Let me begin by first admitting that I just watched the little Happy Birthday video for Elle Magazine’s 25th birthday and I cried. Yes, I did.
I have good reasons, y’all! Stop laughing!
Let’s start with the fact that I just came back from the beach with my family. This would not normally be a big deal, but this year, my grandmother (henceforth called the rightful title “Mamaw”) came. Mamaw had not seen the ocean for 35 years. She spent the first part of the trip sitting at the gazebo at the end of the porch, watching us play. Four days before they left, she came down on the sand. It wasn’t a breathtaking event by any means, but the fact that an incredible lady whom I love with all my life was standing on the same stretch of beach as me was miraculous enough for me.
The beach this fall was also special because we got to show our best friends our favorite place on earth. Michael and Brittani got to make the drive with us and spent Saturday and Sunday. There is nothing like introducing people you love dearly to places you love dearly.
So what do seashells, mamaws, and friends at the beach have to do with Elle Magazine turning 25? Because in just four months I’ll be having that same birthday. I cannot believe I’ll be 25 in February. Very little in my life is what I thought it would be like at 25. I’ve written stuff related to this before. I honestly thought that I would feel like an adult when I reached this age. I know I’ve become way more responsible (and seeking out responsibility) and mature, which I guess is adult-ish. But on the other hand, I have never felt more free to act like myself, which coincidentally is probably more child-like than adult-ish.
I have experienced more than little me would have ever dreamed of. True, I’m not a journalist at the Washington Post, but I’ve written a ton of lesson plans to teach with. I don’t live as close to my family as I would like, but the time that I do get to spend with them is infinitely more precious than it probably would be if I lived in Tennessee. Humans tend to take things for granted when they live right next door to them.
Things like being a teacher, being grateful for family, those are what I’ve deemed some of my little seashells. I thought about this a lot after we came home from the beach. I have collected a lot of seashells in my 25 years of life: memories, mementos, lessons learned, relationships, tips and tricks, wisdom, quotes, diplomas, licenses, certificates, decorations for the soul. I keep all the bagged up treasures close, hoarding them. They’re all important, whether physical, emotional, tangible, insignificant.
All this makes me think about people who are turning 25 with me. How are their lives different? What little seashells have they picked up? What sort of things do they treasure?
If you’re turning 25 too, let me know. I’m all ears.