On December 11th, 2013 I reached a quarter of a century. I am officially mid-twenties. When my mother was at this age she was married and had two children. 30 years ago if you weren't headed down the aisle after high school or college, you had peaked. Well I am 25 with no marriage or babies in sight; yet, I feel that I haven’t even reached my prime. Life continues to surprise me because it just keeps getting better and better.
It amazes me to recall how exponentially I have evolved and changed throughout the past 25 years. The girl with terrible eyebrows and braces who compared her life to those around her has transformed into a woman who is more confident in her own skin and would rather forge her own path than follow in someone else’s.
I went through the same phases of adolescence as everyone else. I wore questionable clothing. My self-esteem was low and I felt inferior to my beautiful friends. I did not understand why my family wasn't perfect. I expected the world from everyone. I was afraid to say how I felt. Partying was a priority. I let men and relationships define my self-worth. I allowed everyone else control my happiness. I was self-absorbed and utterly naïve.
Then life happened. I was hurt, ignored, loved, betrayed, and belittled. Adolescence is an emotional and dark period in anyone's life. I was forced to grow up fast. I was handed responsibility at an early age and held accountable for my actions. My parents allowed me to make my own decisions, thus make my own mistakes and later learn from them. The good things in life were not handed to me on a silver platter. I was not given the end result, tied in a pretty bow; but rather, I was given the tools on how to thrive in this world: knowledge, strength, determination, and independence.
As time went on and life threw me curve-balls, my perspective changed. I no longer had steep expectations from everyone else; instead I held myself to personal standards. I accepted my family’s imperfections and returned their unconditional love. I admired my friends rather than envied them. Small gatherings with good souls trumped any party. I learned nothing good happens after 2am and started going to bed earlier. I learned how to forgive.
The easy days of childhood, the dreadful years of early adolescence, the wild nights as a teenager, and the blunt reality of being a young adult have accumulated into being the fearless and hopeful 25 year old woman I am today. Every experience, good or bad, and every person, toxic or uplifting, has guided me to this point in life. I have found my identity, my soul.
I am 25 with the whole world in front of me. Several years ago I pinpointed my restless energy and directed it toward self-exploration. I realized my indifference towards life and inability to feel whole had an explanation. I became aware that there was more to the life I was living. There is a grander reason for me to be on this earth than to just follow the status-quo and live a quiet life. There is more. More to see, more to do, more to love, more to learn.
So I went out looking for more. I have visited fourteen countries and have lived in Italy, Croatia, and now Thailand. I have seen the world’s natural beauty as well as the ingenuity of man’s existence. I have met incredibly warm and genuine souls, and given my heart to many people. My relationships at home have strengthened and matured, sure to last forever. My thirst for novelty, adventure, and change has yet to be fully quenched. I know that when the timing is right and I am in the place I am meant to end up in, surrounded by the right people, I will feel no pull to keep moving. It will be my time to plant my roots and let the next branch of my life flourish.
Now I am far from perfect and I do not know everything. However, I do feel that all I have seen and done has graciously bestowed some wisdom on me. I am an old soul but young at heart. I have lived a few lives so far and learned countless lessons; but my heart still dances joyously, knowing all the adventures, loves, and experiences left to be had.
So here is a list of things I have learned so far in my 25 years on this earth.
Cheers to 25 glorious years and having so much life to live and love to give.