Finding Your Place

On Turning 25 & Embracing Who I Am

girl with feet in the ocean water, embracing who I am

Two years ago, I made a promise to myself. I promised that I would smile, that I would focus on the bright side, that that I would fall in love with who I am and the world around me, that I would give my energy and attention to the people and things that I care about, that I would take time to pursue writing at an even more serious level, and that I would deepen my relationship with God.

I promised that I would believe in love and new beginnings, even those that form in the wake of painful endings. I promised that I would travel, that I would spend money, that I would laugh and dance and sing and wear glitter and flowers in my hair and stop worrying so much about what others think of who I am or how young and foolish I look.

It’s been two years, 730 days from the night I made those promises on the deck of a cruise ship, watching the stars blink the sky, arm-in-arm with a stranger. It’s been one year, 365 days since I revisited those promises and smiled at both the pain and progress I’d made in my 24th year.

At the time, I didn’t know the weight of those words, or how they would shape me. All I know, is that since making those promises to myself, I’ve listened to the crazy beat of my heart.

I’ve laughed. I’ve danced. I’ve loved. I’ve lost. I’ve traveled. I’ve forgiven. I’ve jumped into things, and people, and relationships that were scary. I’ve spent money. I’ve moved and made friends across the country. I’ve written and published a poetry collection. I’ve finished a faith-based book. I’ve fallen down, hard. I’ve given and received love. I dived into deeper faith. I cried. I felt. I broke. I healed. I wore damn flowers, and all the glitter I could.

I know I’m far from perfect, far from the ‘ideal’ image I had in my mind for who I am and where my life ‘should’ be. But I’m happy, and honestly, maybe that’s all that matters.

As I step into this year, I’m holding onto those promises. I’m becoming even more of what and who I am. I’m holding onto this happiness. And I’m letting life pull and push me in whatever direction I’m meant to go.

Featured Image Credit: Nirzar Pangarkar

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Marisa Donnelly, M.Ed., is a writer/editor, credentialed teacher, proud bonus mama, and CEO of Be A Light Collective, a coaching and content creation business and digital marketplace. She is the Director of Donnelly’s Daily Apple, a flexible learning/tutoring and educational resource platform, and the lead voice for Momish Moments and Step by Step Parents, verticals dedicated to sharing and advocating for non-traditional parenting journeys. Marisa currently resides in San Diego, California, with her fiancé, kiddo, and their two rambunctious Pitbulls. ❤️