Vegas. Also Titled: Why You Need To Choose To Be Happy

This could also be titled: Reflecting on the best year of my life (so far).

Later today my friends and I leave Cville for Las Vegas!!!!!!!

ย There will be four of us meeting up with my twin sis and four of her friends for a smashing, crazy bday celebration in the City of Sin. 30 is a big birthday. I don’t think I need to reiterate that much ๐Ÿ˜‰

I’ve been mildly freaking out about leaving my 20s, but having this trip has definitely helped! I actually freaked out more when I turned 25. But here’s the thing: I don’t think freak outs are bad.ย Like I said when I turned 25 I had a pretty major melt down. I thought I was getting so old and felt like my early 20s had flown by. As a high school teacher I also felt like I had “aged” prematurely and had missed out on all of the fun my friends had in their early 20s.

So I had what I call “THE” freak out. I decided that 25 was going to be the best year of my life (and wouldn’t you know it, it WAS…by far!). I signed up for my first marathon; I took advantage of every social opportunity (even joined a bowling team, which was SOOO much fun); I spent my savings and traveled around the Middle East, Europe, Central and South America; I hiked to the top of a 16,000 foot mountain in Peru; I got a 4.0 in my master’s degree at the top program in the country for my field. Let’s just say it was a good year ๐Ÿ™‚ Scenes from when I was 25:

Higher (Ed) Rollers

I hosted my first toga party!

Backpacking through Europe. Madrid

Sis and I in Rome

Cinque Terre Italy

Floating in the Dead Sea

Backpacking through Costa Rica

I’ll take any excuse to swing off a rope! CR

Staying with family in rainforest, CR

I learned how to surf! CR

Machu PIcchu Peru

Prague

Lake Como Italy

Happy Hours

Graduation from Michigan with my master’s

Chicago, my first marathon

There are 2 morals of this story, my friends:

1. The best is never over. NEVER. Please never think to yourself, “the best years of my life are gone” or “I’m too old to do this or that”. It’s not true. Ever. Age is just a number and it is my hope that I will be running marathons into my 60s ๐Ÿ™‚ I also have to say that my late 20s have been more fun, I have been more social and have made more friends than even when I was in college. And that’s saying a lot. So it’s never too late. For anything

2. And the second moral of the story is that you have to choose to be happy. Everyone always says that, I know, but how many people actually live that? ย You can’t just keep saying it over and over again to yourself. You have to make a conscious decision to DO it. In November 2007 something in me snapped. I thought to myself, “only I can make this a great year and I’m going to do it!!!!!” I wasn’t going to complain or be negative. I was going to be as positive and optimistic as I could. I was going to go out on a limb and try anything and everything. It hasn’t been easy keeping that mindset, especially as work and life have gotten in the way sometimes, but I think I still embody most of it.

So it’s not a surprise that 25 was the best year of my life (so far!). But my late 20s have been pretty damn great also. I’ve had more struggles in my late 20s than I ever had before, most of them personal and mental–and some physical ๐Ÿ˜‰ — but I’ve also gotten stronger and have had a great time along the way ๐Ÿ™‚

So here I am again today, about to leave for Las Vegas in a few short hours with these lovely gals

I have 6 days left in my 20s. And here is my commitment to my 30th year: It will be even better than when I turned 25. I will do more, see more, be more. I will take advantage of every opportunity to learn things and meet people. I will travel (already going to Grand Caymen in January and finalizing a trip to Eastern Europe in Summer). I will savor my youth while I have it. I will run. I will do at least 3 things I never thought I would do. I will get my PhD and get to be called Dr. I will (hopefully) get a job and start to build my career after my PhD. In short: I’m going to make this year my best year EVER!

And I’m going to start that off by going to Vegas with my best friends. Watch out now

If you could pick one, what would you say has been your best year ever? Why?ย 

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14 Responses to Vegas. Also Titled: Why You Need To Choose To Be Happy

  1. Tempesst says:

    Happy early birthday! I’d love to hear more about your travels.. Like how you organized all the different trips and everything!

    • Thank you thank you! Many of them were pretty spur of the moment. We just planned where we wanted to go and then reserved some hostels or cheap hotels. Sometimes we didn’t even have anything reserved ahead of time, we just showed up and found a place. I find traveling is more fun that way! That is definitely what you should do if you go to Cinque Terre Italy or anywhere in Central/South America. My sis and I traveled through Spain once and then decided the next day we wanted to fly to Italy so we booked an Easy Jet flight. So I guess flexibility! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. wow those were the two best tips I have heard in a while. i love hearing this. I think I am in that phase where I keep asking where is my life going? I needed this, have a blast like a freaking blast in Vegas!

  3. Yvette says:

    Oh, these words couldn’t have come at a better time for me. Thanks for the inspiration. Have fun & happy birthday! ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. jumpeatrun says:

    2 things: 1. You had an AMAZING 25th year!! Looks like so much fun and reminds me of that time (I also thought 25 was much more life ending than 30)!! Appreciate and love every moment! 2…saddle up, because I have had more fun in my 30″s (the whole 1.5 year of them) than ever before. I know you don’t think anything will be different, and essentially it’s not…but things settle in over the first year and there is just an amazing happiness and contentedness that was not there in my 20’s.
    Obviously it’s just me and you may be totally different, but I want to let you know – life doesn’t end at 29!! HAPPY B-DAY CLAIRE!!

  5. You truly did have the most wonderful 25th year! I thoroughly enjoyed seeing all of those pictures. Just like the above comment, I’d love to hear more! Your trip just sounds absolutely amazing!

    Have a kick a$$ time in Vegas with all your favorite people!! โค

    Happy Early Birthday girl!!

  6. Jorie says:

    Happy early birthday, Claire, and have the best time in Vegas! Your post was really inspiring to me. It’s just what I needed to read as I approach my own 25th birthday in a few months.

    I love all your travel photos! You’ve done some amazing things, and fosterd such an adventurous spirit. It’s the only way to live!

  7. Love this post!! So true and I hope to be running marys in my 60’s too ๐Ÿ˜‰ HAPPY BIRTHDAY and enjoy your fabulous weekend!

  8. Happy Birthday! Have a great time in Vegas.

  9. HAPPY BIRTHDAY! 25 looks like it was a great year, and its totally making me itch for a vacation. 30 will be even better ๐Ÿ™‚ Enjoy your trip!

  10. Courtney says:

    Hey! I happened across your blog from Chelsea’s 7 Things post. I love this entry; I definitely agree with your “age is just a number” philosophy. You can live it up and love life at any time! ๐Ÿ™‚ Glad I’ve stopped by — oh, and I hope you have a superb birthday!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Love the “picture walk” (elementary school term!) through your years! :)Happy Birthday!

  12. Pingback: New Music Tuesday | Let's Go on a Living Spree

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