25 While 25

So long, Twenty-Five

I'm 26 years old now.

It happened almost a month ago now.

I've been trying to remember what I felt like when I turned 25... Boo took me to Vast for my birthday last year. It's this super fancy restaurant at the top of the really really tall Devon tower in OKC. The atmosphere was pretty neat - waaay out of our league - we couldn't help but giggle at the pre-dinner 'palate cleanser' they served us, compliments of the chef... it was a slice of pineapple on a teeny tiny fork. Hilarious. I remember it was a Friday during Lent, so I picked a vegetarian option and it was turrible. But the cocktails were delicious and the company was even better. And I was twenty-five...a quarter of a century old. Woah.

Twenty-Five has a sort of wonder to it. It's one of those milestone numbers that lends itself to serious examination. I remember feeling like I really needed to get my act together. Not that I wasn't already on a good track -- it's just that 25 swiftly turns into 30 turns into 40 turns into 50 turns into old (sorry Mom and Dad). It's as if Twenty-Five unlocks the door to the rest of your life.

So I made a list of things - 25 things - that I would accomplish in my 25th year of life. I was certain that I would complete them all, and on my 26th birthday I'd proudly show off all 25 things crossed off my list. I'd be triumphant, and you'd be really impressed.

So now, I'm 26. I've been 26 for a month. The long anticipated day when I planned to show off my flawless forearm stand and present my shiny new, un-shattered iPhone screen with glee and gusto has come and gone without much commotion.

I celebrated turning 26, and actually it was super fun...but part of me didn't really celebrate the end of 25. I think it's mostly because I didn't mark everything off my 25 While 25 list.

In fact, I didn't mark most things off my list (see below).

So, instead of feeling super proud of myself at the end of my quarter-century, I felt kind of sheepish. I really did want to be able to do a forearm stand. I really did want to write to Reyna once a month. I really did want to read a book every month. I wanted to be the type of person that had the dedication and discipline to form good habits like those. I wanted to be stronger, more flexible, more in-tune with my body. I wanted to be generous and thoughtful - the kind of person who takes time to write letters to a little girl in Peru.

I still want to be that kind of person. I crave a life of virtue. I crave a life of intentionality and discipline, of generosity and joy, of adventure and creativity.

I just thought I'd be that kind of person by now. I thought I'd have that kind of life by now. Twenty-Five years is a lot of years. You'd think that we'd know everything we need to know in 25 years.

We should get it by now.

But we don't. Well at least I don't. Not consistently, at least. I'm still usually a hot mess. Womp womp.

If there's one thing I've learned in the last 25 years, and especially year twenty-five, is that there is only one thing that we really can and should strive to know:  that God is good, and we are His.

In spite of my mostly incomplete list, Twenty-Five was a great year. And honestly, I think Twenty-Six is going to be just as great, if not better. God is already presenting opportunities to me that I never imagined - yeah, some of them definitely freak me out - but I'm hopeful that things are shifting for good reasons, and that after and amidst the change, there is peace.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

John 14:27-28

 

Nobility in the Struggle - a 25w25 update

 

There is nobility in the struggle, you don't have to win.   -Sharon Polluck

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After a pretty fantastic weekend in Little Rock, my work week last week got off to a less-than-fantastic start. My poor car is currently out of commission after I got into a little neighborhood wreck. Thankfully, I only have a set of sore shoulders, and more opportunities for long walks (too bad there aren't any beaches in Norman) for a little while.

It could have been much worse, but it's still a bummer. It's an inconvenience, and financially, it means that I'm going to have to supplement my No-Spend November with Must Save May, Just-Say-No-To-Shopping June & July, Almost Broke August, Stingy September, and On The Rims October (apparently 'on the rims' is a thing...?).

It really feels like a step backwards.

But Life happens. Our luck ebbs and flows and eventually the tides turn from bad to good, and back to bad. We have setbacks and obstacles. We have distractions to deal with. And then, we have successes. I'm learning over and over that we really don't control much in the big picture. What we can do, I think, is do the next right thing. We can seek opportunities to better ourselves and others. We can be gracious, generous, and empathetic. We can be forgiving and kind to ourselves. We can be positive.

Or...we can give up. We can let Life knock us down. We can wallow in our smallness. We can become cynical or snobby or selfish or apathetic. We can fall and just not get back up.

I'll take the former. And in the spirit of getting back up, I thought I'd give a quick 25 While 25 update. It's not much, but it is progress.

  1. Make the switch to natural beauty products

  2. Go to Paper Camp
    I got a scholarship! It’s not a full one, but man oh man am I really getting excited! I’m booking my flights this month!

  3. Write to Reyna once a month.
    April...check!

  4. Fix my bike and ride it more often
    Little Blue is all fixed up! I took her for a little spin yesterday but now it's raining. I'm grateful to have her back, especially without a car for a while.

  5. Learn a new art skill

  6. Be able to do a forearm stand
    Y’all...dolphin pose is SO HARD...but I’m working on this, thanks to Yoga at Tiffany’s

  7. Try a new recipe each month
    April: Pesto & mozzarella stuffed chicken

  8. Read a book a month
    Fail…book suggestions, please!!!

  9. Finish the Endow study
    Still going strong...loving these beautiful funny ladies. Good tea and conversation is the best.

  10. Be a morning person
    6am still doesn’t feel awesome, but I am really enjoying my morning painting, and the occasional 6am yoga class.

  11. Learn to drive a stick shift
    Poor Penny, I kill her every time I try to accelerate.

  12. Complete The Spiritual Exercises

  13. Sing at an open mic night
    This one’s in the works...I’m now taking song suggestions...

  14. Be a vegetarian for two weeks

  15. Take a creative vacation

  16. Start and finish two personal art pieces

  17. Finish the Molly Jaques calligraphy workshop on Skillshare

  18. Fix my iPhone screen

  19. Make a five-year business plan
    Making progress...working with a small business consultant, setting up wholesale price points, calculating monthly projections for the year, and, as always, dreaming up new products

  20. Put at least $2525 into savings
    April contribution - check!

  21. A sketch a day -- EDIT: I’ve changed my mind on this. Instead, I’m going to participate in The Sketchbook Project, and I’m pretty excited about it!

  22. Start one of those line-a-day for five year journal things
    Fail...might have to revise this one.

  23. Take a beer making class

  24. Go grape stomping

  25. Live with less (less stuff, less clutter) & love what I have
    I have made significant progress on this...cleaned out my closets and took a huge pile of stuff to Goodwill. I plan to make another clean sweep when summer really gets here.

So, 25 isn't too shabby, I'd say. Although I've certainly failed on a couple of my goals already, and well, I'm learning more than I ever wanted to know about car accidents and insurance and alI that, I feel like it's good. Life is good, and learning is good. It's not always fun and it's not always convenient, but it's Life, and I like it.