25...and Happy to Be Alive

 Well guys...I did it. I turned a quarter of a century old, and I survived.
In all seriousness though, I just returned home from a stupendous birthday weekend. (I feel like that word doesn't get enough credit. Stupendous...it's so great.) Anyway, the weekend of my 25th was spent in Atlanta, with wonderful friends, good times, lots of laughter, yummy food, and a dash of wine. Sounds great, right?
We visited the Coca Cola factory, a couple of great restaurants (including The Vortex, where I had one of the best mushroom swiss burgers I have ever tasted), explored downtown Atlanta, and enjoyed some girl time. I wish we would have had more than two days, because Atlanta, Georgia has a lot to offer.
The weekend has left me excited for 25, and even though I have to get up and go back to the daily grind tomorrow, I'm going to do my best to do it with a positive attitude. I'm 25. It's a new year for me, and my mindset is going to follow the promise of the new and wonderful things that I know are coming.
Thanks to everyone for the birthday wishes! You have no idea how appreciated they are. Now...here are a few pictures from my festivities. (Via our shared photo stream from the weekend...because I stupidly forgot my camera. Sigh...)




One Question

What am I doing?

Last night, I did a lot of reflecting on this past year; my 24th year of life. I've noticed that something that people seem to enjoy doing is choosing a word or a theme that sums up their year or their experience. As I was thinking about the past twelve months of my life though, I couldn't sum it up in a word...but rather a question; the question that is right up there at the beginning of this post.

What am I doing?

I feel like I have asked myself, and still ask myself that multiple times a day. It's funny how you can expect one thing from a new year, and get something that is completely different. That's what happened with me and age 24. On my 24th birthday, I expected it to be the year that I would bring things to light...find some answers to unknown things. Instead, at only two days away from turning 25, most things are in more of a grey area than ever before. Even things that I thought I had answers to a year ago are now a complete mystery.

Relationship, job, money, dreams, hopes, goals...I still have no idea what direction these things are going in.

But...it's okay.

Something else that people seem to enjoy doing is making lists of all of their goals. You know what I'm talking about..."25 before 25" and "30 before 30" and "bucket" lists. While I'm all for having dreams, and putting them on paper in order to visualize your ambition, I also think that these types of lists make you feel bad when you don't accomplish things or find solutions to things that you are trying to figure out. I personally have never actually sat down and wrote out one of these types of lists, but I still have one stored in my mind. And now that I'm almost 25, and I'm still single, and I still haven't finished writing a book, and I still haven't been fortunate enough to find my "calling," all I can see is this giant scroll of a list that has a million bullet points that are not scratched off.

Therefore, I have constantly asked myself...what am I doing?

That's why, as I'm getting ready to turn 25, and thinking about everything that 25 will bring, I'm not thinking in terms of things that I have to accomplish. I'm thinking in terms of living the life that I know I am capable of living. I'm going to do the things I love, and I'm going to be around people that I want to be around. I'm going to try new things, and get rid of things that are old and negative. I'm going to work towards my dreams, but I'm not going to hate myself if I fail. I'm going to embrace living, instead of chasing all of the things that I think will make me feel alive.

So, what am I doing?

I still don't know, but that question is about to take on an entirely new meaning.


My Last Weekend as a 24-Year-Old

Well...I'm officially less than a week away from my birthday. This Saturday, September 27th, I will officially be...wait for it...25-YEARS-OLD.

Dun dun dun.

25 has always been that age for me that I thought would never come. Yet, here it is. A teeny, tiny distance of six days away. I have a lot of things that have been running through my mind lately...thoughts of all of the things that I thought would have happened by this age, and thoughts of all of the things that have happened that I never expected to.

As I'm sitting on the couch typing this, I can't help but think about how my last weekend of being less than a quarter of a century old has come to an end. Obviously age doesn't have a big impact on weekends, or even how you choose to spend your time. However, it's always nice to be a little overly sentimental. And, my last weekend under the age of 25 has been well spent. I..

*Spent time with great friends
*Worked for a few hours (but it's okay)
*Did A LOT of reading
*Took a glorious three-hour nap
*Ate some pretty good food
*Watched my Seminoles earn an awesome win
*Enjoyed a lot of time just being "care free"

At the end of this last 24-year-old weekend, I'm feeling very fulfilled. I have so much to be thankful for, and I intend to carry this feeling of fulfillment over into my first 25-year-old weekend. Here's to great weekends!


Recent Reads

Oh...hello. Yes, it's me...the blogger who apparently prefers to place her posts over a week apart from each other. That's the latest trend, haven't you heard? Sometimes I'm ashamed to call myself a blogger. Other times, I'm like...you know what? IT'S OKAY. I have other things going on, and I have to find the balance that is right for ME. Blogging full time just isn't fitting into my schedule these days.

Unfortunately, a little thing called a "job" takes up the majority of my time. I don't really prefer to say that I have to "make a living," because I believe that making a living is about so much more than what your day job is. But...money is a priority in life, and until the miraculous day that I am able to support myself by doing things that I actually like, a job is just what has to happen.

Plus, I may not be blogging regularly lately, but I am certainly doing my fair share of writing. Guys...I'm going to finish writing this novel by the end of the year if it kills me. You know how when you really, really want something, it's all you can think about? I am to the point with this book, that it consumes my mind about 85% of the time. All I can think about is how I'm going to have one thing lead to another, or how I'm going to phrase a sentence to get across exactly what I want to portray. This obsessive thinking is leading to results and words on paper though...so I'm not going to complain!

And speaking of books, now that I have rambled my way through an extremely long intro, I can finally jump in to sharing what this post is actually intended for. It's been a while since I've posted about what I've been reading, and that is changing today. Here are a few of the books that have kept me company lately.

1. The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult
Let me just begin by saying this...I LOVE Jodi Picoult. Many reviews that I read about her state that she is overrated, but I completely disagree. First of all, you can tell that she puts a great deal of research into her books. She takes this research, and creates a fictional story from it...and not just any fictional story, but one that makes you feel emotions on multiple levels. And on top of all of that, she always writes about things that are not easy to write about. The first Picoult novel I read was Nineteen Minutes...which dealt with a school shooting. This book, The Tenth Circle, dealt with rape, and adultery. I have read a lot of books in my life, and most of the ones I have read that deal with such serious subjects are overwhelming. Picoult is able to lace the story with other interesting back stories and the result makes you feel the sadness that you should feel when reading this type of subject matter, but the outcomes also give you a sense of hope.

2. Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding
I really like this movie, so when the book was on sale at Books a Million I figured...what the heck? Let's give it a shot. I'm always up for some chick lit. It's pretty similar to the movie...thirty-something Bridget Jones deals with all annoying necessary life occurrences. She hilariously documents it all...weight issues, work problems, men troubles...in her diary. It was funny, I'll give it that. Not one of the best things I've ever read, but it was still entertaining. It took me longer to get through it than I expected because I just wasn't overly excited about cracking it open whenever I would sit down to read. However, I don't regret it. I also bought the sequel, which I will read eventually.

3. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
This has been sitting on my "to read" shelf for a while now, and upon finishing it all I could think was...why didn't I read this sooner? Within these pages, Louisa Clark, an average twenty-something woman, takes a job as a caregiver for a quadriplegic man named Will. I don't want to give away too much of the story, but in a nutshell, Will wishes to willingly end his life because he doesn't believe it is worth living anymore. Louisa makes the decision to help Will's family by trying to remind him of all of the ways that he can still have the life that he feels he has been deprived of. Along the way, her feelings for him become deeper than she ever could have expected. I think so many "love" stories are ruined by cheesy romance. The refreshing thing about this book was that it was a look at a unique, yet real connection between two people. Honestly...I thought it was wonderful.

What have you been reading lately? I'm now currently reading Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. I'm not going to give my thoughts on it so far though...I'll save that for my next post about books.

Happy almost-Friday!


Are We Getting it Wrong?

This afternoon, just like every other weekday afternoon, I drove my usual route home from work. I was sitting in a right turn lane, waiting for the car in front of me to catch a break in traffic and pull a right on red so that I could do the same. I was zoned out and tired, staring straight ahead as I always do on my drive home...thinking without really thinking and functioning without really trying because my mind was so worn out from the day.

I was startled out of my trance by the blaring of a horn. Irritated, I looked in my rearview mirror to see a "kind gentleman" in a gigantic Ford F150 laying on his horn, throwing his hands up in the air, and yelling what I can pretty accurately assume were obscenities. He was obviously making an attempt to get the car in front of me to move more quickly, even if that meant them pulling out in front of oncoming traffic. It was pretty easy to gather that he was angry because his precious time was being wasted, and he just assumed that his schedule and his obligations were more important than the safety of the person in the car in front of me.

At that point, a familiar thought ran through my mind...a thought that I have pondered multiple times a day for as long as I can remember.

Were we meant to live like this?

The hustle, the bustle, the busyness of life. The anger, the impatience, the low levels of tolerance. The hatred, the close-mindedness, the quickness to write people off. The quickness to judge others on their thoughts, beliefs, and appearance.

Is this the kind of day-to-day existence that we were meant to endure?

I understand that life is going to have some conflict, because honestly, diversity makes the world go round, right? However, I can't help but feel like we, human beings, have taken the complexity to a level that it was never meant to reach. We make even the easiest of things difficult. We create strife from things that are better left alone. We prefer to walk all over those that we are supposed to be lifting up.

I can't help but wonder what it would be like if we actually treated others with the respect instead of just talking about treating others with respect. What if we based our actions off of love rather than just thinking about acting out of love? How different would things be?

Do you think we're getting it wrong?
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