Well, it’s that time again. It’s my birthday eve. I’ll be 26 tomorrow and like on every birthdays eve, I get nostalgic. I put on my moody music and I look through pictures of the last year of my life. I want to remember everything that happened. The feelings I felt. The things I experienced. I want to recapture every moment. I don’t want to forget one thing that happened to me during the past year. As I get older I realize how precious life is. How every moment has the potential to be a defining point in the timeline of life. The good and the bad. Because time is precious. Moments are defining. Life is meant to be experienced to the full. And I can honestly say, after looking back on 25, I lived it. I experienced it. I embraced it with all that was within me and because of that, I will never forget 25 as long as I live. My 25 was…. Well, it was epic. Not just because of the good things that happened or the places I traveled. Which were amazing if I might add. But, I made a discovery this year. I discovered me. Life is always going to be a journey of discovering and becoming who you are created to be. We don’t become all that right away. We evolve because discovering who you are and what your passions are takes time. We are always growing and learning. That is the beauty of life. And that was the beauty of my year. I conquered areas in my life that I thought would never be conquered. I faced things I never had the courage to stand up to. And I spent 25 sanding down the rough edges of myself and I stand here a bit newer and shinier than before. Lauren 2.0. I’m not who I was last year and I’m not where I want to be just yet. But I’m a work in progress. And as long as I’m progressing I’m happy. The best part about all of this year, was I’ve never felt so close to God as I do this year. This year wasn’t the easiest, and that is where I learned to cling to him and trust in him like never before. If it weren’t for the trials I would never have the foundation I have with him now. And for that I am so thankful.
And this year just wasn’t full of introspective growth. It was full of so many incredible things. I’ll hit a few highlights. The girls and I went to some pretty amazing places. Right after my 25th we went to Belize with OCC and got to hand out gifts to kids there. Life changing. It was after that I knew that a new goal in my life was to become a goodwill ambassador. I’m still waiting on that, but I’m hoping it will happen soon. Then my best friend in this whole world got married. I was a bridesmaid for the first time. It was fantastic. Then I got approached to edit an A W Tozer devotional book. Now I can add “General Editor” on my list of things I have had the courage to attempt in my life. Because quite frankly, being an editor was the last thing in the world I thought I would do. Its actually under “jobs you shouldn’t have” for my personality type. But I love a good adventure and challenge. So, I decided to give it a try. (The book comes out in November if you want to check out my editorial skills… and Kurt Warner wrote so if you don’t like me, get it for him) I gained a new niece. She’s kinda the most adorable thing in the world. I ditched my blonde hair to prove to myself that it didn’t define me. I always wanted to go red so I decided there is no better time than now. So I did it. I’ve proved to myself that blondes don’t have more fun. I have the fun and my hair just happens to be there with me while I’m having it. Ladies, we define the hair, it doesn’t define us. A very valuable lesson :) I got to see U2 at Soldier Field. That was an incredible concert. And then, it happened. The spring of this year one of my biggest dreams actually came to pass. My sisters, Beka Hardt (our best friend) and I went on the adventure of a lifetime. We went to Italy for 2 ½ weeks. It’s the first time we went out of the country just for fun. No work allowed. And it was the best thing that has ever happened to me. Italy was a dream. It stole my heart and part of it will remain there for forever. The art, the people, the history, the food. It was magical. It was my dream and it came to pass and exceeded everything I thought it would be.
Those are just the highlights. So much more happened but I don’t wanna bore you to death. All this to say, no matter how old you are or where you are in your life, own it. Live it to the full. Be there for life. Breathe it in and let it fill you. Cause we’ve got one shot at this so let’s make every second count. I can only hope that 26 is gonna be as good as 25. But in my heart I know it will cause we are going to the zoo tomorrow. Starting your year with going to the zoo is automatic good luck for the whole year. Trust me. And yes, I said the zoo. I don’t care that I’m 26, the zoo is still my favorite. It’s like visiting all my little pals in prison. And yes, it sounds young of me, but I like to think that I define the age, the age doesn’t define me. Well, its official. I am now 26. It feels good. I think I’ll keep it for a while and see what it has to offer. I’m ready for the adventure of a new year. Because I know its gonna be a good one….
“Come, my friends, ‘Tis not too late to seek a newer world. Push off, and sitting well in order smite the sounding furrows; for my purpose holds to sail beyond the sunset, and the baths of all the western stars, until I die”. - Tennyson