Kelliann DeCarlo


Kelliann DeCarlo

Tomorrow, I am twenty eight.

It sounds strange but, I never pictured myself as twenty eight. Every few years, we put an expectation on ourselves, don’t we? I’ll be doing this by the time I’m thirty. I’ll have this many kids or this many Broadway shows, or will have made this much money, or will have traveled to these many places… Nobody ever thinks of those aspirations in terms of turning twenty eight.

I feel unsettled - not quite in my thirties, but not in my early twenties anymore either. Lately, I feel I’m everywhere. I work three jobs, I audition, I write, I move my body, I balance, I meet people, I eat clean, I actively seek out auditions every single day, I juggle, I plan content, I call my best friend, I plan a social life, I save money, I spend money, I organize. I’m feeling myself yearn for the stability of a deep breath, of feeling my feet firm on the ground.

Twenty seven was full of the highest highs and lowest lows. I booked a dream job where, despite how much I absolutely loved it, I was completely unprepared for the toll it would take on my health and consequently was unable to give my all to it. It broke my heart. Then it was broken again. I read seventeen books, I got my Pure Barre certification, I fostered friendships, I let others go, I took mental vacations from social media, I stood my ground, I loved on my loved ones, I cried, I wrote a lot, I traveled to new places (and even found home in one of them), I suffered from crippling anxiety for the first time in my life, I walked away from an unfulfilling relationship, and I grew one step closer to finding my place in this sweet little life that I am lucky enough to call my own.

Photo Cred: Stephanie Cowan

Photo Cred: Stephanie Cowan

Twenty-seven was not pretty. but, I am defiantly still here, still hustling, and still pressing on.

here are ten things that I learned.

1. No one is going to help you achieve your dreams - not really. Making connections is always a good thing, but your dreams are still entirely up to you - no one wants them as badly as you do.

2. I used to think that losing my father defined me, thinking I was that girl without both parents. I’ve learned that simply living my life is the greatest tribute to him and that I don’t have to put pressure on myself to live out some legacy, because I am the legacy.

3. Your life will never be easy. Having an exceptional existence on this planet is hard, and there is not a moment to come when you can sit back. Working on that dream show or excelling to the highest level in a job only results in harder work, harder hustle, and harder decisions. It is every bit worth it, but it is not easier.

4. Be honest with yourself about what you're blowing off - and how much of it is to yourself. In my opinion, the promises we make to ourselves set the tone for how we show up for other people. You can’t be there for others if you’re not even showing up for yourself.

5. Use your personal relationships to inspire you. A lot of the time, we look at other people’s journeys to dictate how ours should be. Comparison can misdirect your inspiration, and sometimes what you need to inspire you is right in the same room as you. Look around.

6. Life is about so much more than just you. Maybe it’s all of the traveling that I did this year, but one thing I learned is that it can be so easy to get stuck in this sweet bubble where we don’t think our small changes matter in the bigger picture. I encourage you to do some research, and find a cause that means something to you - a brand that does more than sell things, supporting a candidate fighting for a cause you’re passionate about. If everyone discovered one cause or philanthropic endeavor that spoke to them, and made an effort to get involved - even on a minimal level - the world would be a very different place. Your voice and your actions matter.

7. No one does just one thing anymore. I used to beat myself up for holding down three jobs while pursuing two passions at once. I don’t anymore - and neither should you, if that’s where you’re at in this life.

8. Food brings people together, but so does health and wellness. Green smoothies can be just as enriching, delicious, and community-building and as buffalo wings with a side of bleu cheese. You can, and should have both.

9. When there is order in your life, everything else runs more smoothly. Habits are the recipe for order, and order is the recipe for a sound mind and body. It can be as simple as making your bed every morning. When the little things are in order, you can better accomplish the big ones.

10. Balance doesn’t happen overnight. Patience is a practice. You are a human. Repeat.

Here’s to Twenty Eight.

love on love,