One of the Most Transformative Years of My Life! No, Seriously.

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tomorrow i turn 27 years old. that sentence blows my mind. 27 sounds like an adult and more often than not i don’t really feel like an adult. i am not one of those ladies who freaks out about getting old (i’ve had gray hair since i was 20) but what i do freak out about is how quickly time passes and i haven’t experienced that until this past year. in reflecting over why this past year has been so wild and time passing so quickly…i’ve discovered that it has been a transformative year for me…BIG time. like bigger than those transformer cars and all that.

1) last year at this time my mom came to visit me because my husband had a speaking engagement in Vegas so we had a super fun girls weekend to celebrate my birthday! it made me better appreciate and i value the relationship i have with her and her unwavering support. that weekend helped to transform our relationship from solely mother/daughter to also friends (those dang cross-stitch pillows always get it right)!

the new wifestyle2) when my husband got back in town, he surprised me with spending the following weekend in a treehouse! it was hands down the best place i’ve stayed. ever. this transformed me by realizing that truly any dream or idea someone has can become a reality. treehouse hotels? yes please. this has also been added to our goal list of building a fancy tree house someday.

the new wifestyle

the new wifestyle3) 10 days after this, we ventured for work (and obviously some play) to The Bahamas! it was glorious. this trip transformed me by realizing i often take for granted my own beautiful surroundings, like some of the folks we met in the Bahamas did with that crystal clear water. i talked about it a lot and they were just like “yeah. it’s water. and it’s a cold right now so what’s your point?!” ps. cold there is like 85 degrees.

the new wifestyle4) 3 weeks after this trip we changed weather and ventured to our first trip to Alaska! we had one of the most fun times with old and new friends while exploring true wildlife. the trip transformed me because it was the first time in a long time where i laughed consistently and quickly bonded with new friends (shoutout to Tirrell and Jess!).

(i actually do own other sweaters but this one below is an obvious favorite).

the new wifestyle5) about a week after this, my husband quit his non-profit job to work full-time on our business. about a month later i quit mine too to take the plunge into full-time entrepreneurship! one of my girls at the empowerment groups i was running made this for me. i totally cried when i got home.

the right decision doesn’t always mean it’s easy. moving out of the social work world and into the owning my own business has been incredibly transformative and is still transforming me.

the new wifestyle

5) speaking of which… i started a business with my husband- well 2 technically. this was transformative in learning how to function as life partners as well as business partners. i am still learning to balance this but am getting better about making business less personal.

chelsea and ryan 2

6) i was the leadership seminar chair person for HOBY Oregon and the seminar came to fruition the last weekend in May! this was one of the biggest times i’ve blown my own damn mind. i went from a first year volunteer the year before to organizing and orchestrating a 3 day seminar for sophomores all over Oregon.

there were up and there were downs along the way but the seminar turned out way better than expected thanks to my amazing planning team (shout out to Beki, Jacquie , Claire and Matt). lives were changed forever that weekend, mine included. i very tangibly learned that i am capable of so much more than i ever thought myself possible (not a brag just a very true and intense revelation).

the new wifestyle7) the day after this seminar ended…we moved from Portland, OR to Houston, TX. i actually remember very little about the moving process because i was so overwhelmed i think my subconscious just erased a lot of that for me. whew. we took the long way and ventured through the Yellowstone, Grand Tetons and Colorado!

the new wifestyleoh! and i saw a MOOSE in Moose, Wyoming.

IMG_66468) i got to know my in-laws a whole lot better by our short time in Texas. this was transformative because now i truly feel like i know them as individuals, not just “oh those are my in-laws.” they are fantastic people who have helped us so much and i am so grateful for our time with them.

the new wifestyle9) living in texas, even if only for a short while was transformative. people there were way friendlier than i’ve encountered in other places and it caused me to be less guarded when engaging in the world. it showed me how important it is for me to live in a community where i can walk places and also that i’m not cut out for humidity- whew! i also had some preconceived notions about how close-minded people would be but was pleasantly surprised (though i have some stories and believe it or not…women were not made to serve men!). i am thankful for my time there.

10) i scheduled a trip less than 16 hours before my flight took off! this was HUGE for me and my annoying sidekick-anxiety. my grandparents helped me get to Kansas City, MO to surprise my uncle and soon-to-be aunt for their engagement party! my mom was also there and this was the first time i’ve surprised someone by just appearing! it was spectacular.

the new wifestyle11) i talked openly about my anxiety here. this was incredibly scary and oddly freeing at the same time. i have also had a lot of people reach out to me for support and letting me know i’m not alone. there is power in being true about who you are, what your struggles are and that you aren’t facing them alone.

12) i visited Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia! there was so much history there, it was sometimes overwhelming to take in. it was transformative to travel to a place that has now openly outlaws and punishes ‘being gay and supporting gay rights.’ while the USA is far from perfect, it did make me appreciate the progress we are making as a country. while there, we focused on the fact that not all Russians agree with these laws and enjoy our time together exploring.

the new wifestyle

13) 6 days after we returned from Russian, my husband and i embarked on a 50 city North American Tour! i don’t need to recap all that business but you can find stories about it under the ‘travel’ section of ‘blog’ up above. my biggest transformation from this was a) with hard work, planning and trusting yourself-you can do anything. i’m serious. i didn’t truly believe that before and b) what you are stressed about right now, will 99% of the time work out and you will be fine. i’m serious on this too.

North American Tour Background Graphic14) i moved back to Portland, Oregon and created a home again with the man and husband that helps make me want to be a better woman and wife.

wife blog chelsea avery ryan avery portland oregon15) i am more comfortable with who i am and who i am not than ever before. i cannot attribute this to a specific instance but i suppose this is part of growing up. maybe i really am 27 after all.

i am fully enjoying my last day of being 26 by eating cookies for breakfast and flying to Vancouver, British Columbia in just a few hours with my husband to do workshops there! this will be my first birthday outside of the United States! i know that my 27th year on this earth will be overwhelming fantastic, have it’s challenging times but most importantly- i am entering this year with the realization that most of how my next year looks is up to me.

the new wifestyle: create the life you want to be living, don’t just go through the motions simply because it’s easier.

1) what has been one of your more transformative years?
2) any traditions you do for celebrating your birthday?
3) tell me about when you were 27 or what you want your 27th year to look like if you are younger than moi!


  1. Heather Hawkins

    January 24, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    1) Probably every year between Miss Aiden and today. So 2009-2014 everything has been building off each previous year.
    2) I celebrate over three days usually. Its pretty fun. Other than that, I just do whatever whim comes to me because I don’t usually act like that. So I end up doing things I might not if it weren’t my bday.
    3)I’m still 27 til next month!!!

    • chelsea

      January 26, 2014 at 7:09 am

      love that you actively celebrate your birthday over 3 days Heather and you make a point to do things you don’t usually do! enjoy your last month of being 27 woohoo! hope that little girl of yours is doing great too 🙂

  2. jennifermckennasays

    January 25, 2014 at 5:27 am

    1) what has been one of your more transformative years? This one actually, Jeremy and I started paleo last January and I have lost 70 pounds. I have also upped the exercise factor and then had a VERY glamorous photo shoot to celebrate.
    2) any traditions you do for celebrating your birthday? I actually say every year that my birthday is the real start of the new year and make my resolutions then.. Funnily enough, my resolution this year is to take less pictures with my camera and more with my heart.
    3) tell me about when you were 27 or what you want your 27th year to look like if you are younger than moi! hmm, 27 was 10 years ago.. that seems so long ago.. 2004. What was I doing? oh yeah, I was in my senior year of college and working full time at Starwood Hotels.

    • chelsea

      January 26, 2014 at 7:11 am

      that is fantastic Jennifer-love hearing that this past year has been your best and well done with your weightloss ane exercise! i am excited to see that glamorous photoshoot-how fun and empowering i bet! i like your goal of taking more pictures with your heart than camera…i don’t know if i’m quite there yet 🙂

  3. jennifermckennasays

    January 25, 2014 at 5:27 am

    Oh and before I forget! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

    • chelsea

      January 26, 2014 at 7:11 am

      thaaaank you Jennifer!

  4. Dahmia

    January 25, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    You have “come a long way baby” as the old Virginia Slims commercial used to say – I worked hard most of my life – had fun teaching and learning various dances while working days – hubby of 40 years working nights – but did something special each month for my 60th birthday – it was awaesome – kicked it off a month early – Jan took a hula cruise from New Orleans to Cozemel – over the year visited Graceland during Elvis week – Disney World – Oasis Dance Camp in Traverse City, Mich then got chosen by Cleveland magazine as most interesting for the year and wrapped it up going to Egypt for two weeks with a great bunch of dance friends including a student who has been with me off/on for 37 years – looking at 65 next month – reuniting with friends/relatives in Texas – working toward Kuala Lumpur

    • chelsea

      January 26, 2014 at 7:14 am

      ha-thanks Dahmia for the coming a long way baby 🙂 loooove that your hubby did something special month for your 60th birthday-how fun and sweet! looooove all the things that you got to do and ending in Egypt for 2 weeks-spectacular!! happy early 65th birthday next month-sounds like some fun things ahead!!!

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