I turn 26 tomorrow, something that seems totally un-glamourous, since 26 is the most boring age ever. Nevertheless, as much as I hate birthdays, the one thing I do really like is the opportunity to reflect on the year gone by, and think back on all that’s been accomplished and learned, and understand how I changed and grew as a person. Without further adieu, here are the 25 Things I Learned/Accomplished/Changed At 25:
1) I really, really found my groove at work. I loved teaching immediately, but it took some time to adjust. My second year of teaching as been incredible. I’ve figured out what works for me, what doesn’t work for me and how I want my classroom to run and feel. It’s a good feeling to do what I love every day.
2) I learned a lot about myself when I’m NOT being a teacher. I found myself incredibly depressed over the summer because I wasn’t teaching. This year, I will be better prepared and will plan some fun things to do. As much as I yearn for a break all year, I’ve found that I need to be entertained and have a schedule.
3) I finally started using budget tools (Mint.com and online bill pay) that really revolutionized how I thought about money. It feels good to be a little bit more in control of an area that really stresses me out.
4) I ran my first 5K!
5) I pursued things I like to do: tried my hand at knitting, gardening, yoga, Scrabble, crosswords. I’ve learned how important it is for me to try these things and make them part of my life.
6) I made and sent my own Christmas cards and Valentines. While this seems like a little thing, I really, really want to be better and more intentional about connecting with friends and family, as well as take time to be creative. This served both purposes and I was extremely glad I did it.
7) I moved out of one of the most stressful living situations ever!
9) I bought my own website (this one!) and started trying to take myself more seriously as a writer.
10) I started saying “no” to things I didn’t want to do, when I used to want to say “yes” out of obligation.
11) I saw a lot of good music, starting with Kanye West and Coachella and ending with Bridge School Benefit and a few local shows.
12) My obsession with crosswords and Scrabble grew and I am now a half-decent player at both.
13) I celebrated weddings, engagements and new babies with a lot of close friends! It was definitely a joyful year for so many that I love.
14) I learned a few handy tricks: tea tree oil solves all problems, there is special tape you can use to “hem” your pants (key for a shorty like me) and not to leave your cell phone on a burner.
15) Undoubtedly, this should be number one, but I fell in love. And not just smarmy-mushy feelings love, but real, true love where I see someone warts and all, and let him see me the same way, and we love one another anyways. I took a chance on a relationship and watched it pay off in ways I never imagined. I have learned at least 25 things from this, but above all: love is always worth it. Always.
16) I moved in with a boy!
17) I came to terms with my reality TV obsession.
18) I learned that the key to having clear skin for me is Cetaphil + astringent + moisturizer + drinking copious amounts of water.
19) I visited the hometown of the person I love most, and learned a lot about where he came from, which was such a privilege.
20) I had to learn to let some friendships grow, change or evaporate. I’m not particularly good at this. Letting go of people is hard for me; however, I have learned to accept that some people are in your life for a reason or a season—and then they go. It’s been painful, but I’ve learned to cope and accept all of the good gifts life gives.
21) I have fallen in love with cottage cheese, honey on everything, Crystal Light and shrimp.
22) I have reconnected with old friends that I’ve missed and gotten to renew friendships. This truly has been one of the best parts of the year.
23) My relationship with my family has grown even more. I’ve come to realize even more that I’m incredibly fortunate to have a family that is such a huge part of my life. We’ve done weekly dinners and game times and talk regularly throughout the week. My parents are my closest friends and biggest supporters, and my family makes me laugh. Even better, they’ve embraced Andrew and it’s been fun to spend time with all of my favorite people in one room.
24) I’ve realized how much I LOVE cooking and baking, especially with fresh ingredients. This is something I hope to incorporate into my life a lot more over the next year.
25) I’ve recommitted to taking good care of ME, with working out, eating well, sleeping, drinking water…it feels really good.