I was born on March 29, 1995 in Sioux City, Iowa.
In the years since, I’ve grown red hair, earned lots of freckles, spent most of my days in Colorado, sprouted from a nuclear family of five, and have developed a longstanding love of pigs, writing, sweets, baseball, and sunshine.
Over my lifetime, now 25 years, almost on the dot, I’ve done a lot of living, with plenty more to go. A lot of my boxes have been ticked—a college degree, professional career, marriage; while many are still awaiting a check mark—a home, a dog, a full passport.
I’m lucky. I lead a full life, and have always known privilege and love. I’ve learned so much, and hope and pray that I will continue to do so as I keep collecting years and memories and lessons.
My Top 25 Life Takeaways
1. Compassion and empathy are two of the most important values you could ever possess. Care about others. Consider more than your own experience. Act with kindness, without ever having to go through a struggle yourself. Be an advocate and an ally without being asked. This is how you can be a good person, and the best version of yourself.
2. If you learn how to communicate effectively, you will eliminate so many hardships and struggles, and will have a powerful foundation for working through a vast network of challenges.
3. Don’t settle for less than what you deserve; know when to walk away from toxic friendships, jobs, and situations that cause more stress than they’re worth. The right people will find their way into your life.
4. Caring about how you look and present yourself to the world is not vanity. It’s just another way to express yourself and your identity. Your worth is not tied to your appearance, but you have the power and choice to feel your best.
5. Your spouse should 100000% be your best friend.
6. Read, a lot. And read what you like, not what you think you should enjoy.
7. Challenges in your formative years build character. (Just ask my dad.) Tough coaches, bad grades, awkward situations, friendship conflicts. Challenges in your adult years require solutions. Your character has been built, now use it to better your situation.
8. Your passions are your superpower. Pursue what you love, and don’t be ashamed.
9. If you are in a long-term relationship, you and your partner will evolve. That’s just a part of life and aging: you’ll become different people. If you want to spend your lives together, you’ll have to evolve together as well, and make your relationship work for who you are now, rather than who you used to be. You have to choose your partner, every day.
10. Build healthy habits even when you think you don’t need them. A garbage diet and no exercise isn’t sustainable, even when you can’t imagine weighing more than 110 lbs.
11. When someone has wronged you, it is so much harder to react with kindness and understanding. However, it’s probably the right thing to do. If you decide to put someone in their place, there’s a high chance that the gratification will feel strong at first but will slowly morph into regret in the long run.
12. Women are not rehabilitation centers for damaged men.
13. Critical thinking is one of the most important skills to have. Dig deeper, look at the sources, ask the tough questions. And never, ever, absolutely ever, watch Fox News.
14. There are a LOT of opinions on love. Here’s my quick take: when you find the real deal, it’s worth it. But keep in mind, just because you’re with your soulmate doesn’t mean there won’t be hardships, lapses of judgement, conflict, or tough calls. However, loving someone enough means making choices every single day to keep going and work through them.
15. Kindness isn’t a weakness, and neither is being the quiet one in the room.
16. In a marriage, throw away phrases like 50/50. First of all, it should be more like 100/100. Second, it’s not realistic or possible to be working at top, full capacity all the time. You go through things, periods, moods, events that effect your spousing ability and there are inevitable things where the effort is unequal and your partner has to pick up the slack, and vice versa. There is a give and take and an understanding of a working relationship, and that sometimes, there is a disparity. It won’t last forever, but there will be those lulls.
17. Build bridges, not walls. Go on adventures, travel, meet new people, learn new perspectives.
18. If you grew up thinking that you “weren’t like other girls,” preferred to hang out with guys (“it’s less drama”), or that girls were snakes, throw that mentality out the window. It’s internalized misogyny and isn’t true. Letting go of that harmful thinking will open you up to new relationships and bonds and is one of the best gifts you can give yourself.
19. Love who you love and be who you are.
20. Even when you truly love your job and what you do, work really still can feel like work. It’s okay to question capitalism, your role, and the values associated with “hard work.”
21. You aren’t the protagonist in everyone’s story, and that’s okay.
22. Practice the art of building yourself up without tearing anyone else down.
23. Change is a big-ass, unstoppable part of life. It’s okay to be uncomfortable with it at first, but long-term resistance will cause major issues. Opening up yourself to new opportunities and adventures will add a little something special to your life.
24. Talk to yourself the way you talk to others. Encourage, congratulate, and remember that you deserve grace, too.
25. You don’t have to completely and totally love yourself before you love another person. With the right partner by your side, you can help each other grow, see your potential, and work toward healing, while also feeling deserving of love.
Cheers to 25
If you have any advice to give, I’m all ears. Thank you to everyone who makes my life so sweet—my cup overflows, my heart is full, my soul is happy. Cheers to the next chapter of my life.