Dear 26-Year-Old Me ...

Happy birthday, beautiful! Twenty five was your year and you deserved every bit of it. 

Twenty five was the year of travels. You flew to California and to all of the neighbor islands and have made so many amazing memories. Like remember that time you went to your first Lakers game and you immediately lost it when the game started and you whispered in Angel's ear, "That's it we're moving to LA"? He laughed but you were dead serious, lol. Or what about that time you were the only adult without children waiting in line to take pictures with the Disney characters at California Adventure? What about the time you took your first Vegas road trip in a lime green Kia Soul, won $3 on the slot machine (😅) and discovered how cheap it was to live there and made immediate mental plans to move in 2018. (You later retracted that idea because you also want to go to Switzerland). 

My first Lakers game at the Staples Center! Dear 26-Year-Old Me ... was first seen on beautybyjessika.com. 
Visiting with Pluto! Dear 26-Year-Old Me ... was first seen on beautybyjessika.com. 
Visiting with Goofy at California Adventure Park! Dear 26-Year-Old Me ... was first seen on beautybyjessika.com. 
Visiting Minnie at California Adventure Park! Dear 26-Year-Old Me ... was first seen on beautybyjessika.com. 

Twenty five was also the year where you got to visit your family more. Everyone is growing up so fast; I think you finally realized that when one morning you saw your baby sister looking all grown up and you said to her, "Kaitlyn! You're so pretty!" and then you started crying uncontrollably. It's hard being a big sister. 

You know what's also hard? Watching your loved ones grow old. Twenty five was also the year your Nana was diagnosed with breast cancer again and a bunch of other things there after. Even though she had a successful second mastectomy, the recovery has been long. Life feels helpless when you no longer know how to help and you know that feeling all too well. But you are so strong because of this season in your life. Remember, your Nana loves you very much! No matter how hard life got, you always grew stronger.

My biggest hope for 26 is that you let go of the what-ifs and — like Jess Z. said in her birthday post — live your life in a way that'll bring you happiness. If practicing self care makes you happy — do it. If staying in on a Friday night is what makes you happy — do it. If what makes you happy is 2,467 miles away from your comfort zone and it scares the hell out of you — DO IT! 

I hope to keep growing, inspiring, loving, and laughing over the next year. But most importantly, my hope for 26 is that you continue to honor and thank God in all that you do and to love others as he has loved you. 

I am incredibly grateful to be able to live another year of this life because tomorrow is denied to so many. To quote Jess Z. (again!) because she has such a way with words:

"Here’s to staying true to yourself, to finding the beauty in the mediocre days, to striving for independence while acknowledging that it’s okay to ask for help when you need it. Here’s to embracing change, to bringing your ideas to fruition, no matter how crazy they may sound when you say them out loud, to stepping outside of your comfort zone, and to loving with all you’ve got."