New Series! First Guest: Robyn Coale

One of the greatest struggles in my 20s was feeling like everyone had everything figured out and I was 1,000 steps behind. I felt like things just fell into place for other people - from friends to bloggers to authors - I allowed myself to believe that magic wands were landing on their heads and poof! life was perfect and their dreams were coming true. 

As I've gotten older, I've learned that this is not true. Those people are working hard. They have good ideas and grit and are making things happen. It ain't magic, it's hard work. 

One of my greatest blog passions is pulling back the curtain a bit for other people to see that part of my life. I want to be honest about what's working, what's not working, what's easy, what's hard, etc. I believe one of the greatest gifts we can give other people is that honesty.

I want people to know that quitting your job is super hard, but, so far, totally worth it.
Taking a break from dating felt impossible, but it changed my heart and led me to Chris. 
I am trying to create something, but it isn't happening over night. It's taking time and discipline that sometimes feels like more than I have.

This world allows us to believe that things are meant to be quick and easy, as if our dreams are cartons of Easy Mac. We hear overnight success stories and get frustrated when we have to stand in line for our dreams, hustling and bustling. We're all looking for a microwave, but, in reality, it's all about the slow cooker. It takes time. 

With that in mind, I'm starting a new series today, featuring 20-something entrepreneurs. With each one, I'll share advice from some of the 20-something women around me, who are doing amazing, inspiring things and are working their tails off to make it happen. There are no microwaves here, my friends. 

The first guest is my dear friend Robyn Coale, who I met almost five (!) years ago. We became fast friends and she amazes me as she balances grad school at Columbia, a nursing job, running Nutshell Nutrition and her blog. Her wisdom and insight are awesome and I'm so grateful she snuck in a little time to answer these questions.


image via nutshell nutrition

Let's start with an easy one. What is your morning routine? How do you get the day going? Do you snooze? Do you drink coffee?

Ohhhh how I crave a daily routine that's consistent M-F. One day maybe! With being a full time nurse practitioner student, working part time as a private practice RD and also being in the hospital 20 hours a week, no day looks the same. BUT most mornings begin the same way even if they don't begin at the same time.

Typically, I'm awake between 6 and 7 a.m. But if I'm up late studying or have a late night at clinical where I'm not home till after midnight, I'll sleep in until 7:30 or 8 a.m. I always try to get seven hours of sleep or I get unpleasant :) I always snooze at least once, maybe twice but I'm really trying to stop. Because why snooze when you can actually sleep an extra 20 minutes instead? HA.

Do I drink coffee? I'm sipping a cup within 3 minutes of waking.....and try to stop at 3-4 cups, but until I graduate in December, I have bigger probs than a excessive java habit. 

Right when I wake up I brush my teeth, I don't do anything until I do and then I pour a cup of coffee and read my bible for 20-30 minutes (love She Reads Truth!) and then I go to the bathroom (TMI?) and if it's a work-from-home day, I either settle into studying or answering email depending on what's more urgent at the moment.

image via robyn's instagram

If it's an early clinical day or class day, then I get ready, make breakfast and head out the door. If it's a later clinical day where I work 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., I workout in the morning after coffee + bible time and then get ready and get out the door. Are you still with me?  

You write a lot about eating more, not less. It seems like you have it all together when it comes to body image. Has it always been that way?

HA! I totally don't have it together and there are days when I fight crappy body image.

Compared to back in college and my early 20s those days are few and far between, but I'm totally human and still have those days. They suck, I know. Back in my sorority days, I was obsessed with my body and how it looked because I was disgustingly prideful and wanted the best body. Sad, I know. So it was like I knew I looked good (helloooo narcicism) but I was also never satisfied, so it was suffocating.

Then I gained 10 pounds unexpectedly and I went through a period of bad body image with lots of shame before I surfaced on the other side healthier and happier all around. It was a long process though, filled with lots of humility, vulnerability and fierce grace. Jesus has done a huge work on my heart, but in the world we live in, I fight every day to continually saturate my mind + heart + soul in positive affirmations and reminders that my identity is not in my pant size and a purposeful life cannot be cultivated in the presence of egocentrism.  

image via robyn's instagram

Now that you're in the latter half of your 20s (!), if you could, what would you tell yourself at 22? What do you wish you'd known? 

Be present. Stop worrying about things that don't matter. Don't fear disappointing people. These years have FLOWN by and I know the next several years too. I want to look back and know I squeezed every moment, both mundane and glittery, out of these years. Only in the last couple years have I learned to live more freely and not in fear of disappointing others because I can't be everything to everyone. I'm not that important. Brené Brown talks about disappointment versus resentment, and I'd rather disappoint others than resent them because I didn't protect my yeses. 

What was the most influential book you read in your 20s (so far)?

Anything by Jennie Allen and Wild and Free by Jess Connolly (sorry, that's two but they are both transformative!) 

What's the biggest misconception people may have about you from reading your blog?

That I have it all together. I get emails regularly asking, "how do you do it all??" and I'm like...I don't! If you were a fly on the wall you'd see me rushing out the door, forgetting I had a friend date on the calendar, barely making a school deadline, sometimes sleepless nights, frustration tears, insecure moments, making mistakes in school and in clinical and so much more messiness.

But instead of feeling shame and guilt because of my imperfections, I feel like I'm now learning to be gentler and more compassionate with myself, locking eyes with Jesus and being okay sitting and actually finding joy in the mess. 

image via robyn's instagram

For so many of us, our 20s can be one big comparison trap. How do you keep yourself from constant comparison? The internet makes it so hard! 

For me, I've had to recognize and accept that everyone is created uniquely and everyone has a story. My parents divorced when I was 6 and my dad has been absent from my life for almost two decades (too real, too fast?) but that's part of my story. Can I grieve it? Yes. But do I have a hope that redemption is coming? YES. 

That's just an example, but I think acceptance and gratitude - with your job, finances, body, relationship status, talents or whatever - brings immense freedom and contentment so we can grow, but we don't have to exhaustively strive out of feelings of shame or incompetency.

image via robyn's instagram

What do you consider play? And! What are your creative outlets?

Baking. I love turning on the oven, stirring together a recipe and tasting it hot out of the oven. So I bake a couple times a week.

I'm not someone who gravitates towards drawing or painting or crafting, but I love to dream with people. Nothing fires me up more than dreaming with a friend (looking at you Whit!) something totally wild and exciting. It's taken me a while to learn, but play for me is early, slow mornings, hosting dinner parties with friends, strolling through the city agenda-less with my fiancé and being outside in fresh air -- hiking, walks in the park, biking or whatever -- I just need breeze!