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Today I turn 25 years old.

A quarter century.

To be honest, every birthday leading up to this one I still felt like a child. I thought that maybe 25 would be the “changing” year when I would finally feel like a “real” adult; the year people would finally take me seriously. Now that 25 is here, I’ll admit there is a sense of urgency that accompanies it. Indeed, it is a season of change. Holy crap, I’m getting old.

There’s also a bit of sentiment surrounding turning 25 years old. I think about some of the things I have endured thus far in life. I think about the things I have accomplished, and the things I have not accomplished. It always seems that birthdays bring along emotions and deep wonderings surrounding my past, present, and future. Am I living life the way I truly see fit?

25 years. It amazes me I’m getting closer to my 10- year high school reunion. When did that happen? And how blessed I am to still remain very close to a few of my high school friends. I think about the obstacles I have overcome in life when it was painstakingly hard to put one foot in front of the other. My first heartbreak when I was 18 years old. Living long distance from my future- fiancé when I was in college. I think about severed friendships that have occurred throughout the past few years. I think about the nights when I felt lost and confused because I literally had no idea who I was.

It’s funny, because when I was just a child, I imagined my life at 25 to be very different from what my life is now. I surely thought by now I would be married, have kids, be a famous author, and live somewhere on the coast. Of course, life doesn’t always turn out exactly how you plan, but that’s what makes the ride beautiful. I never would have imagined that by 25 years old I would still be in school, broke as heck and living in my hometown. Yet, I never would imagined how beautiful my life would turn out, and how happy I would be.

I have learned that as you grow, the plan doesn’t always work out. And that’s okay. In fact, it’s more than okay.

Some lessons I have learned this year…

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I have learned that my happiness is not defined by my accomplishments. I used to think, Once I achieve XYZ, I’ll be happy. Accomplishing goals feels amazing because it validates all of your hard work, but the things that have made me the most happy this year have been the simple things; bringing our puppy home, having a meaningful conversation over dinner with Trevor, grilling out with my parents on the patio. These simple things give me so much more joy and fulfillment than my accomplishments ever could. Why? Because these moments bring me peace, comfort, and unconditional love.

I have learned that living life has become so much easier once you learn to forgive; holding grudges is one of the most painful things you can ever put yourself through. Learning to let things go and choosing to move forward is the bravest thing you can do for yourself. Trust me, learning to get past the things that have hurt you will allow you to breathe easier into your future.

I have learned that self-acceptance is a journey, and that there is no magic “number” that defines acceptance. Not the number on the scale; not a number in inches; not an age. I think about how perfectionism has ruined my life in so many aspects, yet I am fully aware of how I have allowed it to do so. Choosing to focus on fitness and holistic health has benefited me in so many more ways than choosing to “get skinny” or “be perfect.”

I have learned that I can be very selfish at times, which is okay in some aspects; but in other aspects, it isn’t always okay. I have found myself to have entitled thinking at times, Well I deserve XYZ because I have done XYZ. That is not always the way life works. Sometimes, hard work doesn’t always get you places. Sometimes, you need a little luck as well. It’s important to focus on what you have, instead of what you do not have. Thinking about what you lack in life compared to what you have will only send you to a bottomless pit of ungratefulness and unhappiness.

I have learned how exhausting it can be living your life to please others. I gave that up a long time ago, and I haven’t looked back since.

I have learned not to take people for granted. I have been blessed with an amazing support system and sometimes forget to be thankful for everything they do for me.

I have learned how important it is to hold your head high when others belittle you or attempt to make you feel unworthy. The best thing you can do for yourself is to know your worth and have confidence, even amidst the darkest moments.

I have learned to slow down to appreciate the small moments in life, because life could literally end at any minute. Trevor works with Emergency Management, and every year we are painfully reminded of how fragile life is.

I have learned how freeing it can be to not care what others think about me.

I have learned how easy it can be to reconnect with those who I have lost touch with. Just pick up the dang phone.

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I am excited to see what 25 brings. It’s the year I’ve been waiting for; the year I marry the love of my life, the year I graduate, the year I start my career. The year I make babies? Who knows 😉

So here’s to change. Here’s to new beginnings. Here’s to being happy with the now.

Xoxo,

  • Zana Djakovic

    Happy birthday my dear Chels! Wish you nothing but the best. May all your dreams come true. :)
    Being 25 is amazing. 😀
    This post was very inspirational to read. I am so proud of you!
    Sending you lots of love!❤

    • Aw thank you so much, sweetie! You are the BEST!!!

  • Happy birthday Chelsea!!

    • Thank you so much, love!!

  • Happy Birthday! I’m in the same boat, I turn 25 very soon. I still feel like a child, but am slowly realizing that I am becoming the oldest person in the room when I used to be the youngest. I also agree that living your life to please others is exhausting!

    • Omg, exactly! I’m finding I’m the oldest rather than youngest! So weird lol

  • Happy birthday!! 25 is such a weird age. I think it’s a combination of being able to say you’re a quarter of a century AND all of those things you thought your life would be and how different it is. I hope this is the best year yet for you!

    • Aw thank you so much Rachel. I appreciate you stopping by!

  • Happy Birthday Chels! It’s so freeing to get to the point where you realize what’s truly important in life and what’s not. Like learning not to care so much about what others think of you. Hope this year is a great one for you, gorgeous!

    • Aw thank you sweetie! It truly is freeing. I’m not 100% there yet, but I hope to be soon!! <3

  • Elizabeth Johnson

    Happy birthday!! I remember 25, it is such a fun year. I love all your reflections. Some really great lessons! It is definitely freeing to not care what other people think and to forgive. Those two are very difficult to learn and apply. That’s awesome that you are doing it at 25! I know people well into their 50’s and 60’s and they still haven’t figured those things out! I hope you have an incredible 25th year!!

    • Well, I am “trying.” I might not have it all figured out just yet 😉 Thank you so much, Elizabeth! xoxo

  • Happy 25th birthday girl! I’ll be turning 25 in July and definitely agree that it’s a birthday that brings up some emotions. The plans that we make for ourselves when we’re younger for all the things we want to do by the time we get to 25 often times don’t happen, but that is totally OKAY! Sometimes we change and therefore our plans change :)

    Hope you are having a fabulous birthday!!

    Kristen | http://www.sophisticatedgal.com

    • Aw thank you so much Kristen! So cool, we are so close in age! It is crazy, but that’s what makes life beautiful. <3 Happy early birthday, love!

  • Happy birthday! I love the tagline of your blog! How you wrote about what you have learned is so beautiful and such a purposeful way to start year 26!

    • Aw thank you, Davi! You are seriously the sweetest!! <3

  • Happy belated birthday! I turn 25 in October and I’m already feeling the rush of turning another year older. It’s so hard to believe. I loved reading the lessons you’ve learned, as I’m trying to learn a handful of them right now.

    • Aw girl! The best is yet to come for us! Cheers, girlfriend!! <3

  • Happy belated birthday!! When I turned 25, I too had a huge time of reflection. I also freaked out a little because I felt I should have been at a different place in my life. Though, it wasn’t what I had pictured it would be when I was younger, it was right where I needed to be. So many great lessons here girl!! I hope you enjoy being 25!

    • That’s exactly how I feel! Thank you so much, sweetie. <3

  • Happy Birthday!!! You go girl!