Why I’m Happy Things Didn’t Work Out as Planned

italy_hochformate_kristina_assenova_photography_001 danielle moss life travel

At 29, I was finally figuring out what I wanted to do with my life. We had just launched The Everygirl, but I wouldn’t be salaried for another year, which meant things felt pretty unstable. I had been in Chicago about a year, just went through a breakup and found myself single for the first time in my adult life, and had never traveled abroad.

I am living proof that things can change in the blink of an eye.

But let’s flash back to my earlier 20s. Since I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life, my focus was on when I’d get married and have kids. Both wonderful things to hope for in life, but I was looking at everything the wrong way. My happiness weighed on these things happening, and there was a countdown–a ticking clock–counting every moment until my self imposed deadline.

In 2010, just before my 28th birthday, I packed my things and moved to Chicago, leaving my boyfriend of 8 years back in LA. We were off and on, dragging things on for almost two years after the move, until one day, he needed space (I’m sorry, was the 2,000 miles of distance I put between us not enough for you, sir?) and that was it. I was done. And it actually felt really good. I would turn 30 in just a few short months and found myself single for the first time in my adult life.

During that time, Alaina and I had launched The Everygirl and my goals started to change. I wanted to see our company grow and started to think more and more about travel, life experiences, my happiness, and what really mattered to me. The things I want haven’t changed, but the deadlines and pressure behind them have. One month after my 31st birthday, Alaina and I traveled to Paris, London, and Rome. I went from feeling like my life would be over by 30 if certain things didn’t happen to me to realizing that my life was just beginning.

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Earlier this year, I finally left the country again when I visited Argentina. And as luck would have it, an invite on a press trip brought me to Iceland just a few weeks after returning from South America. And now, Italy. Tuscany for Conor’s sister’s wedding, Florence (a place I’ve dreamed of visiting for as long as I can remember), and a stop in Rome, a city I’ve actually been to before but am excited to see again.

As of today, I will have left the country more times in 2016 than I have in my entire life.

Things didn’t work out as I had planned, but I can say without any uncertainty that I’m so glad this is the path I’m on. Because I never imagined that I’d be 33, living in Chicago, running a website, or traveling to Italy with my boyfriend–a guy I met in Chicago, a few months before turning 33. That’s 3 years past the point when so many things that were supposed to happen didn’t.

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Our lives are happening right now and these check lists that we don’t have control over aren’t getting us anywhere. So think about what you really want.Find your dream job, take a class, start a travel fund, get a dog. Don’t toss aside your hopes and dreams, but please don’t let not having something you don’t have control over take away your happiness.

Any final travel tips for me before I take off for Italy? Follow my latest adventure on instagram and snapchat: danielle-moss.

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  • This is amazing advice. I too found myself single at 30, with many of my friends married. In my heart, I knew I didn’t really want to be married yet, maybe ever…but I still felt like an outsider. Instead of getting too sad, I found some great, single girlfriends, started dating only for fun, and had a fabulous time. I traveled, I learned, and I built friendships that have lasted. I wouldn’t trade the experience and wisdom I gained in my 30’s for anything, and now the fun I had feels like a gift I gave myself.

  • Jessica

    Danielle, I really needed to read this: “Don’t toss aside your hopes and dreams, but please don’t let not having something you don’t have control over take away your happiness.” Much like you, I completely changed my life in my late 20’s, all for the better. But I’ve found that I’m once again back in a similar place at the age of 34, where I’m unsure of what’s next, personally and professionally. I’m realizing more and more that we’re likely never to reach that point where we think, “Oh, this is it. I’ve figured it all out and know how to get exactly what I want.” Life is a constant readjusting of hopes, plans, and expectations. It can be hard to think of uncertainty as a gift, and even harder to find out your life plans haven’t worked out for a second, third, and more time. But you’re exactly right that it’s useless to stake your happiness in the “getting.” I hope you have a wonderful time in Italy!

  • Love, love, love this!!! I’ve just turned 30 and feel like I see so many people ‘succeeding’ at such a young age that it makes me feel like I was kinda late to the party (What WAS I doing in my twenties?!)! When in actual fact, I’m exactly where I need to be and although life might not look how I thought it would, it’s actually WAY better! 😀

  • Danielle!!! Oh Danielle. Man. I don’t know how but today it struck me to check in on you and see how your doing. Funny that I happen to turn in on a day you post something like this. Look. Just LOOK at all of your success. I remember when you were going through all of those things… The move, a breakup, starting a new business. And WOW. I’m so proud of you and all you’ve achieved!

    I have no international travel advice but I’m sure hoping I make some fun trips by the time I’m 33 as well! I have Shanghai, Paris, Beijing and Tokyo on my lists (and all of their Disney parks).

  • Danielle,
    This is so fitting to read right now. Thank you so much for sharing. Sometimes things don’t work out because something better is about to happen. Have a fabulous trip to Italy and Paris and I can’t wait to hear all about it when you are home!!


  • Ty

    Completely agree! God bless the broken road!


  • I’m always so insecure about my future because i’m clueless… I love many things but I can’t seem to find what i’m meant to become and it’s difficult because when you’re 22 that’s what everyone around you want to know: “have you found your way yet?”
    So it feels really good to read about your article, it inspires me 🙂 thanks <3

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  • Wow… I love your honesty and this post so much. I have followed you for a couple years now (admittedly, off + on) but I sat down and read through the last couple of months I have missed today and felt such a ‘breath of fresh air’ reading it all. You seem to be in such a great place… a relatable one in many aspects to where I am at mentally in my life too. Loving the life we have versus the life we think we should have is a hard one to wrap our brains around and it seems like you have found that letting go of that ‘timeline’ we all set for ourselves has done you worlds of good. Congrats and thank you…
    – Jaime

    • Danielle Moss

      Thank you, Jamie! That means SO much to me. I’m impressed that you’ve followed for years–that’s a pretty big commitment! If you ever have any Qs or topic requests please do let me know!

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  • Catherine Ruth

    I love this! It’s inspiring to hear that life won’t end at 30! 😊 I just hit 26, and am freaking out that my list of goals is too long to get done haha have finally made a start by booking my first big overseas trip! Thanks for sharing!

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