I turn 25 this month.
In some ways, I feel way too young to turn this old. I’m still mastering how to use my gas oven. I’m still burning microwaveable popcorn more often than I’d like to admit. I’m still putting off doing laundry until I’m down to my last pair of underwear.
In other ways, I feel way too old to be this young. I’ve lost some and loved some. I’ve withered and I’ve grown. I’ve meekly shied away from obstacles and I’ve fiercely faced them head-on.
Growing older isn’t easy.
I know I’m not very old in the grand scheme of things, but as each year passes, I feel pressured to be wiser, smarter, more refined. It’s like there’s this huge expectation for me to impart some sage advice each year.
While I don’t think I have some earth-shattering wisdom to impart, here are takeaways from my 24th year of life:
- Living authentically is better than living a lie. Before I opened up about my anxiety and depression, I felt ashamed and withdrawn. Each year I feel more confident about sharing my journey, and each year I am rewarded by finding friends who can struggle (and succeed!) with me in the same boat.
- The best kinds of people stick around. It’s easy to be friends with someone when they’re witty and fun. It’s harder to be friends with someone when they’re down and mute. Loyalty and steadfastness does not go unnoticed.
- Kindness is cool. It may be easier to be rude or shut someone out, but being kind goes a long way, and being kind is important.
- Self-care looks different for everyone. To me, self-care is usually going to the rock wall or taking a long bubble bath. To my friends, self-care can be doing yoga or eating a pint of Ben & Jerry’s. Neither of us is wrong. We’re just doing our own thing!
- Depression is hard, but facing it alone is harder. Even though it’s natural for me to isolate myself and withdraw, depression is much easier with friends and family by my side (see #2).
- Call your mom, she loves you. Going on my third consecutive year not living at home, I still call Sweet Denise for just about everything. I ask for laundry tips and recipes, she asks about my boyfriend and my job. (Also call your dad. He loves you too).
- Don’t give up on your dreams. Three years ago I decided I wanted to be a lawyer. Two years ago I didn’t think I was smart or stable enough to make it. This summer I took the LSAT. If you want something, pray about it and then pursue it.
I don’t think I am the wisest, smartest or most refined woman out there. I do know I’ve grown and learned and sharpened who I am and what I do.
I hope this time next year I feel the same way: older, wiser, more attuned with who I am and what I do. I hope I can have more takeaways and lessons under my belt. It isn’t every day you turn a year older, but every day you can become wiser.