Today, I turn 28!
Twenty-flippin-eight. And I’m pumped about it.
(ARE YOU THINKING–IS THIS GIRL NUTS!? PUMPED TO BE APPROACHING 30, YOU ASK!? WHUT.)
I couldn’t image that 21 could get any better. OBVI. 21 is 21.
It was the first year of the rest of my life. The first year that I was living without parents or the rules of the college dorms or the sorority house over my head. Not to mention, this was the first time that I didn’t have breakfast at 7, lunch at noon, and dinner at 5 prepared by someone else and set in front of me. I had to learn (the hard way) what to buy from the grocery store, when to work out, and how to cook healthy food for myself. I was truly in control of every decision that would come my way.
This was also when I applied to graduate school. In applying to doctoral programs, this was the first time that I set long-term professional goals for myself and the first time that I saw my really, really hard work pay off. I applied to 10 schools and was accepted to each of them (some with full-ride scholarship offers!) Having had a taste of adult life, I was craving even more freedom and now, an adventure. Toward the end of 21, I graduated college. I woke up on my graduation day listening to Kanye West’s “Good Morning” off of his Graduation album. How appropriate. I knew big things were ahead for me.
I moved to Arizona ON my 22nd birthday to start a four-year long program at Arizona State.
And that year was the thrill of a lifetime. Moving far far away was the best thing I have ever done for myself. I also met Adam shortly after the move.
My first sunset as an Arizona resident.
At 23 and 24, I had a great relationship, was making new friends, excelling in my graduate program, and loving my little Arizona life.
I also used to dye my hair black. I still sorta like it.
Year 25 was mostly spent living in Saint Louis, MO. I consider this year one of my most defining times.
Saint Louis was a difficult year for me. I moved there for one year when I was offered a great opportunity to work with some truly amazing kids and finish up my doctoral program. Outside of my work day, I was spending almost every minute alone sitting on my couch and feeling sorry for myself. It was difficult to make friends, I didn’t feel completely safe, and I missed my Arizona life desperately.
One thing became clear to me one afternoon. I could completely WASTE a whole year of my life sitting alone in self-pity or I could make use of this time alone. I was determined to have something to show for it. I WOULD overcome this.
So I did. I got off the couch, used what little income I had to hire a personal trainer, and I learned how to lift weights. It was exciting to have a new hobby and exhilarating to have new goals and to see hard work pay off, once again.
Still, I spent almost every weekend, Friday – Sunday, on my own without social plans. It was the first time in my life that I felt alone.
And I became okay with it.
I learned that I could be alone and still be happy. I was going to farmer’s markets, grocery shopping, and cooking healthy meals for myself and by myself. I learned that I did not need to rely on anyone but myself–for my own happiness, or for anything.
At the time, I did not consider it an excellent year in my life, however, without this year, I absolutely would not be the person I am today. And I’m so grateful for that. More on the Saint Louis year here.
At the end of 25, I graduated with my doctorate and got my first job straight out of school! I packed my entire Saint Louis life and set out for my first big girl gig in Orange County, CA
At 26, I was living the dream as a #CaliforniaGirl. A few months later, I secured a great job at a children’s hospital and moved back to Arizona (home sweet home!) and finally moved in with Adam after having been long-distance for 18 months!
And a funny thing had been happening. My relationships were all getting better–with my parents, my sister, and with Adam.
It was true what they say. You must be happy alone. You do have to love yourself before you can truly love another.
At the latter part of 26, we got engaged, bought our first house, and had a furbaby. (Shut up Bambi, you are not the star of this post.)
Adam and I were homeowners, both had great jobs, and were planning our wedding. The only thing I felt like I was missing was a really great group of gal-pals that I felt I hadn’t had since high school.
And at 27, there they were. And now I couldn’t get rid of them if I tried.
Thanks to Nikki’s gym, BODI, I almost instantly had 20+ girlfriends who enjoyed the same things I did, and who were fierce and successful, funny and a serious good time, and also extremely loyal and trustworthy.
And at 28 in 2015, I truly feel that I have everything I could ever want.
According to Wikipedia, a “Hype Man” is a rapper’s backup. A cool dude in his own right, yes, but he only mainly exists as a backup dancer/vocalist and to create excitement in a crowd for the main guy.
On my journey as a twenty-something, I’ve come a long way. Through my experiences, I’ve learned to believe in me. I have the ability to overcome hardships and persevere through the obstacles. And I’ve proven this over and over again. I feel as though there is nothing that could come my way that I don’t have the tools to handle. I’ve become confident, independent, and courageous.
And those are the best things a young gal can be.
Through fitness & health, having a career where I help children & families, finding hobbies I truly love, and people that I love to spend time with, I’ve found a happiness that I could never have even dreamed existed. And even with a lovely home, a loving marriage, a healthy lifestyle, and a successful career, my happiness is by far my biggest accomplishment. I’ve worked so hard for this life, and I love the life I’ve built.
I don’t need anyone as MY back-up.
I’m my own hype girl. My own biggest fan.
So Cheers to 28.
Because every single year keeps getting better and better. #Blessed.