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You know how everyone tells you once you are out of high school life just speeds right past you. It’s true. I graduated high school in 2012 and it seems like time just hits the fast forward button at an exponential rate. I’ve now celebrated my 28th birthday and I feel like what better way to look back on the past year than with a little reflection on what I learned in my mid 20’s. 

The one thing I’ve learned within the past two years is to feel uncomfortable. It’s hard wanting to stay in that comfortable space and feel like the world is one big, padded room of safety, it feels great, comforting as if nothing bad will ever happen. But how will we know our greatest potential without pushing out of our comfort zone? After high school I felt trapped in that padded room, wanting to isolate and stay away. But two years ago, moving to Ellensburg I pushed myself to try. Try new things, try to make friends, and try to find my glimmer of happiness again. It developed into leadership opportunities, making lots of friends, network connections and lasting memories. 

Strength, the strength I never knew I had that could get me through the toughest college days and the dark days of mental health. When you go through a not-so-picture-perfect life, it reminds you of every day shaped like a new form of hell. It makes you scream, cry, feel out of place and feel defeated. I learned to immerse myself in positivity rather than letting the negative win. I took time for me, I learned to say no, and I did what it took to make me happy. Don’t let your mental health take a back seat to your happiness of others, have the strength to do what’s best for you. 

I was the girl constantly comparing myself to others for the last couple of years. Not in a relationship, not in any position to start having a family and no dream career. Was I a failure for not being where it seemed everyone else was? The opinions of others flooded my head with all the talk, and I felt like I would be alone forever. But good things come to those who wait. I never thought I would ever credit Tinder for finding the diamond in the rough, but life is a funny thing, isn’t it? I found a man that is my biggest support system, he loves me for me, appreciates my flaws, and sees the beauty inside and out of me. It’s been a wild adventure that I would not trade for anything. Thank you for showing me what love is. Thank you for showing me excitement and fun. You have shown me a relationship I’ve been waiting for and deserving of. 

I lost a friendship that was toxic from the start. It was manipulative, it was calculated, and it was on their terms. I felt so drawn to it, but now I don’t, and I feel free. From the beginning, it was backhanded compliments, jokes and ways to make me feel like the smallest. I discovered that I was giving more than the other person and it wasn’t supposed to be that way. I’m the type of friend who wants to do what I can for the other person. I want to build them up, help them, give them advice and give them those hard talks because that’s what friends do. It is not a one-sided friendship. 

Now I’m 28 years old. I feel inspired by my relationships with others, my strength, my growth, and my ability to keep going when the going gets tough. I want to make my mark in people’s lives. So, cheers to the mid 20’s, thank you for the lessons you’ve taught me. Here’s to my late 20’s, may it continue with happiness, growth and memories that I’ll treasure for a lifetime. Life is such a wild, crazy ride. Embrace the lessons and changes. 

My name is Katelyn Richardson. I am 27 years old. I am currently attending Central Washington University studying my bachelors degree in food and sciences to become a nutritionist and later a diabetes educator for kids. I've been personally battling type 1 diabetes since I was six years old. I love being outside, vintage shopping, watching movies, and going to stock car races!
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