My Birthday Refresh

Today we have a post from Stephanie Florence, 40:20 Vision’s contributing / Millennial editor, reflecting on turning a year older.


Birthdays can be a strange time for people when the negatives outweigh the positives. This year I decided to celebrate 28 in a few ways and most importantly, hit the refresh button on my life. Because who doesn’t need a little refresh every now and again? My refresh moments are happening in a few key areas of my life – specifically my look and where I invest my time.

I donated my hair for the fifth time.
This year my donation will go to the Pantene North America #BeautifulLengths campaign. I like to think of this refresh I’m taking as doing the same for a woman who has lost her hair. Thinking of that woman (and so many people in my life who have been touched by breast cancer) is the catalyst for my donation. I cannot do much for women battling breast cancer, but I can still do something. While this cut is a bit shorter than I’m used to…my hair is going to grow back and I know it’s serving a much better purpose than sitting on my head.

Watch the full clip [and my reaction – that chop still catches me off guard, even after 5 donations]:

I’m focusing on my fitness.
I signed up for a monthly, ongoing membership to a studio called barre 3 and picked up another round of classes at my favorite dance cardio spot 305 Fitness. These classes bring me back to my days growing up on the stage in musicals and in dance classes. While it’s a significant financial commitment for me, the most important part is how happy these classes and feeling fit overall make me – that’s a refreshed way of thinking for me, and you can’t put a price tag on those kinds of happy

I’m not letting anything get me down.
So I joined Tinder. In all honesty, watching family and friends find “the one” while I was meeting “no one” was starting to wear on me. In fact, I was told I didn’t have “the look” guys in New York were after. Meeting guys in general and turning one of those meetings into a relationship is hard – I think we don’t always give ourselves enough credit. There’s something refreshing about stripping away stigmas [of a dating site] and tapping into the connectivity of the digital world to find someone who gets my “look.” And I have friends who have turned a right swipe into a long-term relationship, so what do I have to lose?

I’m coming into my own style.
I bought a pair of Warby Parker glasses that are a little funky, even for me. I’m also adding statement pieces to my wardrobe like tutus…because why not? And wearing my dad’s actual army jacket (labeled ‘Florence’!) feels like the perfect example of “what’s old is new again.” Living in New York has completely pushed me out of my comfort zone and I love having the opportunity to do the same with my personal style. My new philosophy (taking the lead from Tim Gunn): If you can make it [work] here, you can make it anywhere. Refreshing, right?

I will invest my time where it matters.
After sitting on a panel and leading a workshop at the She’s the First Campus Leadership Summit, I feel more refreshed in my dedication to this organization than ever. I’m excited for the projects to come this year. I’m participating in more calls with students about getting into the PR industry – I was so fortunate to have countless mentors and colleagues help me along the way. The least I can do is pay it forward.

I will write more and encourage many more to share their stories.
In the year to come, I’m looking forward to sharing more insights here on the 40:20 Vision. I’m also eager to hear more from readers and friends by curating their guest contributions for the site. Have something to say? Let’s talk.

These examples are how I am choosing to refresh. What kind of refresh moments are you taking? I challenge you to find a small way to refresh in your everyday – Smile at a stranger. Make a donation to a cause you believe in. Introduce yourself to a new colleague. Take a different route to work. Buy the outfit you think is “so not you”. Call that friend you have been meaning to. I’d love to hear what you’re up to – share away in the comments or by sending me a tweet: @StephanieFlo.

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Stephanie Florence is a 20-something who can talk to a brick wall and dance to a kazoo. She contributes to the 40:20 Vision as the Millennial editor and on every day that ends in “y” you can find Stephanie meeting people, telling exceedingly long stories and taking the approach of a student…always. Find her dancing around New York City in her personalized Chuck Taylors, complete with her Twitter handle: @StephanieFlo. In this photo, she successfully got ready for her friend’s wedding in a car en route to the ceremony – full length dress, liquid eye liner and all…talk about a refresh.

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