It’s my 25th birthday tomorrow, which means it’s time for one of my very favourite activities: looking back over the past year of my life and really reflecting on what made it special. Every year, I feel incredibly blessed to realize that it’s hard to keep the list of my favourite moments to only 24, or whatever my age was that year. Sometimes I forget to see the big picture, and feel overwhelmed with my day-to-day worries or thoughts about the future, but making lists like this one remind me of just how lucky I really am. Truly, I am so fortunate to be living this beautiful life. Here are my 24 favourite moments from my 24th year, in no particular order.
Seeing my boyfriend through the sliding doors at the Quito airport for the first time since we’d said goodbye at a crowded Indian train station, and both of our faces totally lighting up into smiles. In that moment, despite my nerves, I knew it was going to be okay to move to a different continent for this person.
When I got an email from my bosses this fall, offering me a more permanent position with their company. I just remember feeling so blessed to get to work with such wonderful women.
Swimming in the absolutely pure blue water with the best 360 degree view in the entire world, on Koh Mak island.
Meeting my sister at the arrivals gate in Chiang Mai, and seeing her for the first time in over a year.
The day in the summertime I spent doing errands with my little Grandma to Canadian Tire and the Apple Market and the grocery store. Simple, not noisy, not fancy, but perfect.
Playing the guitar and singing “Breakeven” on a tiny boat bar in Hoi An with Katie, to a very enthusiastic audience of three bar patrons, five people on the shore, and the very kind Vietnamese people who ran the boat.
Finally recording the podcast with Laura in person again after more than a year and a half, in a breezy, lovely park near her apartment.
Going canyoning in Da Lat!! Rapeling down waterfalls, cliff jumping, going down rock slides – that whole day was just ridiculous amounts of fun.
After a year and a half, going to the public library, spending hours there, and coming out with a stack of 10+ books.
Going up to the cottage with Laura and Mike and spending time paddleboarding, talking about introversion, playing endless games of Cards Against Humanity and eating a lot of guacamole.
Having beers on Katie’s tiny fire escape in Brooklyn….and the beautiful/hilarious night that weekend that we spent calmly eating delicious pizza on the dock in Port Jeff, then took a night drive (soundtrack: Trap Queen) and ended up going dancing at the single most Long Island club to ever exist.
The first time I woke up to the view of Pichincha Mountain out of our windows here in Quito and literally gasped.
Stargazing, and learning how to play bocce ball in the backyard with my sisters.
The long, quiet summer days spent at my mom’s house in the country, making delicious food, listening to podcasts and playing with the cat.
Having sleepovers on my friends’ couches in the city, and getting to be a part of their lives again.
Hosting Katie here in Quito! Every moment of that week was wonderful.
The first time I went up to my boyfriend’s family farm and met all the beautiful dogs, got to ride a horse, and could look out over the city.
Every single Saturday morning since October, hosting yoga in the park for a bunch of beautiful souls.
Decorating Christmas cookies with my sisters and Grandma for the first time in a few years.
The first time I showed up to Dylan’s place in Toronto and got enveloped in the biggest bear hug ever and swung around in circles on his porch. Then we listened to Carly Rae Jepsen and played with the cats.
Taking care of a beautiful, lovely, big-hearted Golden Retriever named Charlie for a few days.
Having my toes in the sand, watching the sunset, and drinking good Ecuadorian beer on January 17th (see also: skipping winter for the second year in a row).
The experience of going to two World Cup Qualifiers in South America!! We were there for Ecuador vs. Uruguay and vs. Paraguay.
Getting to stay at a beautiful lodge in the Amazon jungle a week before I turned 25, and having the privilege of being in the immensely beautiful jungle and seeing caiman, bullfrogs the size of my head, tarantulas and monkeys jumping around in the trees.
What’s crazy to me is that when I turned 24, I had no idea where I’d be even four months into the future. I planned to travel, take my yoga teacher training in India, and then possibly move to Vancouver but who knew? Instead, I met this charming Ecuadorian man whilst in India, and wound up changing my plans entirely. Now, a year later I live in South America – in Ecuador of all places. I can speak passably good Spanish and I’m working on improving it. I spent a few lovely months at home with my family and friends during the summer and made some beautiful memories. I am so very far from where I thought I’d be, and yet oh-so-happy with where I am.
Life is a beautiful and mysterious thing. I am continually amazed at where I’ve ended up, at what I’ve been lucky enough to do, and at the wonderful people who continue to be in my life despite our circumstances changing dramatically year by year. As I go into my 25th year, I am just so grateful.
I included a quote in my 23 moments post from Cheryl Strayed, and I feel I need to add it in here again (it will never not be relevant). She says, “Let whatever mysterious starlight that guided you this far guide you onward into whatever crazy beauty awaits.” My life is crazy and beautiful, and I cannot wait to see what awaits.