Lessons are like gardens with unknown seeds planted. One can expect a crop but can’t be too sure if tulips or Angel’s Trumpets will grow. The best thing to do is to nurture it with sincerity and water. Last week, I turned 25. A quarter century chock full of growing pains, genuine smiles, warm hugs, tears, public education, and triumph. I’ve never been at peace like I am now. Turning 25 didn’t bring on this new change, embracing life did. The most important thing I’ve done for myself was to accept who I am and stop trying to be who I’m not. I’ve learned the value of sleeping for 8 hours, calling people back, complimenting strangers (and friends), paying it forward, initiating conversations, eating breakfast, being kind, being genuine, and being honest. I’ve learned to stop forcing relationships, to define friendship, to evaluate companionship, and to embrace love. All love. I’ve learned to admire other people’s beauty and not envy it. I’ve learned to be quiet when upset. I’m learning that we all see the world differently and that’s tough for me. Previously, I would have been nervous that I hadn’t learned the lessons I should or that I wasn’t where a 25 year old was supposed to be. But not now. This is my garden. I planted these seeds and with the sunshine of my own life, I’ll watch it grow.