Today is my 25th birthday. I’ve known it was coming for, well, 25 years, yet I’m still a little surprised that it is here. I’ve been trying to reconcile my visions of where I thought my life would be at this stage (married, career, fabulous handbag collection) with the reality of my circumstances (single, grad student, one out of three ain’t bad) and I’ve found that the best way to embrace this new year is to make peace with the ghosts of my past, and then let them go, to forgive myself and those who have hurt me, to appreciate all the amazing miracles in my life, instead of focusing on what it isn’t.
I spent some time doing just that yesterday, reflecting and releasing, and I face this new season head-on without trepidation or regret. Honestly, it’s the best advice I’ve ever given myself.
And because I just can’t help myself, here’s 25 other things I’ve learned in my quarter century:
25. Don’t get too attached to television shows until they get picked up for a third season.
24. Learn how to write a cover letter and a resume. Proofread them!
23. Figure out what you love to do, and then take any job you can get to support yourself until you can make your dream a reality
22. Just because a guy is nice to you doesn’t mean he’s hitting on you.
21. Write thank you notes as often as possible — it’s good for the soul.
20. Seek forgiveness in the same manner.
19. Don’t pass up opportunities to do ridiculous things — these are the moments and memories that enrich your life.
18. Pray — honestly and often.
17. Not looking at your budget is the same as not having a budget.
16. Stop listening to your parents. Seriously. I’m sure they are really nice people and they are wise and want what’s best for you, but at some point you have to learn to think for yourself.
15. Leggings are not pants.
14. Just because it happened doesn’t mean that everyone has to know about it. Keep some things private.
13. You get to decide when your real life starts — don’t wait for someone to give you permission.
12. Wait tables for a while — and learn compassion and patience.
11. Be present in everything you do. The past is over — learn from it and let it go.
10. Be kind.
9. Have faith.
8. Fall in love with as many things as possible.
7. Forgive yourself.
6. A best friend is hard to come by. Treat the relationship with the love and respect it deserves.
5. Work on your handwriting.
4. Learn to love the silence.
3. What he’ll do for you, he’ll do to you.
2. There is absolutely nothing in the world so important it’s worth losing your sister over.
1. It’s okay to be afraid. Don’t let it paralyze you.