Thoughts on Turning 25
Recently, I re-read a letter I addressed to myself. I wrote it in the fall of 2012 while I was a senior at Oakwood for an assignment during a spiritual formation retreat. I was 21 years old at the time and like many at that age, I was still trying to figure out my life. That year was going quite well so far, grades were better than ever before and I was looking to graduate in the spring with the class of 2013.
Though I had this sense of accomplishment at the time, I still was not convinced that I was in the right place. Did I choose the right major? Will I actually graduate next year? What am I going to do after graduation? Expressions of these feelings of uncertainty were poured into the letter. The class was instructed to seal the letters into envelopes and only open exactly one year from that date.
Thankfully, I kept the letter in a safe place because I ended up opening it for the first time in the spring of 2015. I was clearing out old papers and work I saved from my studies in college and decided to return to the abandoned letter figuring 'Meh, might as well. It's been long overdue.'
I wasn't even prepared for what I was about to read. The letter I wrote was filled with affirmations and encouraging words from my 21-year-old self. I talked about my major, future career, and spiritual life. Reassuring myself that I made the right choices, that the field of nutrition is where I'm needed and that it's what I truly love to do despite the times where it's challenging. I reminded myself that God has got my back no matter the situation and that He always wants what is best for me.
Reading it for the first time since writing it brought tears to my eyes. I had no idea that what I penned in 2012 would uplift and encourage me 3 years later, directly speaking to the fears and insecurities I was currently dealing with.
Whenever I'm in my feelings about life, or just needing a boost of confidence I think about that letter. As I look towards my 25th year I have come to realize that I need to give myself more credit where it is due and that it does me no good to second guess myself or not believe in my own God-given abilities. I am learning to be happy with my progress and am so thankful that God takes the time to work with me throughout each situation I'm faced with.
I'll close this off with a poem below that helps me remember to keep everything in perspective.
Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Strive to be happy.
Max Ehrmann, Desiderata, Copyright 1952.