As of last night at approximately 11:04 PM, I am 26 years old.
I’m more than halfway through my twenties.
How did that happen?!
The last year has been one of my best and one of my hardest. I learned a lot of lessons—many that I didn’t want to learn, but that were important nonetheless. I shed a lot of tears, laughed a lot of laughs, drank a lot of wine, and collected a lot of material for my future tell-all memoir.
The other day, a friend asked me what I want to happen in my 26th year. It got me thinking. While I’d obviously love a new car, an expensive handbag, and maybe a trip around the world, most of the things that came to mind were extensions of those lessons I learned in year 25.
Here’s what I’ve come up with so far.
In my 26th year, I want to:
- Have more fun.
- I’ve already made lots of progress on this one. I go out more, I let my silliness shine wherever I go, and I’ve surrounded myself with some awesome people. But in the back of my mind, Uptight Haley still dominates a bit. I’m going to continue working on letting loose, being social, and settling down on the overthinking.
- Care a little less.
- While I’ve gotten better about not caring so much what other people think, I’ve still got work to do. I need to focus on myself and how things make me feel. Everyone else is far from perfect, too, so why should I let others dictate anything?
- Stop trying to fix people.
- This is a hard one for me. I’m always trying to “fix” the people I love. I want everyone to live up to the potential I know they have, and I want them all to be as happy as they deserve to be. But I’m slowly learning that those things aren’t up to me. You can’t change someone, no matter how many times you tell them how great they are and encourage them to follow a certain path. It’s their journey, not mine. I’m learning that you have to let people do their thing and see the light on their own.
- Broaden my horizons.
- I love my friends. They’re so supportive, fun, and thoughtful. Our group text makes me laugh around the clock. But as my mom reiterated the other day, I always tend to find a couple of people I love and cling to them. While there’s nothing wrong with having a small circle (quality over quantity, right?) I’d like to work on expanding that circle a bit. I don’t need to have ten ‘best friends,’ but I could try harder when it comes to letting new people into my life.
- Avoid negative people.
- The older I get, the more negative people there seem to be. As a sensitive person, it’s all too easy to let those people get me down. But this year, I’m vowing to block that energy before it gets too close. I’m realizing that nine times out of ten, a person’s unkind behavior comes from a place of insecurity—and that has nothing to do with me. All I can do is focus on being welcoming, kind, and positive.
- Be valued.
- I often try to remind myself of how much I have to offer—both in the workplace and in my personal life. I hate the feeling of not being valued, but I still tend to let people make me feel that way. Whether a guy ghosts me or a boss seems to notice everyone else’s work but mine, it’s up to me to make sure that I’m not being taken advantage of. And if I am, it’s up to me to remove myself from the situation.
- Become more comfortable with myself.
- If you’ve known me for a while, you know I’ve come SO, SO far with this one. The people in my life now can’t believe it when I tell them I used to be extremely timid and unconfident. I really upped my game this past year, but I still have some mountains to climb. I need to learn to value myself before anyone else is going to.
Do you guys have any advice for my 26th year or lessons you’ve learned since your last birthday? Let me know!