This is the new year for me. I can pass through another year coasting on cruise control, or I can step out of my comfort zone, try new things I have never done before and make 30 the year that I elevate from where I am and excel. As I've learned, change isn't easy, but after the lessons I have taken from my twenties, I am looking forward to thriving at 30.
Right off the bat, you need to realize that life isn't always fair.
As I near 30 years old I know I have been in love one and a half times. I know you are thinking, a half? How? But I will get to that.
I spent my early 20's with my first love. If you would have asked me at that time I would have told you he was my forever. We were each other's first loves, and we got to experience that together.
We became part of each other's families. We were each other's biggest fans. We watched each other start our careers and grow into adults. In the end, who I was at 21 and who I was at 25 turned out to be two very different people. Part of growing up in my 20s was realizing that sometimes you grow apart from people. And you have no choice but to let go. It's not easy, but it's important to do what's necessary to make you happy in the long run. Relationships run their course, and I am forever grateful for everything I learned in those five and a half years.
Now onto the half: It is only a half because who I met and fell for wasn't at all like the person I ended up dating. I learned that there was a history that affected his future. His past couldn't allow him to move forward. We traveled and had some amazing experiences together, but in the end, I realize I found myself making excuses for him. When my inner voice was saying "this isn't right"... I stayed... And I stayed in the relationship much longer than I should have. I was scared to lose my friend. I knew how long it took me after my first love to find another friend that I could deeply care about, and although I knew it wasn't right, I was too scared to let go. It took the ultimate betrayal for me to finally close that chapter of my life on an emotional level. At the end of the day, the best advice I could give to any girl in their 20s is that you can't change anyone, and when you meet the right person, you won't want to. With all this being said, we walked away from this relationship respecting each other. They say everyone comes into your life for a reason.
For us, it wasn't love. For me, it was a friendship... and it was this business. Empowered is a brand because he believed in it. At the time, he believed in me more than I did. I was so focused on making the relationship work at the time, I didn't realize how the turbulence of the relationship was turning me into who I was going to be -- a stronger person than I ever was. As I reflect, I am positive that these relationships changed me for the better. Both of these individuals were exactly who and what I needed in my 20s. I walked away learning so much about life and friendship. Once you accept that some relationships are temporary, you can learn to stop blaming yourself for what you see as relationship failures. Instead take them for what they are -- helpful life lessons. I think we are all looking for a lifetime of love and laughter, not anger and tears. It's important in your twenties to start learning from past relationship mistakes.
In between my first love and my half love... I dated... a lot... and many of those stories, I am going to save for a book. If I am going to be honest with you... dating is not fun. It's your 20s and people are constantly wanting to introduce you to someone or are telling you to put yourself out there. I think the most important thing to tell any girl is, and I know it is so cliché, when they say when you're not looking it happens... they are right! If there is anything I have taken away from my 20s, especially in the last year, it's that when you beat to your own drum, and you're comfortable in your own skin, love and life find you. I can honestly say that today I am happier than I have ever been. I can promise any girl, life is full of surprises. Some good... some bad... and some that take your breath away.
I remember getting a call right after I graduated college to interview for a job to work for "someone famous who had some companies." Little information was given by the employment agency, but I didn't give it much thought, went on the interview... and you are probably as surprised as I am when I tell you that I am still sitting in that same office today. That someone famous turned out to be the brilliant Suzanne Somers. For so many years, I have watched my boss empower women on so many levels. I have learned so much about business and life from her. Throughout my twenties, she has taught me how important it is to have a voice and to use it. Not many 21-year-olds walk into an unexpected first job out of college, and eight years later have acquired a second family. It is important for any girl to know that in your 20s you should find meaning in your world. Even if you aren't jazzed about your current job, consider how your actions contribute to the common good. If you land a job that is completely opposite than what you thought you would be doing, take a chance, you never know where you may land. If all else fails, remember it is never too late to start over.
In my 20s, I have lost friends, made new friends and rekindled with old friends. Friendships change. People move, marry, have kids and become a bit more selfish overall... And it's important to know that is OK. It is all just part of growing up. I am going into 30 so proud of the company I keep. We are all becoming who we are going to be, and it shouldn't be the same now as it was at 18. I watched four of my best friends lose their fathers in their twenties. My dad was always the one who was sick, not theirs, and I lived in fear that one day that was going to be me. That I would have to face life without my dad.
After nine years of watching my dad courageously battle cancer, on August 29, 2013 my fear became a reality. I will remember that day for the rest of my life. Around 4 p.m., I was visiting him at the hospital feeding him dinner and watching football trying to get him stronger, and by 8 p.m., something had gone terribly wrong. My world was turned upside down. His relationship with my mom as well as my siblings and I has taught me so much about what I want in life. He believed in me and encouraged me when no one else did... He supported my "crazy" dreams, not just standing behind me in my decisions, but standing beside me, holding my hand every step of the way. He stood up for us when people hurt us, and he always made us his number one priority. From his 30-year marriage with my mom, he showed me the importance of love and friendship, and most importantly from them, I learned the true meaning of "in sickness and in health." My father was the love of my life since the day I was born. He was my dad, my best friend and my biggest fan, and his loss was truly heartbreaking. There will forever be a void in my life, it is a relationship that is irreplaceable and nonparallel to any other relationship I'll ever have. He taught me the love of a father. In his arms, I was always safe. He taught me selflessness, and to him, I am forever grateful.
When everyone was going abroad in college, I filled out the paperwork to go study in Barcelona, but my dad had a relapse. I have yet to really travel and explore the world. But I do not regret for one second that semester at home. I'll have many opportunities in life to travel the world, but I would have never gotten back those extra four months with him, learning more from him every day and making memories along the way. Sooner or later, you just want to be around the people who make you smile. So today, spend time with those who help you love yourself more. And remember, the people you take for granted today may be the only ones you need tomorrow. Never be too busy to make time for those who matter most.
Like most girls in their 20s, I had dreamt about the day that I would get married and walk down the aisle. It really never occurred to me that the day would come and he would not be there. Even though a part of me will always feel robbed of that moment I'm comforted in knowing that if and when that day comes, he will be with me in some way. It's been almost a year since his passing, and I've chosen to live my life each day in his honor, working hard to be the best friend, daughter, sister and aunt I can be.
So, I'm turning thirty. I know this year will be full of changes and challenges. But I'm genuinely excited and ready for them! I am not perfect... I have made plenty of mistakes, all of which have brought me here today. It is important to note, that mistakes in your 20s don't define your value... then or now. I find comfort in knowing that my family and friends are always with me. In losing my father, I lost the love of my life last year, but I have learned to love my life so I don't lose out on anything in my thirties!
You can listen to Empowered with Jordyn Goodman every Tuesday night at 7PM PST on LA TALK RADIO.