25

In the months leading up to my 25th birthday, I played with so many ideas of what I’d do – vacation getaway in a tropical place, big bash at a club, or maybe a relaxing day at a high-end spa. But really, I was just thinking of what I could do to capture a day of fun and happiness. What did that look like in a photo? What story would I share about the big 2-5?

As with most things in my life, my birthday celebration conversation brought me back to work. Since embarking on my “work/life balance” journey I’ve realized that it is more than just figuring out how to leave work at the office. It is about answering some personally challenging questions.

  • Outside of work what brings me joy? What makes me happy?
  • What motivates me to do anything that is not work-related?
  • What do I want to do besides work? 

That last question has been the tough one and work has been a crutch to avoid answering with a dreaded “I don’t know.” It’s just easier to clock in that extra hour of emails than sit down with myself and search for an answer that I can’t even give a gut reaction to. 

I secretly wished that turning 25 would magically make an answer appear, but that didn’t happen. Instead, I found power and meaning in one word – choice. Whether or not I knew what made me happy I was still choosing to do work instead of anything else. I had chosen to limit my options to working or answering a question that maybe really didn’t matter. So, I resolved that my resolution for my 25th birthday would be to take back the power of my choice.

I was no longer going to choose a life that made me feel unfulfilled, miserable, and exhausted. Instead of using work as a crutch, I would choose to be open-minded, curious, and above all forgiving with myself. No more scrolling through IG and telling myself, “I don’t have the time,” or “Oh! That’s just not my thing.” 

I came to this conclusion in August of last year and since then I’ve signed up for barre classes, invested time and energy into a new friendship, planned new holiday traditions, explored Seattle’s nature, and even got a bigger apartment. I’ve been working really hard to make sure each day I lead a life that begins with, “Today I choose…” 

As for my actual birthday celebration? Well, that’s a funny story involving a work trip, a tour bus, and two ER visits.  Drop an email if you’re really curious, but I will share that my resolution was probably the only good gift I gave myself that day. 

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