24 is the least exciting birthday; it's the penultimate birthday to 25, a quarter of a century of living. It also can make start to feel "old". But this last year has been a year of growing up and changing. They warned us at the beginning of my 1L year that law school would change you. And as much as I believed them, I didn't realize how much.
I think the biggest thing this past year has given me is the ability to just stand in my own skin, surrounded by friends, acquaintances, and strangers and feel content with who and what I am presenting. As I continue to grow into an adult Christian woman, no longer a teen or young adult, but adult, I am able to take pleasure in the simplicity and peace that God provides me. The four things listed below all help contribute to that feeling of overwhelming peace and contentment.
1.) Set (reasonable) goals for yourself
Daily, weekly, and monthly goals make the looming event seem much more manageable. In the last year, I planned a wedding and passed my first year of law school. Both of which are huge undertakings on their own. Together, they taught me to take things in small steps. At the bare minimum. accomplish three things a day. Such as addressing 50 of the invitations, spending an hour and half on your outline, and cleaning the the bedroom. Make a list of three or four things that are the priority for the week: working out, study for the midterm, pray every morning, and spending quality time with a friend. Monthly? Break it down, what needs to get done in October? Two outlines, a detailed honeymoon plan, save $250 (or whatever it is you want to accomplish). But setting small and large goals help make each day and week feel worthwhile. You did the things, you lived, you accomplished. Go you!
2.) Grow by leaving your comfort zone
I learned in the last year that I really enjoy cooking. And I enjoy it even more when I try making something new. In the last year, I've accomplished and tried new things that have helped develop a new passion for a what could be a dreaded chore. Now, weekends are for trying new recipes, like gazpacho or mango-habanero salsa. During the spring semester, I required myself to attend or participate in two social/networking events a month that I wouldn't normally attend. Doing this has helped me develop my networking skills, learn more about other opportunities in the law, and make connections with more than just my small group of friends in the law school.
3.) Admit what you dislike
There is nothing wrong with disliking something. Maybe you don't like heavy drinking on a Thursday (or any) night? Maybe you're not crazy about sushi. There is nothing wrong with admitting that you dislike it. Part of being your own person and forming your own opinions is that you don't have to like what everyone else does. You may grow by leaving your comfort zone, but that doesn't mean you have to do things you have tried and can confidently say you dislike. Own it, you've earned the right to that opinion by trying it. Don't make yourself miserable being or doing something you aren't.
4.) Just Be(ing)
Every moment of every hour of every day does not and should not be allocated for. The majority of your day should be used wisely, but scheduling everything down to the minute does not guarantee productivity. And productivity is not synonymous with busy. Make practical use of your time without burning yourself out. Semesters are sixteen weeks for a reason, use each one to its full potential. You will need an hour or two for yourself and that is perfectly fine and completely healthy. Each day isn't just for work or education, its for you to enjoy fully! So while you may need to spend a certain amount of time in the office or on campus, there is 24 hours in a day for you to use. Don't tunnel vision on your to-do list, keep and open and mind and be part of the world around you. Smell the roses or whatever.