I turned 26 this weekend. To celebrate, I packed up my books and journals and laptop and headed down to Point Roberts to stay for a few days, WiFi free. And honestly, it was the best birthday present I could have given myself.
Why? Because, at this point in my life, I know myself. I know I need silence, I know I need solitary days, I know I need to walk around in nature to get my creative wheels turning again – when walking alone in nature, I’m constantly pulling my notebook from my pocket to write down a snippet of a poem or an idea for a novel.
So I went to Point Roberts. I among the cabins, their colors still bright despite the grey day; I took trails inundated with debris from the recent windstorm and nearly lost my way; at night, I took a flashlight down to the beach to see low tide, and I sat on a log, watching the moonlight shimmer on the ocean. This is exactly what I need in life, and it’s something I’m constantly reminding myself of.
I don’t really feel like I’m aging. In all honestly I haven’t felt like I’m aging for a long time; I acknowledge the passage of time, the fact that I’m having so many new and cool experiences and that I’m learning and growing from them, but I don’t feel that I’m aging.
Regardless, another year has come and gone and here I am, having done so many cool things and learned many, many life lessons. Some I learned for the first time, others I’ve re-learned for the hundredth time. But I welcome both, because who are we if we aren’t learning new things and bettering ourselves? So, in light of this, here are 25 things I’ve learned in my 25th year.
25 things learned (and re-learned) at 25
- You don’t have to hang out with someone because you feel obligated to
- Cashew cream cheese exists and it’s glorious
- You don’t have to explain what you’re doing to anyone
- Sometimes, the best thing you can do for yourself is stay home and read
- You need a lot more time alone than most people, and that’s okay
- Other people’s emotions are not your responsibility
- You don’t have to spend every minute of every day being productive
- You’re not going to get what you want in life unless you work for it
- You can’t make everyone happy (and it’s not up to you, anyway)
- Listening to what your body is telling you can be hard, but it’s not impossible
- If people are upset with you, don’t become upset with them. Try being compassionate
- Chocolate cheesecake is glorious
- Be honest when telling someone how you feel about them
- You don’t have to be an expert at something to have fun doing it
- Solo travel is actually something you can do (and you should definitely do more of it)
- Sometimes you need to spend time with family. Even if you have a lot to do, even if you’d rather be alone
- The world won’t implode if you ignore your messages for a day or two
- You’re never too old to learn something new
- What works for someone else won’t necessarily work for you
- You’re going to have to have hard conversations with people. Get used to it
- Everything will work out eventually, even if it sucks right now
- You don’t have to say yes to everything
- No one except you is in charge of what your life looks like. If you don’t like something about it, change it
- Being (mentally) flexible is one of the best things you can do for yourself
- Be gentle with yourself, even if you don’t want to