I have 17 days left until I'm no longer a 20-something year old. Cue the sigh!
I recently read an article about how you learn a lot about yourself in your twenties, and looking back on the last 9+ years, I'd say that it's pretty accurate for many areas of my life.
When turning 20, I was a junior at Springfield College in Massachusetts. I was starting my 3rd year of studying to become a PE teacher, my 3rd season as part of the women's track and field team, and was in a new relationship. I also got braces over spring break that year, won the long jump for the first time in college (it was a crappy and cold day, making it all the better to say), and found myself to becoming more confident in myself. The last statement was a big deal for me because I used to be a very shy, quiet, introvert who let others walk all over me. Although I was being less and less so since entering college, I finally got the proverbial "stones" and decided to not let it happen anymore (I did turn into a total biotch for a time, but I learned to tone it down). I also ran my first ever 5K, the Jolly Jaunt, and earned myself some extra credit in my adapted PE class (more on this later).
21st year: I'm finally legal!!!!!!! Although I had to wait till all my peeps returned to campus to celebrate (yes, I was already on campus to celebrate the actual day solo due to having training for my job working for the campus police), my girls made it awesome! I finished my college career with a 3.0 GPA and a bachelor's degree in physical education, ended on a high note with my SCWTF girls, made some awesome memories, and was looking forward to my summer before grad school started. I'm pretty sure I was summoned for jury duty too in MA (which sucked cause I had just moved home), but wasn't needed. I worked as a lifeguard and swim instructor for the Valley Shore YMCA since the camp didn't need me, and made some good friends there too. I'm sure I got into trouble as all small town kids do at one point, but I'll just leave it at that.
All the years between then and now:
Some of the highs: I no longer have braces, but nice straight teeth (yay!), my sister gave me a kitten for my 24th birthday, I bought a new car, started a new relationship (he's now my husband of 3+ years), finished grad school, and taught high school PE for a year. I moved halfway across the country to South Bend, Indiana where the bf got his first professional job, got my personal training and group fitness certifications, got MARRIED to the most awesome man of all, ran my first 10K, moved back East to Carlisle, Pennsylvania, coached track at the college level, and much, much more.
Some of the lows: That relationship from when I was 20 was no more when I was 23 (but hey, I met my husband that same year so that's a win, right?), I was in a major car accident, and I have permanent disabilities in my neck and back from that accident (but I'm still fit as can be despite having limitations!). There's others, but these are the ones that have some significance with my 20's.
What I've learned about myself over the past 10 years:
I am a resilient person. I am a strong person. I can be fierce. I'm persistent. I don't quit. I have friends and family who are supportive and act as my rocks. I may have been a shy introvert, but over the past 10 years, I've definitely gotten out of my shell. I've become more confident in myself and my abilities, though I still need the occasional validation that I am doing a good job. I've proven that I can be a survivor and become physically stronger and more fit than I was prior to my car accident. I can still run and am training for my first ever half marathon that I hope to run in just over 9 weeks. I've learned that with the right people in your life, anything is possible with a little encouragement, the right motivation, and a determination that would scare someone other than you.
I may not have achieved at least one goal that I have hoped for yet (in case you're wondering, I want a full time job, but doing something I love, which is why I still am a part-timer), but I do have a job that I enjoy doing. I get to meet great people, become the rock and motivator for my clients, see a child explode with happiness for accomplishing a task during swim lessons, and teach both kids and adults new things about being physically fit. My dreams are not what I thought they would be when I was 20, but they're different and I think better for me. I'm not done dreaming yet! I have a few more goals/bucket list items I want to do, but all in due time I suppose.
To cap off my 20's, I will finish the same way I started, by doing something I love: running. I ran for the track team (and got to play in the sand frequently), I did my first ever 5K, the Jolly Jaunt, back in December of 2004 at 20, ran many 5K's since (including one in a walking boot!), ran my first 10K, the Sunburst, at 27, and will join the Color Vibe on August 30th, 2014: my last day as a 29 year old. At 30, I'm hoping to finish my first ever half marathon, the Hershey Half, in Hershey, PA. I think my 30's will be the new 20's for me: a time for growing, learning, and pushing my limits and expectations that I previously had for myself. Cheers!