Today is my 25th birthday.
Last year I decided that for my 25th birthday I would be traveling, ideally to Paris. But then I got engaged and money and PTO days at work are much more valuable when planning a wedding. I took today and tomorrow off so I could really enjoy turning a quarter century old. This morning I got breakfast in bed from my amazing fiancé, and then I slept a little bit more. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do when I woke up, so I did some of my favorite things. I wrote, I baked, and I watched I Love Lucy.
Every year on my birthday I reflect on the past year, the failures I’ve had, the accomplishments I’ve made, and the lessons I learned along the way. This year felt like a culmination of everything I’ve learned in life thus far. And even though I certainly am not the wisest owl in the forest, I have learned enough in my life to come up with 25 points. So here, my lovely readers, are some lessons I have learned that have proven to be most valuable over this past quarter of a century.
- Never cut your own bangs. But if you do, blame it on your older sister.
- Barbie’s hair doesn’t grow back when you cut it.
- Over time, if you hold her doll close to you when you sleep, your body heat will warm the plastic in her hair and fuse it together to look like dread locks. Your dad may make fun of her hair, but you know that it just means she is loved and she is real.
- People may think you’re weird, but wearing high heels all the time gives you great calf muscles. (Not to mention confidence.)
- Bullying can have a greater effect on people than you know.
- Depression is real, but you can fight it, and you can get through it.
- You can learn from your siblings at any age. Whether it’s how to share, how to cut your own hair (or not), or how to get $5 out of mom, they have already been through what you’re going through, and if they haven’t, they will still help you through it the best they can.
- Not everyone is doing it. Whatever “it” may be. And even if they are, it doesn’t mean you have to.
- Don’t lie to your parents. And don’t let your phone die if you do.
- School and exercise are very similar in that, you get out of it what you want to get out of it. (And I absolutely love school, and hate exercising).
- You’re worth much more than some people may make you feel, and you deserve better than some people have to give.
- The bad boy is fun for a minute, but not in the long run. You shouldn’t have to question anyone’s feelings for you. You shouldn’t have to wonder if you did something wrong all the time. And you certainly don’t deserve to be manipulated in any way.
- Going through the bad boy phase will help you appreciate the good guys that much more.
- Fight fairly. Don’t say anything that you don’t mean. Don’t name-call. Take a breather if you have to.
- People are going to let you down. And it’s going to hurt like Hell and make you question everything but just remember…..
- You truly are stronger than you think. You will do things that you never would have imagined, and fight things you never thought you could. When you make it out alive you’ll look back and wonder how, but what really matters isn’t how you got through it, it’s simply that you did. Just remember the sun will still rise.
- Speak up. If you don’t agree with something, if you think something is wrong, if you have a question, speak up. Nobody else can use your voice.
- If you don’t ask, the answer will always be no.
- When the world is shitty and it seems like unhappiness surrounds you, go to your comfort. Whether that means watching baby laughs on YouTube, watching I Love Lucy or Friends for hours, or simply listening to your favorite Christmas songs, find some comfort when you can’t find hope.
- Even when it’s hard to find, hope is still there behind all the darkness.
- It’s okay for your dreams to change.
- Be okay with being by yourself. Just because you’re alone, that doesn’t mean you are lonely. Get enough “me time” to make sure you keep your head on straight.
- Over time, you will lose friends. Some you will lose by choice, and some will just fade with no explanation. Priorities change, life gets busy, and people can’t always be a good friend, including yourself. Hopefully, you’ll make some new friends too!
- Family can be complicated and messy. But at the end of the day, they’re the only family you have. And if you’re lucky, like I am, they will be there for you night and day, and for any reason big or small. Learn not to take people who care about you for granted and show your appreciation as much as you can.
- You are loved. Even when it doesn’t seem like it, even when being alone feels lonely, even when you can’t see the hope behind all the darkness, you are loved.