If I had to sum up my 26th year in one word it would be eventful. It feels like so much happened this past year that each time I sit down to reflect on it, I remember something I didn’t before.
This year I finally traveled to New York City, fulfilling a lifelong dream, in celebration of my first wedding anniversary with Mike. On that trip, I met with my grandparents who live upstate and who I hadn’t seen in over ten years. I gained two sisters-in-law this year, who each had the most beautiful weddings. I watched three of my best friends get engaged! And I was able to visit with my cousin (who feels more like a big sister) three times—a new record I’d like to keep up.
Those are biggest memories that stick out to me, despite there being so much more that I experienced. The common theme being family. Family has always been important to me, but as I get older I realize just how much of a priority family is. I’m learning just how much I’m willing to sacrifice to spend time with my family and how many things could never be as precious to me as my loved ones.
To top off my 26th year, a few weeks ago I left an extremely toxic work environment after I decided to put my self worth and mental health first. Putting myself first has been a difficult lesson to learn and I couldn’t be more proud of myself for making this decision. For the first time in 11 months, I feel like myself again. It’s like a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders, allowing for positive feelings to finally overtake all the negative ones I had been filled with. I’m not sure yet what my next move will be, but I know I need to continue to value my worth as I move forward.
This time last year I was dreading my 26th birthday. I enjoyed being 25 and all the wonderful memories I created in that “golden year.” It felt to me that once 25 came to an end, so would all good times I had experienced. As if there’s a finite amount of good times you’re allowed to have. Surely, I must have used them all up? But being 26 taught me how untrue that is. It taught me that I would continue to make happy memories amongst the not-so-good. It taught me that as I get older, I can appreciate the lessons that are learned at every age and carry them with me. Above all, it taught me what my true priorities are and how to put myself first.
So cheers to my last day as a 26-year-old! It was a joy and I’m looking forward to what 27 brings.