This week I had another birthday, but it wasn't like any one of my previous 24. I feel like when I was younger I always wanted to be older... when I was 16, I always talked about how great it would be when I was 18. I knew I'd have greater freedom, and I always looked forward to the next birthday. 

This year, and especially the last few months, it seems I've arrived to the time I've been waiting for, and now it's time to put on the brakes! It's a strange feeling, but in my short lifespan I've learned a few things that I hope to keep with me the rest of my life.  

I hope you enjoy your years as they come, no matter where you are! We all learn from our experiences and mistakes, and here are my three that have redefined my future:

 

1. Simplify, Simplify, SIMPLIFY!

When life gets crazy, whether you're an artist, student, employee, or all of the above, the best thing I've learned to do is make a list. Take a blank page, and line up 1-5, leaving a lot of space to make corrections. Title the list, "What's most important". You can't have more than five things, but you can make changes. Write them down, stick them to the wall, fridge, something.... and sit back and look at them. 

Once you've reread the list, decide: is this the way I want it? Is there something that I'd rather have higher? Lower? Cross things out. Make a list of less than five things if you prefer... Choose what's most important, and set those things as the priority. Simplify your life! Get less hobbies, and decide what will make you happier, and a better person.

2. Learn Your Love Language

One thing that I've found to be invaluable, is learning how people feel love differently. Leslie taught me that people express and feel love in different ways, and I've learned that people feel more loved when you find their "love language" and speak to them in it! This is outlined perfectly in Gary Chapman's book, "The 5 Love Languages". He goes into details about how people love in 5 different ways, and how you can better identify them. 

Leslie for example, is what's called an "acts of service" speaker. She feels loved when I do something thoughtful for her. Others I know are "gifts". These people feel love when you thoughtfully find them a gift, rather than an act of service. I'm definitely a "quality time" love language man, and I feel love from people when they spend time with me. Learning these languages helps me express love more directly with friends, family, and people we work with.

3. Get OUT! 

Get outside, go out on the town, do something!!!  UNPLUG! Get off your cell phone, and hide the computer! You could be active in the community, go camping, or have a hobby. Something that lets you do what you want is important to staying sane! We all have stressors, and we've got to set them aside from time to time. For my birthday, we got hammock to relax outdoors and camp more often. We were so excited, in fact, that we actually we hung them up in our backyard! I've loved spending time with my family, and camping is the way to having a little peace in this hectic world. 

 

There you have it. Turning 25 has been great- getting to reflect over my life thus far, and seeing what I want for the future. Birthday week was spent doing meaningful things with meaningful people--we loved celebrating over dinner with friends, and also just us as a family. One of the things we did was taking Milo to the aquarium. We loved doing that and getting a few photos! 

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