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25 years

This weekend I celebrated my 25th birthday. While nothing really major happens when you turn 25, except for insurance costs decreasing and the magical ability to drink decent amounts of alcohol without feeling like crap for two solid days disappears, I still felt like this was a big milestone. Okay, maybe not big, but how about decent sized?

When I was young, I always thought at this point in my life I would have a house, a husband and one kid (or be pregnant with said kid). I would be this awesome adult who had her entire life sorted out and an amazing career to boot. Instead, I live in a one-bedroom apartment, have a pretty wonderful boyfriend, and a spoiled rotten dog for a roommate. While I like to think of myself as an awesome… person, adult(ing) is something I struggle with every day. I am not a morning person – although I hope to become one, my closet and bedroom notoriously look as though I just missed the last tornado to Oz and I always wait for the low fuel light to come on before stopping to fill up. As for my career, hah! Nobody really prepares you for uncertainty. Great mentors encourage you to follow your passions by constantly feeding you lines about doing what you enjoy throughout your entire childhood, but what if you don’t know what you enjoy? What if you just don’t like to work and anything you would do for work isn’t exciting and fun? What if doing a job that encompasses a passion of yours turns into something you dread?

If I was asked to nail down the biggest struggle I have had in my early twenties it would be: giving myself a break when it came to aspirations and accepting uncertainty. I loved school. I loved having structure and a timeline to work off of – just do your homework and take these tests, and then you will graduate, and then go to college, and on and on and on. After graduation, it felt like the rug was pulled out from under me. I had no idea what were realistic timeframes to accomplish what I set out to do. I expected to land my dream job within the first year out of college – a year is a long time, right? I anticipated moving into a really nice apartment and having a fabulous wardrobe to go in my huge closet. But when I got to the real world I felt like I failed. All these goals I had made for myself were not being met in what I believed to be a timely manner. I started to see everyone around me slowly picking up the pace, while I was left behind grasping my side and panting for more air on the mile run called adulthood. Not to mention that I constantly compared myself to everyone else’s Facebook page – I mean highlight reel.

On top of not allowing myself enough time to accomplish my goals, I simply could not handle how any and all plans I made for the future would crumble within a matter of days, weeks, or months. So many aspects of my life would change in such a short period of time in my early twenties;

I had my heart broken, graduated from college, moved back home, dated the Daniel Cleaver of my romantic comedy, moved to a brand new area, had no friends nearby, all to find out that I did not even love my job.

While these times were beyond difficult, so many wonderful moments grew from these experiences; I learned to enjoy being alone, adopted Vinnie, met and started dating my own Mark Darcy, started to freelance much more and gained some confidence I never knew I lacked. Basically, it took all of these difficult years to realize that where I am now is exactly where I need to be and everything I have gone through is pivotal to my personal narrative. While I may not be exactly where I thought I would long ago, I wouldn’t have it any other way. 25 might not be a huge milestone, but I can’t help but see it as hopefully the finish line of my insecure early twenties.


  1. Katie Swainston says

    Beautifully put Shelbz!! It’s so true and although you never really get over those insecurities, you learn to use them to your advantage. Keep up the amazing work that has so many (especially me) SO proud of you!


  2. Karen says

    I love watching you grow up Shelby! That feisty little red head (“Bug”) has always made us proud!


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