[Read to tune of my voice, it will all make more sense (o;]
I turn 25 in a few days, #woah. So, naturally, in my last few days as an "early twenty something", I started googling.
I googled lots of things. For example: "What changes when you turn 25? "Does my insurance really go down at 25?", "Does anything really cool happen when you turn 25?" And lastly, I googled, "Things To Do Before You Turn 25."
And... I found this.
I read and reread the list a couple of times, convinced myself that while I might not have completed all of the items on this particular "to-do list" (because frankly, some of which were legitimately odd)-- I did find a selection that really hit home...
Number 12: Take time to revisit the places that made you who you are: the apartment you grew up in, your middle school, your hometown. These places may or may not be here forever; you definitely won't be.
And touche! While I love living in Chicago and any weekend away is bittersweet, I've made it a point to get out there and visit the people and places I love. You see, I grew up in a town that is a little behind the modern scope of life. It still baffles me that Terre Haute, Indiana doesn't have a Target in 2012, but it also doesn't change my sincere love for the city. It's a joy to go home every now and then; to visit my family and friends and a few of my favorite "fine dining" establishments. Yes, I'm talking about Taco Casita and The Olive Garden, don't hate.
Number 13: Find a hobby that makes being alone feel lovely and empowering and like, something to look forward to.
Interior decorating has become a huge passion/hobby of mine. So much that my favorite Interior Design blog of all time showcased my apartment in a house tour! It was featured around this time last year and it was such a special feeling to see my apartment being recognized for all its charm and treasures.
Number 16: Identify your fears and instead of letting them dictate your every move, find and talk to people who have overcome them. Don't settle for experiencing .000002% of what the world has to offer because you're afraid of getting on a plane.
When I moved to Chicago, a lot of people kept telling me how big and unsafe it was. Sure, I had some hesitations, but I also had a million and one reasons to be excited about this new endeavor in my life! So instead of freaking out, I put one foot in front of the other and charged onward. Coincidentally, during my first month of living in Chicago, I found this precious necklace (engraved in braille) that says, 'Be Brave.' This necklace has been such a beautiful reminder, that life is too short not to skip, jump, and leap into life-- even if you're blindfolded.
Number 25: Quit that job that's making you miserable, end the relationship that makes you act like a lunatic, lose the friend whose sole purpose in life is making you feel like you're perpetually on the verge of vomiting. You're young, you're resilient, there are other jobs and relationships and friends if you're patient and open.
This past year, year 24, was a really life changing year for me. Yes, I know the phrase "life changing" is pretty overused, but I went through some pretty raw and humbling experiences that ultimately shaped me into a better version of myself.
You see, this time last year I was working in a job I wasn't thrilled with. I was a little lost when it came to what I thought I wanted and/or needed in the male companion and I began to find out who my true friends were.
And while I don't have it ALL figured out yet, I can say that year 24 was honestly the best year of my life. I found a company that truly values it's employees, lives by its mission and makes me want to get up in the morning. I've discovered the difference between "what I want" and "what I need" in a relationship and lastly, I am 100% confident my faith, family and my circle of friends are the biggest blessing(s) in my life.
So did I live up the cliche of "finding myself before I turned 25?" I dunno, probably not. But what's the point in "finding yourself" at 25; why not keep learning, loving and discovering yourself every day! As one of my favorite poets, Rainer Maria Rilke wrote, "Be patient towards all that is unsolved in your heart, and learn to love the questions themselves."
With that, I toast to YEAR 25 and question marks.