Happy Thursday! It is, in fact, quite a happy Thursday, as today is my Thursday. It is my twenty-fifth birthday. Like a kid too excited to age up, I’ve been saying I’m 25 for a bit now, responding “I’m turning 25 next month” or something similar instead of acknowledging that I was in fact still just 24, whenever asked.
Funny story: When I was nine years old, I was at a family friend’s house for something. In a conversation with this friend’s oldest daughter, I learned she was twenty. I responded, “Wow, you’re so old.” This memory is so cemented in my head. I remember so clearly saying to her Wow, you’re so old. I remember the thought developing in my head as I did the math, she was more than two times my age. In my mind, that made her old. Now here I am teetering on three-times that age. Perspective sure is something.
When I was looking for inspiration about what I wanted to write about in honor of this special day, I found a number of thought pieces sharing what you should do if you’re “freaked out” or “scared” or “panicked” that you’re turning 25, and I was left incredibly confused. What is it about turning 25 that could be scary? As I step into the next third of my life (yep, you heard it here first- I think my life expectancy is roughly 75), I am anything but freaked out or scared. I feel incredibly like I have my feet under me, and I know where I’m going.
I am not afraid of turning 25.
I don’t have a plan for life (not that the Army would let me make one), but I have a person for life in Casey. I have a job that I’m really enjoying in a career field where I still have so much to learn. I have more books that I could read in a lifetime and an unquenchable thirst to read even more. I have dozens of podcasts I get to listen to (at the marginal cost of $0) where I can learn new and exciting information about anything I want. I know a God who loves me unconditionally.
We own a house (that we don’t live in) and turned it into our first rental property. I have a reliable car that runs beautifully. I have a pup who loves to cuddle like it’s no one’s business. More importantly, I have friends and family who love me, who are there to support me, and who are available counsels whenever I need them.
I have built and am actively building a life I love. I am not afraid of turning 25; I am excited by it. I am optimistic of all the blessings the next year might bring.
Birthday Present #1
I gave myself two birthday presents this year. First, I PAID OFF MY CAR.
I wanted it so badly and now it’s gone! In the song, Dee-1 says, “I used all that extra money to take long vacations…. I used all that extra money to stack up my saving.” That’s all I can think about, Without having to put X towards my car, think about how much I’ve freed up to do all these other things, like take the honeymoon of a lifetime next summer.
Having this car paid off is a big accomplishment, as this was the last of my debts. What stands between us and debt-freedom is Casey’s cow loan, the mortgage on our first rental property, and the wedding we have the cash to fund.
Today, though, I’m just savoring in the freedom from this car payment. For my twenty-fifth birthday, I gave myself this car and its title. How beautiful. How lucky I am that I have had the opportunity to do this.
Birthday Present #2
Second, I gave myself a Groupon for an hour-long photo shoot with Versaguis Photography. (Remember, if you’re going to buy a Groupon, start from Ebates!) Savannah friends, this is the exact Groupon I bought: Outdoor Photoshoot from Versaguis Photography. For less than $50 (because I got money back from Ebates & they found me a local coupon code), I got 15 beautiful digital images that will all make their appearance here over time. I split the shoot between inside and outside of the house.
As long-time readers may know, I struggled with childhood obesity all the way until college. These pictures, like the one at the top of this page, give me the chance to celebrate my body right now where it is, despite my oft-mentions frustrations about where it is today compared to where it used to be this time last year, and remember how far I’ve come in the last five years.
This Birthday Is Mine
Also known as “I will not let the Army steal this birthday.” Two years ago, after I spent the bulk of my twenty-third birthday in tears, I wrote about getting my “Army wake up call.” Despite having just moved to a new duty station to be with Casey and having no friends, C wasn’t going to be there for my birthday. That birthday was a wake-up call in a lot of ways, not the least of which is that I let the Army take it from me. I’ve learned my lesson, though. I will not let the Army steal this or any future birthday, though.
Despite that C isn’t here, I have plans for a low-key birthday today. After work, I plan to get a mani-pedi, dinner outside of the house (maybe even somewhere dog-friendly), and go watch the new Incredibles movie. I am also hoping to put a serious dent in this great book I’m reading. My sister sent me a cake-making kit and a donut-making kit, so I’ll probably also make one of those. Alternatively, I might buy a nice cupcake from the store and call it that because I don’t want to have to clean up the kitchen.
Whatever the case, I refuse to spend this or any other future birthday moping around because of C’s army obligation. He’s going to be gone sometimes and life is going to go on. That includes birthdays.
My Sister’s Sweetness
Laura, my absolutely insane younger sister, gave me twenty-five days of birthday presents.
Mind you, she did this while simultaneously putting the final touches on my perfect bridal shower AND starting her own hand-crafted soap business Lova Soaps. This is what I mean when I say I am surrounded by the best people. I don’t need stuff. I don’t need to collect things. Despite being far from my family (I just got off the phone with family in Brazil as I’m writing this!), I feel so incredibly loved. There are not enough words to describe what a gift that is.
Turning 25 isn’t scary. It’s an opportunity to reflect. This birthday, a bit more than others because it’s a milestone, is the perfect opportunity to take a step back, look around, and ask “How is life going right now?” Even if we are already a third of the way in, that means we still have two-thirds to go! Tomorrow isn’t promised, but I’m planning on a long beautiful life. I’ve got more of it to go than I’ve got done- that means there’s still lots of lessons to learn, lots of mistakes to made, and lots of tears to shed, both happy and sad.
Cheers to 25 🍾
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Emilie is an Army Wife, Data Engineer, and CrossFitter with a love for working through her thoughts in this space on the internet. She lives with her husband Casey and their pup Bo in Savannah, GA.