27 things to tell myself as I turn 26

One for each year of life and one to grow on.

  1. We all have one special, magical day a year. Celebrate your birthday — whether you’re 26 or 106, your birthday is your day. Make a wish, blow out your candles, and eat the cake.
  2. Music heals the heart. Sometimes a sad country song on repeat is the best medicine, while other times singing Alanis Morissette as loud and off key as possible will do.
  3. Love animals, always.
  4. If you don’t like where you live, move. If you don’t like your job, find a new one. Never feel like you are stuck in one place because it’s never too late to change the road you’re on.
  5. You will spend the rest of your life missing your mom and wishing she could be here. There is nothing wrong with that, but try not to let the grief engulf you. Cry when you need to cry then pick your head up and step forward. She wouldn’t want you to be sad, anyway.
  6. Tell dad you love him, and say it like you mean it.
  7. Be patient. You’ll get where you’re going. It just might take a little longer than you want.
  8. Spoil yourself. Whether it’s shoes, a vacation, or a new outfit, you work hard and deserve it.
  9. Even if you’re the only one on the floor, always dance. Put your arms in the air and move your body to the beat of the music, and don’t worry about how silly you look.
  10. “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills.” Those words are forever marked on your body to remind you where you come from as you venture further out into the world. Your roots are buried in the hills of Carolina, and no matter how far you roam, you will always have a place to call home in those mountains.
  11. Ask questions.
  12. Speak openly and honestly about what hurts.
  13. Life is not a race or competition. Stop comparing where you are on this journey to others, and stop wanting what others have. As you’ve seen, the grass isn’t always greener and such.
  14. The world is a big place. Continue to explore, taste different foods, and see new places.
  15. Be a friend you would want to have.
  16. Take bubble baths.
  17. Never feel guilty about needing your own space.
  18. There will continue to be events and situations in your life you can’t control. The only thing you can manage is your reaction to them. Be mindful of what you say, or don’t say, during those difficult times.
  19. Wake up early, drink coffee, and get shit done. Stop wasting time on the couch when you could be conquering the world, or just vacuuming your living room.
  20. Write every damn day. Whether it’s for yourself, for work, or for an audience, just write. It’s the only way to strengthen your craft.
  21. You might not have a lot, but you have earned everything you have. Be proud of your hard work.
  22. Be kind to yourself and believe that you are beautiful. Stop pointing out your imperfections when you look in the mirror and stop calling yourself fat. Love your body and continue to take care of it. It’s the only one you have and you’re not getting any younger, you know.
  23. For the love of everything beautiful on this planet, put your phone down. Enjoy the moment you’re in with those around you and be fully present.
  24. Our family pastor says when you die there will be two dates on your stone — the day you were born and the day you die — but the days that truly count are the ones marked by the dash that separates those two dates. Do things in your life to make that dash meaningful.
  25. When you can’t seem to figure out life or adulthood, plan a vacation. Even if you can’t afford it, it still feels good to picture yourself laying in the sand next to the ocean or strolling down Main Street, U.S.A.
  26. When you get to the top of the mountain, remember to turn around and see how far you’ve come. You might surprise yourself if you do.
  27. Never grow up.

 

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