Two words: holy shit. I will be grateful for 2019 forever. I thought 2018 was my year, but these past 365 days have by far surpassed what I thought was the best year of my life. In full transparency, I started off this year completely depressed. I would cry on my lunch break and on my drive to and from work, I stopped feeling motivated in all aspects of my life, I spent the weekends in waves of sadness not knowing what had come over me, and I was at an all time low. I realized shortly into the year that the problem wasn't me, it was the life I was allowing myself to live. I wasn't happy, I wasn't fulfilled, I wasn't free. I thought that growing up meant graduating from college and working a 9-5 to pay the rent, even if it wasn't what you wanted to do. It was what you had to do to survive, and it didn't matter if it wasn't satisfying. I was so incredibly wrong to think that way... and once I realized that, I changed it.
I think it's easy to fall into a black hole with those types of things and make excuses for why you can't change them, but at the end of the day, you can... it's just going to be a challenge you have to be willing to face head-on. It takes bravery to overcome your sadness and your depression, and granted these chemical imbalances in our brains can't always be tamed, but I'm thankful that I was able to do that by taking my happiness into my own hands and manifesting the life I wanted. I made that shit happen. and I am so proud of that. It wasn't easy, it was scary, it was new, and it was risky, but it paid off so much that I can look back at a year that began with my lowest point and say that 2019 was the craziest, most amazing 365 days in my story so far.
1. I quit my job on a whim and created a successful freelance social media business.
It started out slow, but it's grown so much in the past year and has been rewarding in ways I would've never dreamed of. As crazy as it seems, I've been so busy that recently I've had to say no to multiple potential clients because I don't have the bandwidth nor space on my two iPhones to take on any more accounts. Isn't that wild? What started out as a risky business turned into something so special and so successful. I knew I was good at what I did and believing in myself got me to this point. Not only do I wake up feeling fulfilled and special and thankful to be able to put all of my talents and creativity to use in my work every day, but I wake up knowing that I am valued by the people that hired me. This opportunity has introduced me to so many incredible, inspiring, bad ass people I will look up to forever and that alone may be my favorite thing about what I do. I believe in all of the brands I represent. I believe in all of the people that created them and work for them. I am inspired to be a part of them. I am grateful to be where I am today and so blessed to have completely 180'd my career to the point where I'm so happy that tears of joy are falling as I write these words. To everyone that believed in me this year and gave me a chance, thank you from the bottom of my heart. You have no idea the impact you've made on my life. (photo by @studio1208 x @establish1208 for @bronzedbunny)
2. We got ENGAGED!
Tylar and I met in high school (even though I had a crush on him in middle school and patiently waited for him to realize I existed) and have been in a seven year honeymoon phase. It's so funny, because after he proposed everyone kept asking how it'd been being newly engaged... and our reaction every time was that it was the same because we're always on a high on each other. Tylar read something that said, "If you want to be as happy as the first year in your relationship, treat your partner like you did in the first year of the relationship" and that stuck with him. If you make your partners happiness a priority and treat them with the same kind of love you did when you were first infatuated with them, then that feeling will last. And with us, it truly has. The worst part of my day is when he walks out the door and the best part of my day is when he walks back in. I'm so excited to feel that feeling forever.
For those of you who don't know us well, Tylar and I are high school sweethearts. Anyone who meets us can feel that it's the real deal. We graduated from the same high school, graduated college together, and have (officially) been living together for three years, even though we practically lived together since my freshman year of college (sorry dad). Tylar is the most romantic, fearless, ambitious, kind-hearted person I've ever met and I am so lucky to be spending life by his side.
We're going to be eloping in Joshua Tree next fall. Just us, my brother as the officiant, and the photographer and videographer. It'll be a simple, sweet, romantic way to exchange our vows and we're both so excited for it. It won't be a day that will be so busy we won't get to enjoy it, it won't be a day focused on pleasing our guests, and it won't be a day that we'll be paying off for years. We don't need anything extravagant to tell each other we'll love each other forever. "It's about the marriage, not the wedding."
3. We moved into our own apartment.
California is expensive AF, so we basically live in a shoebox, but it's our shoebox and we love it. We always considered NYC or CA to be our future homes in college, but my brother offered us the opportunity to split a house to get us on our feet in California and that was an offer we couldn't refuse. We spent almost a year living with him and our friend from the same hometown in that house, and it made the transition from Virginia to California so easy. This year, my brother bought his very own house (so proud of him) and moved down to Oceanside, so we got our own place in Orange County to stay put for work and we love it here. We're both so in love with this state and can't believe we live here. (photo by @dazed_film)
4. I spontaneously went to my first NYFW.
My friend Brooke texted me about three weeks before and asked if I was going... and we spontaneously decided to go together. I don't regret it one bit. I'm such a saver that taking trips isn't something I do often, but I couldn't put a price on the amount of fun, inspiration, connections, and friendships that week gave me. NYFW2020 here I come.
5. I saw John Mayer for the tenth time.
He did two sets and played Continuum (my favorite album of all time) front to back in LA. Pure magic.
6. I crossed Monument Valley off of my bucket list.
I love everything about the American Southwest and had been dying to go for years, and in February we finally took the trip. If you plan to go, here's the guide I made after our trip! I'm already dying to go back during one of the warmer months. Sedona and Monument Valley are my two favorite places I've gotten to visit in the US.
7. I think I really found myself this year.
California has freed my spirit so much. This year, I went back to my core and wasn't afraid to be myself. Back home and in the professional setting I always felt I had to wear a mask and be or act a certain way. Now that I have freedom again, I can finally be... me. I started my tattoo sleeve. My grandma is going to hate it, but I'm STOKED about it. I dyed my hair red again. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to get a job with an unnatural hair color, but now that I don't have to worry about that, punk rock Jordan is back in action. It feels nice to be able to express my true self on the outside again. I have a weird sense of style, but instead of getting dirty looks for expressing it like I did back in VA, people here tell me it's rad. It feels good. (photo by @dazed_film)
8. I successfully turned my Instagram into a business.
I made real money and traveled for free from blogging and doing what I love and that was so rewarding. "Influencers" get such a bad rep, and sometimes I get why, but I'm here to tell you that not everyone that does it is shallow, rude, ungrateful, and/or entitled. I've met some of the raddest and kindest people through this industry. Instagram has given me so many real life friends, connections, and opportunities. I've gotten to travel for free. I've gotten to work side-by-side with some of my favorite brands. I've gotten to connect with people all over the country (and at times, the world) through this platform. To think it all started from simply wanting a place to share my outfits so I'd have something to show for when I tried to work in fashion is crazy. Here I am, years later, not even working in fashion, just jazzed by the fact that I get to use my creative outlet as a side hustle. Life is wild.
9. California finally felt like home.
Like I said, 2019 started off at a low. I felt alone. I felt like I hadn't found my place in California yet. Yeah, I had my brother and my roommate and Tylar, but other than that it felt empty. I had a few friends, but something just wasn't clicking. I felt like I didn't belong... and then I did. One night, I was driving home from LA listening to Yellowcard (my favorite band in high school) at sunset and a wave of emotions hit me like a rock. I could see the sun setting in my rearview mirror and the moon rising ahead of me. I could see the palm trees lining the road I was driving on. I looked around me and the scenery didn't seem strange anymore, it suddenly felt like home. I don't know what happened that day, but something finally clicked.
Obviously these are just the monumental moments of the past year. There were countless tiny moments in 2019 that made me grateful for this life I live. I wish I could write them all down and I wish I could share them all with you, but sadly I can't even begin to put into words the laughter I've shared or the way I feel when Tylar smiles at me or the feeling I get when someone compliments my work or the goosebumps I get when I watch a California sunset knowing I'm living my dream. I don't know what I did to deserve this life, but I promise you I don't take any of it for granted. My goals for 2020 revolve around self-betterment and self-control. I want to say no more. I want to speak my mind more. I want to control my emotions when something negative happens, and instead of letting a tiny moment ruin the day, turn it around instead. I want to start every day with a self affirmation and end every day with writing down something I'm grateful for. Mindset is everything in this life, and I'm going to do my best to be conscious of my words and actions in 2020 so I can be in the best mentality this year.
Bring. It. On.