this is the part where I’m supposed to share my resolutions for 2019. I’ve just never liked making them because they always seem too rigid, as if I was setting myself up for failure. I think it’s better to reflect on where you’ve been and use it as a road map to set your intentions for where you want to go—with the understanding that life can sometimes take you on the scenic route…and that’s ok! There are lots of different ways to get to arrive at same place.

My intentions for 2019:

  • Read more
  • Be less afraid
  • Hone in on the power of my own voice
  • Stretch more, do more yoga and eat more veggies
  • Be 15 minutes early instead of 15 minutes late
  • Create less waste
  • Get more sleep
  • And forgive myself if I accomplish none of these

What did you learn in 2018? What are your intentions for 2019? Is there anything you’d like to see more of from Now & Gen this year? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

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  • Shauna

    I think one one if my biggest goals for 2019 is too slow down. I feel like I’m always in rush, waiting for the next big thing in my life to happen. I’m trying to live in the moment now and not be in such a big hurry for life to happen.:)
    Hope you and your family have happy and healthy new year.❤❤

    • Heather

      2019 is going to be a big year in our house. My daughter graduates from high school and will be heading off to university in the fall. My husband and I are celebrating25 years of marriage this September. I’m trying to take the time to slow down and enjoy these moments because they won’t come again. Take care and enjoy this new year:)

  • Alesia

    You inspire me to be more active. I almost 60 and have some health issues. But I read your words and I am making it my goal to walk for at least 30 minutes each day. Probably 3 10 minute walks.(leg brace hurts if on to long). Thank you. ♡ love

  • Jam

    Omg Gen! You’re so lovely ??. I wish the best for you and your family, so much love, happiness, joy, the best to y’all. Happy 2019! Looking forward to nowandgen’s updates, love you, love to read your words, it changes my day, my week, my life, really! You changed me into a better person. English is not my official language, I’m sorry for the mistakes, but I had to say it. Xo

  • Jessie

    What I’ve learned in 2018: patience. With loved ones, myself, and every day life. It has helped me to not be too quick to assume or anger or judge. Also learned to figure out my true self and not be afraid to be that person.
    My intentions for 2019: read more, travel often (already have few things lined out), and push myself more in my workouts!!!

  • Cindy

    Thank you, Gen, for being so real with us. I appreciate it and you. This was a very relatable post because I can feel the same way, at times.
    My a decent about of intentions for 2019.

    I want to have a more active lifestyle. It sucks having a desk job. I need to get back into yoga, as well.

    I’d like to create more art for me and not what I think other people want me to make.

    I defintiely want to read more. I miss getting lost into a the pages of a book.

    I also want to try to create more meaningful friendships with people. I’ve always been somewhat reserved and kept to myself but maybe I’ll be able to open up more and not be afraid to let people in.

    We got this! 🙂

  • Kelly

    Your last resolution is the most important! Even as we set goals (always important to strive toward SOMETHING) life happens and our time disappears (I have four kids. ) You look up and hey, where did my good intentions to do (fill in the blank) go?? That’s the time to say, “What I DID do was important, too. And, actually, I did a lot of things amazingly well!” So, good on me. Not, “I suck because I didn’t eat better or lose the 10 pounds or call my mother once a week.” We dismiss what we do well (as you did for the half marathon, which, hey, you did AWESOME) and focus on what we didn’t accomplish. Let’s resolve to change that paradigm, please. Happy 2109!

  • Hailey Owens

    Gen, thank you so much for this post. 2018 was an amazing but rough year. I moved, lost my dad, started learning guitar, and saw the Eagles in concert. This year I am continuing my degree pursuit in nursing and training for the Tough Mudder. You inspire me so much!

  • Jordy

    For me, my goal is to take more time for myself and my projects. I’ve found myself without a job currently, and instead of sulking about it, I want to use this time. I want to work on my blog more and consistently post (the end of 2018 was not kind to me and I sort of lost motivation). I also want to continue working on my YouTube channel, which has been a scary side project for me – just so afraid of failure or embarassing myself. Most importantly, I just want to keep building my portfolio – take more photos, build my brand and my skills. This will help me land that dream job I’m looking for.

  • Regina

    Instead of New Year’s resolutions, I do New Year’s wishes. I write down all my wishes for the New Year. Some are things I know will happen and others are just things I’d like to accomplish, however crazy. Some I keep vague, some I make very specific. Some are just for me and some are for those I love. I write them down, I put it away and I look at it at the end of the year. I’m always amazed by how much I’ve actually accomplished on the list and how much I’ve grown because my wishes for the next year are usually similar but different enough to really demonstrate what I find important. I never feel guilty because they were just wishes and I always see what is important to me. Maybe I’m a coward for avoiding resolutions, but I’ve fallen in love with this practice.

  • Annette Wilder

    I loved this post! Some of my resolutions are to be less selfish, run, be more forgiving, dress more like a normal human being, and to be more real and true to myself no matter who I’m around.

  • Priyanka

    This was such a beautiful blog post, and there are so many points I entirely relate to.
    I always have and still do feel terrible about saying no to people. From overcomitting and trying to manage too many things at once to even agreeing to going on really terrible dates, this habit of not saying no has been landing me into hell lot of trouble. I have been intending to change this habit for last coupleof years, and for now it’s a work in progress.
    2018 was a blur. Between office and various social obligations I didn’t even realise where all the time went. My life has become too much of a routine, which I aim to break in 2019. I intend to take time off for just for myself, go for a solo trip perhaps or something. And truly experience and enjoy the passage of time. I also intend to cut down on all the time I waste literally doing nothing and cribbing about stuff in general, and go back to the hobbies I miss so much, especially dancing.
    In 2019 I intend to hold less grudges as well and try to be as positive as I can.
    I also really look forward to your blog posts this year. I have enjoyed reading them a lot, especially about all the activities you engage in, all the gardening habits, and of course the fashion and skincare tips. I actually found your posts and videos about intimacy quite interesting as well, and I hope you can share something about how to improve personal relationships or even friendships. I often feel guilty about not giving enough time to my relationship, or to my friends, or even both. With a full time job it has become hard to balance out family, friends and love. Or perhaps it’s just me and I suck at time management. I would really love it if you could give some tips on how to give time to each important relationship of life.
    I would also like if you could give some easy healthy recipes or eating tips. I am not much of a cook, although I do try and eat as heathy as possible. So yeah if you have some fast and heathy recipes in hand please share.
    This is all for now.
    Hope to see more from you.
    Lots of love.

  • Elena

    2018 was my year to learn to say no bc I overextended myself all the time. I would run myself ragged and was killing myself slowly. By saying no I was able to reflect on what I wanted to spend my time on that was meaningful to me and the individuals I was helping. This was true especially for my kids and family. I needed to be healthy and here if I was going to make any kind of impact on this world with my family. I plan to use 2019 to really look at what’s important to me, the world I live in, and my family. I feel doing a few great things is far better than doing a million little things just okay. I feel this will help me really evaluate life and what my part I have in it. Thank you for sharing your intentions with us Gen. I feel if we could lift each other up and support our fellow moms we could do such great things!!! We would be a force to be reckoned with.

  • Betsi

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. At the end of 2018 I was determined to do better in the exercise area for two reasons – my health and a desired trip to Scotland. I’m ashamed to admit that 13 days into 2019 I have made no changes other than trying to eat better. Maybe I need to make reservations for the trip so that I have a date to work towards. Have an awesome 2019!

  • Nancy

    My goal this year is to eat healthier and exercise. I will be going to Vancover in August and would like to be able to walk around without getting out of breath. You are so inspiring. I figure if you can find time to exercise with your busy schedule, then so can I. Eventually, I would love to run in a marathon. I will be 60 next week and am hoping to run in my 1st marathon before I am 61.

  • LC

    Hi Gen! I would love to hear more about your marathon training regiment. I also want to do a marathon soon and I’m studying exercise physiology. I’m simply curious what methods work best for you personally to prepare yourself for such an accomplishment physically and also mentally.

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