Thursday, August 21, 2014

27 by 27

I was born on August 20, 1987. 

Yesterday I turned 27. 

26 was an incredible and memorable year for me. It was a year of self discovery. A year of struggle and of triumph. I leapt, and built my wings on the way down.

I ended my marriage. I moved half way around the world. I competed in my first CrossFit Open. I made it to Regionals. I traveled everywhere from Dubai to Seoul, Korea. I made new friends. I let old ones go. I closed doors behind me and walked through new ones. I forgave myself. I learned to stand on my own two feet. I soul searched. I discovered my passions. And most importantly ...

I fell in love with the person I've become.

Feeling introspective, I came up with a list ....

27 Things I've Learned by 27

1. Never apologize for who you are. Not everyone will like you. And why would you want everyone to? Be proud of who you are, what you stand for, and what you believe in. 

2. Start every day with a grateful heart. The first five thoughts you have in the morning will shape the course of your day. 

3. Don't sweat the small stuff. And it's all small stuff. 

4. Money does not = happiness. But it does = independence.

5. LAUGH. As much as you can, as often as you can. Nothing is that serious.

6. Fall in love with as many things as possible. 

7. Fake it until you make it. You have to believe in yourself first and foremost!

8. You'll become like the 5 people you spend the most time with. Choose very wisely. Elevate yourself. 

9. Follow your heart. Figure out the logistics later. I can't stress this enough. You don't have to have a perfect plan. But you need to believe in what you're doing enough that you'll fight like hell to make it happen. THAT will lead you to success. 

10. You can't plan life. Sometimes shit just happens. Your perspective will determine whether it's a lesson or a blessing - usually ends up being both.

11. Learn to bend. Don't break. Be adaptable to change.

12. The bedroom is for two things. Making love and sleeping.  Get the TV, the phones, the computers, the drama, out of the bedroom. That is your sanctuary.

13. Sleep more. Sleep is so damn important! Be selfish about it!

14. Stop watching TV and stop reading magazines. Living in Kuwait, I don't have very many channels and rarely watch TV. The only magazine I read is Box Life. I've discovered how freeing it is getting away from what society deems as "beautiful." Your hair is already shiny enough. Stop worrying about your "fine lines and wrinkles." No, you don't need another pair of shoes. No, you don't need to lose 5 more pounds. I didn't realize how BOMBARDED I was with images of "beauty" in magazines and in commercials, ideals that I DO NOT fit into ... all of these things I "needed" and/or I was "lacking." The comparison trap is brutal. Get away from it. 

15. YOU ARE ENOUGH. You are so enough. 

16. Everyone needs to be taking fish oil and a probiotic. These are natural inflammatory fighters.

17. Just because they are family, doesn't mean they need to be in your life. 

18. Set goals. Daily goals. Monthly Goals. Quarterly Goals. Annual Goals. Re-evaluate your wants and needs based on achieving them. Put them somewhere you can see them. 

19. Wake up with determination, go to bed with satisfaction. You have to have a purpose. Discover it. Live it. Relish it. Let it become your life blood. 

20. Be selfish. You have to take care of you before you can take care of anyone else. Be able to create your own happiness, and not depend on someone else for that. Know what your limitations are. Your needs. Put them first. This really isn't being selfish, it's called self-respect, and no nearly enough people have it. 

21. Never stop learning. Sign up for classes. Sign up for seminars. Try something different. Get your of your comfort zone. 

22. Live abroad. This is different than traveling abroad. Immerse yourself in a new culture, force yourself to meet new people, discover new foods, navigate a new country. 

23. Do 1 thing for 5 other people every day. Pay it forward. Buy the guys order behind you at Starbucks. Hold the door open. Say thank you. Compliment a stranger. Or just simply reach out to someone and say good morning. Go out of your way. It is such a good feeling. And karma is so good. 

24. Don't expect anything. Be pleasantly surprised, instead. Come from a place of gratitude, not entitlement. 

25. Get your money under control. Pay off your debt. Grow your savings, 401k, emergency funds, that's important. And makes you feel grown up.

26. Feeling grown up is kind of cool. But, always be a kid at heart. You're never too old for Saturday morning cartoons, fart jokes, or wet willies. 

27. Life is what you make it. You are not a tree. If you don't like where you are, move. 

I want to thank everyone who made my day so memorable. For the birthday wishes, the hugs, the high fives, the phone calls, the snap chats ... The INCREDIBLE birthday WOD! The cake, the cookies, the balloons ... 

I have so many amazing changes on the horizon and so much love in my life. I can't help but believe 27 is going to be even more memorable than 26! 


  1. simply perfect in every way--- can't stop reading # 9. I printed this out and is hanging at my desk at work!

  2. Thank you for number 17! Sometimes I feel like I'm the only person that believes that! Surround yourself with people that make you happier and better. Tough lesson.

  3. i cannot tell you how much i LOVE this post. first off, your happiness radiates and is wonderful.

    #12 is so true. your bedroom is your personal sanctuary, with or without your partner. i told my man when he's back from afghanistan there will be no TV, phone, tablets, etc. in the bedroom.

    here's to an amazing 27th year for you!

  4. i cannot tell you how much i LOVE this post. first off, your happiness radiates and is wonderful.

    #12 is so true. your bedroom is your personal sanctuary, with or without your partner. i told my man when he's back from afghanistan there will be no TV, phone, tablets, etc. in the bedroom.

    here's to an amazing 27th year for you!

  5. I love all of these lessons. You've certainly got a lot of insight, thanks for sharing! Happy Belated Birthday!

  6. I love all of this! Amazing post.
    Happy belated birthday!

  7. This is so perfect, Courtney. You've been inspiring me for well over a year now and you are an absolute hero!! In awe of your grit and determination and so grateful for your outlook and the unique light you shine in this world. Thank you and happy belated birthday!

  8. Hey Courtney, I don't know if you remember me, but we met at Hood years ago! I have found your blog a few times over the years and I'm VERY GLAD to read this... Looks like you've come out the other side. I 100% believe your life will be so much better than you thought it would be. All good vibes here, girl.