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of a 25th birthday.

I'm 25. A quarter of a century. Old enough to rent a car without paying for that extra insurance. Not old enough, yet, to feel accomplished or even smart.

It has felt like a thousand lives, all in different color gradients with clear starts and stops. Maybe everyone feels the same about that. Which is comforting.

And now that we're all comfortable (together), here is my little list of things I've learned about myself, the world, and being human.

1. Solitude and loneliness are cousins, and you get to choose which one holds your hand before bed.

2. Surrounding yourself with funny people is the best thing you can do. Forget smart or happy or successful. Because laughter is a cure-all, second only to saltwater (tears, sweat, or the sea).

3. Unloved does not mean unlovable.

4. Vipers hide in the grass of your own garden. Be careful what you water.

5. Memory games and logic puzzles are never time wasted.

6. Skincare is important. Use that SPF. Its alright to be pale.

7. Anyone can wear red lipstick, if they find the right shade.

8. Not everyone can wear blue lipstick. (You are Daniela, you are not Rihanna, please stop trying.)

9. Being Type A is quite alright. Be at peace with the hustle.

10. Being a sad clown or a starving artist is overrated.

11. I am still delighted when letters turn into words into sentences into paragraphs into pages into chapters into books. How the combinations can make skin crawl or hearts race, in turn.

12. Travel is exhausting and sometimes you just want to sleep all day. Let a vacation be just that. There is no rush. All is well.

13. Hurry, hurry, hurry because this too shall pass. Run like the river to get it all done before it is whisked away and becomes the past.

14. The void takes us all and the Reaper has no preference for who he will guide home.

15. Routine is good for heart and mind.

16. Routine is the murderer of soul.

17. Mothers are superheroes. (This has been known, but I feel it must be repeated constantly.)

18. Good mothers are rare. Mine is the Energizer Bunny who never fails to pick up the phone when called, whips up miraculous dinners using bizarre ingredients and blind faith, can make friends in line at the supermarket, and who never forgets a single birthday of literally any person she has ever met.

19. Good fathers are even rarer. Mine still can't remember the names of friends that I've known for over a decade, but he one time drove from his house to mine just to help me put together a dresser. It was 9 pm on a Tuesday.

20. Chosen family is where the heart makes its home.

21. Alcohol is poison.

22. Body dysmorphia is a real bitch that I have yet to breakup with, but she knows her time is limited.

23. This year self-love swept in, Mary Poppins-style, and gave me a quick shake and a smack on the bum. She told me to slather my hair in conditioner, eat some vegetables, and go outside. She's helped.

24. Writing never ever ever ever gets easier. But neither does childbirth and people still do that, too. (Mothers are superheroes--have I mentioned that?)

25. Happiness is reaching out to grab someone's wrist and pulling them up with you. Offering a sip of water, words of encouragement, and leading them once more into the fray.

There are days that I float through, gliding quickly by and without stopping. Others drag on. And others that make me forget what a joy it is to be a human in the world. It gets bleak.

But I do as we all do: push forward only to look back to think, "My, my. It does get better over time."

And it always does.

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