Goodbye 25.

It’s late and I should be sleeping. But I’m not. My mind is racing and I’m breathing in this last day of 25. My birthday is Monday and a new year will be beginning. It feels like only a year ago I started this blog, but in reality, it’s been almost three years since it began.

I started this blog when I turned 23. I wanted to document my life, my learnings, my mistakes, and my advice. Over the years, I’ve learned so much and sometimes, I’m still amazed at the mistakes and stupid things I find myself doing.

I’m not perfect, and I’ll be the first one to say so.

Sometimes though, it takes a wake up call to shake me from a path that I know isn’t meant for me to walk down. It’s disappointing when it happens, but after the moment of initial shock, I find myself grateful to be woken from this clouded slumber.

Life is full of distractions. It comes in the form of so-called opportunities, things that seem too good to be true, and sometimes even people.

Sometimes we want something so much that we throw aside all of the logical reasons why it’s a bad idea or why it’s not the best move to make. Sometimes we continue on our merry way, stifling the truths that are begging to be heard deep inside our heart. We invest our time, knowing it’ll only hurt us in the end.

Some spend money frivolously, some “live it up” only to wake up in ten years with nothing to show for it, and others walk the straight and narrow path, trusting it will be worth it.

While I have not always remained on the straight and narrow, it is a course I strive to be on. At times, it’s lonely. At times, people won’t understand, won’t approve, and won’t support you. But it’s not about them. It’s about you and the life you’ve chosen for yourself.

Tonight, I had a wake up call. I saw something I didn’t expect and it shook me from the world I’ve lived in for just a little while.

For years, my birthday has been like a new start for me. Not just because I’m turning a year older, but because with each birthday, I feel as though the slate is wiped clean once again. It’s an empty slate, begging to be filled with good memories, adventures, love, friendships, laughter, and life.

A couple days after I turned 25, I jetted off to Colorado with over 20 people. The year started with an adventure I’ll never forget. And while it began with an adventure, it’s ending with a soberness. It’s a seriousness about life I haven’t felt in a long time. It’s a sense of being grounded that I’ve so desperately craved.

Monday evening, when the clock strikes 7:10pm, 25 will slip away and 26 will take its place. I learned a lot this past year. If there were some things I could change, I most definitely would. There’s also been a lot that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed and things that I would relive in a heartbeat if I could.

This year was good to me, but I’m also finally feeling ready to let it go. It’s time for me to get serious about some things I haven’t been very serious about. It’s time for me to do some of the things I’ve only written on bucket lists. And it’s time for me to stop wasting time on things that provide no return.

Life is too short to invest emotions, energy, thoughts, dreams, and actions into things that won’t go anywhere. Weigh the cost of your time, your emotions, and your investments carefully. Time cannot be bought or added upon.

If I were to close my eyes, I’d picture myself in a classroom. Time is the teacher and life is the chalkboard in front of me. The teacher is beginning to wipe the chalkboard clean. The mistakes, the goals, the disappointments, the hurts – all being gently cleaned from the board.

And as I watch the chalk marks disappear as the board dries, the teacher picks up a piece of chalk and walks over to my desk.

Handing me the chalk, the teacher says, “Use what you’ve been given to the best of your ability” and motions to the board. As I stand up, I grip the piece of chalk even harder, hoping I don’t mess this up. Time reminds me that this time around, I have another year of lessons and experiences to pull from.

And this time, I promise to make the most of what I’ve been given.

Goodbye 25. Thanks for giving me a year I’ll never, ever forget.

Hello 26. Let’s do this.

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