Today, I am a quarter of a century old. Saying it like that sounds so posh. Let’s try in again.
Today is my 25th birthday! Much better.
I have been so incredibly blessed to live the life I have for the past 25 years. As a majority of individuals, my life has come with it’s share of challenges and hurdles, in addition to beautiful, mountain top moments. Through every twist and turn, I have learned so much about life, its fragility and its beauty. While I’m still young – and therefore have so much left still to learn – I thought I’d compile a list of 25 lessons I have learned (and a few things I have done) during my first 25 years on this planet. I hope that one day, when I am older and much wiser, I’ll look back at this list fondly, remembering what is was like to be a young adult in 2020, and feel lucky to have learned so much since this day.
Introversion is not a curse.
I spent a long time believing I was lacking because I didn’t feel the need to be surrounded by a lot of people, have a ton of friends, or even speak my mind frequently. For a long time, I let the word introvert define me, accepting the self-made labels of “too quiet”, “disengaged”, and “loner” instead of allowing myself to define how introversion plays a role in my life. I am quiet, enjoy alone time, need lots of time to process, and like to listen more than I speak. Those are not bad things. In fact, they are quite valuable personal attributes; I finally understand their worth.
My sisters are actually pretty cool.
No matter how many childhood fights and silly disagreements we got into, getting older has only enriched our relationships with each other. WOMBmates for life ❤
Knowledge is power.*
A little corny and cliche, but it wouldn’t be a cliche if it weren’t true. The caveat I must add (hence the astrix), is that diversified knowledge is power. Getting comfortable learning from only one source is like trying an apple for the first time, realizing it’s delicious, and only every eating apples. Diversifying how you learn, the method of delivery, the medium it comes in, and the source it comes from are crucially important in gaining holistic knowledge about anything from a language, to statistics, to home repairs, to world news. Diversified knowledge is power.
I am not the smartest person in the room.
Am I smart? Absolutely. Am I an expert in every subject matter in the world? Absolutely not (thank goodness – that would be overwhelming). My life experiences, opinions, thoughts, and knowledge absolutely matter, but acknowledging where they are best utilized – and recognizing where others’ are best utilized – is crucial. The ability to listen and learn from others is a gift!
It is the most useful tool there is. Are you frustrated? Listen. Are you lost? Listen. Are you conflicted or confused? Listen. Learning to actively listen and continually challenging myself to engage in active listening has made me both a better professional and a better overall human being.
Studying another language can and did change my life.
14 year old me walking into French 1 class my freshman year of high school could never have fathomed how learning the language would shape the entirety of my life. What started out as, “This sounds more fun than taking Spanish or German” turned into four years of high school French (and an AP exam), adding French as my second major at TCU, teaching with TAPIF, meeting L, and exploring the world. Learning French opened my eyes to the world; it has shaped my very being and continually challenges me to think differently. The quote on my TCU graduation cap said, “Avoir un autre langue, c’est posseder une deuxieme ame”* (To have another language is to possess a second soul) and I find it to be even more true now than it was when I graduated three years ago.
*I know I’m missing accents and such – WordPress makes adding special characters a challenge
The size of my body does not define my worth.
If I go back in time and speak to my 15-year-old self, this is one of the first things I would say to her. I spent far to long believing that my worthiness was the direct result of the size of my body – that love, respect, attention, friendship, what have you – would be within my grasp if the number on the scale would drop (& drop, & drop). It was a long and rocky road to recovery after treating my body so horrendously for far too long, but I am proud of how far I’ve come. I’m worthy no matter who I am or what I look like.
Investing in every aspect of my health and wellness has changed me for the better.
The moment I realized that “being healthy” didn’t just mean my physical health, but encompasses spiritual, emotional, mental, social, and physical health, the way I approached living a healthy life changed completely.
Having political beliefs that are different than those of the people I love is okay.
Political diversity exists and it makes the world go round. After taking the time to learn and listen from others and educate myself on politics, I learned where I stand and have learned to accept and embrace the fact that we all believe different things, there is no one right answer, and society will evolve and change over time in the way it is meant to, regardless of short-term political climates.
I learned to accept criticism…
I am the first to say that I am a sensitive gal and of course, no one likes to be criticized. But after I gained insight that the people I care about offer criticism to help build me up and not to tear me down, I got getter at accepting it from the people I love. And the individuals you criticize me that don’t come from a place of love, I have to let it go (not at all easy, for sure)
and I’m letting go of being my own worst critic.
Praise God for that. I spent far too long picking myself apart, it’s about time I start calling out the good and beautiful in myself too.
I embraced my love for writing.
This blog, daily journaling, bullet journaling, and dabbling into poetry are all testaments to that. Not only does it challenge me to think creatively and outside the box, but journaling in particular is such a powerful way to reflect and release the thoughts that are swimming around in my head every day.
My voice matters.
It’s taken me a long time to find my voice; I can thank my apt for writing for helping me find confidence and worthiness in the words I say and how I say them. This goes beyond learning how to speak my mind in a place of employment or give my opinion in a group discussion. My voice matters there, and it also matters in using my voice for beautiful reasons and worthwhile causes, like advocating for policies, finding confidence to question someone when they say something that hurts me or others, and speaking up even when it’s incredibly scary to do so. It has taken a long time to embrace, but it is so worthwhile to learn.
I’ve expanding my wine palette
Thanks, France 🙂
My dreams are my dreams for a reason.
By that, I mean that I do not have the dreams, desires, aspirations, etc. that I have by accident; God knew what He was doing when He created me. Just as He authored the details of my physical body, He gave me dreams and desires that fulfill my heart and His Kingdom purposes for me on this Earth. That’s pretty dang cool.
Everything happens for a reason.
In every “no” and every “yes”, there is a lesson to be learned, growth to be had, and steps forward to be taken. Even when it’s hard and complicated, He’s working in us and through us.
Sunshine and spending time in nature really is some of the world’s best medicine.
Community is key.
This last year of my life has certainly taught me this lesson. Humans are meant to do life with others; no matter how introverted or shy or independent you are, community brings something to the table that you simple cannot find anywhere else. I am so blessed to have found a community of people that I love and who love me in return. They are truly priceless.
Going make-up free is where it’s at.
About a year and half ago, I challenged myself to go one month without makeup and hair tools and let me say, I am glad I did it. Not wearing makeup or doing my hair, first and foremost, makes getting ready for the day so quick, but also, it helped me to embrace my skin/features/hair for what they are. It challenged me to take a step further into eating disorder recovery, accepting absolutely everything about myself from the hairs on the top of my head to my toes, and calling out the beauty in that. Plus, not wearing make-up all the time means you have to replace products less often, saving money overall. It’s a win-win all around.
Do it afraid.
I heard this at a Hillsong service while in NYC and it has stuck with me since. Sometimes, you just have to bite the bullet and do whatever you’re scared of just a little bit afraid.
Grace, forgiveness, and justice can and do exist on the same playing field.
This has been THE hardest thing I’ve learned as of late. Grace is one of my top values and I always viewed justice to be on the opposite side of the spectrum, as if there were no circumstance where each would be utilized. But after walking through a tough battle personally and watching the world walk through it’s own as of late, it is now more clear than ever that it is possible to have grace, forgive and seek forgiveness, and also work toward justice all at the same time.
There is so much beauty in giving (& it’s so fun!)
I spent my whole life in church hearing about the importance of tithing and the general importance of giving, but it took until very recently to fully understand (a) why it’s important and (b) the way giving changes your heart. It’s been an exciting journey and I can’t wait to further embrace the idea of giving.
Laughter is key.
It just makes the whole world brighter, ya know?
I may have a plan, but God’s plans are always better.
When all else fails, stay still, worship, and pray.
He is good all the time and all the time, He is good.
Thanks for reading my 25 lessons I have learned in 25 years. What is the most important lesson you’ve learned in your life thus far? Let me know in the comments below.
Until next time,