Happy 25th birthday to me! I almost went out and took pictures in a dolled up little black dress holding gold balloons to look Instagram perfect. Sometimes as a blogger I feel that’s what the internet expects of me, but let’s keep it real. I woke up early for a morning run, packed my husband’s lunch, met with a dear friend for lunch (she drove 2 hours just to come see me. Gosh I love her), read a book on the grass in the backyard, and spent the remainder of my day pecking at my keyboard in sweat pants, hair pulled back, no make up and my thick purple glasses eating Mike & Ike’s. That’s real life for an aspiring writer.
I’ve been contemplating this milestone for about a month now, and it’s made me feel a little nostalgic to think back through all the years that have flown by. In 25 years, there’s plenty I’ve realized, and even more I’ve learned. So here it is: 25 lessons I learned by age 25.
1. Life is really what you make it. Be creative.
We so easily get lost in the mundane routines of life. It can be boring and miserable or exciting and fulfilling. It is what you make it. One example I’ll share is my husband and I were stuck in the John F. Kennedy airport on our way home from Puerto Rico. Instead of wasting 6 hours with our faces glued to our cell phones, we played hide and go seek instead! Yes, grown adults in public playing little kid games. It truly is one of my favorite memories.
While I’m at it…
2. Make memories. Travel.
Whether you travel the world (or travel your state — we’ve done both), it’s one of the only things you will spend your money on that makes you richer. Aaron and I decided as a couple that we will have the rest of our lives to make money and we will have responsibilities in the future like kids, work, and church callings that will come before anything else. Therefore, we have chosen to invest in our time together now, and make memories now.
3. Satan thrills when he can wedge himself between two people who love each other.
And we become weary by holding a grudge.
There are certain hurts & betrayals that you’ll never forget, but forgiveness will bring you the peace to move on.
5. We will be spiritually young our entire life – we are always learning & progressing
During General Conference just a few weeks ago, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland said, “Celestial goals may seem beyond our reach…but we have divine potential. Beating up on ourselves will not allow us to become who God has ordained us to be. This gospel is for the perfecting of Saints, and we are always ‘Trying to be like Jesus.’
6. Social media sucks (sorry mom, I know you taught me not to say that word).
Because the internet has the power to create feelings of envy, jealousy, and comparison, find courage to put it away, even just for a time. Otherwise, add light and humor to other’s lives by teaching, inspiring, rather than portraying our idealized self.
7. Prayer is sacred
It keeps us converted. It’s a commandment because He wants us to seek proximity to Him. We are always on the path to conversion.
8. You are a Child of God
Today, tomorrow, eternally. That is a miracle.
9. Your Mom is always right (about everything)
Don’t ask me how, but my mom knew that several of my ex-boyfriends were wrong for me long before I did. Of course, I didn’t listen to her, but if I had, I could have saved myself a lot of heartache. Don’t be dumb like I was. Take your mom’s advice.
Also, call your mom. Don’t let those 27 hours of labor go to waste!
10. Get outside in nature. Enjoy creation!
11. Insecurity & fear are part of being alive
We all struggle with it in some shape or form. I’m insecure about many things; my splotchy eyebrows & my ACT score, to name a few, but my husband still thinks I’m beautiful and I still graduated college. I’m likewise scared of many things; death, debt, and pitching my articles. Every day I have to choose that I will have faith in the Plan of Salvation. Every day I have to choose I will pay my tithing, and every day I have to choose I will write my articles because that’s how I’ll grow. I’ll grow in faith and I’ll grow in ability. President Uchtdorf, also from General Conference, counceled us by saying: “Blessings come not because of our abilities but because of our choices.”
Every day you have the choice to let insecurity and fear be your motivator… OR your prevention from accomplishing goals. Blessings do come for following spiritual promptings… and for following your dreams. That I know. And once you do, you won’t understand why you were so afraid to begin with.
12. TEST YOUR OWN LIMITS
Running marathons has taught me a lot about life and testing my own limits. Push yourself physically & you’ll probably learn that you’re stronger than you thought. Remind yourself of that moment next time you feel like giving up. It’s a powerful feeling.
13. Perfection ISN’T REAL. Stop chasing it.
I am still learning (accepting) the fact that I can’t plan out every single detail of life. Likewise, I can’t be perfect in every single detail of life. Recently I saw a quote posted by a friend that read, “Don’t sacrifice the good to chase the perfect” and it made me realize: Would I rather spend time in the temple (the good) or wash the dirty dishes (chasing the “perfect” house)? Whatever your goals are, either a relationship with the Savior or a cleanly house, they’re both important, but I promise the dirty dishes can wait.
14. Less is more…
…when it comes to make up, jewelry, and friends. Don’t get me wrong, as a kid I had lots of friends and I loved it. But now, I probably have about five true friends, and I love it way more. I have no doubt that they’ll be there when I need them, and I genuinely want to be there for them too.
15. Most of the things we worry about never happen. About 90 percent of the time.
So stop worrying.
16. Pay off your debt ASAP
I’ve learned A LOT being married to an accountant who listens to Dave Ramsey on every road trip we take. Just pay it.
17. Laugh as often as possible
My parents arranged family pictures for my side of family recently, and the photographer told Aaron, “Alright, now whisper sweet nothings into her ear.” What he interpreted “sweet nothings” to be was, “I like big butts & I can not lie!” Which then created this:
18. It’s Okay to Change Your Mind
In college, I changed my major 3 times before I found one that was good for me. I’ve dyed my hair red, brunette, and pink, I moved apartments in the middle of a semester, I’ve written and rewritten lists of future baby names 100 times over, and I debate about my entree meal at a restaurant much longer then necessary. See, don’t feel obligated to stick to anything in your life that ceases to make you happy. Variety is certainly the spice of life…but don’t dye your hair pink.
19. Stay spontaneous
Even if that means a 13 hour road trip to hug your 93-year-old grandfather. I really wish I had made more of an effort to make him part of my life as a child. Just look how cute he is!
20. Always act when the Prophet speaks
And follow with exactness.
21. Let your loved ones know that you love them every single day
22. Cemeteries are fascinating (a realization)
It’s true. They are one of my favorite places to be. You see names of people, but you don’t know their stories — their struggles, their joys, their earthly opportunities. All we see is the dash between the day they came to earth and the day they left. It makes you realize that the dash is all we get, and I wish to make the most of mine.
23. Blasting music and dancing around the basement is good for your soul (I do it all the time!)
24. Nutella is disgusting (another realization)
25. Faith over Fear
Last the best of all the game. This phrase has been my best friend over the past 14 months throughout many personal decisions and situations, but my husband had the opportunity to listen to an older gentleman as he spoke of his experience in the Cold War. He compared the Cold War to where we are today. “Today,” he said, “seems like the end of the world is right around the corner. People are scared and we feel the fear from the natural disasters and terrorism.” This man explained, “I remember the Cold War…and it was terrible. But now, when I think of the Cold War and when it is talked about, it doesn’t seem as scary as the way things are now and the way they are going. We survived the Cold War, but we haven’t survived tomorrow. It’s the uncertainty of tomorrow that brings us fear, but the odds are we will survive tomorrow.”
It is perspective that gives us the difference. Have faith over fear; faith that tomorrow will bring good things, rather then relishing in fear while anticipating the future.
I’m happy I’ve learned these lessons, and I look forward to learning many more.
All my love,