“I want to keep my soul fertile for the changes, so things keep getting born in me, so things keep dying when it is time for things to die. I want to keep walking away from the person I was a moment ago, because a mind was made to figure things out, not to read the same page recurrently.” - Don Miller
Every year I free write about making it another year older, in the hopes that each year’s scribbles are different from the year before. And each year I look back on the collection of words from years gone by, trying to catch a glimpse of the person I used to be. And hoping that she is indeed past tense. I want to keep walking away from the person I was…
at twenty five i am a little less worried about checking the boxes and climbing the ladder, and for this i am grateful. i have slowly begun to trust in the universe and in the expanse of the world. trust that there is more to life than the next job, the next weekend, the next thousand dollars in a bank account. it is a scary world, and sometimes i realise how small a stage we force ourselves to play on. to stay small is to stay safe, and oh lord how easy it is to play it safe. and we do this to ourselves. i am only beginning to realise now the game i have been playing, and how maybe it is time for a larger stage. after all, there's no knowing when the curtain will fall. and before it does, i want my moment. i cannot put into adequate words how desperately i want my moment. to borrow a phrase from sheryl sandberg, i want to lean in. i do. but i no longer am sure what to lean into. but at twenty five i have begun to ask the questions.
i fell in love with my yoga practice. which started again with an accidental private class that turned into the regular practice i haven’t had in years. i am learning deep lessons, building on that first one years ago from an instructor i never forgot who taught me that the way i show up to warrior II is the way i show up to life. and i have never underperformed in a warrior II since, because i don’t want to show up half heartedly, ever.
i still crave solitude. i am still an introvert that finds it very easy to pretend that she's not. i don’t quite remember the days where the weekend was a time for always moving. instead i try to grow plants in our apartment, which i try to make as cosy as i can. we are not stylish people - my idea of a good home is one with a blanket in easy reach on every seat. crystals scattered on tables, bread crumbs on the counters. we wear our home comforts openly.
at twenty five i have learnt the power of manifestation. the power of pushing things up and out into the universe and trusting it to bring in what is true for me. i have learnt the practice of writing everything i want down, carefully and deliberately, and trusting that it will either happen or something will change my mind. i have never been let down yet. but i have stopped giving the universe big enough challenges. at twenty one i sent up a prayer, and was rewarded in a way only God could have done. but ever since i got my first regular paycheck and an australian passport, i have stopped asking the big questions and wishing the big things. choosing instead to write a smaller, more secure story. and i want to turn the page. i want a new book.
at twenty five i am figuring out the expanses of my skin and what it is to be comfortable in it. i worry less about being liked, and i worry even less about being nice, in that i have learnt that neither are the most valuable things to be. i worry more about being authentic. and i fear not growing and moving, and not standing up for the important things. and i am not good at not caring. i have learnt that there are worse things in life than to be vulnerable.
and i pondered the question: is it self centred to spend money, time, energy, effort and space on my own happiness? the answer is yes. and no. i believe it is important to delve into the many ways we can make ourselves happy. in this case, it is self centredness at its most essential. we should be a little more selfish.
my twenty four year old self wrote the following for my twenty fifth year: stop using the baby college fund as an excuse to not live your life. and i am so glad i echoed the words throughout the year. i put aside the notion that i will absolutely definitely have kids. and i stopped saving for them. that is, i stopped using ‘saving for kids’ as an excuse to not spend money on things that make me happy. i stopped using ‘i can’t even afford private school’ as a reason as to why i wasn’t spending money on myself. i will never accept less than the best for my non-existent children, and if that means i will never have them, then there it is. but i will no longer use their potential future existence as a way to cheat myself out of my time and energy.
so i hired a nutritionist. i got monthly massages. i finally found a regular GP and started properly treating my eating disorder and anxiety. i bought skincare i never allowed myself to afford, and shoes i never gave myself permission to buy. i cut into the ten years of private school i had saved up, and gave the money and energy to myself as a gift of love. i stopped making myself work so hard, i gave myself permission to take a pay cut, to go home on time, to stop working towards the next better paying job. i ordered myself to slow down, to send myself to byron bay. to buy an unlimited yoga membership. i allowed myself to be a little selfish for a change.
i am so terribly blessed to live this life. it is a privilege indeed - the many things i have done nothing to receive except to be alive. the places i have seen, the ways i have flown, the family i am so blessed to call my own. the freedom to leave the things that do not serve me, and the means to bring about the things that do. i used to be uncomfortable with the notion of privilege; to want to live a smaller life. but i realise that living smaller serves nobody, not me or the world.
every year i ask for a birthday candle on my cake so that i can make a wish. the same wish, every single year, on every birthday candle for as long as i can remember. both a wish and a mantra for life and a heartfelt prayer all at the same time. i wish to live a life in which God’s existence is undoubtable. i wish to live a life of big risk, of big emotions and big stories. i wish to be put through fire and yanked out uninjured, if only to prove to myself that i could never have built this life on my own. and once again, this year i make the same wish. and so this is 26 - a year full of expansiveness and wide-eyed gratitude for all that has come, and all that is yet to.
and so i go.
a list for twenty six:
put my money where my values are.
leave behind the things that no longer feel worth the amount of energy that they take away from me, trusting that the universe will fill their space with other things.
take up space, and hold space for those i love.
consciously move energy in and out of my body. i expel bad energy when i need to, in a neutral, non-hurtful way. a few minutes of kapalabhati is a godsend.
i want twenty seconds of insane courage. then another twenty seconds. and another and another, until i am called home.