19 Nov 32 Lessons Learned At Age 32
Never have I felt so radiant, so alive, so overjoyed, and so vibrant in my entire life.
Welcome to me being 32-years-old. It’s downright exhilarating.
If someone were to tell me a decade ago I would feel at my prime on my 32nd birthday, I would’ve told them they were crazy.
You might ask, what the heck I was doing a ten years ago.
Well, I turned 22 when the song 22 by Taylor Swift came out. During this time, I sang and frolicked to Taylor’s words “it’s miserable and magical” and “we’re happy, free, confused and lonely at the same time.”
I shouted these words with pride. Mind you, I was living in Brazil during this time, and my only two jobs were to coach soccer and enjoy the exuberance of the Brazilian culture. So, you bet I was feeling like the most liberated, empowered young woman on the planet.
Now looking back, I boasted my carefree, wanderlust life to mask my inner wounds and insecurities. You see, I was still fresh off of an abusive relationship and copious amounts of partying in college. Not only did I lose myself, I also lost my faith.
On social media, I was broadcasting a thrilling life, even though deep down, it was an unfulfilling life.
On social media, I was broadcasting a thrilling life, even though deep down, it was an unfulfilling life. Click To Tweet
A part of me feels sorry for the girl who went through her 20s ignoring what she needed to heal. This girl cried victim for many years, and projected her traumas onto others. Always offended. Always triggered. Always putting up walls.
As a result, she wasn’t able to find meaningful relationships, balance in her work life, was always stressed and on her grind, and didn’t make time for the joys of life with her amazing friends.
Of course, I am thankful for the work I put into my career during my 20s, but to ignore my needs and my own healing for all of those years is something I regret terribly.
None of this is to say have a pity party for Erica.
It’s to give young girls a glimmer of hope that even the biggest of traumas can be healed, and they can take charge of their lives in all areas of physical and mental health, nutrition, stress management, and relationships.
But it is going to take the uncomfortable work to look at the bad parts of yourself and turn them into sparkling parts.
Here are 32 lessons at age 32:
1. It’s okay to not have energy for everyone.
Early in my career, I said “yes” to everyone and everything. I had no sense of the true value of my time, and didn’t hold my energy as sacred.
I realize now that I must conserve my energy at all costs. This means saying “no” to people who need things from me. I get DMs all the time asking for training advice, people spilling their guts to me, or venting about their child’s youth sport situation. Look, I love you and I am compassionate, but I am not a therapist who is on speed dial who has the capacity to answer everyone.
While I am incredibly grateful my followers trust me to tell me their life story and seek my advice, I am incredibly picky with who I get back to, and when I do so. Sometimes, I get back to people quickly. Sometimes, it takes me over a month. Sometimes, I’m human and totally forget.
The people who get my full energy first and foremost are my family, loved ones, and best friends. Then, my energy is going to my own clients and my purpose of coaching kids, creating impactful content, and writing books and programs for people to change their lives.
I’m willing to bet people who DM me for advice can sift through my 800 blogs and find the answer they’re looking for, or better yet, read my books and begin training with intention. This is why I create as much content as I do: so people can do their own research and make a change.This is why I create as much content as I do: so people can do their own research and make a change. Click To Tweet
My energy is sacred and I refuse to burn out again. I burned out in 2018 and had to go to the ER for a panic attack, and because of this, my boundaries are strong.
2. Very few people are ready to transform.
There’s a lot of noise out there preventing people from making drastic transformations in their lives.
Many humans are so drunk on information, bopping from one expert to the other, hopping from workout program to the other, and jerking their mind from one dopamine hit to the other. They are transfixed by the novel information that falls on their lap at every hour of the day.
The problem with this is they’re so distracted by information, they’re deterred from the consistency to make a transformation.
People don’t need more experts, more gurus, more Facebook groups, more masterminds, more Twitter chats, more influencers, more programs. No.
Instead, people need to stick to one mentor, one program, one life changing template that will allow them to laser focus in on their purpose, and make a transformation once and for all.People need to stick to one mentor, one program, one life changing template that will allow them to make a transformation once and for all. Click To Tweet
3. Your health comes down to these things.
Nutrition, sleep, exercise, relationships, purpose, leisure, and mindset.
Be your most nourished, hydrated, rested, strongest, purposeful, loving, meditated, healed self.Be your most nourished, hydrated, rested, strongest, purposeful, loving, meditated, healed self. Click To Tweet
4. Start your day slowly.
In my first few years of being a coach, my alarm was set for 4:45am on the week days. Every time the buzzer went off, I jolted out of bed with my heart pounding and my brain going a million miles a minute.
For the longest time, I wore waking up earlier than everyone like a badge of honor.
Now? The thought of waking up this early when it’s dark and cold outside sounds miserable. I wake up to no alarm. I go at my own pace. I sip my coffee slowly. I cook a beautiful breakfast. I go for a barefoot walk. I take my grand old time.
And guess what?
My mental health has thanked me and it has paid dividends for my emotional state.
5. Surrounding yourself with winners makes you a winner.
I love my friends and loved ones. Not only are they the best to do leisure activities with, they are the best to bounce ideas off of for career.
All of my loved ones are addicted to self improvement and have a growth mindset with career, finances, and fun. They never play victim and whenever faced with a problem, they find a solution.
6. So many people are addicted to suffering.
It breaks my heart seeing people addicted to gossiping, eating toxic sludge, binging alcohol, partying, scrolling social media, and watching the news.
It takes being aware, very aware of the poisons in your life and detoxing your mind and body from them. I pray you find the strength to stop suffering.
7. The boss babe, wanderlust, influencer life isn’t that great.
I did this for a while. You know, the jet-set, travel boss queen, strong independent woman life that every chick is doing nowadays.
I did it for the majority of my 20s, and let me tell you, it was pretty darn empty.
I masked insecurities with selfies.
I masked my broken heart with “I’m single and independent!” posts.
I masked my traumas with travel photos.
I masked sadness with mimosas and brunch with the girls.
It was isolating, unfulfilling and not as glamorous as every girl on social media makes it out to be.
Now that I’m 32, I find solace and fulfillment in a more traditional and quiet life. I like to cook, clean, write, and be home.
Even though this goes against what the majority of young women are doing, I feel so incredibly at peace again.
Young girls don’t always need to follow the crowd. After all, social media is a grandiose illusion of what life actually is behind closed doors.
8. Being a woman comes with a lot of perks.
I’ll be honest: I’m tired of women saying men run the world and have it way better.
I can list several things women are dominating in right now:
– Medical school
– Getting things paid for
– Not working the world’s most dangerous jobs (logging, mining, piloting)
Mind you, there are more female engineers, coaches, creatives, doctors, and lawyers than ever before. Are there still problems? Sure. Have I experienced disrespect by men in the workplace? Yes.
But I choose to focus on how far women have come and how amazing it is going, as well as focus on how I can set boundaries, change my environment and take action when things get wild.
Victors, not victims is what young girls need to be taught now more than ever.
It’s a mantra we repeat in the Girls to Queens Podcast.
Check out this episode Women Aren’t Victims In The Workplace explaining the data and numbers, and how awesome women have it in 2021.
This podcast also discusses strategies for dealing with workplace harassment and setting boundaries. Less complaining, more solving problems, and encouraging young girls to do the same.
9. I love being a woman in a male dominated industry.
Expounding on this further, I get asked this question all the time, “how is it being in a male dominated industry?”
Sometimes, I feel the men who ask me this question are expecting these answers:
“It’s so hard”
“I have to prove myself more”
“We need more women in coaching”
And blah, blah, blah.
Nope. I never give those answers. In fact far, far from it because I absolutely love being in an industry with men. It pushes me to do better. It pushes me to establish boundaries. It pushes me to truly be a strong woman of conviction. It pushes me to cultivate healthy relationships with the masculine.
And this is coming from a chick who was treated horribly by a male in the past in the form of abuse. I could easily resent men, and blame them for all of my problems and “lack of opportunity” but I don’t. I don’t wear an ounce of resentment or victim hood because I have healed my traumas and stepped into my power.
Don’t get me wrong…would it be super awesome to have more women in sport alongside me? Heck yes! Is the number of men in the industry still overpowering? Absolutely.
But we need to look at it from many angles and consider a multitude of factors as to why there aren’t a lot of women in coaching. Is it maybe because women aren’t drawn to coaching as a career? Is it because women aren’t applying to coaching jobs? Is it because they prefer to raise their kids? Is it because they are deterred from the time on the road? Probably.
Instead of saying, “women just don’t have opportunity” there are a plethora of factors to consider as to why there aren’t a lot of female coaches in the industry. We cannot point to one reason alone. We also shouldn’t shame women for not wanting to be in this industry. Some women just don’t want the long hours, and find more fulfillment in working from home and being with their kids.
On a side note: because I’m a woman, I have gotten MORE opportunities than my male colleagues. Like a ton more. Like tenfold. And for that, I am thankful. I own it and appreciate it.
10. Bone broth is liquid gold.
Bone broth is one of the best things one can drink. It is a tremendous source of collagen, amino acids, magnesium, potassium, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, and phosphorous. It is incredible for digestive health, hydration, muscle protein synethesis, joint health and quality, wholesome sleep. You bet it is incredible for young athletes.
Check it out HERE.
11. Personal attacks mean people have weak arguments.
If someone disagrees with you and all they do is attack your looks, character, lifestyle, or spouse, that means they do not have legitimate points to counter your argument.
Instead of it being a healthy debate, it’s a punch of hate.
It’s not worth the fight. Block, delete and move on.
12. Mainstream news is dead.
I stopped watching the news on February 15th, 2012.
This was the day I returned back from Brazil and to the states. I had a layover at Dallas Airport and had no choice but to sit at the gate and watch TV. I observed CNN, FOX, and all the major news channels doing what they do best: talking about depressing things.
After an enchanting time away in Brazil where I had no TV and noise from the outside world, I rolled my eyes as I watched the TVs in the airport.
“This. Is. BS.” I said out loud.
Since this day, I’ve not once watched the news. Nowadays in 2021, it’s becoming cool to say no to the mainstream media, but I jumped ship long before everyone else. I always knew there was something spooky about the repetitive, depressing messaging…and it never sat well with me.
Now, I get my news from nature, human beings in my neighborhood, my family and friends, and podcasts with longer conversations, rather than soundbites. Life is way more tranquil, invigorating, and introspective.I get my news from nature, human beings in my neighborhood, my family and friends, and podcasts with longer conversations, rather than soundbites. Life is way more tranquil, invigorating, and introspective. Click To Tweet
Mainstream news is dead, and the powers that be know it, which is why they keep pushing their messaging. It’s one giant power grab, and they’re selling fear and negativity because a scared population is far easier to control.
Don’t get sucked in.
13. Reading books doesn’t make you better.
Re-reading books does. Over and over again, too.
Also, applying what you read and implementing into your life day in and day out.
14. Learning economics is crucial.
I love exercise science, youth athletic development, and personal development, but the fact of the matter is this: you need to be financially literate to be okay in life. Whether we like it or not, we live in a world where we have to pay to live, raise our children, and not starve.
I urge everyone to deeply study economics, inflation, taxes, investment vs. saving, precious metals, crypto, 401k vs. Roth IRA, and the basics of accounting.
This stuff takes time to research, so get going now.
15. Make time for leisure and friends.
I get weeks can be long and you’re so incredibly introverted come Friday and you have nothing left to give.
However, don’t you work to be able to have some fun, too? To spend money on new adventures and coffee dates with friends? Humans thrive off of community and relationships and we cannot brave this world alone.
16. Smile more.
Even when you are feeling down in the dumps, smiling changes your body’s chemistry. You are able to get out of a tense, fight or flight mode and reclaim your peace again.
It’s a simple fix to alleviate sadness and anxiety. It also makes you more approachable because you glow from the inside out.
17. Living minimally is cool.
As soon as I moved to Florida and settled in my new apartment, I craved a massive de-cluttering of my life. Being in a totally new state for the first time propelled me to level up my environment by having less.
I gave away copious amounts of clothes that were tucked away in my closet for over a decade and never worn.
I got rid of trinkets that were taking up space in my drawers and collecting cobwebs for all these years.
I emptied by bathroom cabinets with toiletries and beauty products that weren’t even cracked open.
The moment you de-clutter is the moment you feel relieved, organized and liberated.
18. Make time for the things that are essential.
In the book Essentialism, author Greg McKeown discusses how it is crucial to focus on a select few things that are essential so you are more productive. Instead of trying to do some many projects at once and make minimal progress, he urges you to dial in on a few that are urgent and to go totally big on them.
As I alluded to earlier, there are many opportunities and conversations I say no to, so I can stay focused on my biggest projects. And I get requests from others 100 times a week…can you imagine if I said “yes” to all? Nothing for Erica would get done.
Right now, I’m on a serious deadline to finish my print book The Strong Female Athlete, so I have said “no” a little extra recently, and it has done wonders for my productivity.
19. Be an individual.
I’ll say this: I’m not a fan of the group think, mob mentality.
Human beings are so magical because they express individuality. Imagine a world where everyone was told to believe, think and act the same, have the same interests, the same ideologies, the same hobbies. Would there be comedy? Would there be art? Would there be music? Would there be sports? If the individual is told who to be, they’ll never have the freedom to express themselves.
A life void of creativity and individuality is not an enriched life.
Be an individual.
20. Changing others is a losing game.
Find comfort in this: it is not your job to change others.
Stop burdening yourself and wasting your energy on micromanaging others’ lives. Instead, lead by example and maybe one day they will join you on your sparkling journey.
21. Don’t repress your emotions.
I know you don’t want to be seen as weak, so you keep your feelings to yourself, in fact, allow them to bubble up inside you like a volcano ready to erupt uncontrollably.
This never feels good, does it?
I’ll be the first to say what is on my mind – if something is frustrating me, making me sad, making me scared, or bringing up past traumas, I say it loud and clear. It takes great strength to voice your exact feelings, let alone, show them to others and be vulnerable.
The more you can express your feelings and understand your emotions rather than bury them, the more you can regulate your emotions when things get real heavy.
When I said farewell to my athletes in Maryland, I let my emotions be seen, and after letting out a strong 10 second sob, I was able to calmly speak to the group and express my gratitude and love for them. It was an amazing moment, and one when my athletes felt their deepest connection to me as a coach.
22. You can reverse aging.
“Wait until you get older!” many shout.
I feel I’m in on a big secret: you can reverse aging with proper nutrition, wholesome sleep, stress management, exercise, and fulfilling relationships with yourself, your loved ones and your faith.
It is your choice whether or not you want to regress. The body and mind are so incredibly powerful they can stay strong and sharp for many years to come.
Write a lot. It helps you to process your emotions, construct your thoughts, and articulate yourself better. It’s a lost skill that more people need to adopt.
24. Write a book. Or three.
And if you want to get crazy, write a few books.
I’ve written two on youth soccer training, Total Youth Soccer Fitness and Total Youth Soccer Fitness 365, and they pushed me to simplify youth physical development for parents and coaches. Not only that, but they’ve created massive impact across the globe for kids to find training exciting and fun.
Stay tuned for my first print book coming soon.
25. It takes work to heal trauma.
Healing from trauma doesn’t come by rubbing yourself in essential oils, meditating, and speaking positive affirmations. It takes good old-fashioned hard work. Inner work. Shadow work. You-coming-to-terms-with-your-darkness work. Uncomfortable work.
When COVID-19 hit in 2020 and every human on the globe was locked inside, it forced many to face their traumas. Some decided to binge Netflix and get drunk off of White Claws, while others actually decided to take charge of their physical and mental health.
I was the latter.
And yes, I’m bragging because I’m proud of how far I’ve come since 2020. I re-hired a therapist. I stopped resenting my abuser. I stopped resenting the male species. I gave up alcohol. I stopped following toxic social media accounts. I stopped listening to celebrity songs that promoted partying, promiscuity and drugs. I healed from co-dependency.
If I can overcome darkness, you can, too.
It’s uncomfortable and makes you realize how you’ve been addicted to suffering all these years.
However, it’s worth the “oh crap I’m going crazy!” moment to wake up, pivot everything you’re doing, and take charge of your life.
26. Overcoming physical feats is mental as much as it is physical.
So stop complaining about the burn when progressing and doing a strength movement. The body needs new stimulus to level up and become strong.
27. Stop bullying people on social media.
Remember when we were young and our parents used to say not to bully others?
The same adults who said “don’t bully others” are the same people who are bullying others on social media. Adults are just as susceptible to bullying as children.
Shouldn’t adults be embodying what they preach?
How about this: if your children or your young athletes were to see everything you posted on social media, would you be proud?If your children or your young athletes were to see everything you posted on social media, would you be proud? Click To Tweet
Stop bullying people on social media and get excited about your life.
28. Stay as curious as possible.
It is always good to ask questions. How do we know what the truth is? No really…how do we truly know? Anyone can find any scientific study that supports their biases. Anyone can explore a multi-variable analysis on any opinion. Any global issue can have multiple causes, but people believe their cause is the most important above everyone else’s.
To that end, everyone is living a different reality. Everyone is experiencing their truth, and what’s your truth is not my truth, so what’s the truth?To that end, everyone is living a different reality. Everyone is experiencing their truth, and what's your truth is not my truth, so what's the truth? Click To Tweet
Just stay curious. Ask a lot of questions.
29. Clean your room.
I love Jordan Peterson.
His best advice from his book 12 Rules for Life, “set your house in perfect order before you criticize the world” is not just an ode to physically cleaning your home and sorting your clothes.
It’s a metaphor for cleaning up your life, healing your traumas, understanding your triggers, managing your emotions, regulating your internal state, and mastering all of these before shelling out advice to others. Heal you first.
The best decision I ever made was to do my inner healing. Now? No one triggers or offends me and it’s downright freeing.
30. Let kids play.
Play is important for athletic development, we know. It is a message I’ve repeated over the years and one I will continue to shout. Beyond physical development, allowing kids to play, unsupervised, and yes, in a rough setting, is one of the best things for their brains.
One of the greatest researchers on play, Dr. Stuart Brown, suggests that rough play allows kids to regulate their emotions, and is crucial for the development of social awareness, cooperation, and fairness. In his book Play, he expounds that lack of experience with rough-and-tumble play hinders the normal give-and-take necessary for social mastery, and has been linked to poor control of violent impulses later in adulthood. One of the most fascinating and jarring studies done was Brown’s research on serial killers. It showed that they had a childhood void of play and rough and tumble activities, and this makes sense.
All kids need this type of play because it enables them to take risks in a relatively safe environment, which fosters the acquisition of skills needed for communication, and boosts emotional intelligence.
Let kids play.
31. I started travel soccer at age 13 and turned out okay.
In today’s youth sport climate, kids are pushed to specialize early and chase the word “elite.” I played recreational all of my childhood because I was so in love with the game and having fun. Though travel teams wanted to recruit me all through elementary school, I declined. Instead, I stuck with rec soccer, sampled a variety of sports, and played with my brother and his friends in the neighborhood.
By the time I reached age 13, I was a beast athlete who was equipped with all the basic motor skills to advance to the next level. Adding on, I was not burned out, and was more in love with the game than ever before. I also LOVED moving my body and training.
I went to college to become a 2x All-American, recorder breaking goal scorer, and National Midfielder of the Year.
I started travel soccer at age 13 and turned out okay.
31. A true mentor releases you into the wild.
The best business models are ones that keep you as a lifetime customer.
But the most heart-filled business models are the ones that make you a leader of your own life.
I always said to my athletes that they do not need me forever. Eventually after all of the workout progressions and performance improvements, they will know how to write their own programs so they can continue to level up when they get older.
They should no longer need me. That’s when you know the coaching was a success.
If you’re ever hiring a mentor or coach, they should be so darn good at what they do that when they let you out into the wild, you no longer need them to survive.
A true mentor doesn’t have you caged forever. They release you into the wild.
A true mentor doesn't have you caged forever. They release you into the wild. Click To Tweet
32. You create your privilege.
I’ve seen people who are rich and given everything screw up. They over-consume, imbibe alcohol, and abuse drugs. Sometimes, the most privileged people use their privilege for poison.
On the other end, I’ve seen people in unfortunate circumstances, who have been to Hell and back, yet who have totally turned their lives around and implemented new habits that empower them.
The truth is: we are all exposed to the same temptations and things that suck our souls. Every single one of us.
But, we are also able to make active choices.
Personally speaking, it’s easy for me to remain shackled by my past of abuse and play the victim.
It’s easy for me to resent men. It’s easy for me to play victim in a male dominated industry. It’s easy for me to blame others for my shortcomings. It’s easy for me to point fingers when I screw up. It’s easy for me to project my traumas. It’s easy for me to complain when people don’t act in alignment with my reality.
But, I choose not to do these. It’s not the way I wish to live my life. I refuse to live in the past and be miserable. The moment I realized I create my privilege, was the moment I blossomed into a peaceful, empowered, and confident woman.
This was hard freaking work and it took an incredible amount of personal responsibility to face the world with courage, but it was the most meaningful thing I did for my life.
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Rick EertmoedPosted at 16:54h, 19 November
Came across your content because I have a young daughter playing soccer. I keep coming back for much more.
Thanks for sharing your evolution.
ericaPosted at 17:02h, 19 November
Thank you and appreciate you, Rick!
Kevin YoungPosted at 00:46h, 21 November
Wow, just wow! Your voice, fully realized, yet still evolving. You have learned so much in the last decade. And we’re lucky you’re sharing your lessons with the world. Such courage!
Glad to know you.
“Your soul doesn’t care what you do for a living – and when your life is over, neither will you. Your soul cares only about what you are being while you are doing whatever it is that you do.” – Neal Donald Walsch
ericaPosted at 12:59h, 21 November
Thank you so much, Kevin! <3