25 Things I Learned at 25

girl in white faux fur coat in front of a brick wall

Year 25 is almost over. And my, what a year it has been.

It’s official: in less than two weeks, I will be turning another year…wiser. This past year has brought with it so many memorable moments, big changes, awesome risks and exciting new adventures. I’ve learned so much this year, it’s hard to condense it to just one list of 25 things–but I’ll try my best. 

So, without further ado, here’s my list of 25 things I learned in year 25:

1. Sometimes, all you need is a few good friends, a karaoke machine and some great music to bring in the next year of life.

2. Speaking of which, keep your friends close—you’ll need them and vice versa.

3. You CAN do hard things.

4. “It doesn’t matter when you bloom, just as long as you bloom.” Take your time. 

5. In all things, ask God for guidance on how to approach it. Approach Him. Ask Him.

6. If God’s not in it, it’s not worth it.

7. Don’t let fear or anxiety fuel your actions.

8. Dance is a universal language. Do it more often.

9. It’s easy to give up when things seem hard or discouraging. You don’t have to give up—you can keep going and trying. But if you need to, it’s okay to walk away too.

10. If something is important to you, keep at it.

11. Having a vision is important. Without a clear goal in mind, everything you do will seem fruitless.

12. Home is a refuge.

brick wall girl in white faux fur coat

13. Do not be afraid to ask for what you need.

14. You’re worthy and valuable as you are. Don’t let anyone make you feel otherwise.

15. On dating: be open and honest about how you feel. If you’re not interested, be upfront and honest. Don’t lead them on or avoid them due to feeling uncomfortable.

16. Dear black girl, you are beautiful.

17. God is doing a new thing in your life—He makes a way in the wilderness and streams in the desert (Isaiah 43:18-21).

18. You’re talented. Truly. You have been gifted with the ability to create and that is a calling worth pursuing.

19. Stop running away from things that remind you of previous hurt. Avoidance won’t heal you—confrontation will build you up, so that when the time comes, you’ll be strong enough to face the past.

20. You can never truly expect the unexpected. But when the unexpected happens, you will be able to handle it.

21. Be a good steward of your money now. Your future self will thank you for it later.

22. Dads are people too. Be patient with them. Spend time with them. Laugh with them as often as you can.

23. Moving out of state will be different than expected, but you will grow in ways you never thought possible.

24. Musicals are magical. Learn all the words to your favorite ones, and sing them loudly in your car.

25. Learn to replace the lies that you’ve let yourself believe about who you are, what you’re worth and what you can do—with the truth about who God says you are.

“If you don’t know what God says about you, you will believe the lies of the enemy. We need a generation that loves the word of God, that knows what God says about us. So then we can rise up and be who God has called us to be and do what God has called us to do!” 

– Christine Caine, Passion 2018 Conference

p.s. this tradition has been going 5 years strong, y’all. Take a look at the past posts I’ve done in honor of turning yet another year older:

24 Things I Learned at 24

23 Things I Learned at 23

22 Things I Learned at 22

21 Things I Learned at 21

Here’s to 26, love.

Here’s to more love, joy, laughter and growth. 

“Forget the former things;
    do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland.
The wild animals honor me,
    the jackals and the owls,
because I provide water in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland,
to give drink to my people, my chosen,
the people I formed for myself
    that they may proclaim my praise.”

Isaiah 43:18-21


Twenty-something, lover of Jesus. I like animals (esp. dogs), Fun-Fetti cupcakes and yoga. I love God and do my best to love others. I hate too-warm weather and socks that fall into your shoes when you walk. I'm a huge fan of Christian rap and cold, sunny days.

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  • jen

    This list is awesome. Got my eyes a little watery on a few of them.. especially the ‘dad’s are people too’ .. hit close to home. Thanks for the reminder, and keep doing these lists. I think they’re so cool, and we have so much to learn from each other.

    • Leighann


      Thanks so much, Jen! I so appreciate your encouragement. And, yeah–that one has been super important to me too as of late. I’m so glad it was relatable to your own life. I very much appreciate you reading.

  • Kio

    It’s awesome that you’re not only living, but you’re learning and sharing that wisdom with us. I hope that your birthday on the 17th is celebrated the way you’d like. I hope that you continue to be surrounded by love. 💕

    • Leighann


      Kio! Thank you so much–yes, ma’am. I hope in sharing what I’ve learned, others will take away insights to keep in mind going forward–and also just to celebrate the growth that’s happened this past year 🙂 thanks for reading, girl! Miss and love you.

  • Cleo

    Great post!!! Definitely a reminder of what I learned as well.

    • Leighann


      Thanks so much, Cleo! Glad it was relatable to you!

  • Comfort Nnana Kalu

    This was a great list and just so relatable. I will be approaching 25 next years so it’s great to see what you learned!

    • Leighann


      Thanks so much! I’m so glad it was relatable and gives you something to look forward to!

  • Victoria

    Great post! I can definitely relate. Even at 30 I’m still learning some of these or reminding myself of them. Thanks for sharing. X

    Victoria | http://www.spokenreveries.co.uk

    • Leighann


      Thanks, Victoria! I’m so happy to hear that this post was relatable to you–and gives me something to look forward to!

  • Michelle

    You honestly inspire me, and I am so grateful to have found your blog when I did. GREAT LESSONS!! I Hope you enjoy your birthday when it comes 🎉🎉🎈🎊🎁🎂 and have an amazing year being 26 and also that the good Lord may continue to bless you because you are a blessing xx

    • Leighann


      Wow, thank you so much, Michelle–you’re so sweet and thoughtful for saying that. I really appreciate your encouragement and readership. Thanks also for the birthday and year wishes! I am so grateful for you, sis!

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  • 𝒹𝒶𝓎 18 𝑜𝒻 31

Obsession. I like to say photography is my love language—I have no idea what that means, but it sounds nice, right? I’m obsessed with taking pictures and learning more about composition, editing and trying new things with my little @canonusa baby. *accidentally deleted my post from yesterday—so here it is again*
  • This is not a drill—it’s a GIVEAWAY! 
Meet Kayla (@kayzilch). Though we’ve met just recently, I immediately recognized her as a kindred spirit (she’s also a Type-4 Enneagram)! Her writing is real, authentic and delves into an array of important topics such as mental health, identity, faith and much more on her blog @tobetruth_. She’s also working to become a certified yoga teacher and is passionate about her work as a freelance writer! 
Meet Meghan (@meghantschanz). I’ve never met a woman so determined and passionate about creating authentic community and tackling tough topics. She’s not afraid to go there and start conversations about real-world issues like sex- and labor-trafficking around the world, feminism (or lack thereof) within the church and equality for ALL. She’s currently working on securing a book deal, with the goal of empowering women around the globe to recognize their influence in society and their ability to make the world a more equal place. 
These women are doing some amazing things and I’m honestly just excited to come along for the ride. I believe in us, the work we’ve been called to do and I hope, after learning more about us, you will too. To celebrate and continue advocating for causes we believe in, we’re doing a giveaway with @causebox. 
Here’s where you come in:

1. Give this post a (♡) double tap.

2. Go follow @meghantschanz & @kayzilch.

3. After you’ve done both of those things, come back here and tag two women whose life, work and friendship you believe in! 
The prize is a summer-themed @causebox valued at $300, packed full of small-batch, sustainable and ethically created gifts made by women and small businesses around the world. 
Winner will be announced Friday (8/24) morning at 10am EST!
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Blue. I’ve been looking for a way to fill my ginormous (at least it seems that way) white living room wall. Every time I thought I knew how I wanted to decorate that space, I changed my mind suddenly, determined that there had to be a better way to fill the empty 

I didn’t know this about me before, but it hit me one day, as my parents were helping me unpack my stuff in my new place. My mom began asking me what I’d like my new place to look like, rug colors, mat textures, wall—fixtures and all. I am no good at decorating. Like, I had no idea how to put a space together. I’ve never been on my own before and the idea of having to decide how my space would be...mine, freaked me out. 
But then, little by little I found some pieces that I didn’t hate, and started to put them together. And yesterday, I stumbled upon these little treasures at Marshall’s. I couldn’t resist the ocean hues and beach vibes. I knew it was meant to be. 
All that to say, for anyone else struggling to put your place together after either never having to do it before #livingsingle or maybe putting the pieces of your life back together after a breakup or split—take your time. It will all come together eventually and it will look amazing. And before you know it, it will start to look, like you. ttys
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Hot. No, it’s not what you think. As a matter of fact, when I first saw this picture I was horrified. I saw all that was wrong with my body, my hair and my skin—ugh. 
But you know what? No one’s perfect. And thank God I don’t have to be. Plus, my body was/is working just fine, my hair was moisturized, and my skin was poppin’. Trying to shift my moments of self-doubt and body-consciousness to thankfulness and positive self-talk. 
Also, the day this was taken was HOT, so it still counts towards today’s #augusteyecandy.

I don’t know if anyone’s told you today, but you’re made splendidly and you couldn’t be more perfect than you are right now—yes, even in this heat with your mascara running down your face. ttys 
S/O to @kayzilch and/or her awesome fiancé, Michael for this pic 📸
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  • TW: Anxiety/Panic Attack

Anxiety is like a shadow that’s been following me around since I was about thirteen. I guess puberty marked the onset of racing thoughts, subtle hyperventilation and that queasy feeling you get when something’s just not right. I had my first panic attack at nineteen, during a new hire orientation. It felt like I was having a heart attack—my heart inexplicably began to race, my hands shook and I felt warmth all around me. 
I excused myself to the reception area and, in a panic, asked the receptionist if she could help me. She said to place my hands above my head and breathe. I paced around the lobby and breathed, eyes closed. Inhale. Exhale. I worried for a moment that I would die. Then gradually, my heart began to beat at normal pace again. My breathing deepened and my body cooled down to normal as I continued to pace, slower this time. The kind receptionist gave me some water to sip and sat me down until I was ready to go back to the meeting. 
Anxiety can feel like a high-speed train. Going 5mph one minute and 150 mph the next. It can also be subtler, feeling like you can’t quite catch your breathe and you begin to hyperventilate, in a way that is only recognizable to you. 
Although I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, anxiety has taught me the importance of coming back to the present. And how allowing myself to feel what is presently around me, can ground me and remind me that I’m alive. I’m safe. 
I share this story in order to start the conversation. Anxiety is a part of my life, whether I like it or not. I hope you know that first of all:

1. You are loved beyond measure and valuable even with your anxious thoughts and actions 
2. You are not the only one 

Follow Me!