This week I turned 27, and I absolutely love birthdays… all birthdays, my birthday, my friend’s birthdays, random people’s birthdays…. I am HERE for the reason to celebrate and to reflect. I love to think and really reflect when it comes to my birthday because the growth that can happen in a year is crazy, and most of the time, that growth is only growth that I know and recognize.

As much as I love birthdays, sometimes they can be challenging because there is that sense of feeling of ‘I’m not doing enough’ or ‘what am I doing with my life?’. I had what I call a quarter-life crisis when I turned 25, and reevaluated my whole life, while laying on my couch, on my birthday with a tub of Coldstone ice cream feeling sorry for myself. I decided after that birthday that I would live my life on my terms, and not compare myself to where everyone else is in their life because after all the only person who can live my life is me.

This past year has been nothing short of a whirlwind…. Actually, it was more like a tornado.

I faced more personal challenges than I could’ve imagined, and experienced more life than I could’ve dreamed. I cried more tears than I probably have in my entire life, and felt more sparks of joy. This past year forced me to be a better me. I was forced to get out of an unhealthy relationship, to find my confidence again, and to deal with all of the feelings that come along with that… if you’ve ever struggled with your confidence… you know it is challenging AF, and it’s a challenge you face ALONE.

I flew on more planes than I thought I ever would, and traveled all over the country while working remotely…. I learned that if there is internet and my phone is charged that I could actually work from anywhere…. at any time.

I made more money than I’ve ever made (sorry if that sounds snotty, but if I was a man saying that no one would care). I worked harder than I’ve ever worked in every aspect of my career. I started my own company in insurance restoration, and I am still learning daily. Google is my new best friend, and I learn something from YouTube everyday…. You really can do anything you want in 2019 and learn anything you want.

I had many firsts…. I was interviewed on local television before I headed off to Miss USA, and I got to ask a question on National Television at the Miss USA pageant. I had 30 friends and family members fly out to Reno, Nevada to watch and support me for the Miss USA pageant. 30 PEOPLE! Holy crap, that still blows my mind that 30 people love me enough to take their time, and hard-earned money to come support me while I chased my dream….. I’m sure most of those 30 people didn’t have the money to spend to make the trip, and they did it anyways….. I hope everyone has a support group like that, and if you don’t, well, come hang out with me, and you will.

I read more than I’ve ever read and listened to podcasts almost daily. I am obsessed with Audible because

 sometimes I like to multitask what I am doing to keep life efficient. ‘Girl Stop Apologizing’ by Rachel Hollis truthfully changed my life and inspires me all the time. I listened to this book at least 5 times in the last year, and I find a new nugget of information every time. The Skinny Confidential Him & Her Show has been and always will be my ‘go-to’ podcast. I’ve been listening since 2016… and I don’t think I would be where I am right now in life… career, mentally, physically if it wasn’t for that podcast. When I felt uninspired or lacked motivation, which is really pretty often… I turned on a podcast and listened to someone’s story or journey, they would feel a little spark inside of me go off.

I said thank you thousands of times. I truly do have the BEST support group around and this past year really showed that even more.

I was under more stress than I had ever been in my whole life. The thing about running a business, and managing yourself, is that if you don’t work it’s your own fault. If you don’t make money, it’s your own fault…… so for a girl that had never taken a risk like that before. My stress level went to a 12 on a 10 scale…. and the thing about stress is that it makes everyone’s body react differently. For me, it also caused me to have the worst acne I had ever had in my entire life (gross I know, but we will save that for another blog post)…. It’s also just the absolute worst to be in your upper 20s with acne, it made me more stressed and I wanted to cry EVERY DAY, but as I said, we will save those gross details for another blog post.

I attended many events, connected with so many people, and made so many friends. I went to everything from Galas, to NYFW, to charity events…. before this past year I never attended any events other than concerts with my best friend Gab. I learned that the real thing that I absolutely love in life is to connect with others, which is why I competed for Miss Colorado, which is why I am writing this post, which is why love social media….. I yearn for that true connection.

My apartment is a lot messier than it was a few years ago when my life lacked sparkle…. I don’t ever have the laundry put away, Hartli’s hair is a never-ending mess, my fridge is not stocked full anymore, and my closet is not color-coded nearly as well. I don’t cook as much as I used to, but I work out more… but MOST importantly I learned how to LIVE.

Now I know what you’re thinking….. Madison you’ve been alive for 27 years how TF did you not know how to live.

Before this past year, I felt guilty when I’d drink and have fun when I could be working. I’d feel bad if I knew I

had things to do, and chose to watch binge-watch Gossip Girl for the 3rd time. I listened to every successful person say HUSTLE, HUSTLE, HUSTLE…. well my hustle is still alive and well…. but I found that it’s okay to have fun AND be a hustler….. It’s okay to binge-watch Gossip Girl AND work super effin’ hard in my career. I learned that traveling and connecting with others set my soul on fire and made me a better me, and better at my career. For me learning to rest, also made me work harder. Giving myself some grace and being kind to myself has given me the ability to focus when I’m working, and enjoy when I’m not. I put my phone on ‘do not disturb’ from 9 pm to 9 am because I want to spend less time on my phone and more time on my life… and that life is calling.

Thank you for following along for the last year, and I hope you continue to follow me on my journey in life.



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Madison Dorenkamp

Entrepreneur, podcaster, and blogger

Welcome to the Striving for Balance Blog! I created this blog for every girl who is striving to be her best while balancing her busy life.

Madison Dorenkamp

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