Chelsea, 31 of Fresh Steps
What would your 30 something self tell your 20 something self if you could?
Don’t look sideways. Comparing yourself to others is a total waste of time and energy. Life is long and everyone will have highs and lows. Carve your own path and don’t be afraid to make a few mistakes along the way – those mistakes are a good thing and will shape who you become. Spend time with your girlfriends now – relationships and families will happen and suddenly you won’t have as much time for each other. Open a savings account.
What do you wish you took more seriously in your 20’s?
I wish I took MYSELF more seriously. I was so focused on what I thought others wanted me to do, I forgot to ask what I wanted.
Health and fitness. I had a horrible insomnia problem for most of my 20s which I assumed was genetic. I learned later it was easily fixable with a change in eating and fitness habits.
What do you wish you took less seriously in your 20’s?
What other people thought of me. It truly did not (and does not) matter.
Romantic relationships. Every memory I have of being heartbroken is now a big, giant #whatwasithinking.
Favorite memory from your 20’s?
Spending a year travelling solo in Australia produced enough memories for a lifetime, but if I have to pick one – it is a memory where I suffered more than I ever have – the one that sticks in my mind was finishing my first ultramarathon at 28. Finding ultrarunning in my late 20s completely transformed my life. Physically I shed pounds, but the most important changes were mental. I let go of uncertainty, doubt, worry (and insomnia)! I gained confidence, strength, and the ability to work my way through anything. You don’t know perseverance until you’ve forced yourself to run 100 miles. Ultrarunning boosted all aspects of my life: my career, my personal relationships, my mental well-being. It became my catalyst to understanding the importance of goals.
In your early 20’s where did you think you would be (work, live etc) by 30?
I thought I would be living in New York hosting a music show on MTV. I was going to marry a John F. Kennedy Jr look-alike so I could get a green card to work in America. And a loft on the upper east side so I could run in Central Park every morning. I cringe when I think of the time I spent daydreaming (time I should have spent planning, running, working…anything).
And where were you by 30? What did your life look like?
Turning 30 was a huge sigh of relief for me. I was completely lost in my mid-20s. By my late 20s I wrote down what I wanted, and what I valued. I realized Vancouver was the place for me – a big enough city with easy access to both the ocean and (the most essential piece) mountains to run in. Once I knew my goal I aggressively chased it. I arrived in Vancouver a week before my 30th birthday and felt like I was finally living my best life (thanks for that phrase, Oprah).
Life is taking shape in Vancouver and I feel comfortable in my skin. I live with my boyfriend Dom and his son and we have access to the best mountain trails in the world. I’ve found a peer group of smart, intelligent women that I’m proud to call friends. After struggling in a job I didn’t like for a year, I have an awesome Senior position working on digital and social strategy with Canada’s national broadcaster (shout out to CBC fans). Most surprising of all, I have completed 7 ultramarathons, 2 of them being 100 miles long. I could barely finish a road marathon a few years ago. It’s remarkable what you can jam into your late 20s when the number 30 is looming.
Were you ever worried that it wouldn’t all fall into place?
Yes, all I did was worry! That was the problem – worrying didn’t get my anywhere. Once I wrote down achievable goals & gave myself deadlines, the worry went away. I know I’m intelligent and I I work hard. There will be bumps along the way but I feel prepared to take them on – and enjoy the ride along the way.
What is the greatest gift about being a woman in your 30’s?
Confidence. Independence. The ability to detect (and not take) bullshit.
When you look out onto the horizon. What do you hope your life looks like at 40?
I hope I maintain physical and mental health. Running is not something everyone can do forever, but I hope I can take care of my legs and body enough so I can continue well into (and past) my 40s. I want to chase career and financial goals. I plan to check some more countries off my travel list and experience running trails around the world with my boyfriend. I hope we see his son continue to grow up happy and healthy. I hope to share what I’ve learned with those younger than me – I had some very helpful people give me a hand up after college and I look forward to paying it forward. I hope I get the opportunity to run the Hardrock Hundred in Colorado. And I hope no one will be able to tell when I cave and get botox.
What’s a quote/ saying you try to live your life by?
Only make moves when you’re heart’s in it. And live by the phrase “sky’s the limit.” — Notorious B.I.G.
One thing we know for sure is that change is certain. Progress is not. Progress depends on the choices we make today for tomorrow. — Hilary Clinton
Few places in this world are more dangerous than home. Fear not, therefore, to try the mountain passes. They will kill care, save you from deadly apathy, set you free, and call forth every faculty into vigorous, enthusiastic action. — John Muir