By Amanda Vining, Regular ContributorJuly 27, 2015
My birthday is at the end of the month. I will turn 25, which means that I will be celebrating a quarter century of life. Every year, I write a letter to myself on the eve of my birthday to read the following year. In these letters, I write my highlights from the previous year and my dreams for the upcoming year.
As I reflect on my upcoming 25th birthday, I’m not only thinking about the accomplishments I’ve achieved over the past year, but the experiences of the first quarter century of my life.
image via ruthreallywrites.wordpress.com
In 25 years, I have gained a raw understanding of relationships. I have fallen in love, and I have had my heart broken. I have welcomed new family members and said goodbye to loved ones. I have made friends and let go of friendships. I’ve learned that I can find and create families in every corner of the world, and that distance doesn’t make our love weak. I have given second chances, and I have received second chances. I have hugged, listened to, and cried with the people I love.
I have learned that “I am sorry” are some of the hardest words to say, that “thank you” are some of the most important words, and that “I love you” are the most essential.
I have felt what it’s like to be on top, but have also learned how to pick myself up after I fall. I have made mistakes, and I have taken ownership of those mistakes. I have achieved goals and dreamt up new ones. I have experienced the passion of doing what I love and the dedication and hard work that goes along with making my mark on this world. I have learned the power of perseverance and taking a stand for what I believe in. I have danced in the rain, stayed up to watch the sunrise, been vulnerable, taken risks, and challenged myself to embrace what makes me beautyFULL.
In my 25 years, I have been impressed, humbled, amazed, encouraged, and driven. Going forth into my next 25 years, I give myself the following advice: take a stand against fear, start every day with a smile, meet as many people as you can, fall in love with yourself every moment of every day, and live every second with as much beauty as you want to see in the world.
What advice will you give to yourself this year? What experiences do you cherish from the past year? Tell us below!
Amanda lives in Austin, Texas, where she strives every day to be as BRAVE and BeautyFULL as she can be. She graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a self-designed degree in Children’s Rights, and Duke University with a certificate in Nonprofit Management. In her spare time, Amanda can be found scouring Pinterest for her latest craft project, drinking coconut mochas in her favorite coffee shop, and advocating for sexual violence prevention on her blog, Talk About Rape (www.talkaboutrape.com.)
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