It’s my birthday!! My 25th birthday! As a kid, I imagined 25 would look very different. I thought I’d be flying around in a super high-tech car or traveling the world kissing babies and washing the feet of the lesser fortunate with my own baby in a sling across my back. Perhaps, I thought 25 would feel a lot OLDER, or that I’d have done a lot more.
In actuality though, 25 feels pretty great. Regardless of the childhood fantasies of what sort of fairytale adventures I’d have by 25, I’ve actually accomplished quite a bit.
Here’s what I’m most grateful for accomplishing, experiencing, witnessing, having, losing, gaining, etc. by this incredible milestone:
1. I was afforded the opportunity to graduate from [Stephenson] High School, then from a wonderful [Georgia Southern] University with a B.S. in Sociology, and later be accepted into my dream school [New York University] for graduate study in the MSW program.
2. My circle of friends is always evolving, and luckily, through trial and error, my friendships are becoming more meaningful, and more impactful.
3. I served with some of the most amazing people I have ever encountered, and built relationships with some of the most inspiring children in Federal Way, WA through AmeriCorps. That program changed my life. Those students will stay with me forever. Those children taught me more about who I am in 10 months, than I’ve ever learned in 25 years.
4. I drove cross-country TWICE. I was in complete awe of how beautiful our country is. We’ve got some incredible landscape, phenomenal history, and gorgeous people within our borders. Witnessing some of our natural beauties was a true glimpse into the majesty of God’s creations.
5. My parents ended their marriage in a nasty divorce after almost 10 years of an even nastier separation. That process shaped my idea of what marriage is and should be. Because of them, I never wanted to get married, and I never wanted to have children. I’ve learned my most valuable lessons of forgiveness from them. Through this experience, I learned to channel my hurt and resentment into productivity, and I also know first hand how stupid the saying, “let’s stay together for the sake of the children” really is.
6. An irreplaceable soul found his way into my life in my little son (pup) Apollo. He’s been everything to me during my discovery of my infertility. He’s been a vessel of unconditional love and affection. I believe he was truly meant to be my son and through a mix up in heaven still found his way to me anyways.
7. I’m convinced I’m the luckiest girl in the world to have a soul mate as completely awesome as mine. I don’t think I’ve ever met a person as intriguing as my husband, nor have I ever experienced love so genuine before. This man is everything in my eyes. I never, ever wanted to be married… until he came and took my life by storm!
8. We wiped cervical cancer right out of my future. We caught the changing cells so early, my surgeon is 93% sure I’ll never see it again. I’ll gladly accept.
9. I caused a nasty wreck. He was waiting at the stoplight, and I hadn’t been paying attention. I smashed into the back of his car so hard that he ended up in a ditch, smashed into a telephone pole. In that moment, I was so afraid that I had hurt someone, killed someone, or harmed a child. By the grace of God, we both walked away from the accident with minor injuries. Moments like those remind me of how precious life truly is.
10. I’ve broken 7 toes, 4 fingers, dislocated 1 knee, sprained many wrists, threw my back out twice, walked away from three accidents, fell UP one flight of stairs and down hundreds, and still have managed to stay in tact!
11. I snowshoed up Mt. Rainier, hiked around Mt. St. Helen’s, camped in a rainforest, served on an island, overlooked the Grand Canyon TWICE, woke up at Lake Tahoe, watched my best friend chase Elk in the dead of night, played ultimate Frisbee without ending in injury, climbed the Space Needle, navigated the Big Apple, learned from a Navajo, and slept at 12 rest stops, and immersed myself into many different cultures.
12. Husband and I are awaiting nomination for a program in the freaking Peace Corps! Holy shit!
13. My These-Jeans-Are-Way-Too-Tight-So-I’ll-Save-Them-For-When-I-Loose-A-Few jeans FIT!!!
14. I am grateful to be living in limbo right now for ONE reason, and one reason only. I’m learning to stop giving a FUCK about what everyone else is doing. I’m learning that things will happen in MY life, according to MY plans, when it’s best for ME. I’m learning to stop comparing my achievements to those of others. I’m realizing I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.
15. My mom sent me off to Space Camp with our neighbor when I was a teen. It was the most amazing, fascinating, and highly nerdy thing I’ve ever been apart of. It’s my most favorite childhood (embarrassing) memory.
16. When I first started college, I sucked as a freshman. I never went to class and pretty much failed everything. I didn’t really appreciate the fact that I was in college, and I didn’t really want to be there. I spent 2-3 semesters on academic probation, and ended my Fall Sophomore year with a 1.3 GPA. When I finally realized that I was/am the one who gets to dictate my fate, my attitude changed completely. I graduated from GSU exactly 4 years later, with an above 3.0 GPA.
17. I’m learning that my family is one to love from a distance. My family is dysfunctional and that’s okay. I’ve learned how to separate that from my feelings about them. I love them very much, but can’t be too close.
18. During an Alternative Spring Break trip during undergrad, I went to the Bahamas with about 15 other people. The first night of our trip, I burned my leg pretty severely in the shower, but that didn’t stop my service. We spent the week renovating a ‘Women’s Empowerment Room” dedicated to teach women the skills they needed to earn an income, working with a soup kitchen, and helping a visiting group on a mission trip to lay the foundation for a future free Dental and Health Clinic for the community.
19. I have defeated my social media addiction. To hell with Twitter and Facebook! Instagram, however, is a gateway drug…
20. I’ve stumbled across a wonderful community of women who have so much to teach me about living life AFTER endometriosis, PCOS and infertility. These diseases don’t have to define me anymore, and I don’t have to struggle in silence. My “problems” finally have names, and they come with a wonderful support system that I’ve found right here on WordPress!
21. Thank you GOD for pepperoni pizza, pepsi, and chocolate. No, I shouldn’t be eating these things, but who the hell cares. These three are my Holy Trinity during my cycle. Well, they’re pretty much everything to me all the time. Period or no period.
22. Mile markers. I am grateful for mile markers. Not in the literal sense though. I do appreciate those little, subtle signs that God places in my peripheral to ensure me that all though my struggle may not yet be over, there is an end in sight. These people, these situations, these signs, remind me of how far I’ve come and how close I am to greatness.
23. Dr. Sullivan, down at Statesboro OB/GYN means the world to me. He was very aggressive in my treatment plan off of a hunch he had from my description of “painful sex.” In the beginning I was a bit skeptical of abrasiveness, but he found everything wrong with my body and gave me a chance at children, and a cancer-free future.
24. For most of my life, change was never something I was comfortable with. I just could not thrive in a constantly changing environment. Change was a terrible stress trigger for me. Now… I welcome change. I’ve become more appreciate, more aware, more present in life because of change.
25. Of all things I’m grateful of, what means the most to me, is being blessed enough to have woken up today with a chance to embark on the next 25 years of accomplishments, experiences, and adventures.
Here’s to the next 25 years….