25 Lessons Learned in 25 Years: A birthday reflection

Me, Vella, siting on my floor, taking a photo of myself in a mirror. I'm holding the Death tarot card to symbolize change.

This year I turn 25.

To be honest with you, I’m freaking out… You could say I’m having a quarter life crisis.

And I think the reason I’m so overwhelmed is because I recognize that I’ve a) only been an adult for like 7 years and b) I will die some day, any day, and I haven’t accomplished what I’m meant to. As I look back on the last 5 years of being in my 20s, I realize that even though it’s felt like a long time, I really got nothing done in terms of trying to achieve my goals. The dream life that I have wanted–and still want–to live has not come to me during all the different milestones I hit along the way.

My life didn’t magically change when I turned 21.

It didn’t become “that life” when I graduated college.

I didn’t miraculously have the adult life of my dreams when I got my first full time job.

And my life didn’t suddenly become perfect the day I moved into my own place.

This is the biggest lesson I’ve learned over the past 5 years, and it is not a feel-good one.

In a nutshell, I’ve learned that things won’t change if YOU don’t change. What’s the saying? You can’t do the same thing over and over and expect different results. That’s what I’ve been doing. And now I’m done.

So I’ve begun really diving into my quarter life crisis (it’s been slowly building up since the fall equinox), reflecting on the past and what I want to change about myself, and preparing to go through a molting or shedding period. I can feel, hopefully, an evolution happening. And even though I want it to come, it’s not gonna be fun.

As part of this reflection, I’ve listed what I’ve learned in the 25 years I’ve been on earth.

25 lessons I’ve learned in 25 years.

Of course, these lessons are my own. If they speak to you, and you need to hear them too, great. But honestly, you may not relate at all, and that’s okay too.

If you’d rather hear me talk about these lessons and the stories that are behind them, you can watch the video below. If not, scroll past and read away.

  1. Time has to pass. It has to. It’s never going to stop. It’s never going to slow down, or wait up for you. You must keep pushing onward, or else you’ll be swept away with the tide.
  2. But also, slow the fuck down. You’re not actually late for anything. Just because time is passing doesn’t mean you don’t have time to do things with care and intention.
  3. Growing HURTS. Even if you’re excited to work for the person you want to be or to have the life you want to live, it’s still going to require growing and it’s still going to hurt. You have to push THROUGH the hurt to get what you want. Things will not be handed over to you on a silver platter.
  4. But the only way you’ll be able to grow is through work. Life WILL pass you by if you pause and sit on the couch for too long. #s 1 – 4 are all like a little bundle of lessons.
  5. Privilege is real. Anyone who says otherwise is blind to the system.
  6. There are portals to other worlds and other dimensions everywhere. You can only find them by paying attention.
  7. Beauty (not beauty standards, but the pure meaning of beauty) is balanced between light and dark and it is not definable, despite what others say. YOU get to decide what is beautiful to you, and YOU get to decide how you want to honor that beauty. The caveat is that you will always be persecuted for expressing what you find beautiful. That is the price of finding joy in beauty.
  8. The best things come out of the most exhilarating experiences. It’s okay to let go.
  9. Identity is malleable and mold-able, and sometimes it doesn’t even really exist.
  10.  Consistency is literally the key to accomplishing things. Practice makes perfect, bitch, so get up after you fall down, try and try again, keep chugging. Like LITERALLY. ALL THOSE SAYINGS ARE TRUE, STOP DENYING IT.
  11. Health is important. Your body has limits. Repetition without preventative maintenance will run down its parts quicker than the manual describes.
  12. All you own, literally the only things that can’t be stripped from you, are your memories. Maybe you should start journalling.
  13. Curiosity didn’t kill the cat. It kept it alive. Never stop being curious.
  14. It’s okay to ask for help. Your pain is real and valid. It’s okay to reach out to people who love you. And yes, people love you.
  15. Look into the things that scare you the most because despite what you think, they are really just your own shadows. What are they trying to tell you?
  16. Dogs are actually just as nice and cute and fun as cats, you just hadn’t met a pug yet.
  17. Old habits die hard. Yeah, that’s a cliche saying but it’s 100% true and it will probably take you a life time to beat some of your most annoying habits. The only thing you can do to combat them is to look at the root cause.
  18. You have magic at your fingertips. All that’s stopping you is knowing when to turn on the light (is that a Dumbledore quote? Idk)
  19. The consequences of speaking out for what is right are nothing compared to fighting for justice. You cannot claim to fight for safety, equality, and peace if you do not do your part.
  20. The advice you give and the lessons you teach and just as much for you as they are for others. Listen.
  21. Never be afraid of testing the volume of your heart. Your capacity to love is endless, boundless. It’s okay to love.
  22. It’s okay to miss people that you cut out of your life. They are no longer in your life for a reason, but it’s still okay to mourn the relationship you once had.
  23. Pay attention to the lives of your ancestors, those that are living and those that have moved on. You will repeat their mistakes if you do not listen closely. It is more important now than ever to reach out to those that are looking over you for guidance as you continue on your path.
  24. Only you can truly validate your path.
  25. Gratitude and love will help keep you warm in the coldest of times.

This is the first year where I can see how I’ve changed.

I remember crying when I turned 6 because I was sad about not being 5 anymore. But since then, I have never really felt any “different” on any of my birthdays. Until now.

It’s like suddenly my soul, spirit, unconscious, whatever, burst out of me and held a mirror up to my face and screamed, “Look! Really look at where you’ve come from.” And then after shaking their head in disappointment, they open the mirror to a long, dark hallway and tell me to begin my path forward.

Are you also feeling the energies in the air shift and move, pulling us along to another path? I have my hiking boots on ready to take the long journey to where I need to go. With this birthday, I embrace this change and I am ready to move forward and to become someone new.





Me, Vella, siting on my floor, taking a photo of myself in a mirror. Titled "25 lessons I've learned in 25 years"

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