24 Thoughts as I Turn 24
It's almost my birthday. Like, it's tomorrow. YAY. I'm a major, MAJOR fan of birthdays (everyone's, not just my own, but especially my own, of course) and it helps that my love languages are gifts and words...which everyone gives me on my birthday. :)
As a new year rolls around, I've been thinking a lot about my life and what I've learned so far over the years. I decided to just gather up all of these random thoughts and plop them into a list of 24 things... so here you have it!
- I'm overwhelmingly grateful for a gracious, good God who daily gives me grace, reminds me of His love, and draws me closer to His heart.
- I really, truly love that my city feels like home in the best way. Richmond, you're cool.
- Going two months without drinking a drop of coffee is a worthwhile experiment, but ultimately, a life without coffee is not a life I want to live.
- I love being part of a church where I am known, where I belong, where I am challenged and encouraged and invited into deeper, truer worship among other believers.
- I'm thankful for a job I so genuinely enjoy doing every day, and for the people I get to work alongside in the process.
- You will realize at 24 that you are no longer peers with the college kids. You will realize you are so glad high school is far in the the past. You will realize how far you have come from the days when you didn't know how to actually straighten you hair, or that tweezers would solve bushy eyebrows. You will tell your dentist it's been 12 years since you got your braces off and you will realize you're getting old.
- Gluten-free and vegan food is everywhere, and it's amazing how much easier (and tastier!) it continues to get. There are now vegan and gluten-free donuts at a truck in Richmond, and I can already hear the hallelujah chorus ringing out.
- One of the sweetest parts of growing up is becoming best friends with your parents.
- I'm so glad to have a great apartment in a fun area of town to call home and a great friend to share it with. I'm not glad that our upstairs neighbors are elephants who love to loudly practice piano at all hours of day and night while also running marathons and moving furniture.
- It's a gift to run a blog full of words that are honest and true, written by a team of powerhouse writers I get to cheer on and call friends.
- It's good (and necessary and important and fun) to treat yo'self. It might mean buying a new book, or taking a nap instead of tackling the to-do list, or buying that dress that makes you feel hot, or getting fro-yo on a Saturday night. I'm a fan. Life is too short to deprive yourself of things that bring you joy and remind you how good things can be.
- Speaking of good things, even when the world seems like it's going down the drain, it's still a really good place. There is still hope. There are still people battling the odds and coming out victorious. God is still moving and working and winning. Babies are still laughing and puppies are still flopping all over and Instagram is still showing us endless videos of both. Diseases are being cured and brothels are being shut down and slaves are being freed and people are realizing God is for them. Choose joy. Choose to open your eyes and your heart and choose to see the beauty that is all around, even on dark days.
- There were really good shows on TV when I was a kid, and I totally missed out. Praise the Lord for Netflix and finally watching Friends and Gilmore Girls for the first time in my twenties.
- Move your body. Go on long walks after work when you just want to collapse on the couch. Go to yoga in the park every week. Stretch when you wake up. And hey, if you really want to go crazy, go to the gym that's literally one minute from your front door.
- Sleep is essential. The people who try to hustle at all hours of day and night while surviving on three hours of sleep and seventeen cups of coffee are crazy people. Don't try to be like them. Turn the lights out at 9 pm and wake up when your alarm goes off (okay, you can snooze a few times, because I know you will anyway) and let your body rest when it needs to.
- Fresh flowers somewhere in your apartment at all times is necessary.
- Essential oils are a game-changer. When migraines hit hard and nothing seems to touch it, surprisingly, those little oils rubbed on your head will actually bring relief. There's a million other great uses to them too, so keep having fun figuring those out.
- It's good to find the things that define you, but they don't have to confine you. If you gravitate to wearing lots of black, that's awesome. But you're also still allowed to wear a bright, colored, patterned dress if you want and not feel weird about it.
- It's much harder to maintain friendships now, but it's just as worth it. Make the moves. Keep in contact.
- It's worth it to step out and say "put me in, coach!" I recently did this with a woman I admire at church, and because of grabbing coffee with her, I ended up getting connected to a whole other event going on, and it's been so fun to find new ways to get involved because I took the first steps forward. Ask the questions. Volunteer your time. See what happens.
- There is so much "pressure" to have a certain kind of online presence or to cultivate a strong personal brand...but I'm learning to toss that out the window. I lose followers every single time I post a picture of myself and that used to really bug me, but now? SEE YA. How many people follow me does not actually matter AT ALL in the world, and I'm learning to let my online spaces just be a free place for me to share what I want, how I want, when I want, without worrying what people are going to think. It's a process, but it's been a good and healthy one.
- Bodies are beautiful. I have wasted so much time over the years worrying about my stomach not being flat enough or my hair not being styled enough or WHATEVER, and it's time to shut those voices up. I'm alive. I'm strong. I'm healthy. My body has climbed mountains, fought off the flu, battled food allergies, survived four knee surgeries, carried me around a hilly college campus, crossed the finish lines of races, danced to good music... my body is a beautiful thing that I want to stop shaming and start celebrating.
- Finding your people might look different than you thought it would. Your people might end up being spread out in different cities, or might be a team of ten women of all ages in all stages of life, or might be your coworkers. Whoever they are, love them well. Remind them they are appreciated. Hold them close because life is better with your people.
- "How rare and beautiful it is to even exist." It's a gift, this life. It's one I never want to take for granted. I want to exist meaningfully, live fully, love deeply, forgive freely, celebrate often, choose joy, and do it all for God's glory. It's a new year, a blank canvas, and I can't wait to splash new colors of new memories over it all as the days go by. It's all a gift. I'm grateful.