5 years ago I thought I knew exactly who and what I wanted + where I wanted to be. I put a lot of pressure on myself to be this adult who had something to show others. I wanted to be the adult who could talk about her successful plans when family members and family friends asked what I was doing with my life even though I was too lost in my pain to even consider having concrete plans. I wanted to be able to talk about how I'd left everything behind and moved to the city of my dreams, found love, got married and how I was expecting my first child. When I look back on the young teen stumbling her way into her twenties, I wish I would have been more patient to her, brave enough to say, "take one step at a time and if you stumble or find yourself going backwards because you're afraid, it's okay. Your life isn't a movie for others to dissect." 
  So, that's the thing. I don't have everything figured out. What I do know is that I'm learning not to let fear control me anymore. I'm more vocal about my battle with anxiety which has helped me become more serious about recognizing my triggers and protecting my peace. And you know what? I've learned to become open to love and support from others. I've even fallen in love again and I'm talking about the kind of love where every bit of my personality shines through (this includes the part of me that's obsessed with rubbing cotton between her fingers and makes random noises or sings when she's happy lol).
I don't always know where I'm going or what I'm doing but when I focus on cutting out the noise, I realize I've been finding my version of happiness and it's slowly but surely turning out to be everything it needs to be for me. I've been searching for this feeling for years and now that I understand I don't have to jump through hoops to have it, I hold on to its simplicity. This is what turning 25 feels like to me...my first moment of understanding I'm no longer "waiting to exhale". My first "love on top" moment. My first "that's over. It's cancelled" moment (Joanne the Scammer anyone). My first "get in formation" with who you really are and what makes you happy moment.


So you see, one of the great things about getting older is that you may wake up and decide to stop listening to the negative voices in your head. You may even look the people you love in the face and decide whether or not their advice aligns with your spirit/overall outlook on life...that it doesn't mean you don't respect them if you choose not to follow their advice. You might let learn to relax when you realize that you don't have to be the person anyone wants you to be and yes this includes your parents. You may stop walking on eggshells because you've been afraid of doing anything that would make your parents look bad since that's what you've been taught. You may stop letting people hold you accountable for anyone's perception of them. You may stop worrying about the perception anyone has of you and your choices. You may decide not to let your anxiety keep you from enjoying life. You just might learn to let yourself off the damn hook and live.