Wow. This is surreal. I’m turning 21 this week. Grant it, I guess a birthday doesn’t exactly make the “surreal” cut since they come around every year, but this one just feels different. I’ve been wrestling with a thousand and one existential thoughts for the past two weeks in preparation for “becoming an adult,” as if some ritual is going to ceremoniously transform me from a quirky, Type A collegiate to a non-hot-mess adult. That ritual is called Sex on the Beach at midnight. But really though – it’s such a strange feeling.
I’m counting down to the big 2-1 with two lists. I’ve narrowed it down to two after the following ran through my brain: Do I make a bucket list? A 25 before 25? A list of places to go or people to see or things to do before I die? Is this too existential? Am I being weird? Alright whatever, I just want pizza. So these felt a bit weird to make. Per usual self, I put way too much pressure on them before coming to realize that it’s okay if I don’t feel like I’ve got it all together yet (will we ever?), and it’s okay if things in life – or bullets on the lists – change or come undone or come together differently than intended or expected as time progresses. So.
21 of the best things from this past year:
- J. I’ve gotta kick this list off with him, with as few cheeseballs as possible. You all have seen a slice of our life here and on YouTube, but a few posts can’t even begin to express all of the feels. I’ll leave it at that before I get all teary and weird typing in this accounting class coffeeshop.
- For the first time, this year I feel like I’m really truly beginning to believe in myself, take strategic leaps of faith (and not-so-strategic jumps, too), and be willing to stand up for who I am and what I believe in the most vulnerable, l unabashed way.
- My friendship with Melanie is on a whole new level. This girl is so inspiring to me for so many reasons, and I couldn’t imagine a life without her. #soulsister
- I’m proud of the 2015 Wharton Women Business Conference, Higher in Heels: Strides to Success. It felt absolutely amazing to have a huge part in throwing the biggest inspiration-fest for undergraduate women in business on campus, and the connections I made throughout are invaluable.
- I went dress shopping with my mom. Like, wedding dress shopping. We bonded so much this day and just had the best time laughing and crying and being best friends. I couldn’t love her more, and I get waaaaaaay emotional about it around my birthday. I say this with tears in my eyes – again – because I’m a friggin’ sap and can’t get through anything without being moved to tears.
- I’ve refined my career interests, and I’ve nailed down my hypothetical plan for the next five years. I know things will change, and I know plans will go off track, but they’ll come back around and I’ll still be doing what I love – building brand strategies and consulting for small business owners and companies that share my passion for consumer communications.
- I got engaged.
- Spring break in California with Counterparts. The latest occurrence, but the first time in my three years at Penn and in the group where I’ve really felt like family with this bunch of 15 other goons.
- The anxiety that I’ve faced in the past feels like its lessening. Or rather, maybe I just feel better equipped to take it in stride and push forward.
- My upcoming summer internship is so exciting to me, and I feel really good about it opening so many doors for learning and growth. I’ll be a brand strategy intern at a Philadelphia agency, and I’m ready to just soak up knowledge sponge-style.
- I’m new to YouTube, but boy – it feels like the start of something really special. Fingers crossed…
- Taylor and I started this year-long blog project called New Year, New Blog (have you heard of it?), where we’re trying to bring small and big bloggers together to share information and support each other in blossoming; we’ve created quarterly eBooks for each of our VIP NYNB members, and we’re really putting our all into figuring out how to make this an awesome experience for everyone. We’re figuring out how to balance our friendship with our work and how to make everything come together in this crazy thing we’ve envisioned, and it’s such a ride. Shameless plug: become a VIP and join us!
- Last summer I was a marketing intern at Burlington’s headquarters, and it taught me – I’d say above all else – so much about corporate relationships. I’m so grateful to have had the manager I did, because she truly transformed the process for me and taught me about dealing with less-than-stellar coworkers whose agendas are far off yours. She’s also just a cool person. Then there was the fact that I had a commute to NJ every day and learned quite quickly what not to do the first day on the job. But I was also just floored seeing everything I’ve learned and worked on thus far in college really come to life in “the real world.” This internship was equal parts humbling and confidence-building.
- I feel my faith increasing abundantly, and I just have an unquenchable yearning to feel Christ’s love all around me all the time. It’s a crazy feeling, and I want it to always be there.
- What I felt when we got engaged and walked right into a surprise engagement party (which J had planned all along) and so many of our closest friends and family were there beaming – that love and support is what defines #blessed for me.
- My skin is on a journey. I started using Proactiv+ about four months ago, and I’m on this continuous adventure to finally feel confident in my skin – it’s coming along!
- Some friendships that I’ve been making in blog world are turning into friendship in the real life world. That couldn’t be more exciting, and I’m planning on actually meeting some this year (lookin’ at you, Shane!).
- I feel stronger. My bounce back rate is higher. Disappointments don’t keep me down. Getting back on track after something goes off course – it’s getting easier and easier.
- You know what else I’m really proud of? Clearing out my closet of things I’ve had since the 8th There are those few outliers from middle school, but I have a vision for my wardrobe and I’m loving its evolution.
- This year in particular has been so so special for me vocally. My teacher is absolutely mind-blowingly talented and incredible, and she has brought more out of me than I ever thought possible. The songs in my repertoire now are the songs that four years ago I literally dreamt about being able to sing at all someday. I always wanted a “Broadway belt,” and being able to stand up and perform Don’t Rain on My Parade and everything from Wicked and On my Own from Les Mis – it’s probably one of my proudest accomplishments this year.
- This blog. I’ve had a ridiculous amount of ups and downs, but it has taught me beyond much. Through this, I feel myself changing and growing and blossoming, and I’m inspired by the community here everyday. So thank YOU.
21 things I’m going to do this year:
- Keep up my Spanish and focus on getting as close to fluency as possible.
- Actually clear out old makeup and nail polish and my monster of a closet – it’s a seriously scary beast in there.
- Cook like a boss. I’m oftentimes intimidated, because my fiancé is a BALLER cook. While I will forever appreciate this and absolutely love it, I still want to be able to whip up amazing dishes for him, too!
- Lift regularly. I lift on and off now, but you know what? I’m sick of people saying to me, “Oh, you’re so skinny!” I want people to look at me and say, “Oh, you’re so strong!”
- Get back into regular cardio. I miss my cross country days, and a good long run now and again never hurt nobody.
- Put my all into YouTube. It’s such a BLAST, and it’s the perfect outlet for my theatrical antics. I miss my theatre days, so why not just get on camera and talk about some fun things for the world, right?
- Read the Bible. All of it.
- Read period, on the somewhat reg. I feel like every year, the number of books on my shelf increases and I still never carve out time to sit down with some tea and a book and just read.
- Look into community theater.
- Get a job. A full-time, big girl job. Whoa baby.
- Grow stronger in prayer.
- Keep working on my balancing act in life.
- De-clutter across the board.
- Play piano regularly. I’ve played for 16 years, and I absolutely do not want to stop or lose everything I worked towards, so I’m going to force myself to get to the keys more!
- Pay more attention in class. I blame blogging and food. Whoops.
- Put more time for people who truly matter in my life and let go of those who don’t reciprocate love and respect and all that jazz.
- Stop being late. Not a second late. If anything, I vow to show up early.
- Put less on my calendar. It wasn’t until Skyping with one my best friends that I came to realize how booked we make ourselves. And it’s a bit sad and frustrating and un-fun knowing that my weekends through May are already booked solid! There’s no room for spontaneity or relaxation there.
- Speaking of relaxation, I need to actually force myself to chill the heck out and just do nothing every now and then. Sometimes my drive gets the best of me and I forget what it means to just lie down and do nothing but think and reflect.
- Eliminate expectations, especially over-expectations of myself. They lead to nothing but disappointment and stress when I inevitably fall short of completely unrealistic goals. This will always be a point for me to work on, but maybe this is my year to finally start getting it right!
- Always remember to love myself.
Do you have a list of things you’re promising to yourself this year? Or any sort of birthday-related goal list?
Leave a comment below with a link to your own – I’d love to see them! And get 21% off any ad on my sidebar or any consulting service with code BIRTHDAYGIRL.
See you on the hump. I’ll be older and wiser and probably not cooler, but I’ll have a legal drink in hand and it’ll be grand.