Southern Belle in Training

Fashion, Travel & Lifestyle Blog || Est. 2012 || Virginia Beach, VA

September 21, 2020

Lessons From A Birthday Identity Crisis.

     Let's start this week off with a confession: I woke up on my birthday a few weeks ago having a full blown identity crisis. It was unexpected in the moment for sure! But I'm thankful for the reflections that it's lead me to have since- and I wanted to share a few with you today. 

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     I'm a big birthday person, both when it comes to my own or celebrating those of family and friends in my life. I've had birthdays where the celebrations are absolutely amazing (21 for obvious reasons, and last year turning 25 was pretty great as well!), and some where festivities weren't so ideal (like turning 23 in Vermont and feeling really isolated / missing college friends a ton). But birthday celebrations themselves aside, I've never had one before quite like I did this year, where I felt like I had a full blown personal identity crisis.

      I woke up on the morning of my 26th birthday a few weeks ago feeling like I failed my 25th year of life. For the first time in my adult life, I couldn't think of anything big or noteworthy that had happened to me in the last year. From my 21st-25th birthdays,  I've had major life changes to reflect on from the previous 12 months. Graduations, out-of-state moves, new apartments, new jobs at new radio stations, relationship experiences, and travel firsts. 

     For my 25th year of life.... it felt like literally nothing had changed for me. I'm still in the same apartment. Nothing changed for me job-wise this year. I had big travel plans that COVID killed. It was probably the most uneventful year of my adult life for having a dating life (the one person who seemed semi-promising ghosted me). The only sort of notable thing that happened was getting a car- but that didn't feel like an accomplishment because I had no choice but to do it, and it wasn't on my own timeline (which would've been 2021 or 2022). Thinking about all of this on the morning of my 26th birthday brought me to literal tears, and I felt like such a failure that morning. 

    I do realize that COVID was a big deterrent in a lot of things in my life over the past year, as I'm sure it was for many of you too. COVID took away my big travel plans, made dating very difficult from March until my birthday (and still now), added some new challenges to my career, and changed more factors of my life as well. But COVID or no COVID, it was still a shock to me to realize so little had changed for me at 25. I'm a very motivated and driven person when it comes to my career, my blog, and building a life that I love to live. Reflecting on my birthday morning made me feel like everything that I'm working towards in the future was at a complete standstill, and I felt a little hopeless to be honest.

   So yes, I spent most of my birthday morning in tears. Some of that was on the phone to my mom (shout-out to moms: aren't they the best for always being there?!), and a lot of it was me by myself in bed. What a morning right? But I have to tell you something. By that afternoon, I was already starting to feel a little better and lighter. Yes, my 25th year wasn't quite what I thought it would be. But being able to admit that to myself and feel the pain that was there was so freeing.

     I also took comfort in leaning into my faith. Something that I have to be reminded of often is that God's plans are always best, and they often operate on a different timeline then my own. I might've thought that the past year was unproductive and uneventful, but for the Lord I was right where He wanted me to be, having life experiences and growth that mattered to Him, and will probably help my future in some way that I don't know yet.

     "In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps." - Proverbs 16:9 NIV

     If you've ever had a birthday identity crisis, or maybe feel one coming on with an upcoming birthday- I just want to let you know that you're definitely not alone! Keep working hard and doing the best you can every day, and lean into the Lord. You're right where He wants you to be right now. Do I hope and pray that my 26th year is a lot more exciting and full of new experiences than 25 was? Yes! But do I also know wholeheartedly that if it's not, that's okay too and it doesn't mean I've failed at anything? Yes! 

     A quick note about my outfit before I wrap this up! This was actually my 25th birthday dress last year, but I never had a chance then to shoot it for the blog. Better late than never! The exact one I have is sold out now, but this dress is seriously almost identical to mine- from the colors to the off the shoulder and the pleats! 

     God Bless,

     xoxo Annaliese 



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