As I Stare Down the Barrel of a Quarter Century

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I plucked a grey eyebrow hair last week. To say this created quite a cloud over my head would be an understatement.

I turn 25 on the 13th, and while I don’t think I’m exactly unraveling at the seams about it, I’m certainly aware that it’s coming. No, I don’t think I’m old, I don’t think I’m “not where I wanted to be by this age” and I’m far from having any sort of quarter-life crisis. I’m simply in tune with the reality that I’ve lived some life. And that greying early is a tough genetic situation to find yourself in.

I’m aware that that little girl in the pool has grown up into the fully functioning adult that I currently am. And that she grew up into a time when a majority of communication was done in the form of lists. So here’s 13 thoughts from this almost-25 year old.

1. Lists are mostly for the people who write them. I have 0 solid pieces of advice for people in their twenty’s. Like-absolutely none. And not because I think I’m not living mine well–I actually think I am and I’m bout to tell you some of the reasons why–but because my way is my way.

“There are as many ways to live in this world as there are people in this world, and each one deserves a closer look.”

That’s a quote from Harriet the Spy. I remember it ’cause I watched it last week. I watched it last week ’cause I wanted to. As overstated as it is, I can’t stress enough–you do you. If you read something in the vast world of lists and advice columns and articles on how to live your life that strikes a chord and feels right- go for it. But don’t take even one of them as some sort of all-knowing instruction manual for your life because you’re the only one living it.

2. Get a mentor and be a mentor. I love my friends that are my peers; they are so dear to me. But I have to say that my relationship with my mentor and my relationships with the girls I mentor are downright invaluable. These relationships could not look any different from each other–ranging from discussing deep-seated wounds over sushi to locker drama over grilled cheese–but they are equal parts challenging, illuminating and life-giving. And Harry Potter is a topic of discussion in both scenarios, which is just really important to me. Few things are as helpful to me as receiving encouragement and wisdom from a woman who loves me well and has gone through the season of life I’m currently enduring. Few things are as meaningful to me as pouring out encouragement and wisdom to girls who love me well and are going through a season of life that I somehow endured.

3. A hobby is something you do, not something you talk about doing. When I have to list my hobbies for any random reason, I always include “reading”. Because I truly LOVE to get lost in the pages of a book with no intent of setting it down til it’s finished. But sometimes binge-watching TV is easier. It’s easier to eat cookie butter with a spoon and re-watch Arrested Development than it is to hold a book in my hand. But when I think back on some of my favorite days of my life, they were physically spent by pools, on floor pillows, curled up in the flowery chair in the loft and mentally spent at Hogwarts, amongst the Edema Ruh or with the goon squad. I’m not knocking binge-watching. But I am endorsing the idea of living more days that will go into your “time well spent doing something I love” column rather than your “I don’t really remember what I did that day” column.

4. NEVER stop listening to your guilty pleasure music. If there is a singer or song that you enjoy listening to for no real artistic reason and strictly because you have fun listening to it–listen to it. I could listen to Miley Cyrus’s “The Climb” every morning for the rest of my life and never not feel empowered by it. I don’t have to explain that to my friends any more than they should have to explain their love of country to me or that one “Rude” song I hate.

5. Know how to cook at least one relatively healthy and fulfilling meal all for yourself. I see this one being said a lot, and I think it’s a good one. I love Bagel Bites or swinging through Chipotle as much as the next millenial, but there’s something really rewarding about buying fresh ingredients, spending time in the kitchen cooking instead of waiting for the microwave to ding and sitting down to a meal with elements found on the food pyramid.

6. Money is going to stress you out in one way or another. I have no wisdom here except for make a budget. It’s annoying and it’s tedious and it will remind you that sometimes it’s unwise to buy every useless product in the Target dollar section and that can be a sad realization. But you need a budget and you need it sooner rather than later. Future you will appreciate it.

7. Do NOT scroll through entire Instagram accounts. When will this be valuable to you? Are you going to say to someone you just met or someone you’re interested in that you thought that picture of their road-trip from two summers ago was well-filtered or ask them where that macaroon they ate 47 weeks ago was from? No good comes from this level of lurking–you’re either comparing your life to someone else’s or obsessing over another human being or any other myriad of unnatural tendencies that only occur in the social media world. Get your life together and go on your own road trip and eat your own macaroons.

8. Call your parents. When you need advice, when you have a funny story, when you’re curious what they’re up to, when you can’t remember how to cut an onion, when you miss them, when you’re on long drives, when you remember they raised you, when you have absolutely nothing all that interesting to talk about, when you remember they’re humans too with stories worth hearing, whenever, whenever, whenever. They’re yours and you’re theirs and if you have time to be 47 weeks deep into a stranger’s Instagram account, you can spare time for a phone call to the humans that made you and then made you you.

9. Hydrate. Drink some dang water. Every day. Your tongue WILL turn yellow if you get all hopped up on coffee and soda all day and don’t have some water in your system. Trust me. I promise. I know.

10. Make all the time in the world for your old friends while taking every opportunity to make new friends. I still keep up with my two best friends from middle school. The friend I spend the most time with today was my friend when Ashlee Simpson & Ryan Cabrera were still relevant. You should do what you can to maintain the friends you’ve had for years–they will remind you of your growth, the things you’ve always cared about, the stories that shaped you. But don’t use this as an excuse to stay boxed in and closed off to the possibility that there are new people who will help you grow and give you fresh things to care about and experience new stories with that will shape you. Every old friend you have right now was a new friend you made room for once upon a time.

11. But don’t hold onto friendships just for the sake of holding onto friendships. If you find yourself in a situation where a friendship is doing more harm for you than good, you are actually no longer in something that can be defined as a friendship. This sucks but it happens and you either need to fix the situation or get out of it. For their sake and yours.

“Maybe the failed friendship is due to your messed up boundaries, or maybe it’s due to their junk and unwillingness to change—or maybe it’s a bit of both. No matter the case, neither of you are called to save each other. And if you can’t refine each other, move forward and free up the emotional bandwidth for what God has in store next.”  -Eddie Kaufholz

12. “God’s got you right where He wants you.” My favorite Isaac-ism to this day. I hate admitting how often I catch myself being bothered about something way back in my rear-view mirror or idealizing events and circumstances that simply haven’t happened yet. What an absolute waste of time–worse than binge-watching in my opinion. Be present. This day is where you’re at. The set of events, thoughts, feelings, actions and experiences you face today are unique only to today and God has prepared you to live it well. Don’t ignore that opportunity by letting your mind wander to a day you already conquered or some imaginary one you think you’ll live. Learn from your past and do what you can to prepare for what’s on the horizon, but live today in the way past you hoped you would and future you will be proud of.

13. Be unapologetically and unequivocally you. Be so you that when people think of you, they’re thinking of you and when they love you, they’re loving you. When they laugh at something you joked or moved by something you spoke–make sure it’s really you they’re experiencing. Make sure when you get home feeling appreciated or valued that it’s the real you that people are grateful for. Be so much of who you are that people can’t help but associate all those you traits, all those you quotes and you quirks with you and you only. Do not falter in this. The alternative is exhausting and it’s not you.

One Comment

  1. I always love reading your words. Despite this being a list, your thoughts are always so organized in your writings. I would envy your writing, but I know this is one of your God given talents, and he’s going to use it for great works, which he’s prepare beforehand, just for you. Best parts: #12, #13, and the Harriet the Spy quote. 😉


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