It’s my birthday, and I have mixed feelings about it. This cake is even confused and makes you do math: 25 + 1.
Last year, I wrote all about the milestone birthday that was 25. I listed all my contradictions and everything I knew to be true in that moment. I felt like a mess at the time but looking back at that post again, it is beautifully written and full of hope.
This past year has been so incredibly full. It was full of incredible high points and deep lows. In so many ways, last year was everything I could have dreamed of…just no where near the way I saw it happening. For starters, it was really hard. I cried a lot, felt ripped apart the majority of the time and was stripped of my confidence over and over again. I felt like I had something to prove–that one day I might be able to present all my accomplishments to the world and therefore justify the struggle.
To the outside world, I look like I am in the same exact place that I was a year ago. I have nothing to show you, no ribbons or trophies to wave in your face. I did not grow an inch, nor did I graduate to the next grade or life stage. I am still here, floundering about in my twenties.
But if that is all you can see in someone, then you aren’t getting it. Further, if that’s all I can see, then maybe I really need to reevaluate, too.
There was a lot of life lived in the last year (and in the years prior). I loved with all my heart, pursued my dreams and left my comfort zone. I asked hard questions and stuck up for myself when appropriate. You could even say that I failed, but I did so while fully persevering–committed to learning and growing in the process. I opened my home to strangers and sought community with those around me. I let go of the pursuit of perfection but instead embraced my strengths and weaknesses.
Through all that, I still thought by now that I’d have something tangible to show you. Then I could say, “Look, I did all this. I’ve finally made it. I know what I’m doing now.” But the biggest and best parts of life are lived in intangibles. It’s your integrity and character, your hope and faith, relationships and love that are your biggest achievements.
I can’t give you many metrics or tout any awards, but I know with certainty that all of those areas in my life have been developed and strengthened in this past year. For that, I could not be more thankful or feel more accomplished.