26 Years Young


– april 20 1989 –


I love birthdays. Like, SO much. I love celebrating people in general but having a devoted day to doing that is just spectacular. And naturally, the closer my own birthday gets the more ecstatic I become to turn another year over and embrace a new year full of excitement! This is the year I turn 26, and even though the number isn’t a huge one, I still had a lot of excitement for my birthday this year because:

-It’s the last year I’ll be in my mid twenties
-It’s the first birthday I spent at home since moving out in 2012
– I got to go to Disneyland on the day of my birthday with John AND meet Minnie, yaaay
-I have a better understanding on how to embrace life despite all of its silly things
-I have accomplished and overcome more than I thought I could ever do in such a short amount of time


So often people will say how much they don’t like getting older and how “they’re getting SO OLD.” And then there are countless things out there specifically designed to make us appear physically young. Guys, growing “older” is a part of life! Aging is a part of life! It’s one of the amazing things we get the privilege of experiencing as humans. Who wants to stay and look young forever anyway?! Borrrring! Real-girls embrace age, not run away from it. ❤

Back to birthdays…I always feel compelled on the occasions of birthdays or anniversaries (rather than on New Years) to attempt to capture the immediate state of my thoughts on how the previous year went. What have I learned in the past 365 days since I celebrated this date last time? What have I experienced? What have I learned about myself? Here are some of my answers:

1. The first two credit cards I maxed out as a wide-eyed college freshman 8 years ago have FINALLY been removed from my credit report. BYE FELICIA.
>> Onto better and more responsible financial planning, thank YOU!

2. Age is REALLY….just. a. number! 😉
>> In terms of dating: The age range of guys I’ve dated since high school is all over the map. And I’ve discovered that in the dating aspect, age doesn’t matter. It’s the MENTAL and EMOTIONAL maturity of a guy that does matter. John is almost 5 years younger than me (pause for reaction) and he is by far the most mature, most committed, most confident, driven, smart and genuine guy I’ve ever dated and we have a connection like nothing I’ve ever dreamed of (or had before with guys my age, or older)

>> In terms of friends: Also another one where age doesn’t matter (most of the time). I’ve had friendships with girls aging all across the map as well, from being 10 years younger than me to at least 10 years older than me. And from experience, the ones that are the most solid are the ones with those where you can speak wisdom and encouragement into each other’s lives, share knowledge and genuine quality time with each other, the ones who support and encourage and uplift you, and where you build off of each other in your relationship with Jesus Christ. If they don’t do all that with you, then you might want to reconsider your friendships.

>> In terms of yourself: Like I said earlier, who wants to stay young forever anyway!? That’s boring! Embrace your age, your smile lines, and your extra chubs. Love your body, love where it has taken you, and look forward to what it will look like and do for you in another 20 years (babies? running marathons? tattoos? more smile lines? Bring it!). It’s all about perspective 🙂

3. You (really) find out who your friends are.
>> At this point in life, I have gone through numerous friendships. Great ones, bad ones, long distance ones, spur of the moment ones that feel like you’ve known them forever, and long term ones that suddenly failed for no explanation. I have learned that not everyone is as they seem, and not everyone will be as invested in the friendship as you are. Which sucks, but oh well, just forgive and move on. Appreciate what you have learned from the friends who’ve stayed and say SEE YA to the friends who left. Just kidding, don’t say that. I mean maybe say that if they really were lame, or just don’t say anything at all. ANYWAYS In the end, the ones who are still with you are the ones who are truly the best.

4. Everyone is on a different life path, and that’s O K A Y.
>> So many times I hear and see people say, “gosh I wish that was ME instead..” to someone else getting engaged, having kids, getting into a higher education degree, moving to a different state, making it past the (insert number here) year mark in their relationship, or whatever else there is to envy. However, allowing yourself to fall into the mindset of comparison, jealousy, and envy is allowing yourself to be robbed of your own joy in your own personal accomplishments.

>> When you finally DO get to that level you’ve been wanting for so long, choose to be humble about it instead of feeling like the world should revolve around you now that the thing happened. You’ll be a better human that way.

5. I am more selective about what I post online.
>> If you’ve read my latest blog about making a real-girl presence online, you’ll know I definitely do not try to overfluff my life with what I post. There are so many great aspects about my life that I do not post about online, simply because I don’t want to be that girl. I am a firm believer in being humble, being modest, being present, and doing things differently than everyone else. 🙂

>> Some things you won’t see me display online:
-about how I am a certified yoga and fitness instructor. It’s wonderful to have a personal impact on the health and well-being in other’s lives, but that does not sum up who I am. Nor do I want to look like every other yoga girl out there who posts her pose of the day with an inspirational quote on Instagram. Lol.
-all the flowers and sweet notes and dates John does for me. Yes I love our relationship and he’s wonderful and I’m very happy but I’d rather be present in the things he does for me rather than display them online.
-a million selfies with pucker lips
-anything overly staged. Also read about that on this post.
-anything about the things I buy myself or own that are expensive or brand name.

6. I am far more capable of dealing with far more stress than I thought possible.
>> Leading up to and during the year I turned 25, I went through a ton of DUMB situations that NO one should have to go through all at once (or at all for that matter). I won’t get into all that here, but I will say that going through hardships and trials helps you understand your small life so much better than you did before. It also forces you to rely on and put your faith in Jesus rather than yourself. Be thankful for these times as they will show you strength, bravery, and courage you never knew you had.

7. I don’t let people get to me.
>> A very close friend of mine who has known me for years and years sent me this in a text on my birthday: “Another thing I like about you: you don’t let people get to you too much. You just ignore them and take the high road, and you’re always kind. Not many people can do that. More power to you :] ” And it totally made my day. She defines the meaning of a true and solid friend and I am so blessed to have someone like her in my life. People are always going to say negative things to you during your life. They will try to bring you down, belittle you, and step on you. Not letting people get to you is so crucial to keeping your heart happy and to continue radiating positivity.

8.  When you finally do meet The One and feel that real love…you’ll just know.
>> And I have found that love, in its entirety, with John. Girls, please don’t feel like you have to explain your reasoning to people who ask how or why you think you know this person is the one (Unless it’s to your mom, in which case you best be able to ‘splain it, sister).

>> If people really have to ask “but how do you KNOW” instead of seeing your answer from the glow on your face, or if they’re doubting your love being “real,” then they’re probably not the most healthy people to be around (again, see #3 and #7).

9. If you ask God to do something powerful in your life, be prepared for it to happen LOL
>> The reason I’m laughing at this one is because of how ironically true it is. God answers prayer in mysterious ways yes, but most of the time — if He answers your prayer — it will be in the most ironic “of course this is how it had to happen” ways. Throughout the years, I have prayed for the Lord to remove toxic people from my life, to build my patience and emotional strength, and to test my faith all so that I can learn to lean on Him and grow in Him more every day. And boy, has he answered those prayers…in ways where once I realize it I’m like, “Well played, God. I see what you did there. Thank you.” 🙂

10. Be positive!
>> There’s no reason to find the negativity in everything that happens in life. What’s the point of that? I have been told so many times that I am the most positive and optimistic person people know. Which is a wonderful compliment! However, being that way came at a price. Experiencing hardships and going through tough times will give you two options: either take it hard and dwell on what didn’t work out and how negative things are, OR take it in stride and decide to see the good that came out of bad experiences.

>> No one has the power to ruin your own happiness except yourself, no matter how many dumb people and situations enter your life. Take everything worth a grain of salt, know and develop your own emotional strength, and always be kind. People will wonder what it is about you that makes you shine no matter what 🙂

11. You don’t have to like, or be liked by everyone.
>> If everyone liked everyone and got along, the world would be a great, great place. But since life doesn’t happen that way, remind yourself you don’t HAVE to like everyone or BE liked by everyone. And that’s OKAY! People will begin to cold shoulder you if they feel threatened by you. Some might not like you because you don’t make them feel like the center of attention all the time. Not everyone will understand your personality, your decisions, or why you’re (insert thing here) and they’re not. And this will make them not like you for whatever dumb reason. And the only thing you can do is brush it the heck off, continue to be yourself, continue to be nice, and continue to show kindness. Be genuine and selfless, and if people don’t like it then too bad for them!

12. Being kind is one of the greatest strengths you can have.
>> This kind of ties in to #11, but kindness needs its own category. There are so many situations I’ve encountered where people have been utterly mean, rude, disrespectful, talked behind my back, and flat out told me why they don’t like me out of nowhere (as I’m sure has happened to you too). Now I could have came out at them and said some nasty things back, but…I chose not to. And honestly I don’t think I even have the ability to be that mean anyway! 😛

>> Choosing to be kind and to be nice, I’ve also discovered, makes the person even more mad at you for not stooping to their level and being mean back (lol what). Choose kindness and it will give you more joy than imaginable. Be strong, be brave, stand your ground, but always be kind.

13. Patience and winging it are the answers to almost everything.
>> I’m the kind of person who has to ask questions for everything. I always want to know the plan, I want to know when and where and what time, and I’m the worst with handling surprises if I know they’re coming. I am a very patient person, but I’ll be secretly restless the entire time I’m waiting! Just ask John haha 😉 He on the other hand, is a let’s-just-wing-it and it-will-happen-when-it-happens person for almost everything: something I have yet to fully master.

>> When it comes to life, we can’t always plan how something will turn out and we just have to wait and see how it goes. We can get so caught up in trying to figure everything out and have a plan. And even if there isn’t exactly a plan, we still just HAVE to know what’s going ONNNN! Anyone with me? Being patient and learning to wing it has taught me a lot about myself and about trusting God’s plan for my life. Plus, it’s less stressful to take life one day at a time than trying to plan way ahead.

14. Don’t forget to take care of yourself.
>> I’ve always been mindful about sunscreen, moisturizing, eating healthy, staying fit, and doing things to help me grow into a well-rounded person. Despite where you’re at in life, always remember to take time to worry ’bout yo’self. it’s so easy to forget to do this especially when you’re in the middle of grad school, doing an internship, working a job, investing in your relationship, maintaining a social life, run a business, write blogs, and trying to remember to eat and sleep. WHEW! But despite all I’m doing, I always remember to carve out time in my day to just b r e a t h e, relax, write down my thoughts, and stare at the wall. It’s all that keeps me sane sometimes 😉

15. Refuse to settle.
>> I am so much more conscious of what I intake, what I do, where I shop, and who I hangout with at this point in my life. Start making good decisions right meow, despite how old you are. Make changes in your life that benefit your well being and will benefit the world around you. You won’t regret it 🙂

16. When in doubt, go on a run.
>> Running to me is so much more than staying fit. I LOVE to run and really miss living in the Northwest because I had the best scenery to run in. Running to me is amazing because (and don’t laugh at my reasons):
-it allows me to challenge myself mentally and emotionally (because it’s already physically challenging, let’s be real)
-it puts me in touch with my inner self, like in a meditative state
-I feel free and liberated when I run
-if I don’t feel like going on a long drive to chill out (I’m not made of gas money here) I’ll go on a long run instead
-I can do it anywhere. Trail, beach, forest, mountain, city streets, hills..you name it I’ve ran it.
-I can either tune out to music or tune out to my breathing while getting fit
-once I’m finished I feel so accomplished, refreshed, and rejuvenated.

2 thoughts on “26 Years Young

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