My dear friends,
This past Wednesday I turned 27. If I’m being honest, it was a bittersweet day. If I’m being completely honest, it was mostly bitter.
On Monday I lost one of my closest friends unexpectedly. It was the kind of call you never want to receive, a sobbing friend on the line telling you that this girl with whom you spoke to not even 24 hours before, had passed. Life’s not fair sometimes.
I’m no stranger to death- unfortunately, I’ve experienced my fair share of loss in the last several years. But this particular death truly shook me to my core. It has caused me to reflect a lot on the question of free will, of pain, and of life’s meaning in general.
Looking back at this last year, I’ve experienced a lot of loss. 26 wasn’t an easy year for me, but growth rarely comes from complacency, so despite the pain and loss, I am grateful. And I am stronger than I’ve ever been. So without further ado, I’ll leave you with my top 5 life lessons from my 26th year of life:
1) I am the only person who can control my happiness. This one was a tough lesson to learn. It’s easy for me to fall into a pattern where I depend on others (a significant other, a friend, my family) to bring me happiness. While all of those relationships are wonderful to have, ultimately I’ve learned that my happiness is up to me, and me alone.
2) The most significant growth comes through hardships. Personal growth rarely comes from being stagnant. Experiencing the speed bumps in life are truly what causes us as humans to blossom.
3) With good friends, you can conquer the world. Remember what I said earlier about how only you can control your happiness? I stand by that, but remember, you’re nothing without the people you surround yourself with. Friends who support you, push you, and inspire you are invaluable, and I wouldn’t trade mine for all the money in the world.
4) Your dreams will never happen…if you don’t work hard to achieve them. I had spent most of my life dreaming of traveling the world, of living in a ski town, of working remote. But…I didn’t do anything about it. Finally, after having enough, I changed that. I went from the lowest point of my life to what has become some of the highest. But it took work.
5) It’s okay to be alone. Whether that’s going to a concert, eating dinner in your favorite restaurant, traveling to Texas, or moving to Tahoe, it’s okay to do it on your own. In fact, I would highly recommend it. Doing things by myself has made me fiercely independent, self-aware, and confident. Plus, I talk to myself all the time so it’s basically like I have company 😉
There you have it—all the wisdom I’ve acquired in the last year. Take it or leave it, and I hope you can grow from it.
I spent the first few hours of my 27th year hiking up Eagle Rock in North Lake Tahoe with a pot of yellow tulips for Kalli. They were planted in the snow as the sun rose in front of me. I love ya, girl.