Thoughts on being 25

Well. It happened. I turned 25 and lived it for an entire year. My 26th birthday is this Friday and so I thought it was time to do some reflecting. The nice thing about blogs is that it is easy to scroll back and see where I was a year ago, just not literally (I was in Bolivia) but also emotionally.

A lot has happened since I wrote this blog post about turning 25. New job, new (rental) house, more friends, new boyfriend, more garden space, the whole 9 yards.

Actually, when I pause to think about it I cannot believe that all of this happened within a year. Seriously. So much happened and honestly,  I never expected an of this to occur any time soon (or all at once for that matter), which makes me sit back in awe as I reflect.

Kansas, I never saw this coming.

After reading what I had written last year, I feel really blessed at how much more content I feel about life. I wrote about feeling all this pressure to have my life look and be a certain way since I am now an adult. It turns out most of those insecurities had to do with the fact that I did not really enjoy my then current employment as well as the fact that I was still on my parent's insurance. But now that I love my job (that includes benefits), things suddenly feel way better. Did I find security in the things I was trying not let make me insecure? Maybe. But it is such a nice feeling to enjoy what I do for a living and be able to actual provide for myself.

Yep. Being 25 has been awesome. It is the year I came out of the horrible "early-twenties funk" that is so easy to slip into post-college. My frontal lobe is fully developed, which has been the joke with my friend Jill Schlabach, who also turned 25 this past year. (We refer to it as the "age of wisdom" since our brains are fully developed now and we can rent cars). But all jokes aside, this year has maybe been one of the best years of my life.

It was also a good year to cross things off my list of "Things to do during my 25th year of life." Yeah, I didn't do them all, but I feel good about what I did accomplish, try, and discover.

1. Go to South America. This one was kind of a "cheat" one since I came up with this list when I was in Bolivia. Still, it counts. I never knew how beautiful South America was. I am pretty excited to go back there again some day to see more of the continent and to visit Jilly and Lucas.

2. Learn how to make cheese/yogurt. I listed this one thinking I was going to make mozzarella. Well, I still haven't done that but I think I've tried a few good "gateway" items as far as making dairy things goes. Levent and I make Greek yogurt all the time now. And Jill and I learned how to make paneer. So simple.

3. Find creative ways to reduce how much waste I produce. (i.e find/make handkerchiefs to use instead of kleenex). Well, this one I didn't really do. My sister did give me cloth napkins, which I use every day. I also stuck a handkerchief my grandma gave me in my winter coat pocket this past winter. So I guess that's a start. I also just found material to make some more napkins and maybe some handkerchiefs. We'll see what happens.

4.Be brave enough to start writing again and find the courage to start sending it out again.  Well, big shocker here, I did not do this. But actually, I am okay with it. I still have a column in a small Mennonite women periodical called Timbrel. Honestly, that's enough for now. Some day I hope to be inspired enough to write but since I am not right now, I am fine to not force it. It will come.

5. Find ways to promote my photography. I actually tried this one. Did it work? No. But that's okay at least my stuff was out in the community for a little while. I had a show up at the Hesston's Wellness Center, the Lincoln Perk and Mojo's Coffee Bar. Jobs still seem to trickle in, which, again, is perfectly enough for right now. I still have a lot of learning to do.

6. Start painting again. I have an idea in my head and for some reason, I cannot motivate myself to get my paints out. Ugh. Seriously. I am so lazy sometimes. However, I did pick up a brush in order to make a Christmas present for my nephew. That was fun, simple and childish, but fun nevertheless. It got me painting at least.

7. Learn some sewing basics. Straight up did not even try.

8. Find ways to be more content with who I am. I think I have made some improvements in this area lately. It hasn't been one specific thing, but a learning process that will last my entire life. This is really shallow sounding, but I've started paying more attention to fashion. (I like to follow this fashion blog.) This is not to say that I find my self-worth in what I am wearing, but it has helped me have more self confident. It is also a way for me to be creative with what I already have, trying it in new combinations, etc. My skin may still be breaking out, but at least I like what I am wearing. That's fun.
9. Stop using my hair as a security blanket and cut it. Yeah, I didn't do this one either. Last summer I got it trimmed and it was a disaster, like I had to go back the next day type of disaster. So it is still the same. I would still like to cut it but I am in no hurry. This will give me time to figure out what I want and enough time for me to build trust with a hairdresser... maybe.

10. Find ways to meet new people (even if I am in Kansas) and maybe, if I can figure out how to be charming enough, go on at least one date.  It's funny how much changes in a year. When I wrote this, I would have never thought I would be moving in to 417 with Annali and Jasmine. I knew that my Bluffton friend, Jill, was moving into town and I figured that between the two of use, we could meet a few new friends. I used to tell her that her moving to Hesston was going to revolutionize my life. And it  did. I now live with two cool people who have introduced me to a bunch more people. It's been really great.

And this next one. Levent asked me a few weeks ago if he was just something I wanted to cross off this "bucket list." I laughed and said, "of course not." Honestly, I never saw my relationship with him coming. Who knows if I ever really figured out how to be charming enough since it was basically zombies, Hunger Games, Harry Potter, and an extreme amount of texting that brought us together. Regardless, I feel very lucky to have him in my life.

11. Apply to grad school and/or at least have a different occupational plan then my current situation [Mojo's/Bethel College] by the time I am 26.  Yes, praise God, this one actually happened. I was so excited when the donor relations coordinator position at MCC Central States was offered to me. Game changer, really. Suddenly, I liked being in Kansas because I, for the first time in my life (minus "working" at DOOR Chicago) loved my job.  I don't mind getting up every morning and going to work. (Okay, sometimes I am just lazy and don't feel like it. But overall, it's been really good). I have a great supervisor, I don't have to work on Fridays (but still get benefits), and have wonderful co-workers who know the beauty in really good afternoon coffee breaks. It's a good place to be.

Our break room espresso machine
And that was the list. I crossed some off and I didn't cross some off. That's okay because it has been a great year. Being 25 has been awesome. I hope the next year is just as good.