It's March 1st, 2018, and I'm officially 25! That feels weird to say. March 1st always seems so far away until it's February 27th; and in a blink, I'm another year older. I usually don't make a big deal out of my birthday. Truthfully, I'm usually adamant about celebrating in silence with those closest to me, but this year has me a bit confused.
I see people making big deals out of joining the Quarter Century Club. Admittedly, some small part of me wants to use this "milestone" birthday to celebrate myself, yet I won't. The closest I'm getting to an extravagant self-celebration is brewery hopping and having a casual brunch at R.House with my friends, co-workers, and Instagram family.
It's funny though - those asking "How old are you going to be?" often guess my age but remark that I carry myself beyond the 2-5 label I possess. That, that is the reason for this post. I wanted to open up and talk about the life behind Stylishly Taylored a little more with you all.
Regardless of whether you follow my life on here or on Instagram, you only get snapshots of my life, more specifically the past 3 years. I don't attempt to hide the extraneous details from you, but I don't always get the opportunity to share them either. So instead of a lavish dinner, shopping spree, or night out on the town, I've decided to celebrate myself, and this year's milestone, through this post.
At 25, I've lived a lot of life. I've been the only child of a messy divorce, the daughter of two parents who abused alcohol, and the caretaker for a manic depressive, unemployed mother. I've seen adults act like children while being a child forced to act like an adult. I've been lucky enough to fall madly in love through the chaos - and I've been humbled through heartbreak.
At 25, I've also become a first-generation college student. I've graduated early from the Honors Program at RIT with magna cum laude distinction. I've been President of the Zeta Tau Alpha - Iota Psi chapter and a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellow with the Mayo Clinic. And I currently work at the Johns Hopkins Institute of Genetic Medicine researching the molecular genetics of cystic fibrosis.
I'm thankful for the experiences, both the challenges and successes. More importantly, I'm thankful for the perspective these experiences have provided me over the 25 years.
At 18 years old, if you asked me where I would be at 25, I would've confidently told you "Engaged and in medical school." Flash forward to today, March 1st, 2018: I'm very single, medical school is no longer an aspiration, I've only begun to apply to graduate schools, and I run a business/brand in my free time.
One of the most powerful things we get in this life is enlightenment; to be enlightened is to exist in a state of greater understanding, a hyperawareness of subjects or situations. From multiple perspectives. Amidst it all, enlightenment relies on a greater understanding of S E L F. This is where my mind lives, in a world of self-awareness. The phrase "mature for your age" has made it into our every day vernacular, but to be blunt, I hate it. In my experience, there exists no age-to-maturity standard.
"Pain, pleasure and death are no more than a process for existence. The revolutionary struggle in this process is a doorway open to intelligence." - Frida Kahlo
I usually think that when someone calls me "mature for my age" they're referring to my awareness of the world around me - people, perspectives, and my personal priorities. Some people acquire awareness of these things at an earlier age than others, yet some never acquire it at all.
Why is that though? Because it is experience that brings enlightenment, not age. If you ask me, we do not become enlightened through the experience itself, but rather our processing of our involvement in that experience. What was our role? What was within/out of our control? Do we take blame or are we relieved by the lack of decision-making? Did the outcome align with what we wanted?
Life has this amazing way of going completely off-course for those of us who understand our priorities and trust the process; and to have that understanding at age 25 is a blessing and a curse. I've experienced a spectrum of highs and lows - emotionally, mentally, financially. Some were out of my control, some were within. Many have made me question my worth and abilities. But upon reflection, I have never let them define me.
Marianne Williamson said it best when she said "Maturity includes the recognition that no one is going to see anything in us that we don't see in ourselves. Stop waiting for a producer. Produce yourself." Every interaction, every opportunity, every decision provided me an opportunity for enlightenment and productivity. I am proud of the perspective my experiences have generated, and I'm thankful to have produced a fulfilling life of which I am proud from these experiences. And I look forward to sharing it, honestly and openly, in the years to come.
Happy birthday to me!