Twenty-Seven; What 26 Granted Me

Twenty Seven !

Thank you to everyone who reached out and showered me with so much love this birthday! I had a wonderful “covid edition” birthday. I’m one week into 27 and when I think about life at this age, there are so many thoughts that rush through my mind. I think back to what I thought my life would be in my late twenties. I used to dream of this age vastly different. The hopes and dreams I had back then don’t even match the person I am today. My goals are completely revamped and continuously growing.

But first, lets talk about 26

26 was tough. It was a very emotional year for me. Here’s a glance at the first few weeks of my 26th year: 

On the night of my twenty-sixth birthday, I sprained my ankle, and I really messed myself up. I spent the next few weeks barely able to work, if at all, and the next couple of months on crutches. Two days after my birthday was the funeral for my oldest nephew’s dad; a really hard time for the family. Three weeks later, my cousin on my mom’s side took her own life. Jake drove me down to North Carolina and I hobbled my way through her funeral on crutches. Three days later, I’m being pushed in a wheelchair through the Dulles airport, ready to board my flight to Miami (my birthday gift from Jake, when I got the news my cousin on my dad’s side just lost her battle with leukemia. She was 29. My heart shattered. I couldn’t handle another ounce of pain. It felt like the whole world was crashing down, and I wasn’t able to even take care of myself due to the injury.

I told myself, 2020 was my year… lol, 🤪

2020 has been tough for obvious reasons.. A global pandemic, and an election year creating even more division and feelings of isolation. When covid hit, I lost my job for almost 3 months and I was terrified. I wasn’t sure I would even have a job to return to once we were allowed to open back up. The fear of the unknown was consuming me. When I hit what felt like rock bottom, some of the people I cherished most in my life shined a light on the shallow friendships I thought were something real. 

2020 left me feeling isolated and alone.  I miss my friends and my family. I miss all the little things I took for granted, just like most of you reading this. Overall, twenty-six has been a constant battle against depression and anxiety, but….

But all that being said, here’s what I have:

I have a year of so much growth! SO MUCH GROWTH. 26 was one of the toughest years of my life, by far. It broke me down and left me empty. But then… it forced me to rebuild. It pushed me to grow into the person I am right now. It taught me to love in a purer form. It showed me what really matters most to me and helped shape new morals and values, ones that are actually my own. And damn if it didn’t teach me to never stop fighting, to stand up for what I believe in, and to stand up for myself.

In just one  year, I feel like a whole new me. I look back at the girl turning 26 and if she only knew that in just one short year she would become a brand new version of herself. She would learn to love herself and fight for herself more than she could imagine. If I could give her a heads up, I’d let her know what was to come and a few tips on how to survive. I would guide her to a true support system, the friends who deserve her love and loyalty. I would reassure her that the end result would be the reward of self love and inner peace. I’d let her know that at the end of 26, she’d be so proud of the person she would become. 

And after going through all that, I feel ready for 27. I’m ready for all the highs and all the lows that 27 will bring. For all the tears of joy, and all the tears of sadness. For all my wins and all the lessons that push me closer to success. For another year of growth, and a healthier mind, body and soul. Another year transformed into the best possible version of me.

I know it’s been a tough year for so many of us. You are not alone with these feelings. Motivation feels harder to come by these days, but I encourage you to use this time to grow and to fight for the version of yourself that inspires you. Growth is uncomfortable, always. It’s not supposed to come easily. When you find yourself in those deep, dark places, remember that you are in a position to grow. And then Grow! Grow as much as you possibly can. Give yourself permission to heal. Whatever it is that you are battling with… Ask yourself why, talk about it with a friend, step out of your comfort zone, break down those walls and keep pushing yourself, because a year from now you will be that much stronger, happier and healthier. You deserve a life of love and joy, and you are the only obstacle than can stand in your way.

xo, Malanie

M A L A N I E R O S S

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