25 things I learned at 25

This morning I got the chance to catch up with a dear friend, one who’s walked with me through a lot of the ups and downs that characterize the seasons we navigate in our mid-20s. I was sharing with her that looking back on where I was a year ago takes my breath away — I don’t recognize the girl who was trying to live and love and figure things out this time last year, and I don’t recognize the circumstances by which she was surrounded.

I wrote this list on the eve of my 26th birthday, back in early September of 2018. I was transitioning out of a season of stripping away, and I felt reflective and hopeful despite having no idea what life had in store for me.

It took me until just a couple of weeks ago to come to the realization that the season of stripping away was really just creating space for my heart and soul to be filled in new and stunningly beautiful ways, and when I made that realization for myself I revisited my list with a new perspective, newly ready to face the lessons that I learned during one of the most challenging years of my life.

So, without further ado, here’s my list of 25 things I learned at 25, unedited and in no particular order.

  1. Yes you can do that thing. This is the most important thing that 25-year-old Kaeli learned. Regardless of what it is, no matter if it’s big or small, you can do it. Want to be a gym-goer? Go. Want to learn to cook better? Cook. Want to clean your room or do a yoga flow or learn Spanish? You can. You have the time and you have the capability. This is your permission to Do That Thing.
  2. Take social media breaks.
  3. Say yes to coffee.
  4. Be the one who initiates.  Especially if no one is asking you to coffee.
  5. People care less about what you’re doing than you think. Everyone is just worried about their own self, and therefore no one remembers that embarrassing thing you said or did.
  6. Your voice matters.
  7. Everyone’s timeline is different.
  8. Self-care is for everyone and it’s not a sign of weakness.
  9. It’s okay to say no. I’m going to say that again. It’s okay to say no.
  10. It’s really all for His good.
  11. Don’t put God-sized expectations on human-sized humans. He should be your source and your refuge. You can expect people to treat you well, but don’t expect them to carry all of your burdens and heal all your hurts. Only He can do that.
  12. Walk through open doors.
  13. Put the phone down.
  14. Pretending to dislike things that are popular doesn’t make you cooler or more interesting.
  15. Stay up-to-date on the news.
  16. VOTE.
  17. Carry a journal with you. Inspiration can strike at any time and it doesn’t stick around for long.
  18. People (including you) are resilient.
  19. There is beauty in alone time.
  20. Ask for what you want.
  21. Listen.
  22. Softness and strength can co-exist. Own your duality, dear one. You can be soft and strong, content and driven, oceans and mountains. Anyone who puts you in a box is doing you a disservice, so don’t put yourself in one either.
  23. Get in the Word.
  24. Love unapologetically.
  25. You deserve the good that is coming to you. And it’s coming.

So there you have it. It’s a little disorganized and imperfect but hopefully there were one or two things in there that inspired you to look through a bit of a different lens when considering your circumstances. If you don’t take anything else out of this list, just read that last one again. The good is coming, dear friend. It’s always coming.

Stay beautiful. – K

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