Ovaries, Birthdays and Expectations

As of April 2017, The Workbook Project has bloomed into 29 Project, a radical happiness experiment.

Kalyn here. I’ll be publishing a blog (ish) a day leading up to my 30th birthday – that’s 365 potential stories and life lessons to share! 29 Project will be real time documentation of what it’s like to live a wildly productive, explosively happy, shockingly honest twenty something existence.

Ovaries, Birthdays and Expectations

Today is my 29th birthday.

For the past ten years, I’ve been on a relentless mission to live a life that feels unmistakably good. I haven’t always succeeded. In fact, in a grand quest for self discovery, I’ve made things pretty damn hard on myself. Yet, I cherish every failure, hiccup and fuck up along the way. As they say – and I believe this to be true – it’s all about the journey.

First, let’s recap my twenties. (God, I’m exhausted already.)

# colleges: 3
# cars: 2
# cities lived in: 5
# house moves: 22
# jobs: 25
# guys slept with: 18
# girls slept with: 2
# piercings: 5
# tattoos: 1
# quarter life crises: 768
# brand launches: 5

Let’s just say, I set the bar for the twenty something stereotype. The funny thing is, all I ever wanted was to grow the fuck up. Every move, every new life plan and every passionate change of direction was a wholehearted grasp for truth and purpose.

For a period of almost a decade, my life has literally been one giant existential battle. I’ve carried around this looming guilt that I should be one of those people who goes with the grain. Because maybe, just maybe, life would be easier. I should have a savings account, health insurance, a job title that makes sense, a car that doesn’t have cigarette burns in it, tangible accomplishments (like, you know, a college degree), the ability to put on eyeliner without poking my eye out.

So what in this precious life’s sake have I been doing all these years? Me, you guys. I’ve been doing me.

I haven’t figured it all out yet. The truth is, no one ever does. The good news is, I sure as hell don’t have any regrets. Amidst the chaos, I’ve lived a beautiful, adventurous, true-to-my-heart, explosively meaningful life.

I’ve painted and written and explored cities with a camera. I’ve loved and lost and shared and connected. I’ve moved up the ladder, down the ladder, through and around the ladder. I’ve paddled, skated, danced and sweat. I’ve made killer first impressions, impacted real people, solved problems and worn dozens of hats. I’ve stumbled, cartwheeled, laughed and cried through it all.

The past couple years have been deeply cathartic. I’ve felt pain, anger, excitement and ecstasy so profoundly that, most of the time I’m utterly exhausted. I’ve gone to higher places, I’ve gone to lower places, and everywhere in between. I’ve moved through emotions with grace, grit, fear and surrender.

I’ve gotten my first grey hairs, discovered cellulite, stumbled upon new spots and lines and watched every inch of my body twist, shape and morph like crazy. Oh, and I’ve spent the past two years ovulating my ovaries off. Being a woman is an absurdly powerful experience. They don’t prepare you for this stuff in the handbook (wait, there is no handbook).

This year marks the final year of my twenties. I thought I would have traveled the world by now. I thought I’d make great art, be more involved, have a stronger sense of identity. I thought I’d be a young leader, innovate, found and be featured on an under 30 list. I thought I would do and be so many things.

Here’s what I’ve learned. There’s no such thing as a life plan. There is no manual. There are no roadmaps. There are no wise words that can prepare you for the experiences ahead, or the one’s you’ve left behind. Life happens, and the best thing you can do is embrace it fiercely, vulnerably, lovingly and without judgement.

Commit to living fully, deeply, unexpectedly and with truth. Detach from outcomes and expectations, and soak in every goddamn luscious fumble, collapse, free fall and exhilarating leap into the unknown.

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