It's officially 2023.
How. On. Earth.
I think it's safe to say that many people look forward to the new year, especially those who had a particularly tough previous one. The first day of January represents so much more than a new number that you see on a calendar or a fresh new planner that you crack open.. It represents change, new beginnings, a fresh mindset and a chance to start over. For many, January 1st feels like a big sigh of relief.
But for me...
January 1st feels like saying goodbye.
Sounds strange, I know. Stick with me here... there's a point to this blog post I swear.
As many of you know, I decided that 2022 was going to be my “yes” year.
The year where I put my fears aside and start living.
The year where I step outside my comfort zone and start growing.
The year where I say YES and start trusting that everything happens for a reason.
I know what you are thinking. Why? How? Huh?
Okay, let’s rewind a bit to give you some context leading up to this year and what led me to this mindset.
I will spare you the dirty details. The cliff notes version is that I was in a long term relationship that ended in September of 2021 by me finding out that he cheated when I was out of town, brought a girl home (who was roommates with one of my friends, friends… rather unfortunate for him LOL), slept with her and then picked me up the next day as if nothing had happened. A week later, I got the call informing me of what went down and I had a pretty serious choice to make.
(Believe it or not… that is actually the short version)
I could stay and believe him that “nothing happened” and “my friend was crazy” and then live with the pain, anxiety and permanent distrust that would follow.
I could leave and finally choose myself after years of living in a pretend world where everything was “sunshine and rainbows” when in reality, it... wasn't.
So I left.
I was truly broken hearted - but something in my gut told me that I had no choice but to get the HELL out of that situation. Even as I am typing this, I have a hard time thinking about the moment I walked out of the house (that was essentially my second home) and calling my mom hyperventilating as I drove back to my place in Los Angeles.
Through a lot of therapy sessions and self reflection, I now know that leaving was the best decision I could have ever made for myself.
Walking away from a situation that didn’t serve me gave me a broken heart and that shit sucked (for lack of better terms), but it opened up a door for something so much greater.
THE YEAR OF YES.
Fast forward through a couple months of tears and regret and confusion and whole lot of other emotions… January 2022 rolled around.
A FRESH START.
But January 2022 looked very different from the current January I am in while writing this blog. 365 days ago, I was absolutely terrified for the future. I didn’t know what was in store for me as a newly single gal and let me tell you. I do not do well with change. It didn't help that the majority of my life was posted on the internet so all eyes seemed to be on me and I had a gained a loyal following due to my relationship - that was now over.
What if I lost my job? My income? What if people no longer wanted to follow my journey? Talk about mental warfare.
But day by day, life went on and like they say... everything truly does get better with time.
And this is when the story gets a little blurry, folks.
I wish I could say that one day I woke up and had this “AHA!” moment where I was walking on the beach and found a message in a bottle from some wise old man named Red (Shawshank Redemption reference, P.S.) giving me life advice and encouraging me to have this epic “Yes Year” to reclaim my power and reconnect with the parts of me that had been lost.
But I didn’t. Darn.
All I can remember is that I was sitting on my couch one night in January and I was watching Shark Tank alone on a Friday night. I was sad, I was lonely and I honestly was pretty unhappy with my life. My friend from college was texting me (Hi Rachel!) and mentioned that I should come to New York to visit her and then a little light bulb went off in my head.
I was young, I was single and lucky for me, I have a job that I can do from literally anywhere in the world (as long as I have wifi, hehe). Without thinking twice, I said yes and I booked my flight immediately.
Now, I know what you’re thinking...
“Morgan, that sounds pretty freaking normal.”
If you follow me, you probably have gotten used to my antics over the last year. Yes, I live at the airport. Yes, I also live for a good spontaneous trip. But believe it or not, that wasn’t always the case.
I spent almost three years living for someone else.
Crazy, I know.
In my previous relationship, I fell fast and I fell hard. I was instantly swept up in the chaos of meeting on this crazy TV show and traveling the world together. From the moment we met to the moment we got home, it was just like there was a magnet. A magnet constantly pulling me in. Even when something went wrong, or a red flag appeared, that magnet just kept getting stronger.
It was bizarre.
Something would happen (a cheating allegation, a white lie, a cruel joke, etc) and instead of turning me away from the relationship, the magnet seemed to pull me in more. The more I got pulled in, the more of myself I lost.
I had become so lost that I didn’t ever want to do things on my own.
I didn’t want to travel because I wanted to be with "my person" when they were home. I didn’t want to hangout with my friends because I wanted to make sure I was always around to put my anxiety at ease. I didn’t want to be my loud, spunky, over the top, pink lovin' “Morgan” self because I didn’t think I was deserving of the spotlight over my more successful partner (God… I hate that I ever thought that. You live and you learn, okay).
I could go on and on, but I’ll save that for my therapy session. Narcissistic relationships are hard and if you’ve ever been in one, my heart goes out to you.
All you need to know is I had put myself on the back burner and then, for the first time in a long time, I was alone. If you think about it in a positive way... all of a sudden I had a whole freaking stove to myself!
So, when my friend asked me to go to New York, my initial instinct was to say no. But then I realized as I was watching Mr. Wonderful shoot down some random entrepreneurs dream… What do I have to lose from saying YES?
I get to catch up with my friend.
I get to see a new place.
I get to enjoy not having to do anything for anyone but MYSELF.
Sure, money was a factor. Flights to New York ain’t cheap, folks. But my mindset was this:
I’ll make my money back but I will never be young, carefree, single and in need of some soul searching ever again.
So I went.
I had an amazing time. And from there I just kept saying YES.
My 'Yes Year' taught me so much (we will get to that I promise) and given me some wildly amazing experiences. To name a few….
Skiing on epic mountains in Colorado.
Partying in Cabo.
Chasing waterfalls in Kauai.
Private jetting to Coachella.
Dancing front row at Stagecoach.
PBR World Finals in Texas.
Watching a private Katy Perry concert in Hawaii.
Boot scootin’ on Broadway in Nashville.
A solo trip to Portugal.
Jumping out of a plane in Lagos.
Hosting a fitness retreat in Tulum.
Clubbing until 5 a.m. in Barcelona.
Sunbathing in Mallorca.
Couch surfing in Ericeira, Portugal.
Deciding to pick up my life and move to a new state.
The list goes on and on.
With each new place, I healed a little bit more.
With each new experience, I opened my mind to different perspectives.
And with each new yes, I began to actually live my life for ME.
While I initially got sad when January 1, 2023 rolled around, it took me sitting down and writing this blog post to realize… I don’t have anything to be sad about? In fact, I have a million things to celebrate.
I had the greatest year of my life, I gained back all the sparkle I had once lost and I realized how precious life really is. Just because my 365 days of YES have come to an end, doesn’t mean that I have to stop there. It doesn’t mean all of a sudden my life is boring and back to what it was before. It simply means that I have a new mindset and a new appreciation for life, people and experiences. To put it simply…
It only gets better from here.
That felt really good to write. I won’t lie.
So how exactly do you have yourself a Yes Year? Let's get to the question many have asked me online.
My answer is: I am not sure. There’s no rulebooks or To Do lists or guides to tell you exactly what to do. Trust me, if there was, my Type A self would have been first in line to sign up for it.
All I know is that you also don’t need to spend thousands to travel the world and see exotic places. I don’t think having a 'Yes Year' is about that. I think a ‘Yes Year’ is more about simply putting yourself first. Saying yes to the things you would normally say no to. Ya know?
That can be as simple as going on a date when you want to stay in and cry over a tub of Ben & Jerry’s. It can be as complex as going backpacking and living in a tent in South America for 10 weeks (Sounds like my literal nightmare, but hey… to each their own).
It doesn’t matter how big or small.
It’s simply about laughing more, dancing like no one is watching, sleeping less so you can experience more, and enjoying all the little things that you’d normally ignore because you're wrapped up in the chaos of this thing called LIFE.
…Am I crying right now?
Anyways, I wanted to wrap up this lengthy blog post with 8 things I learned during my very transformative year of YES. Here we go.
- True growth comes when you step outside of your comfort zone. Change is scary, the unknown is scary, but staying in one place and never saying "Well, at least I tried" ...that is scarier.
- You don't need someone in order to be happy. True happiness comes from within and honestly, some of my favorite moments from this year are from times when I was completely solo.
- You'll never regret any money spent on experiences. I used to think that I needed to save all my money so I would be extremely comfortable when I was older. Or that I shouldn't spend any of my hard earned money on "fun" things because it was seen as irresponsible. This all changed for me when I had cocktails in Spain with a guy named Juan (big thanks to Hinge for this one) who told me his brother tragically died in a car accident when he was in his 30's. I never forgot him telling me this story and saying how it changed his complete outlook on life. In turn, it changed mine too. Life can be taken away in the blink of an eye. Be smart but also don't forget to LIVE.
- Work to live, don't live to work. Speaking of living... When you're 87, you won't remember the money you made in 2022 or how you put into savings, but you absolutely will remember the experiences you had. (This was a big one for me this year).
- Be open to new people and new conversations, you never know the impact they will have on your life. Some of the people I met at a random bar in Portugal are people I still talk to today and have become friends for life. You never know where the word "hello" will take you or how someone else perspective on life can also change yours.
- There's no better feeling than being yourself. Do what you want, say what you want, live for what you want and you'll feel true freedom. Say yes to more bold outfits and wear all the sparkles your heart desires! Sure some may look at you funny, but if you feel any sense of joy... Well that my friends is worth it.
- The adrenaline rush is always worth more than the initial discomfort. It's terrifying sitting in a tiny plane with a large Portuguese man strapped to your back and wondering why you aren't wearing a helmet... but man, all of that goes out the window (literally) the second you fall from the sky. All you are thinking about is the sheer thrill and amazing view. Adrenaline > discomfort.
- Sleep is honestly... overrated. I still do love my sleep, don't get me wrong. But I used to be obsessed with my "routine" and "structure" and that meant sleeping 8-10 hours a night, with no wiggle room. I learned this year that a few nights of very little sleep truly won't kill you. You may be tired the next day, but you sure as hell won't regret any of the wild, epic stories you gain from an adventurous night out. You're only young once!
- Relationships come and go, but friends and family stay forever. This year I got to reconnect with so many friends that I had lost touch with and I also got to spend more precious time with my family. Looking back... that's what I am the most grateful for. Traveling is fun, partying is fun, dating is fun(ish), but there's just something special about giggling in bed with your college girlfriends and laughing until until your belly aches. Invest in your people.
- You are deserving of everything good that comes your way. It's simple. Put out good and good will come back to you. I used to be so fixated on why bad things happened to good people or specifically, why good things fell into the lap of bad people. This year really taught me to simply focus on myself. Be a light and use your light to illuminate others. The universe has a plan for you and all you need to do is be open to accepting it.
I’m sitting here trying to wrap this up and for once, I’m kind of speechless? Those words flew from my fingertips and I’m now simply staring at my computer screen in awe, lost in the memories of this magical past year. Holy hell. I’m thankful for each and every little moment that led me to exactly where I am now.
If you’re reading this, I hope I’ve inspired you to start this new year off by challenging yourself to push past your comfort zone, do the things you’ve always wanted to do, heal a broken heart, reconnect with yourself… whatever it may be.
You never know what is on the other side of 3 little letters.
Y. E. S.
Until next time…