26 Lessons In 26 Years On Planet Earth

Today is my 26th birthday.

To start this celebration on the most depressing note I can think of:

That said, I feel deeply grateful to be alive today. Not everyone makes it to 26, and I’ll be damned if I squander it wondering when I’m going to die.

I only share this thought because I think it’s important to remember — that we are all headed towards the same end zone. Milestones like birthdays are only important in so much that they give us a reason (however arbitrary) to reassess and redesign.

On every birthday in my twenties I’ve reread this email from my mom:

The words: “everyday with you is a best day for me” get me every time, but that’s besides the point.

The quote in subject line is what I’m after:

“At 20, everything is possible and tomorrow looks friendly.” — Jim Bishop

At 20, I was happily lost, dazed, and confused. I was just deferring all the important decisions and conversations into the future, hoping that it would just work itself out. I didn’t have the slightest inclination as to what may be possible.

And I certainly wasn’t expecting tomorrow to be friendly — I was destined to be extremely hungover, attempting to stomach a Dunkin’ Donuts bagel just in time to start appropriating culture for an excuse to day drink (Cinco De Mayo).

Same pretty much goes for 21, 22, 23, 24, and 25. I mean not the bagel, the hangover, and the appropriation necessarily (I grew out of those things, thankfully) but you get what I mean.

The majority of my twenties have been painted black by the grief of my one-of-a-kind mom. The one who sent this incredibly kind email, and who, from wherever she is now, is still guiding me forward.

I’ve wondered every year since: could she have possibly known, I’d be sitting here reading it again trying to pull some wisdom from her words?

Probably not. I certainly couldn’t have expected to.

But I’m lucky I can. Because today, on my 26th birthday, six full years after receiving the above email, everything finally does seem possible and tomorrow looks almost sickeningly friendly.

With that, I want to share a 26 item list (go figure) of some important lessons I’ve learned in my 20s because of the struggle, the grief, and everything else:

You’re amazing for getting to the bottom of this list, even if you just skimmed (I’m 100% okay with that). I love you.

Also, if you like learning things, reading, and/or listening to podcasts, sign up for my once monthly shakedown of the best books, articles, stories, and podcast episodes I’ve found here.

Yes, I called it a shakedown because it’s a damn shakedown and it’s dope. Also it’s my birthday…and I’m going to pull that card… so, please?

Thinking deeply about how to make myself and the world a little better. & writing about creators mostly | email: kate@onedayent.com

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