Today, I turn 25.
A whole quarter-century…! This blows my mind.
One whole quarter deposited in the piggy bank of life already.
If I thought that time flew before, these past few years, it’s basically felt like it’s going at lightening speed with each birthday that comes around. It’s truly a blessing to see this new year; so many young adults don’t make it to this age, so I’m extremely grateful for yet another day to enjoy life’s simple joys, and to celebrate another milestone birthday.
Birthdays are always a time for me to reflect back on the past year, consider what values I’ve learned or honed, and make goals for how I want to grow at my new age over the next year.
For some reason, 25 feels like a new horizon: all the 24-and-below years neatly packaged away and left behind to enter solidly into the mid- and upper-20’s. So a few months ago, I thought to myself on what I’d want going into 25. All I knew right away was that I wanted to keep knowing God deeper, and growing in my faith and relationship with Him. It’s what brings me the most joy and satisfaction, what informs my life, and what motivates me to pursue growth as a person. After that, I thought a bit more on what values I particularly leaned on over the past year, lessons that stood out to me as good life advice for myself to continue pursuing in this new year and beyond. Here are some of those thoughts.
Love people hard.
Loving people always comes with consequences that accompany that vulnerability. However, it’s completely worth it. Especially if those loved ones are your family, or friends. It’s such a privilege to have close, supportive, and loving family + friends, and I couldn’t be more grateful for mine. They always push me to be better, and inspire me in my faith. For me, loving them often comes in the form of appreciating them as much as I possibly can amidst the craziness of life from so far away. It’s not extravagant usually, but I’ve found that often, the simplest encouraging words over the phone end up meaning the most.
Let things go.
This one is so important. That person who knows you but deliberately brushed by without saying anything? Let it go. That classmate/co-worker was rude to you? Let it go. Someone you trusted disappointed you with their actions? Let it go. It’s much easier – and much less time-consuming and worry-inducing – to let things go and give it to God. He’ll protect your heart and take care of everything, if you’ll just trust Him to do so. Of course, that doesn’t mean to stand for nonsense. Ignore negativity and people who purposefully or subtly want to bring you down. But overall, let things go and focus on what’s most important to you: your faith, your family, your work or classes, your hobbies. It’s so much more life-giving to let things go, than to hold nastiness inside and let bitterness build up.
Be confident in who God’s called you to be, and what He’s called you to do.
Whenever you’re doing exactly what you’re supposed to be doing, it can ruffle feathers. But I have always been of the mindset that if not everyone is pleased, then you’re probably doing something right. After all, those who stand for nothing fall for anything (thanks for that one, Alexander Hamilton).
Don’t take yourself too seriously, and relax.
Rest is a necessary part of life, no matter how busy or chaotic it gets. It’s just something I’ve experienced and found to be true, so that morning of chilling in the sun, or that special Saturday time of making yourself pancakes while dancing to music is basically doctor-approved.
Be honest in whatever you do, and let integrity inform your life’s decisions.
Over the past years, I’ve realized that honesty and integrity are two of the most important values to me. It’s difficult in every day life, but pursuing both of these values, even if it’s the minority decision, is the goal. It is so heartwarming to me to choose the honest path with integrity, because although difficult and sometimes alienating, choosing this counterculture path is always rewarding.
Always remember that simple joys inspire life.
If you know me, by now you’d probably know that this is basically my life’s motto, so it’s always relevant to me. It would take years to appreciate every single little thing we’d happen upon in our daily routines. It’s a privilege to even have the ability to wonder at and appreciate those things! (One of my favorite “simple joys” are clouds in the sky – I can’t overstate how easily that can bring a smile to my face!). These simple joys are the treasures that make life rich.
Be an example, even when you’re the only person who sees your actions.
I want to be the kind of person who doesn’t change my actions, regardless of who may or may not be watching. This kind of ties back in with honesty and integrity. If your actions are honest, there’s no need to constantly change them to satisfy different audiences.
Love deeply, through words and actions, and overall, enjoy life.
So eat that donut…) It’s so fun to live a life of love. It’s really an adventure! There are mountains and valleys to life, but it’s so, so worthwhile when approached with a heart full of love (so thankful to have Christ’s example of this love… it’s overwhelming to think of in the best way).
I’m so incredibly thankful for 25 years on this earth. Thanks to all of you who’ve been with me thus far. Cheers to the next quarter century.