Reflecting on 25 Years

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For as long as I can remember I have been looking forward to my 26th birthday. My 26th birthday is also my golden birthday so I thought that meant something amazing. As a kid I imagined that 26 would be the best age, I’d have my whole life figured out by then.

I turn 26 on Saturday and I know that I don’t have my whole life figured out but that’s okay. I’ve spent the past week reflecting on my 25 years on this planet. All the good, the bad, and the incredibly ugly moments that have made up every second of my existence. I thought I’d share the thoughts that have been floating through my mind as I prepare for this special milestone in my life.

  •  I’ve spent all but 20 months of my life with a built in best friend. Being a big sister wasn’t always my favorite thing but I’m so glad to have my sister!
  • My grandparents have always been a huge part of my life. All three of them have supported, comforted, and cheered me on and I’m grateful to have them.
  • My mom is the best person in the world. I can count on her for anything and even at *almost* 26 years old I still need my mom!
  • My dad and I haven’t always gotten along but I know he had good intentions. Having two daughters wasn’t his dream but he always supported us and provided for us. I’m glad I’m no longer a sassy teenager and we can get along!
  • Brett has been a major part of my life for the last 8 years. He’s been my shoulder to cry on, my pillar of strength, and my friend. Like I said in my wedding vows, Brett came into my life when I really needed a friend. He was brought to me at the perfect time and I’m always grateful to have him as my other half.
  • Lucy and Oscar are my furbabies and they make me so happy. Lucy was a gift from my parents after I went through a really rough patch in high school. She’s the perfect therapy animal and is always there for me when I’m upset. Oscar is the goofiest dog and really completes our little family (for now!).
  • Middle School and High School were some of the hardest years of my life. I couldn’t wait to graduate and forget all of the horrors that I experienced. It’s been 7 years since I graduated and I realize that all of those terrible moments made me who I am today. I’m stronger because of the tough moments.
  • College wasn’t what I expected. I worked hard in class and at my job and didn’t really have the time to socialize. I’m glad I went to business school but wish that maybe I had tried to make a few more friends. I struggled a lot during these years.
  • Studying abroad in London was the highlight of my college career. I made friendships that have lasted despite the distance between us. London became my second home and for a homebody like me, that says a lot.
  • Unfortunately, migraines and headaches have been a huge part of my life. I’m still struggling but I’ll keep fighting for as long as it takes!
  • We had a foreign exchange student live with us during my sophomore year in high school. She was a family friend from Denmark and I was so excited to finally have an older “sister”. She is beautiful and loving but I was a brat. I learned so much about other cultures during this time and am proud to call her my sister to this day. She even came to our wedding and played an important part in our day!
  • People say that your wedding day is the happiest day of your life. That wasn’t true for me because I knew that there would be many “happiest” days for us as a couple. Our wedding day was one of many happy days but it felt amazing to be surrounded by people who loved us so much and wanted to celebrate our life together.
  • Buying our house was special. Everything fell into place and we found the most amazing home to start our life together in. We walked in and I knew that I knew that this house was meant for us. I have never felt so settled in my life! I’m happy to be here and add our happy memories to this incredible home.
  • I’ve had two best friends since the third grade. We may not talk everyday or see each other often but I know that I can always count on them.
  • I went through a really tough breakup in high school that set the rest of my life in motion. I would be so different if I hadn’t gone through this breakup exactly the way it happened. It’s hard to acknowledge that this was a pivotal life moment for me.
  • After graduating college I jumped into the job search like it was my second job. I struggled for those couple of months after college before I found a job. I stumbled into my current job because I knew that the company was amazing. It wasn’t my dream job but I knew I’d be happy. Three years later and I’m so grateful that I took the leap of faith!
  • In school I struggled with anxiety and depression which I don’t often talk about. I learned a lot about myself during these times and continue to learn as I grow older. In high school I also struggled with body image and an eating disorder. All of these things have shaped me into who I am today. I’m sad for past Hayley but glad that these hurdles were added to my journey to make me a stronger and more empathetic person.
  • Band was a huge part of my life! I played the flute from 5th to 12th grade. I took private lessons, made symphonic band as a freshman, was a total marching bank geek, and made SO many band friends along the way. I think I would have been lost in high school without band. I even considered being a music performance major in college!
  • My parents always provided a warm home, food, clothes, and toys without making us spoiled brats. I learned the value of a dollar at an early age and have always been financially savvy which has proven to be helpful in my current career in finance.
  • In 2011 I traveled to Europe for the first time with my high school band. This trip opened my eyes up to a whole new world of possibilities. From that moment on I was always planning my next trip. I want to see the world and am grateful that I had this opportunity to inspire me to chase my dreams.
  • My parents have fought for me. They have helped me chase every dream, they have supported me, and they have loved me when I was pretty unlovable. I know that I’m lucky to have them.
  • I’ve been all over the world, I’ve left my heart in so many places. Yet the feeling of coming home is always my favorite.
  • Here’s to the hundreds of notebooks that I filled with stories, songs, poems, and random thoughts throughout the years. I recently went through these notebooks that dated all the way back to preschool. I’ve always been a writer and I’m glad I found blogging to fulfill my passion.
  • Speaking of blogging, in the next couple of weeks I will be celebrating SIX years of Life of Hayley! I never imagined that my passion for writing would take me here. To a platform where I can share my most precious thoughts and feelings and be understood and acccepted. Thank you for sharing my journey with me!

All of these little moments, these struggles, these “happiest” days have made me who I am today. These friends, family, and loved ones have shaped and inspired me. I’ve been hardened by the struggles to know my worth and to fight for what I believe in. I’ve learned to love myself even when I think that no one else does.

The past 25 years have been challenging, exciting, emotional, and adventurous. What will the next 25 or 50 years bring? I have no idea! But that’s part of the adventure!

If you have gotten this far, thank you so much for reading! I am a sentimental introvert!

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2018: Fourth Quarter Goals

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Hey friends!

Woah… this year has gone by so quickly! I can’t believe it’s already time for another set of quarterly goals. This is the final quarter of 2018 and I really need to make every second count. So far it has been an exciting and challenging year. I’m looking forward to 2019 but I’m not quite ready for 2018 to be over yet.

Third quarter was probably my favorite so far this year! We slowed down a bit at work so I got to enjoy more time off and normal work hours. Brett and I traveled a lot and spent time with our family and friends. I got a lot done in the last three months so I feel good about going into the final months of 2018.

  1. Pass a certification class. I’m in the process of taking a class for work and the certification test is in December. If I pass I will earn my very first finance certification. My goal is to pass the first time which means I really need to get to studying!
  2. Write 2 blog posts per week. It’s time I make blogging more of a priority. I want to grow this space going into 2019. It’s been almost 5 years since I started this blog and I’ve only recently started to take it seriously. I’d love to create a content calendar and some sort of schedule.
  3. Do a complete wardrobe refresh. I am in desperate need of new clothes for the fall and winter seasons. I need jeans, sweaters, jackets, and boots to get me through the upcoming colder weather. I made a Thred-Up order so I’m hoping that some of those items will work out.
  4. Explore Rome with Brett. I am SO excited to be visiting Rome in October! I have wanted to travel to Rome since I was a young girl watching the Lizzie McGuire Movie and I finally get to go. I’m going to try not to worry too much about my diet and just enjoy my time in Italy.
  5. Live it up for my 25th Birthday! I have been talking about my 25th birthday for a while now. This whole blog started as a way to capture my life from 20 to 25. My work is having their 20th Anniversary Gala on my birthday so I’m excited to wear a fancy dress and celebrate with my co-workers and Brett.
  6. Celebrate 5 years of blogging! I’m turning 25 which means Life of Hayley is turning 5! The past five years flew by and I’m excited to share my blogging highlights with you in November. I have captured most of my adult life on this blog and that makes me incredibly proud and happy.
  7. Put 50% of my holiday bonus into our savings account. My work is awesome and gives out holiday bonuses every year as profit sharing. I feel so lucky each time I receive a bonus and always save the majority of it for future purchases. We added my 2017 bonus to our down payment this year for our house!

Interested in the rest of my quarterly 2018 goals? Check out these posts! Q1, Q2, Q3.

Thanks for reading!

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Image via Unsplash

 

 

Cheers to Twenty-Four

 

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Hey, friends!

Today I turned 24! I started this blog for my 20th birthday which means I have officially been blogging (irregularly) for four years.

This blog started as a way to document the 25 things I wanted to do before I turned 25. The truth of the matter is that I didn’t keep track of my goals and accomplishments over the past four years. I stopped putting pressure on myself and really started to live. With that being said, here’s a list of 25 things that I’d like to accomplish before I turn 25.

  1. Buy a house (or condo!)
  2. Create an emergency fund
  3. Exercise regularly
  4. Kick the pop (soda) habit once and for all
  5. Invest more into my 401(k)
  6. Read at least 1 book per month
  7. Create photo albums for our wedding pictures
  8. Buy a new computer or laptop
  9. Start meal planning
  10. Blog more
  11. Spend more time with family and friends
  12. Start listening to podcasts
  13. Be more productive after work
  14. Consider going to grad school
  15. Go to more seminars for work
  16. Do something social with co-workers at least once per month
  17. Read a Dave Ramsey book
  18. Travel more!
  19. Have at least 1 date night per month
  20. Create an instagram for the blog
  21. Buy a pair of jeans that I actually like ( I HATE jean shopping, any recommendations?)
  22. Be healthy (mind and body)
  23. Work on getting my migraines in control
  24. Read all the Harry Potter books again
  25. Visit somewhere new with Brett

I don’t expect to finish this whole list in a year. You can see that they aren’t necessarily “serious” goals. I am completely in love with the way my life is right now and don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything. I want to continue enjoying life!

I’m off to enjoy the rest of my Birthday! Today I am working and then hopefully enjoying a relaxing evening with my family and friends.

Cheers to 24!

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Twenty One

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On October 26th I celebrated my twenty first birthday. If you’ve been reading for the past year or so you will know that I started this blog to capture the short decade of my twenties. Turning twenty freaked me out, but I can honestly say that I have never been happier.

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Turning twenty forced me to really dig deep and figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I didn’t focus on what I want to be when I grow up; I just tried to figure out what kind of experiences I would like to have. I really pushed myself out of my comfort zone and decided to follow my dreams.

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In the past year I have grown as a person and have figured out how to be comfortable with who I am. I know where I’m going and I am so excited for the journey that is ahead of me.

Here are some of my favorite things that have happened over the past year:

  • I watched my mom graduate with her Master’s degree. I am still so proud of her!
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  • I finally decided to follow my dream and study abroad at Regent’s University, London. I applied and got accepted into my dream University. Now I am looking forward to moving to London in January!
  • My family adopted Megan! I am so happy to have a dog again!
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  • I traveled to Arizona to visit my grandparents and Florida to visit Brett’s grandparents.
  • I went on my very first hot air balloon ride. It was something I never thought I would be able to do because I am so scared of heights but I am thrilled that I took the chance and went. It was so breath taking.
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  • I finally found a great group of friends. One of my main goals last year was to become a less boring person. I have no problem spending quiet nights at home but I really wanted to meet some “college” friends. I now have a great group of friends from work. We play trivia every Wednesday night and just have a great time together.
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  • I have fallen even more in love with Brett. We celebrated three years together in August! I am thankful for the life that we have built together and look forward to all of the adventures that are waiting for us. He’s so supportive of my dreams and believes in me always.

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This past year has pushed me and molded me into a better person. I am grateful for all of the obstacles that I have overcome that have made me stronger and wiser. Twenty one is looking good so far! I can’t wait to see how I grow over the next year and am looking forward to seeing where my dreams take me!

Thanks for reading!

21st Birthday Week Activities!

It is officially the week of my 21st Birthday! As I have mentioned before, birthdays have always been special to me because I share it with my Grandpa and Riley. Birthdays give me a chance to celebrate everything that I have accomplished in the last year and give me something to look forward to.

This year, I started my birthday week off with a trip to Cedar Point with Brett. Brett is a huge roller coaster fan and yesterday (October 19th) was the last day that the ride Mantis would be running. Brett is weird and sentimental about roller coasters so I agreed to drive down with him to say goodbye to Mantis. It ended up being the perfect day because it was pretty warm and the park was slow so we were able to ride almost every coaster without waiting. We had a great day together!

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Some other activities that I am looking forward to this week are:

  • Getting my new driver’s license: My current license features my braces and awkward 16 year old face. I am super excited to get a new one that actually looks like how I look now.

    16 year old me buying my first car!

    16 year old me buying my first car!

  • Organizing my birthday party: I am looking forward to having an awesome 21st birthday with all of my friends. We are still figuring out all of the details but it’s going to be a fun night no matter what we do.
  • Outlet Shopping: On the 25th my mom, sister, and I are traveling to the outlet mall for some serious shopping time!
  • Birthday party at the lake: Celebrating my birthday at the lake with my Grandpa and the rest of my family is seriously the best part of my birthday every year. I love spending time with my family and the lake looks beautiful in the fall!
  • The Lake!

               The Lake!

  • Carving pumpkins: My dad bought me and Dani pumpkins to carve for Halloween. I just think that carved pumpkins are so cute and I always have a great time designing mine!

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Overall, this week is going to be filled with so many great memories. I am planning on cherishing the time that I get to spend with my Grandpa, family, and friends this week. Turning 21 is a huge milestone but to me it is about way more important things than finally being able to drink alcohol. Turning 21 means that I have spent the past 20 years growing, learning, and becoming a better person. I am grateful for all of the opportunities that I have had over the last 20 years and I am looking forward to all of the adventures that 21 will bring me.