47 days ago, I reached a pretty big milestone in my life. I turned 25. In the days and weeks approaching this big day, so many people told me that 25 felt different.
"You won't feel the same," my host mom said and my personal favorite from my host dad "you'll either feel like you've accomplished a lot or you'll feel like a big loser."
In my mind, 25 was just another birthday but everyone around me said that it was quite different compared to the others. I was wrong and they were right. 25 is different, very different. Not because I'm overly accomplished or a big loser, but instead because with age comes responsibility.
When I turned 25, less than 50 days ago in a school in Cuba, I was reminded that the world never stops moving. Age gave me a slight nudge and reminded me of the lists that I made as a teenager of all the things that I wanted to do before I turned 30. Most of the things on that list are no longer important to me and really it's not about the list at all, instead it's about the things that we're supposed to do as humans on this earth.
When I turned 25, on October 26th, I woke up in a hot room covered in sweat and surrounded by 11 girls from 7 different countries. I was on my 6th world tour with the organization I work for Up with People and we were just about to wrap up our Cuba tour and head to Europe. I entered my 25th year in a place that not only challenged me physically but emotionally and mentally as well, I turned 25 completely out of my comfort zone and doing something I believed in.
For me that's a sign. Now that I'm 25 and not getting any younger, I want to keep devoting my life to the things that matter to me. I want to be brave enough to protest when I think that an injustice has occurred, Brave enough to speak up for something that I'm passionate about even if my opinion is the minority and an unpopular one. I want to be brave enough to love those around me allowing myself to be vulnerable even if it means possibly getting hurt. I want to be brave enough to stand up for what I believe in even if it means I'm standing alone.
When I turned 25 the world didn't turn upside down and everything suddenly became different...no that didn't happen at all. Instead, God blessed me with another year of life and the reminder that there are no dress rehearsals in life, I just get one try at this thing. So I can either live my life as someone who gets a second chance, someone who believes that one day 'someone' out there will make a difference, or I can go all in and be the change.
"Two paths diverged in the woods and I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all of the difference."