26 Lessons Learned Over 26 Years – Part 1

November 16, 2016

Remember that 25-year-plan? Ha. Me neither.

Today I turned 26. I’m not married with a house and a golden retriever like I thought I would be at this age (laughs), and thank the Lord  for that. (Although I would take the dog, yeah, I’d be OK with that.)

Except for the fact I’m no longer on my parents’ health insurance, turning 26 doesn’t make me feel any different, older or wiser. But when I really stop to think about where I’ve come in a year, I’m overwhelmed.

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My 25th birthday found me deep in the muddy trenches of heartbreak and a career change and general confusion. The week before my 25th birthday I made three giant decisions that changed the course of my life. I finally let go of things no longer serving me–a relationship and a toxic job–and decided I needed to move to SF.

I let it all go and then bam, landed in a new city, a new home.

One year later here I am, thriving, because I surrendered to the tug God placed on my heart to trust Him. 

Now that I am rooted in yet another community and founded in a job I truly love, I see full-circle where those past struggles built me a little bit stronger and a lot more badass.

I for sure don’t have it all figured out–I don’t think we are ever supposed to, and those who think they are or appear to be are only faking it. I still have big struggles to walk through. But when I look back and see my little 24-turning-25-year-old self swimming through the mess of heartbreak and uncertainty, I am oh-so-grateful for where those wounds brought me to today.

In a way, I do feel a little bit more grown up. I feel more like Avery, finally confident in the woman I know I was created to be.

Here are a few of the lessons I’ve picked up over this past year that I am carrying with me into the next:

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You don’t have to be good at everything. Pick things you truly care about and have an innate talent for–master those.

Humble yourself enough to rely on others. We are not made to live this life alone. Instead we must call on the strength of others when our own strengths fail.

Savor. Good conversation, rich desserts, fine wines (even if they’re under $10)–these things are meant to be taken in slowly and enjoyed.

Surround yourself with good humans. Let your inner circle be made up of those tried & true souls you can let your guard down with, those who inspire you to be a better you. Hold on to them, love them, never let them go. Be done (or simply light acquaintances) with the rest.

Set boundaries. Sometimes saying no  to something or someone no longer serving you is the best medicine.

Work is not life. Don’t look for complete fulfillment in a career, that will not happen. But that being said…

It feels dang good to love what you do. You spend a large portion of your life working. Being surrounded by cool co-workers and utilizing your talents in your career is important!

Passion projects & hobbies are important. What sets your soul on fire? Side projects help develop your creative side in ways a career cannot. I’ve found teaching spin and writing (both on the blog and in my notebooks) keeps my mind sharp and my heart full.

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Take time for yourself. I don’t take my me  time lightly. I actually function more as an introvert, so time spent solo fills me back up so I can continue to pour out for others.

Buy yourself fresh flowers. Especially if you lack the skills necessary to keep a houseplant alive.

Strengthen your body. Find a fitness routine you love. We are fearfully and wonderfully made– so move those muscles, feel your heart beat a little faster, and see how your body perspective transforms.

Weekend trips are always a good idea. You don’t have to travel 1000 miles to satisfy wanderlust. Explore the near and the far with weekend road trips and Southwest plane ticket sales. You never know what those 48-hour vacations will reveal.

Get 8 hours of sleep. Necessary. Always. Don’t question it.


In the meantime, I will be celebrating with spin class, dinner with friends, and several deliveries of Doughbies cookies. Yes, my friends know me.  26 is looking good.

*p.s. use my code wv6m7whg for $10 off your first Doughbies order!

Photography by my lovely friend Kyra. Visit her blog & Instagram and leave inspired.

1 Comment

  • Reply mom November 16, 2016 at 7:54 pm

    You’re the coolest. If I was 26 I’d want you as my friend. 🙂 Well, actually I like having you as my friend and daughter… :0

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