24 Thoughts On My 24th Birthday //

It's my birthday, y'all! Today, I turn 24 years old and I thought I'd share 24 thoughts as I reflect on the last year. 

Check out 23 Thoughts On My 23rd Birthday, too! 

24 Thoughts On My 24th Birthday // The Free & Wild Blog

1 // 24 is my scary age. It's the age where it's like "Woah....you're an adult now. Time for life insurance, investing in a good anti-aging eye cream, buying some good work blouses and saying the word 'blouses'..." It seems way too old for me to be. I feel like I have sticker shock. People who are older are probably laughing at me but it feels like such a weird age to be.

2 // I got Facebook back this year and immediately regretted it. I have to use it for work purposes but I actively avoid getting on it. 

3 // I learned to be humbly selfish when it comes to setting boundaries with people in my life. You train people how to treat you and sometimes, it's super healthy and loving to say NO to people. 

4 // I learned just how bad debt is. I keep track of all our finances and in June 2016, we had almost $9,000 in credit card debt. Today, we have $0! 

5 // Watch movies-- especially ones you don't think you'll like. We've been having Movie Club Night every month with my cousin. We have snacks, themes and an in-depth movie critiquing system. I hate movies (they're too long!) and I sometimes go into thinking I'm going to hate movies but I've wound up liking them and seeing a few classics along the way, too! 

6 // I went to counseling consistently this year and I learned how to say that out loud and say that proudly. People will shame you for going to counseling. They'll give you looks of pity and feel awkward. But don't let that make you feel weird. Everyone should try counseling at some point in their life. We all get banged and bruised on this ride called life and I truly believe that counseling is the ultimate form of self-care. 

7 // I gave up traveling this year. I realized that traveling became an idol in my life-- something that I turned to in order to prove that my life was still Instagram-worthy, a way to distract myself from the things I was unhappy with in my own "boring" life at home.  I was running to travel in order to run away from my problems and get some sweet pics for IG. So I decided at the beginning of this year that I would not pay any money out of my own pocket for traveling. It's been SUCH A GOOD DECISION. I have less anxiety, am learning gratitude and contentment, and am saving a ton of money. 

I'm really enjoying my staycation! 

I'm really enjoying my staycation! 

8 // A month without caffeine of any kind was an awesome experiment. I am so proud of myself for cutting back on something I used to need to get through my day. I still drink my coffee but I stick to half-caff now! 

9 // Though I am not crazy in love with my student loan debt, I do love the feeling of being a college graduate. I am thankful to have a job where I use my degree every single day. 

10 // Being a teacher brings me to tears on a weekly basis because of how awesome and awful it is. I love that every day is different and I love how I can use such creativity to make learning my own. I am obsessed with my kids- even the ones that make me feel like a failure- and I know teaching is where I'm meant to be. 

Minute to win it games on the last day of school! 

Minute to win it games on the last day of school! 

11 // Show up. Even if you don't want to, just show up and be there. I struggle with this, being an introvert. Brandon is usually dragging me out the door as I mutter how much I hate people under my breath. But I'm learning to just be there. Be present, be attentive. 

12 // Delete social media. Seriously. I think everyone should delete social media for a month to see how they handle it. Deleting social media has taught me how much I hide behind my IG aesthetic and how much I depend on those little hearts to give me self-worth. I plan on still using it but definitely keeping it in check. 

13 // If you expect people to be open-minded, you better be open-minded too. When I first went vegan, I was a fiery college student, burning with anger from the injustice that I saw on factory farms. I wanted everyone to know the truth about this tragedy. I am still vegan and very much consider myself a voice for the animals, but I've definitely learned that everyone is on their own path in life and what works for me may not work for you.

14 // Marriage is freaking hard work and anyone who has had an easy, breezy, beautiful first couple years of marriage, I respect you but I don't understand you. 

15 // Reading is great and a total game changer. 

16 // Blogging is great but it's not everything. I listened for so long to people that told me if I didn't post consistently, have an editorial schedule or have a good IG aesthetic, my blog wouldn't grow. Well, screw that. Blog when you want, about what you want and stay true to you. 

17 // It's worth it to take small steps to live a more eco-friendly life. 

18 // Sometimes, those old insecurities from high school that you thought you dealt with come back. There will always be someone who you think is better than you. But they aren't. It's not about better. You are you. There is no basis for comparison because no one else has been handed the cards you have. Take it easy on yourself, would ya? 

19 // Family truly is everything. They're my best friends and have been there for me through everything. 

20 // Facing your fears is good, but doesn't feel as good as they say. I put off a surgery that I've needed for years because of my awful phobia of doctors and blood. I'm officially healed from my leg surgery...but I'm still afraid. So maybe exposure therapy doesn't work? 

21 // Get outside. I used to hate being outside but I've hiked and gone outside more this year than I think I have in my entire life. 

22 // Eating oil-free and vegan will change your life. I have never felt healthier than when I actively avoid oil. 

23 // Celebrate everything. Make your birthday a big freaking deal. Make passing your college class a reason to throw confetti. Buy a donut on National Donut Day. Show up and bring a gift. 

24 // Life is not an emergency. Drink it in slowly, joyfully, without competition or fear. 

Now excuse me while I go eat some birthday cake!