I will always remember twenty-five.
Twenty-five was the year I quit a job I hated to start my writing career.
Twenty-five was the year I understood the power of girlfriends and finding your tribe.
Twenty-five was the year I started owning the person I am. The girl who covets early bedtimes, fiercely protects her alone time, and doesn’t apologize for her insane love of reading and cruises and dachshunds.
Twenty-five was the year I parasailed in Grand Cayman and ran around the streets of Cozumel in a pseudo-Amazing Race, interacting with locals and getting an authentic Mexican experience.
Twenty-five was the year I bought my first car and started standing on my own two feet, financially.
Twenty-five was the year I met a really great guy and laid my heart on the line for him. It was also the year I experienced a broken heart and still imagines what could have been.
Twenty-five was the year I began accepting the fact that my mom found love and accepting his place in our family.
Twenty-five was the year I didn’t lose the weight, didn’t get that tattoo, didn’t write that novel, didn’t get out of debt… but it was still a beautiful, crazy, wonderful year.
I enjoyed this past year so much. I learned so much from the past twelve months, about myself, about what I want from my life, about where I see my life going. I’m at this place in my life, now 26, and realizing it’s not turning out the way I envisioned it would, but that doesn’t make it any less amazing. A birthday always makes me nostalgic, and the fact that my birthday falls during a time where I’m already looking back upon my year and making plans for what I want to happen in the coming one, makes me very introspective.
Plus, I’m participating in the Holiday Council again – so I am definitely on full-on soul-seeking, goal-setting, dream-envisioning mode!
And so, I’d like to talk about a few lessons I learned in my 25th year*, as well as my hopes for 26.
Lessons Learned at 25
1. Nobody deserves to be stuck in a crappy job.
My last job was awful. While I had wonderful coworkers, they were the only reason I stuck around for as long as I did. I had a terrible boss (different from my immediate one, who was amazing in all sorts of ways) who was condescending, forgetful, and made me cry more than once. The work environment was volatile and I am just so glad I was able to find my way out of that job… and into a job that is a billion times better. I am so happy at my new company. The lesson to be learned, if you are unhappy with where you are working, do your damnedest to get out of it. It took me a year to find this job so it may take a while, but find your way out. It can be done.
2. You will never regret laying your heart on the line.
I find it easy to be vulnerable and open on my blog, but it is incredibly hard for me to do so in real life. It’s hard to talk about my feelings out loud. But this year, I did this in a big way and sure, it didn’t work out and I still wonder if I came on too strong, but honestly? I am so proud of myself for stepping up and opening myself up, even when my heart was pounding through my chest and I wanted to throw up. The lesson to be learned, even when things don’t work out and possibly explode in front of your face, laying your heart on the line and being vulnerable to another person is so worth it.
3. You need girlfriends to get through life.
I’ve gone through the majority of my life without setting down roots with close girlfriends. I think it partly comes from not having good, supportive friends growing up so it was just easier to not put effort into making friends. It felt safer. But this year has showed me how amazing it is to have supportive girlfriends who want to help you through life. They make you feel good when you’re around them. They can laugh with you and understand your awkwardness and they don’t make you feel bad about yourself. I’ve made wonderful girlfriends locally, and have strengthened the bonds I’ve made through friends I met through blogging. You all mean so much to me, and have helped me through so much. The lesson to be learned is that finding the girlfriends who get you is possible. I didn’t think it was, and sure, some of those friends are located hundreds of miles away, but distance doesn’t matter when it comes to finding your tribe.
My Hopes for 26
1. I want to be healthy.
We’re not going to talk about how this is my major goal every year, but here it is again. I want this year to be the year I really cultivate healthy habits – from the way I eat to the way I move to my emotional well-being. I found a picture of me from when I was at my thinnest and it just motivated me so much to get back there. I want to be happy when I look in the mirror. I want to be proud of my reflection. I don’t want to feel the way I feel anymore. It doesn’t feel good.
2. I want to strengthen my connections.
While I worked hard to strengthen the friendships around me this past year, I want to do better in the upcoming year. I still have a tendency to draw inward and to protect myself by not putting myself out there. And sometimes, I’m just lazy and I don’t feel like going out, even when I need to. In this next year, I want to work harder at being social and saying yes, even when I want to say no.
3. I want to be a better money manager.
I want to get myself out of credit card debt, start working towards getting my student loans paid off, and to finally move out on my own. All three things are capable of happening, as long as I am smart about managing my money. I’ve never been great at my finances, it’s a point of contention for me, but I really want to be at the right place where I can move out and be on my own (my biggest goal for this upcoming year!). It won’t be fun or easy, but it is completely doable.
Twenty-five was a great year for me. So many good things happened and as long as I put in the time and effort, I know I can make twenty-six even better.
What is one life lesson you’ve learned over the past year?
*Yes, yes, yes. I know this past year was actually my 26th year. But I’m still calling it my 25th year because this is my blog and I can do what I want. SO. THERE.