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Life lessons from a 20' something

There’s something magical about birthdays. Growing up I loved my birthday. Seriously, you can ask any of my friends, my birthday was my happy place. Unfortunately, I rarely got to celebrate my actual birthday with my friends because it came at the tail end of summer holiday, so instead I started to celebrate my half birthday.

To this day, I still celebrate both, just not as boldly.

This year, I am turning…..24. Whoa. Just recently I started to grow a bit nervous about my birthday, it means I’m getting old. Perhaps I wouldn’t care so much about getting into my mid-twenties except for the fact that when my brother turned 25, on his card I congratulated him on turning a quarter of century old. I set myself up for a bit of my nerves I think.

This year, I realized that I wanted to share some of what I’ve learned over these past few years about myself and what your twenties can be like. Care to join me?

1. Be Bold

When I look back at my life, especially these past few years, I realized I walked in a lot of fearlessness. (Ironic huh? Especially since I’m a bit nervous about my upcoming birthday.) There are a lot of things in my life that would be so vastly different if I hadn’t taken a chance. I took a chance on applying to colleges even though my grades were in the toilet in high school. Once in college, I took a chance and applied for an internship opportunity as a soon-to-be sophomore that was only available for juniors and seniors. I took a chance on taking a year off to travel the world and do mission work. I took a chance on my major, one that really only opened doors for nongovernmental work or research. I took a chance on applying for a life-changing internship post-graduation.

You don’t have to be in your 20s to get a subtle reminder to live Boldly, I think we can all use it at any time.

Are you nervous to apply for a job? Are you fearful of the rejection? Are you scared to tell that one person how much happy they make you?

Do it, my friend. Think of yourself a few years from now. Will you regret it if you don’t do it? You just may, so Be Bold today and all of your days, if for nothing else, it gives you an amazing adventure.

2. Don’t Apologize

As you can probably tell from the above stories, I haven’t lived a conventional life since I graduated high school. You want to know something else, I’m not mad about it. Many of my friends have. They did the four straight years of school, how found some amazing jobs afterwards, some have even gotten married and started their own families. It’s been beautiful to see them achieve these amazing moments of their own lives. But for me, that’s not what I want. Sure, maybe someday, but not right now.

One of the hardest things about being a nonconventional 20-something is realizing that no one’s life is ever going to look like mine. Which means I can’t compare it. It’s a double-edged sword not being able to compare my life to my friends, but we aren’t made with the same desires.

Never apologize for wanting the most out of your life. We are all different, it’s part of what makes this world so beautiful. Part of the beauty of our differences is what we want in life. If you dream of going to school for six years to get your masters, do it! If you dream of packing a bag and traveling across Canada, do it! If you dream of being the world’s best parent, do it!

You are the only one who can make your dreams a reality.

3. Live Loved

Over these past few years, I have learned a lot about myself but more about how much I love Love and how deeply I am Loved. I am Loved by my Heavenly Father, my earthly parents, my family, my friends, my mentors, my co-workers; and I love them equally so.

When I started to live my life in Love, my life changed. I looked at each person with a newfound respect for them, I wanted to make sure they knew, deep down how much they were loved.

Part of living loved means loving where I am, and who I am. Have you ever looked at yourself in the mirror and thought about how much you have wanted to change? Maybe your hair, your cheeks, your nose, your stomach, that weird way your shoulder pops up on side but not the other? I know it’s not just me.

Sometimes I’ve even looked in the mirror and wondered why in the world am I here and not (insert city or country that I love and wish I were at this moment).

I have had a grass is always greener mentality for a while, until I learned to love where I am and who I am. This is so much easier said than done, believe me, I’m still learning and probably always will.

My prayer for you sweet friend is to know how much you are loved. My heart aches for you to know. I ask one thing of you sweet friend, Look in the mirror today and tell yourself eye-to-eye something you love about who you are and where you are. Each day, do this, and slowly that list will grow. Slowly your heart will turn less to a wish of being someone else or being elsewhere and more to where you are and who you are.

4. Dream

There is a beautiful quote that I have hanging in my room by Henry David Thoreau, “Dreams are the touchstones of our Character.”

I love to dream. Growing up I had a wild imagination. One that sometimes made it hard for me to sleep due to the monsters under my bed or in my closet, but one that also made it easy for me to escape. I loved my imagination; it was one of the best places to go to.

As I got older, my imagination became a place that I dreamed of what I wanted to do in my life. I wanted to travel the world, experience other cultures, get to know the history of each place, the sights and sounds, I wanted to change the world. I wanted to take photos in the Alps and hike the Appalachian Trail.

I haven’t done everything I have dreamed of doing when I was younger, but I’m getting closer each day. My dreams define me and what I want my life to be like. My dreams help me realize what jobs I wish to take, explore and plead and pray that I get. My dreams have helped me wonder, “Where will I be in ten years? Where will I have gone? What will I have experienced?”

My dreams are apart of who I am, they are as threaded into my soul and subconscious as much as when to breathe and when my heart needs to pump.

What dreams do you have? Deep in the depths of your memory, what did you dream of doing as a child? Have you done it? Do you want to still? Believe me, whatever it is, you can do it, you can achieve it if you want to.

But please, please, always dream my dear friend. Your dreams are so precious; they keep your soul alive. No matter how silly a dream may seem, it’s true to your heart.

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