Advice, Self Improvement

The Things That Won’t Complete You

Whether it’s reaching a certain point in your career, owning a home, buying a that designer bag you’ve wanted for forever, starting a family, or gaining more instagram followers, there’s always something we want or think we need in order to be happy. When these things don’t happen exactly when we think they should – which is often how that works out – we’re left feeling “less than” or incomplete.

The thing is, most of it doesn’t really matter because none of these things will actually complete you. You’ll always be adjusting to what’s new and working toward what’s next. The better job, more money, buying a home, or a big vacation. We live in a world where we always want and need to have and be more, which can be good or terrible, depending on the situation and what you make of it.

In an age where we can follow thousands of people we don’t know on social media, seeing how good we think everyone has it can be really damaging. The engagement and baby announcements, weddings, vacations, designer clothes and often curated moments are a small piece of the puzzle – a glimpse. I’ve styled a photo or two (understatement of the year) and have partnered with brands, but do everything I can to be honest about what’s going on, too. Please just remember that it’s not everything.

I love my job. Being my own boss, working with a team I love, and getting to create content that makes our readers happy is so rewarding. The Everygirl is a huge and very important part of my life, but it doesn’t define my identity.

Interior design is something that I love, too. As Type A as I am, am always cleaning and organizing, so having my home look the way it does works for me. But it isn’t everything.

Then I met Conor and pause for shock – we don’t complete each other, either. The right person will bring out the best in you, but they should be icing on the cake and not the entire cake. Relying on one person to be the thing that makes you happy will not work. We still have our struggles and can be there to support each other, but we can’t just fix it.

And the stuff. I used to have an overstuffed closet and dresser, and pared everything down by at least 50%. My four t-shirt piles are now one small pile, and I feel better owning fewer better things. I realize I post products pretty frequently, but I hope you know it’s all in fun, and that at the end of the day, none of that really matters. You don’t “need” any of it, but if you like picking up a few things for fall or decorating your home or just seeing inspiration, it is my hope I can provide a little inspiration. And I really enjoy doing it. But these posts – these are the ones that matter.

Whenever I tell someone I’m getting married in Paris, people have the strongest and post positive reactions to the news. We will be in Paris with the people we love most and in so many ways, it’s a dream come true. But putting the expectation of perfection on one day seems a little crazy to me. The reality is that my family won’t be there, and I’d give anything for that part of my story to be different than it is. But it’s not, and for the first time since getting engaged, I am starting to find peace in that.

I have chosen to focus more on our marriage than a party. On what kind of wife I want to be, the traditions we’ll start, and the things we hope to do in the next few years. And of course, on spending a few days in Paris with Conor’s immediate family and our closest friends.

So many women (myself included) struggle with self-imposed timelines. I just talked about why I’m glad things didn’t work out as planned on The Everygirl. Back in my 20s, I thought I had to be married and have kids by the time I turned 30 which is clearly not how things worked out for me. Looking at where I am now, I honestly wouldn’t change a thing. That said, I really struggled with the fact that my wedding might happen after my 35th birthday – my self-declared scary age. We’re getting married three weeks after my 35th birthday, and once again, I learned that those self-imposed timelines really don’t matter.

What I hope you’ll all take away from this is that we can’t control everything and it’s so important to take time to appreciate where we are now. Don’t give up on the things you want, but know that there is not one thing, person, or circumstance that will complete you. Can we find ourselves happier than ever in that new job and love our spouses and children more than we ever imagined? Yes, of course. But everything – even the good things that we’ve always dreamed about – come with their own set of struggles.

There’s no happily ever after without any issues and struggles because that’s just not how it works. Look to the future and dream of the things you hope to have someday, but don’t forget to appreciate where you are now.

  • Jessica O’Brien

    YES to all of this! I really needed to read this right now. Thank you!

  • Mimi Napleton Collins

    Very honest sincere and well written! Thank you for sharing it with others as I think we can all relate to it.

  • Heidi Bennett

    Great article, Danielle! It’s honest and very helpful because it really is easy to project, and assume other people have perfect lives. Don’t stress about being 35 when you get married! You’re at a perfect time in your life and the world is truly your oyster. I got married last September, 2 months before my 45th birthday, and it didn’t come a day too soon… even though I thought it was 10 years late!! Enjoy your big day and your wonderful future… take it as it comes!

    • Thanks, Heidi! And I love your story!! I’m sure you got to do so much on your own and I really am grateful that I had the chance to figure myself out before getting hitched. Congrats on your 1 year anniversary!

  • Emily

    I feel like more and more people are struggling with this everyday. It’s such a timely and well written post. Thank you!! Congrats and I hope that it is a wonderful wedding day for you and your husband.

  • Jessica

    Danielle, this is one of my favorite things you’ve ever written. I know this is something I need to constantly remind myself of–I’m sure the same is true for most people. Lately, before I go to bed, I’ve been running through a list in my head of all the things I appreciated in my day as a reminder to myself of the good I’m experiencing right now, to be present and grateful for this moment and all it offers. Today, this post makes the list.

    • Thank you! We ALL need to remind ourselves of this!! I love that you think about the positive. I’m going to start a 5 min journal everyday. More on that soon!

  • Ashley La Fleur

    Love this post Danielle. <3

  • Ali

    This couldn’t have been more timely and appreciated, Danielle. Thanks for always being honest and helping your readers see what’s really important. Happy early birthday and congrats on your upcoming wedding!

  • jess0924

    I love this post….so much that I wish I knew you in real life and could just give you the biggest hug in appreciation.

    • Aww, thanks Jess! I’d hug you right back and then talk you into telling me your entire life story. I hate small talk but love getting to know people.

  • Kaz

    Thank you so much Danielle for the post and for your heartfelt honesty. I just want to give you a big hug! It’s amazing how things pop up just when you need them. I just turned 35 and was contemplating all the things I thought should have happened by now. This really resonated with me and was just what I needed! Thank you again 🙂

  • Jenn

    The right person will bring out the best in you, but they should be icing on the cake and not the entire cake.

    Love this line! It seems as if everyone in my life is married, getting engaged, or in a long term relationship. I’ve been the single friend for the longest time, but I’m been busy discovering the little things that make me happy. I’ve been learning to appreciate the now. Spending time for culture and arts, traveling, a crisp fall day. Maybe I’ll meet someone soon or maybe later, but I’m not too concerned about finding Mr. Right at the moment. Now, if only I can get my parents off my back about marriage! 🙂

  • Alex Porterfield

    Oh my goodness, thank you so much for this… WOW I really needed to read this. Thanks for always keeping it real and honest, Danielle!

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