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It’s that time of year again, but this time I’m taking a slightly different approach.  Here are 26 things I learned in the year before my 26th birthday.

  1. I like nice things, and I value my ability to treat myself to them.
  2. Seeing Snarky Puppy as my first post-pandemic live concert was incredibly healing for my soul.
  3. Limerence is real and can make me completely (almost willfully) oblivious to red flags.
  4. Few things are better in life than laying on a beach with a good book.
  5. Dealing with car troubles isn’t the most ideal, but it isn’t as bad as I thought it’d be.
  6. Point Reyes is one of my top happy places.
  7. Punch Brothers is even better live than I thought.
  8. Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me is a national treasure.
  9. I am so deeply grateful for my friends and the support they’re able to provide at a FaceTime’s notice
  10. Playing ukulele and singing my silly little covers is a powerful source of relaxation and joy for me.
  11. I am blessed to have relationships with incredible people that can be restarted after months/years of being apart & feel like no time at all has passed.
  12. The Shins perform almost identically to their recordings and with little pizazz, and they remain to be one of my top 5 favorite musical groups.
  13. Taking myself out on movie dates is an effective, affordable way to show myself I care about myself.
  14. 100% women is the ideal club ratio.
  15. After attending Portola and Odessa, I know there will be many more EDM festivals and concerts in my future.
  16. My empathy and softness are invaluable strengths, not weaknesses.
  17. Poetry isn’t as stuffy and inaccessible as I previously thought.
  18. When in turmoil, go for a long walk.
  19. The only way to do “casual” is with care and communication.
  20. Regular journaling is an incredibly effective coping mechanism for getting intrusive thoughts out of my head.
  21. The worst case scenario is almost never as bad as I think it is.
  22. Grad school may not be for me right now, but I know it will be at some point in the future.
  23. Allowing my heart to be open to new experiences is scary and worth it.
  24. A slip isn’t the end of the world, but it’s important to keep it from turning into a slide.
  25. I look better with lighter hair than I thought I would.
  26. Having travel to look forward to in a post-pandemic world is doing wonders for my general outlook on life.
a twenty-something photographer & solo traveler based in the San Francisco Bay Area

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