| 25 |

Birthday Girl

24 was a year for the books.

I would label it as the year of change. It was overflowing with life lessons that revealed themselves through welcomed and unwelcome surprises. Although there were quite a few road bumps for me during this past birth year, there were also a few of the most magical moments I have ever experienced in my life. And those magical moments are the ones that will make my year of being a 25-year-old the best one yet!

With in the last few months, it feels like my 24-year-old self has been prepping me for my new and improved life as a 25-year-old. A mental shift happened and I had my very own “ah ha” moment. For so long I have been in competition with myself, and no matter what I did, I never saw myself as being good enough. I left a lot of my ability to be successful and happy in the hands of others, and I never fully learned how to love every nook and cranny of my inner being. Only now am I starting to realize that that this is not the kind of life I want to live. I don’t want to just have everything look fine and dandy on the outside, but I want to completely love myself from within. I finally realized that I am the only one who is in complete control over my life, and I need to step up and do just that. Realizing this was a lightning bolt of empowerment. I don’t know why it took so long for this switch to flip, but I am overwhelmingly thankful that the time is finally here.

I have always had an optimistic outlook on life. Actually, at points I am almost overly optimistic. I have so much love and joy oozing through my pores, that I just can’t wait to spread it on to others. It’s like a natural need for me – to do anything in my power to make others happy; to make them feel fully and completely loved; to make them feel special. But when I finally took a step back, I realized that I didn’t have that same outlook for me. And that’s kind of a big deal. Perception. The way we view our world, our lives, our passions, and the ones around us. Good or bad, we decide how we are going to feel about every single situation. It’s one thing to always see the good in others, but when we choose to not believe in ourselves, we lose our fire, our edge, and our free spirit. I know I did.

Now, it’s not like I have never had any respect for who I am. I love myself in certain ways, but I am always pushing myself too hard because I feel like everything about me could forever be better. I have always had confidence in things such as my outer appearance, my ability to be creative, my weird personality, and the fact that I almost love too hard. But there are certain things that I don’t have such a positive outlook on. For instance, I absolutely hate confrontation…so much so that I have never allowed myself to actually have a voice. I will gladly stand up for others, but for some reason I have an incredibly hard time standing up for myself. I also have troubles believing in myself. I can never quite grasp on to the things that others seem to see within me. I am too hard on myself. No matter what I do, I think that it could always be done better. And when it comes down to it, those traits that I have such a negative outlook on are the traits that are most important. They are the things, that once built up, will make me unstoppable. They will make me feel compete.

In the past 12 months I’ve become so incredibly awake to who I am as a person and to how incredibly lucky I am to be surrounded by such loving and supportive people. I always knew that I was lucky, but I guess I never really allowed myself to see how lucky I truly am. We all have thoughts about what unconditional love looks like, but I am so blessed to say that I know exactly what it looks like and how it feels. I experience it everyday through my incredible family, my loving fiancé, and all of my amazing friends. And now that I am so in tune to what unconditional love really is, I truly feel like I can start feeling that way about myself. Like I said, this journey to fully loving myself is very new to me. The whole process has just started, and I am already realizing that it’s not a change that will happen over night. I am also realizing that it’s not going to be easy. I am going to have to completely rewire my thoughts and how I perceive things. I need to rewire them to see the truth: that I am beautiful, I am unique, that I matter, and that I have always been good enough.

I always thought that once I turned 25 that I would have everything figured out – I thought that I would have all of the answers. A year ago if you would’ve asked me what I was doing with my life I would’ve said “I don’t know” and that scared the shit out of me. Today you could ask me the same question and I would have the exact same answer. The only difference is that I am no longer afraid. Soon I will be moving to a completely new city that I know absolutely nothing about. I will be living a lifestyle that is light-years away from what I have always known. I have no idea where my career will take me or what I am going to do. And I will be thousands of miles away from everyone and everything I have ever known or relied on. To most, that all would sound absolutely terrifying. But once again, it’s all about perception. Yes, there are more unknowns in my life than I can even begin to count, but that doesn’t matter when I have some rock-solid constants. Soon I will be marrying the love of my life – the man who I know I can trust with my whole mind, body, and soul. I have my family (the ones who have been around forever and my soon-to-be family) who I know would go to extreme lengths just to make sure that I know that I am loved, that I am protected, and that I have their unwavering support. I have an unbelievably strong faith that will carry me through during the good times and the bad. And soon I will build up my most powerful constant of all – unconditional love for myself, inside and out. With those four things, I will be unstoppable. I will no longer fear the unknown, because I can trust that no matter what life throws at me, I will get through it.

So, with all of that said, I am labeling 25 as being the year of growth. I can’t wait to become the best version of myself. And more so, I can’t wait to see how this best version of me takes this world by storm!

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