Today I am 25 years old; I'm a quarter of a century; I am halfway through my 20s; I was 15 years old 10 years ago. I'm getting old AF. How else can I rephrase?! 25 is my first "significant" birthday since my 21st. I can rent a car now, ya'll.
I have to admit, when I woke up this morning I was a bit underwhelmed, and I had a nagging voice telling me, "you don't have any friends to help you celebrate your 25th today, ya loser." We all know what the rude ego sounds like. It'll say anything to get your attention. It drives your negative emotions and laughs in your face when it finally triggers them. For a second, I sulked in the idea that I am in a brand new country. Yes, I'm so thankful for my husband, but I'm still trying ruthlessly to break through the surface-level friendships with the other women here and I become impatient when it isn't happening in a timely fashion. For a second, I teared up wishing I could go home to my family and all my girlfriends who would undoubtedly help me feel the birthday love, topped with champagne and cake with fancy dresses and those freaking stupid, overly priced but CUTE gold balloons that say '25.' For a second, I let that negative voice almost set the tone for my birthday.
When I started to talk myself through it, it went something like this: You know this is your mind trying to get you to feel sorry for yourself. But you have learned that you are not your mind. Plus, have you forgotten who/what you already have? No whining on the yacht.
This prompted me to curate a list of 25 lessons and realizations I have learned, am applying to or am trying to apply in my life today. I figure this list will change dramatically in 1, 5, 10, and 20 years, and that makes it even more valuable to look back on.
So, without further ado, a list of 25 lessons in 25 years:
1. You must leave your comfort zone.
2. Have empathy for all living things.
3. Never forget & take for granted the incredibly positive effect nature and the outdoors has on your soul.
4. Hold high standards, for yourself and your partner.
5. Embrace the friends that show support for your goals and passions, and walk away from the ones that don't.
6. Everything is temporary. Love this moment? Cherish it but don't get attached. Hate this moment? Surrender, don't get attached, and wait.
7. Community over competition.
8. Keep an open mind. Having die-hard beliefs is not necessarily a good thing.
9. Be inclusive and refrain from asking "who's going?" when invited to an event.
10. Smile at strangers.
11. Travel. Be it around the world, another state or another city...leave your hometown.
12. Nothing bad can happen when you have bread, cured meats, cheese, red wine and a good view at your fingertips.
13. Look at hardships as an opportunity for growth.
14. Compliment more, but always be genuine.
15. You will never be 100% certain, and that's okay.
16. Find a creative outlet.
17. Listen to your gut. The mind is too chatty, the heart promotes decision-making solely on emotion, but gut feelings should never be ignored.
19. Make sure your family knows how much they mean to you.
20. No whining on the yacht.
21. Turn jealousy into inspiration; empower others to keep thriving, then realize their success is not stopping you from thriving.
22. You are not your mind. Life starts to happen when you separate your ego (mind) from self, and know the present moment is all we have. AKA - meditate!
23. In marriage - love is what's left when being "in-love" has withered. Choose to love.
24. Read, watch, and listen to things that make you laugh. Daily.
25. Notice the beauty in ordinary places.