As I continue to go about my day-to-day, I am constantly reminded of how I am truly living my best life now. So, if you’ll allow me to get super personal for this post, I want to discuss what exactly that means.

Cheers to your best life!

What is “Living Your Best Life”? Well, there are as many ways to do that as there are people, so there is no singular answer to that question. So, I’ll just tell you about mine.

My journey began in earnest five years ago. My 20 year marriage ended, my father was dying; I had a good job, but it wasn’t a passion. I had one friend that I didn’t share with my ex that lived locally to go and do things with, but she wasn’t into the same things as I was, aka nerding out. Basically, I was alone and sad and lost. What the heck do you do to change things? Here’s what I did. I started taking chances. Going outside my comfort zone. I thought about what my best life would look like and began to build it. I hired myself as architect.

Where are those dreams? I know I left them somewhere…

I knew I wanted to start going to nerdy events and cons with a group of friends. I was tired of going alone if my kid couldn’t join me. I needed to show my kid how a grown woman handles her shit as well. She is a huge motivator for me.

So Kim, you need friends. So, go make some! Easier said than done for someone with a major confidence slump going on, but I was architect and as such I needed to do the best job possible. I joined meetup.com and picked events that interested me. I got in the car by myself and went. I walked into a room full of people that I didn’t know. I walked up and introduced myself. I had conversations with them. I friended them on facebook and asked them to go places with me. I cannot express how hard this was. How scary this was. Guess what? I made friends and then made more friends.

I knew I wanted to cosplay. I had no idea how to even begin to do that. A friend asked me to join a cosplay group. I did. I picked a simple easy smash-up cosplay to start. I cosplayed. Then I cosplayed some more. Am I the best cosplayer in the world? Heck no! Do I care? Heck no! I have fun with my friends. I wanted professional cosplay pictures. I got them done. Did I know what the heck I was doing? Nope, but hiring a great photographer that works with you and teaches you is GOLD! I recomment Justin Davidson Photography. Find and book him online.

I found that you have to just try things and be ready to accept that you might fail. If you don’t ask, then answer is always “no”. At least give yourself 50/50 odds!

I did go off the rails a bit a couple of years ago, however. I dated someone and after much caution and hesitation, with trust issues in play, allowed myself to fall head over heels. I was all in. I put myself on the back burner and really cheered this guy on because he was in a slump. I really focused on encouraging him and in doing so, lost a bit of myself again. However, you have to accept that you might fail. I failed myself in this one. That is on me. After a year, I was dumped without notice or a reason. That wasn’t my failure, but putting me on the back burner sure was! So, simply put, don’t do that! (*Side Note: I was actually the vicitm of a con in this “relationship”. I was taken for thousands, so in addition to not putting yourself on the back burner, be careful out there!)

However, you also have to be willing to forgive yourself when you screw up royally, like I did. It is so easy to beat yourself up and think, “Well, this is what you get!”, but don’t. This one knocked me right on my ass for a while, actually. I had to take a minute. Whilst on said ass, I reevaluated what I had been doing before this relationship and where I got lost during the relationship. I got back on track. It wasn’t easy, but I learned a valuable lesson in self-care and self-love. There is no substitute for it. Don’t ever shortchange yourself!

Beware the Phony Starks of the world!

So, back up on my feet. Back to being the architect of my best life. I continued cosplaying, and upped my game by starting a cosplay page with the kiddo. We applied for and got a panel at SDCC (San Diego Comic Con International aka THE Con)! It was an amazing thing. I continued my fitness journey (best self-care you can do!). I started a blog with the kiddo, raisingaheronotavillain.com. We’ve had visitors from 70 countries so far! Thank you, Brazil! You guys really dig us and we dig you back, but look out for Australia and the UK, they are gaining on you in number of visits.

So, after a few interesting and challenging years on my own, I reflected on how far I’ve come in five short years. I am the architect of my life and won’t accept anything but my best life from now on. That might mean taking a crazy chance and falling on my ass, but I always get up. Always.

I want to thank all my friends for being a part of this journey with me! Whether you are a close friend, relative or someone that just visits our blog from time-to-time, you are a part of my best life, and I treasure your role in it!

Get out there and start building your best life. My Dad always referred to it as, “finding your niche”. I wish that for all of you.

Kim Henderson McAndrew is a mom, cosplayer, blogger for inplainsight.style, model, warrior for body confidence and positivity, unicorn believer and a huge nerd.

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