22 May 2013

Today I am officially 24. I am already realizing that life is flying by in a whirlwind of experiences, people, and friendships. In celebration, this year I want to leave you with a list of 24 things that I have enjoyed and hope that you can share in that with me. Enjoy the following, a mix of emotional, personal, and material things.
  1. Having a life partner. For eight years now I have been incredibly happy. This year has perhaps been the most stressful with a lot of changes for us, but finding someone to share your joys and sorrows with is a blessing.
  2. Having a pet. Artemis, our little ball of fur, has given me so many smiles in the short time we've had this little darling.
  3. Rekindling friendships. I've realized after graduating that making new friends and maintaining old friendships can be a challenge. I love all of my friends and it is a hard adjustment to suddenly be hours away from them. Luckily I'm getting into the swing of things, even if I am a few months late. 
  4. Sending and receiving mail. We live in a computer-oriented world, but nothing beats getting a hand-written letter in the post. 
  5. Becoming immersed in a book series or developing a relationship with fictional characters. First it was Harry Potter and now with Game of Thrones, I find myself living through strong characters that are an inspiration to me. Search for a book that speaks to you and when you find it, share that joy with others. 
  6. Staying in Charleston for our honeymoon. It was gorgeous, Southern, charming, and hot. I highly recommend a trip to any and all! 
  7. Read on a kindle. From my pre-kindle days I still have two bookshelves worth of books. Its a pain to move! I swear by my e-reader and think everyone who is an avid reader should enjoy the experience of multiple books on the go. Easy Peasy. 
  8. Finding inspiration. Reading blogs, browsing pinterest, and cooing over homegawker. Have a few nooks each day that you can come to each day and be inspired. 
  9. A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. Following the above point, this book resonated with me.  I think there's a piece of us that wants our life to be a grand story. Miller lays that our with quotes that reach deep within you. 
  10. Being on the water. Okay, I think everyone has a personal preference with this one, but if I was confined to one place for the rest of my life it would have to be somewhere directly beside water. It could be a lake, an ocean, a river, it doesn't matter as long as I could swim, boat, lounge, and enjoy the cool air coming off of that glorious water. I just live to be on the water.
  11. Doing a really cheesy photoshoot. My friend Allison and I just had a great time taking photos together and dressing nicely. Don't be afraid to be a little silly or a little over-the-top. 
  12. Order an appetizer or a dessert. Maybe this is just us, but Noah and I usually order a water and two entrees at a restaurant. When we splurge on an appetizer or a dessert I feel really fancy. Maybe we're still in grad-student frugality mode. 
  13. When you see something that reminds you of someone, pick it up for them. I often think of the 5 Love Languages book that people talk about. We show love to one another through different ways and one of those ways is "gift giving". What it really displays is "Look, while we were apart I thought about you. It meant enough to me that I decided I wanted to surprise you with something you would like when I saw you again". It's always nice to know that others are thinking of you. Do the same for them. 
  14. Say "I love you". I don't just mean to your significant other. Tell your siblings, friends, and people at your place of spirituality. It doesn't have to mean you're in love with them. But I think we're too reserved as a society in this aspect. We should share and show love as much as possible. Some people may not hear "I love you very often". 
  15. Volunteer. Find a place or a cause that inspires you and pursue it. 
  16. Buy yourself flowers. Even as a married woman I still buy myself flowers on occasion. You can find simple, but pretty, bouquets for $5. When you're having a bad day, pick up some on your way home. It's amazing what a couple of colorful flowers can do to raise spirits. 
  17. Travel rural. Find a place by a river or on top of a mountain to relax for a day. Get outdoors and build a campfire.
  18. Travel urban. Contradicting the above, plan a date to travel to a city and enjoy the finer things in life. Dress up, enjoy fine dining, and visit a museum.
  19. Game nights. Gather a group of friends, set out some food & drinks, and get settled to play some board games for a couple of hours. Classic fun..
  20. Have a favorite. Personally, I like having my go-to spots. I have a favorite coffee shop in every city I've lived in, along with a favorite restaurant, and a favorite local artisan shop. It's nice to have a place that you know you can go to and feel comfortable.
  21. Trying new things. You know what? I'd be missing out on a lot if I hadn't decided to give avocados another shot about a year ago. I love me some avocado in my omelets and chips with guacamole is almost as good as fresh cilantro salsa. Take little risks even if it's something as trivial as trying a new food. 
  22. Walks at sunset. I love going out with Noah right as the light turns golden on a warm summer evening. 
  23. Awakening your spirituality. I am not religious, but I am spiritual. I find when I neglect that side of myself I get down. Finding time to read scriptures and watch emotionally charged videos can help me regain a deeper part of myself. 
  24. Give yourself permission. Don't get hung up on things that you can change. If you're miserable, change your situation. Try not to let guilt get to you. Make decisions that make you happy and that add value to your life. Give yourself permission to be happy. 

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