This year I surpassed a huge milestone, I turned 25. And while someone on the upper range might not think this is a big deal, I had some anxiety about this quarter century mark. We all have an idea about where we want to be by the time we turn a certain age. We think about our future as a young girl (or boy) and have certain markers that we believe define success at each age. As a seven year old, 25 year olds seemed like they had it all figured out and knew exactly who they were and what they were going to be doing for the rest of their life.
As many of my friends are well into their adult lives, I still felt like I was stuck in my childhood and not well enough established for the years that I had been on this earth. The majority of my friends are engaged, getting married, having babies, graduating from graduate programs, have pets and homes of their own…The list can go on and on. And then here I am. I am working a job that is not going to be my career and I was finishing a Bachelor’s degree. Mind you, it was my second degree but it is a Bachelor’s degree nonetheless. So in March, when I turned 25 I was feeling less than fabulous about the accomplishments that I had achieved thus far.
Then, I started living my 25th year. I realized that I have so much to be thankful for and that even though I didn’t foresee my life looking exactly like this at 25, I am doing just fine. I have a job that allowed me to make personal connections and have a positive influence on those that I work with, while continuing to pursue my education. I made the realization that my first career plan was not actually the right path for me, and had the courage to go back to school to pursue the path that feeds my soul. I have friends that are more real and supportive than ever before, and I value these relationships more than anything in the world. I have a positive romantic relationship, and while it took awhile to find it I know that the time spent learning about myself prepared me for my current situation. I am competing in my 3rd and final Miss Alaska pageant, and I have a renewed passion and love for the pageantry work that I have been doing for the past 3 years. So even though my life does not look the way seven year old Ellie imagined it would, I would not change it for the world. The changes, challenges and choices I have made to get me here have made me who I am and that is someone that I am proud of.