side note: this was written on 8/8, but I was in Alaska without internet for my birthday, and have been incredibly busy back in Frankfurt since.

The day is finally here..the day I turn twenty-five. This birthday has always seemed more of an obstacle to me than thirty for some reason. Perhaps it’s the fact that twenty-five makes me officially a quarter of a century old? That’s at least the only explanation I can think of.

At times, I don’t feel old enough to be this age. I don’t feel like I’ve accomplished the things that I thought I would be now. But then I really stop to think about all that I have done and I realize that maybe I’m doing pretty well after all. Maybe not all of the moments in my life have been pleasant ones, but I’ve learned from every single one of them and I truly believe they’ve helped me to become a better person. Yes, some of the lessons are textbook thoughts that you tend to read in every self-help or coming-of-age article known to man, but they don’t seem like that big of a deal until you really live them.

  1. The painful moments show your strength more than the pleasant ones
    • This past year was a particularly difficult one for me. Years 22 and 23 were hard with moving, family members with cancer, and a miscarriage, but then 24 came and hit me like a ton of bricks after the end of a marriage. I remember thinking so many times through those years that this was just my life now- a collection of sob stories and hurt. However, now that I’ve made it through that period, I know just how strong I can be when I need to be.
  2. Asking for help is perfectly acceptable
    • For the longest time, I felt like in order to be strong, I had to take care of everything myself. Nobody that knew me really knew how much I was falling apart inside because I refused to let it show. I finally realized that I simple was unable to help myself and be emotionally healthy, so I started seeing a therapist, and it was the best thing I could have possibly done for myself.
  3. Your comfort zone is meant to be broken down
    • Moving to a different country is obviously the biggest comfort zone I’ve stepped out of, but there are little ones that go along with that: learning a new language, trying to make new friends, eating new foods. Sadly enough, I think the food issue was the biggest one for me. Any of my friends and family back home can tell you that I’m an extremely picky eater. Guess what? Not anymore!
  4. Not everything is meant to be
    • Sometimes, the things you hope and dream for don’t come true. You see certain things lining up and you think it’s going to blossom into a beautiful story, but more often than not, it’s a passing coincidence. I’ve had to tell myself time and time again to not get hung up on what “could be”.
  5. However, once in a great while, fate can take over
    • I realize this is contradictory to the last point, but there can come a time when everything just falls into place and you have no idea how or where, but appreciating the magic of that moment is all you can do. I think almost everyone gets to experience this to some degree in their lives, no matter how big or small, so if and when it does happen, embrace it.
  6. Treasure the time you have
    • I think I’ve always intellectually known that being thankful for the time you spend with loved ones is very important, but in the day-to-day, I tend to forget it. In the past few years, both of my grandmothers’ health has dramatically gone downhill, and I find myself wishing I had been able to spend more time with them to learn from them and to just hear stories about my family. When I’m in the states, I spend as much time with them as I can, but it’s impossible to get any of that lost time back.
  7. Spur of the moment decisions can sometimes lead to the greatest adventures
    • When I took the au pair job in Germany, I had a week to get my plane ticket and pack everything. I’m fairly certain that everyone I knew thought I had lost my mind because it was such a quick decision. I believe that sometimes following your gut is the best decision. When you’re young and have nothing to hold you back in your life, seeing what else is out there is a wonderful option
  8. Creating good habits can be a mind-saver
    • When I moved to Germany, I started journaling. I can’t count the amount of times I had previously started to keep a journal, but this time I kept at it. It supposedly takes around a month to make or break a habit, so I just wrote every day until I had what can only be described as a compulsion to write. At times, it’s the only way I’ve been able to stay sane and in control of everything going on around me.
  9. Some things should be experienced by yourself
    • People will always come and go. Even family won’t always be there, no matter how close you are. There will be some times in your life that you have to learn to be alone. There’s a sense of accomplishment that comes when you successfully complete a task on your own. I thankfully learned this lesson young, but I know that if I hadn’t, I would be much more dependent on people around me. Independence is a good thing.
  10. Take time to reflect and improve
    • You can always be better in some aspect of your life. There is always always room for improvement. I think the times that I’ve grown the most is when I’ve just stopped to take a step back from my life and looked for the areas that are need for improvement the greatest.
  11. You cannot compare your life to anyone else’s life and expect to be content
    • For as long as I can remember, I’ve compared myself to the people around me. Other people always had better bodies, prettier clothes, nicer houses, etc. Instead of learning to appreciate all of the good things I had to offer, I was constantly trying to keep up or surpass what other people had. Trust me, it makes for a very unhappy life.
  12. Learn to stand up for yourself
    • There are bound to be people out there who will try to take advantage of you. It may be in a relationship and it may even be in a job. Knowing what your responsibilities are and what should be expected of you versus what actually is being expected of you is key. There can be a very fine line between trying to help someone and being taken advantage of. I’ve always been one to try and make people happy, even if it means not getting what I want or believe I deserve, but there are a few times where I’ve had to put my foot down and I’m glad I was able to stand up for myself when it was necessary.
  13. Not all friendships will last for all eternity
    • I had a friend in elementary school that I could have sworn I would have been best friends with for the rest of my life. Our friendship lasted through several different moves, but for some reason, the communication slowly faded to nothing. I tried and tried to reach out to her, but it was a one-sided attempt. I finally just had to tell myself that maybe she was just finished with the friendship and had moved on with her life. If I’m honest, it still makes me sad, but I also know there’s nothing else I can do to get that friendship back
  14. You don’t have to justify your decisions or actions to everyone
    • Sometimes, you are the only person who needs to know the reasoning behind the decision you make. Everyone and their mother is going to have an opinion on that piercing you got when you were 18, the dozens of different hair styles you’ve had, or the huge move you’re planning. Some of the big, life-changing decisions may warrant an outside opinion, but make sure it’s one that you trust. Just make sure you’re doing them for the right reason.
Alaska- August 2014
Alaska- August 2014

3 thoughts on “Lessons

  1. Oh my goodness. I love this. Sometimes I wish I had learned some of these lessons a lot sooner in life. Hope your quarter century birthday was an amazing one! xo

    1. It was more than wonderful! And I kinda wish I had learned some of these sooner, but then again, I think all lessons are learned when they’re meant to so they can have the most lasting impact on our lives

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