Well, it’s my birthday. The last of the exciting ones, or so I’ve heard. I am officially a quarter of a century old. By most odds, I have officially lived over one-fourth of my life. At 25, car insurance rates tend to drop. I suppose that’s the last of the exciting milestones for a while. I’ve accomplished some of the things I thought I would by this age, and I have other goals still in progress (and a few that I’ve given up on altogether for various reasons). Thus, I give you a list for my birthday. One that’s primarily for me, but maybe you’ll find some truth in it, too. 25 Lessons for 25 Years – a reflection on what I’ve learned (or am still learning) at this point in my life.
25. You can never have too much pizza. Try new toppings, places, crusts. Experience the cheesiest, the meatiest, the healthiest, and the dessert varieties.
24. But also learn to cook. Carry out and delivery (even pizza) is only satisfying for so long. Make spaghetti. Try foods in cupcake form. And don’t be afraid to fail at it. (Although, if you do put biscuits in the oven, try not to forget about them until they set off fire alarms and are charcoal bricks…)
23. Live with at least one roommate you don’t like. Learn to love them anyway.
22. Live with at least one roommate who completes you and makes you the happiest person in the world. Don’t be afraid of letting them in.
21. Have a pet. It doesn’t matter if it’s a fish, a dog, a gerbil, a pony, or a plant. Be responsible for that life. Take care of it. Mourn its loss when it dies. Enjoy knowing that it depends on you fully, and take that seriously.
20. Question your faith. Know that it’s okay. And then work through it.
19. Stay out way too late and still function the next day. Trust me, you will learn to appreciate sleep so much more.
18. Take a roadtrip with your friend. Don’t make plans for it aside from where and when. Let your schedule be open and experience things you never thought you would. Sitting in line for nearly 9 hours to see RENT from the second row in St. Louis is still one of the most amazing memories I have.
17. Believe in magic even when there is no proof or reason to do so. Not the pull a rabbit out of your hat magic, but the magic that can be stirred up in each of us to love deeply, have faith that can move mountains, and to share joy with others. (You know, that could be the Holy Spirit moving, too. Which is pretty beautiful, if you ask me…)
16. Tell people you love them. Every day.
15. Spend a whole day binge-watching one TV show, eating junk food, and not feeling guilty about it. You can never get that day back, but everyone needs time to themselves.
14. Find a job you love and want to go to every day. Then hold on to that job until you know you’re called to something new.
13. Take a painting class, even if you think you suck at it. Make something, create something, that only you can create. Hang it up proudly. Smile, because it’s yours.
12. Invest time in people. Don’t just watch television, don’t just read, don’t just focus on your career, but invest in the people who shape you. Invest in the people who build you up and those who may hurt you. Learn how to work with them, care for them, and share the best of yourself with them even when it hurts. Invest time and ENERGY in people. Because they are the heart of existence, sharing in the Body of Christ together. God never created us to be alone.
11. Learn to do laundry. Eventually Mom and Dad (or whoever) won’t be there to do it for you.
10. Have a piggy bank and save it for a rainy day. You may be surprised by how much you saved when you cash it in, but the relief you may feel with that extra $25 for groceries will be worth it.
09. Enjoy God’s creation. Whether it is people, nature, or another art form, enjoy all that we would not have without the love of our Creator.
08. Perform a random act of kindness. Then do it again and again until it becomes habit.
07. Work out. Exercise. Take care of your health. Even when you don’t want to do it, it’s important. You only get one body and one life. Be careful with it. Be smart without depriving yourself of simple pleasures.
06. Buy something extravagant. Save for it, buy it, and use it. Know that you worked hard for it and that it’s yours.
05. It’s okay to need help sometimes. It’s okay to need someone to talk to and support you, and to ask for for it. It’s okay to be vulnerable and less than perfect. Don’t dwell in that pain, though. Grow from it and become stronger.
04. Say thank you. Say it a lot. Mean it. Every time.
03. Be accountable for your actions. Perfection may be a goal, but it’s not possible in this lifetime. Stepping up and saying that you were wrong is far easier on everyone than trying to hide. It builds character and encourages you to learn from your mistakes.
02. Love yourself. If you can’t love yourself and who God created you to be, how can you ever be expected to know what it takes to love others?
01. Believe in God. Trust in God. Know that he sent his one and only son to die on a cross for you. But he didn’t stop there. Jesus rose from the dead and ascended to Heaven. He gives us eternal life. Why? Because his love for each of his children is so great that he wants only the best for us. Believe in God, hold on to his love and presence, to the greatest gift of all, and know that you are never alone.