Friday, January 28, 2011

defining 25.

{from here}

I turn 25 next week.

To my friends and family, this is not news. I’ve been advocating on behalf of my 25th year for months now, maybe since I greeted poor, overlooked 24 nearly twelve months ago.

My closest friends and loved ones are undoubtedly sick of my birthday, sick of the talking and the planning and the hyping, which does not bode well since the day has yet to actually arrive.

There is a method, though, to my madness, a purpose in all of this hullabaloo that I have created for myself.

In my head exists this version of my younger self, clad in flannel pajama bottoms, snuggled in a sleeping bag next to my favorite friends, whispering secrets and sharing dreams. This littler, naïve-er me boldly says that 25 will be THE YEAR: the year I get married, the year I get my dream job, the year everything comes together. In short, 25 is when I will enter adulthood, when I will make some sense of this life and how I’m meant to live it.

The younger me might be surprised to find out that I got married two years ago, I have a job I enjoy, and I live in an apartment over 1,000 miles from Manhattan.

Maybe that me would be disappointed in who she sees, I can’t be sure. Maybe she would shed tears over graduate school and magazine publishing dreams, plead with me to move to the big city, question the decisions I’ve made and why I’ve made them.

I’m okay with that. I think we’d maybe cry together, but then I think I’d tell her:

Suck it up, you.

This chaotic mess that I am living is life, and it is good. And the decisions I have made have been hard, but they have been right. And the you I was at 16 isn’t the me I am now.

I would tell her that those dreams she had so long ago have come true, but not in the way she had planned: better.

Because really, life isn’t meant to turn out the way we plan, and becoming another year older doesn’t mean we are going to magically figure it out.


The other day, during a moment of quiet reflection, I asked myself what it is I wanted. Forget raucous dance parties and bold decisions, what did I really think the gift of 25 would bring? Who is it I thought I would be on February 2, 2011?

And I realized: All I really want to be and do in this life is grace.

I want grace to seep out of my pores and cover the souls I come in contact with.

I want to bestow grace and mercy and forgiveness on my enemies, to laugh with those who laugh at me.

I want to handle life’s challenges with grace and humor.

I want people to like me, not because I am funny or witty or pretty or smart, but because there is a grace inside of me that makes them feel at ease.

I want my friends to love my home and my heart, not because of anything I have done, but because of the graceful One who makes His home inside of me.

I want to extend the hand of grace to myself: when I look in the mirror. When I have a bad day. When I want it to be sunny and there is only rain.

That’s what being a grown-up means to me, and I think, deep down, it’s what I’ve long wanted 25 to be.

More comfortable in my own skin, yes.

More free to be myself and to make my own decisions and to fully embrace what this life has to offer, yes.

But mostly, just filled with more grace. Lots and lots and lots of grace.


Age is just a number, this I know. But maybe my younger self was right: Maybe there is a little magic in 25.

Maybe knowing what you want is half the battle.

This year, I know I want grace.

Happy birthday to me.


Cindy P said...

You know, I want grace, too. I'm also going to strive to be full of grace during 25 and beyond. Thanks for these words. It was really good to read. Here's to turning 25 really soon! It will be a bit magical. But more than that it will be blessed!

Leslie said...

Beautiful post. I have so many similar feelings....except I'm 33.

Thanks for commenting on my blog. It makes me so happy. And I love your profile pick. And I'll be reading regularly I do believe.

Dylana Suarez said...

Happy birthday to you! This is such a lovely post. I love the way you write!


Manda said...

I too have been freaking out about that lurking number 25. Thanks for this, it really puts things back into perspective.

stephanie said...

25 is a big milestone in a girls life and i am sure everyone you encounter will see a lovely person full of grace :)

ps. 25 also means you have lower rates for car insurance LOL :)

jenna said...

Happy birthday to you for sure! This post is beautiful, and I know our God will leader you deeper and deeper into His grace... into the many aspects of it... Sigh... I love it. And I love you. And you know what, I think 25 is pretty magical. :) Enjoy all that God is laying before you this year!

Laken said...

Lovely post.
And I whole-heartedly agree with you about wanting grace. I want it too.

Happy early birthday Annie! Here's to a wonderful 25th year.