Today I am 26 years old. I’ve blown out the candles, opened the gifts, and heard my mom tell the story of March 30, 1994 once again. When I think back on this last year, my 25th year on this earth two words come to mind.
Now don’t get me wrong I am beyond blessed. I have incredible friends and an unbelievable family…but 25 has just been rough and that’s the truth. The quarter life crisis was REAL.
A year ago on March 24th I sat with good friends in Birmingham at our favorite hangout Taco Mama.
*mouth begins to drool reminiscing on their chips and queso…*
It was one of those birthdays where I felt such overwhelming love it makes me tear up just thinking back on it. I had a fresh haircut, a new top, and I felt beautiful. I looked around the table at my closest friends and I announced to all of them that after 2.5 years in Birmingham I was moving away to Dallas to pursue my photography, to pursue my dream of showing my work in a gallery. What they didn’t know, and what I didn’t know at the time, was that I was lying.
I was in a tail spin of having no idea what I wanted and where God was leading me so I decided to move back to what I “knew” and where I felt safe. I knew in my heart that my life in Birmingham had reached an end, that I either needed to set roots there or move on, and I chose to move on. I didn’t know if I wanted to pursue my photography and in all honesty I had zero clue as to what I wanted to do.
In a year, what followed that dinner, was a series of panic attacks and deep dark moments where I laid on the floor in tears crying out to God and begging Him to give me answers.
Now before you get any further I want you to know that I’m not a “Negative Nancy” I promise this blog has a positive ending just stay with me.
Ok so where was I…oh panic attacks! Fun!
When I say that my quarter life crisis was real, I mean it! This last year was filled with major ups and downs, and a whole lot of heartbreak mainly in the job market. I had promising job offers that proved to be empty promises and they fell apart. With each promising offer I threw my heart into it and imagined my life finally “coming together”. Then when they fell apart, I too fell apart.
25 was a year of “the job”. Looking for a job, applying for a job, interviewing for a job, finding out they went in another direction for the job, and doing it all over again about 100 times.
The thing is, I know God has a plan for me. I know that in His infinite wisdom and grace there is a reason for why I have just finished one of the hardest years of my life. I’ve learned a TON in this last year and I’ve come out bruised and scratched, but on the path to healing. God would and will never throw something my way that I cannot handle — even when there were/are moments where I want to yell “WHAT THE F*** ARE YOU DOING TO ME?!!!!!” But I don’t because He already knows my heart, my dreams, and all of my frustrations.
There were many many times where I looked back on 25 and felt anger. I wanted 25 to be “my year” and it turned out to be nowhere near what I hoped “my year” to look like. But guess what? That’s ok. When does something ever work out exactly like we planned it in our minds?
In the words of our American queen Kelly Clarkson “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. So yeah I won’t sugarcoat it, 25 sucked. There were good moments (almost all “good moments” involve my baby niece) and there were a lot of bad moments, but I’m coming out of it still hopeful!
One of the hardest things to do is to remain hopeful when it seems like everything around you is falling apart. I think that might be the biggest lesson I’m bringing out of 25 and into 26.
Which brings us to today. The middle of a global pandemic, everything seems to be in free fall, oh and I am celebrating my birthday!
With everything going on in the world, I had very low expectations for my birthday — but wow I was so blown away. I haven’t felt so much love and felt so blessed in a long time. I joked to my family that the reason I felt so celebrated was because everyone is self isolating at home and therefore people are bored. But really I think this birthday was an example of God putting his arm around me and saying “don’t forget I got you, you’re mine”. I think this birthday was an incredible reminder that regardless of how this year goes I am blessed beyond belief.
In a time where people could have easily focused on everything else going on but my birthday, where my family could’ve said “hey let’s celebrate when all of this is over”, I felt the exact opposite. I felt loved, celebrated, and so incredibly lucky. Lucky to have a roof over my head, food in the fridge, wifi to keep me occupied, and countless people in my life who reminded me of their love for me.
So before I close this post let me add one more thing, as 80’s singer Billy Ocean sang, “when the going gets tough, the tough get going” — I am tough and I’m going to keep on going with my head held high and my heart hopeful. I am 26 and am sitting here thankful to be on the other side of year 25. While I still feel stuck in the dark space of it sometimes I know that I am a smarter, stronger, more resilient woman than I was a year ago.
There are brighter days ahead of me I’m sure. I’m sure because I’ve witnessed them and I know that the dark times of life bring greater appreciation for the bright times. Praise Jesus that in Him we do not experience darkness 24/7.
And praise Jesus that I’m no longer 25 😉
“Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” – John 8:12