Today, June 9th, is my 26th birthday and this year I am writing this post within the few hours of time that it is both my birthday here in Australia as well as back home in Boston.
The past 12 months has been one hell of a year. Looking back, I can confidently say I experienced so much of every emotion - I laughed, cried, loved; I felt angered (mostly with myself), scared, lost, and everything in between. I challenged myself to try new things, put myself out there, meet new people, move across the world.. you know, normal things for a 25 year old to do (read: had a complete quarter life crisis).
As I sit here reflecting on this past year, though there were definitely moments when I felt uncomfortable or hit/crossed my limits, I know I am better for it today. I’ve learned that when I push myself to my limits one of two things will happen:
One, I will go a little bit too far and for me, this leaves me feeling completely anxiety ridden. The kind of feeling that leaves you feeling out of sorts for a good day or so, that’s always how I know I’ve gone too far and need to reel myself back in.
Two, I get to the point where the risk is worth the reward and things work out in a way I could not even have dreamed of. These experiences are the ones that you never thought would be possible for you to experience in your entire life, but you’re so glad they did.
I’m finding that most of the time (knock on wood...) these happy and unbelievably fulfilling experiences keep happening to me far more frequently than the scary bumps in the road. It’s incredible how fear can hold you back from living your life and discovering these joyful moments, experiences, and relationships.
My parents & I, day before I turned 26 in Australia
As I look back on 25 and look ahead to 26, I figured I’d use this post to reflect on a few main themes that have been a part of this past year. Apologies in advance because these are definitely cheesy, and definitely are not original thoughts. Seriously, you’ve probably read some shade of all of these in an EliteDaily or Buzzfeed article, but whatever, I’m still going to write about them.
True happiness and freedom is living in the present moment
Something I’d like to work on this next year is focusing on the present moment. It sounds so simple but for me it’s something I struggle with. I think I’ve become better at not worrying so much about the future, but I really suck at letting things go and getting hung up on things that have happened in the past. That is why I try and hold onto the times and feelings when I’m 100% in the present moment. I dare you to find a time when you are happier.
You really shouldn't care what other people think of you
You just can’t. Personally I know I spent far too long caring, and if I’m being honest, still spend too much time caring. Maybe it’s a product of living in a modern world where we’re all so instagram/snapchat/facebook obsessed? Whatever it is, I try to not let it hold me back from living my life and I find when I’m aware that I’m doing something a certain way to impress or please others it definitely makes me think more about why I’m doing it.
Trust your intuition
I’m not ignorant when it comes to using numbers and metrics to make decisions (both my parents are engineers, I can’t help it), but I also like to rely on my intuition. There were many times this year when I had a feeling some situation was supposed to end up a certain way, and even if it did not happen immediately or events did not unfold the exact way I would have wished - more times than not I was right about my initial feeling. Looking ahead to next year, at this point in time I really have no idea what my life will look like when I go to write about turning 27 but I know I will still use my intuition to guide me when I need a little blind faith or encouragement to keep working towards something I want.
Why not you?
This one is important and is the one on this list that is something I still struggle with from time to time. Having the attitude of “Why not me?” is so powerful because it is all too easy, no matter who you are, to think of a million reasons why something wouldn’t work out. If you put all those reasons aside and are open to life’s possibilities.. you never know where you may end up.. maybe Australia :)
Never turn down an opportunity to get out of your routine
We probably only get one shot at this life. That’s seriously so wild. Also a little bit scary. In my experience it's way better to be scared but still say yes to an opportunity that will completely change your life and the routine you've built for yourself than being forced into an opportunity that will change your life. When that opportunity creeps up on you, don't be afraid to say yes. Sometimes a little perspective is all you need. It has been so refreshing to completely start over here in Sydney. It definitely helped point out areas of my life in which I needed to shift attention to. It also has taught me about what back in Boston is important to me, who my real friends are, and who I want to have in my life.
The best way to become successful is by helping others succeed
Again, not an original thought whatsoever, but one that keeps me going. I am so grateful to work in an organization that recognizes and rewards individuals based on this and makes growing my career way less scary to me. If I continue to help my customers and my peers (which ultimately helps the overall company) things will figure themselves out for the most part. Yes, I'm oversimplifying - there's also a lot of hard work and learning that goes into career growth, but I believe having that core value will steer me in the right direction. #ServePeopleFirst
If you've made it this far, thanks for sticking with me through my cheesy-ness and rambling. If you're someone I know IRL - thanks for all the love and laughter this year, thanks for simply being in my life. Here's to year 26. Here's to a year in which I'm the most self-confident and happy with my life I have ever been. Here's to making mistakes that will teach me more about myself and others. Here's to success and the achievement of some goals I have for myself this year. Here's to not having all the answers, but still feeling like I've learned a lot in the past few years.
'Til next time!