Today I am a year older. Today I am twenty-seven years old. In all honesty I am having a harder time swallowing this number than when I turned twenty-five. Everyone else told me they had a hard time with turning a quarter of a century, but it didn’t even phase me. I think I am struggling with this year is because I have officially hit the late twenty’s, and am only 3 years away from 30.
I always get very contemplative around my birthday. I think about the past year and even past years. I think about all I have accomplished and all I haven’t. I think about the people in my life now versus who was there in the past. I think about how I have changed and how I am still the same. I think… a lot.
This past year was one of the hardest years of my life. It was filled with a lot of heartache, disappointment, loss and just hard stuff. I have learned a lot but definitely not things I ever thought I would have to learn nor in the way I thought I would. Needless to say this was not at all what I planned for my mid twenties.
I have been thinking over the past few weeks about how different my life looks at twenty-seven than I ever imagined it to be. I mean over half way through twenty-six I moved back in with my parents because of my health issues and now I am starting twenty-seven in the same boat. Moving back in with my parents or having chronic pain was never on my “to-do” or bucket list, especially at this age.
I mean five years ago I almost got married and figured, that even though that relationship ended, that I would have found someone else and be married by now. Or maybe I would be living overseas somewhere doing some sort of missions work or just exploring and taking pictures. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine moving back home and having to depend on my parents because I physically can’t take care of myself like I once could.
It always is funny to me how we picture our life and what we think it will be, at a younger age, and then when we get to that imagined age, most of the time, it is completely different then what we imagined. I’m pretty sure it almost never is they way we pictured it.
For instance, I remember when I was around twenty, I though that by the time my baby brother graduated, which I would have been twenty-four, that I would come to his graduation and that I would be married and maybe even have a child by that point. Well, that was not the case when his graduation hit and I’m no closer to that “plan” now than I was three years ago.
I don’t regret that during my twenties that I haven’t gotten married and had kids. I have enjoyed the majority of the last 7 years. I have traveled the nations, had the opportunity to live on my own (with roommates), go to ministry school, made incredible friendships and just experienced life. I have had to opportunity to figure out who Alisa Marie Paul is over the past several years. And that, is something I will always treasure and never wish something different for myself, besides the chronic pain saga.
Which brings me to my next contemplative though of turning another year older. Even though the past couple of years have been difficult I am grateful for the hardship in the matter that I have gotten to really figure out who I am and who I am not.
The majority of my life I have spent my time trying to be someone that everyone else wanted me to be. I have that nasty perfection mentality that if I don’t do everything and say everything just right that everyone will hate me and not want to be my friend or love me. So, even though I got to discover who I am on my own without my parents, I also spent a lot of time trying to be the person others wanted me to be, depending on what circle I was in.
But, the past two in a half years I have gotten to figure out who I am without people. Because I spent most of my time at home, alone, I began to discover who I am without people. And I have let down a lot of walls of perfection. I have stopped caring, as much, about what people think of me. I share my honest thoughts more openly because I really don’t care I just want to be honest with people. Of course I still try to do it in kindness but I want to always remain honest with people and if they don’t like the truth or me then that’s okay and I am not going to die if not everyone loves me. I need to remain true to myself.
And I am really grateful that I have stopped trying to be other people or how other people want me to be. Because, even though I am still on the journey of discovering the honest me I know that I am working on being true to myself and not some idea of me that someone else came up with. The freedom of just being myself is exciting and brings so much more peace to my life.
So, here is to twenty-seven. To finding healing for my body. For continuing the journey of the real honest me. To experiencing new adventures that I didn’t imagine for myself. To just enjoying the ride, even if it is a little daunting at the moment. To another year of mistakes and learning. To just living life as best I can, in each moment.
Thanks for sharing a moment of your day with me.