26: A Reflection

Every week I write a to-do list with four categories: Work, Personal, Self, and Goals. Under the “Self” column I have written “start writing my blog again” for about a month now. I don’t know what I was waiting for, a sign, the month to begin – I don’t know. But hey, it’s my twenty-sixth birthday so why not? Well to be exact, while writing this, it is three hours shy of my birthday – just petty details.

When I think about my birthday, I like most people, have plenty of memories. For my fifth birthday, I remember being in the backseat of my parents’ car as they drove me to the house of a dog breeder and I picked out my American Eskimo puppy, Max (it was the 90’s, adopt don’t shop wasn’t a thing  yet, I have an adopted dog now).



Max (right) and Riley (left)

I remember my ninth birthday at the now defunct Laser Web with my best friends from elementary school, Courtney and Ryan. Or even my eleventh birthday, I invited a boy I liked to my party, he gave me an informational book on horses (sadly we did not get married and have 3 kids). On my sixteenth birthday, I recieved my beloved Ford F-150 which in a way – defined me in high school.



Me recieving my truck (excuse the photo, it was 2007)

I remember going to the Granville (U of L’s goto dive bar) at midnight and my friend and equestrian teammate Becca bought me my first shot, a red-headed slut on my twenty-first birthday. Birthdays are full of memories, who you spent them with, what you did, what you recieved for gifts. They also symbolize the end of a chapter in your life. As I’ve grown older, I reflect on each year (does this mean I’m an adult now? Ew).

Chapter twenty-five comes to an end in three short hours. What will I remember? Well I took a job with my dream company. I quit the first full-time job I got out of college. I took a leap of faith. I moved out of my parents house. I got a lease on an apartment. I have a rent bill, an electric bill, and a water bill. I challenged myself in ways I never thought possible. My heart broke when my leap of faith left me flat on my face. I dealt with failure. I perservered. My world literally fell apart when I unexpectdly lost the most important person in my entire life, my mom.

I entered 2017 pretty battered and beaten. I’m still battered and beaten, but I haven’t given up. I didn’t know if I could pick myself up, but I did. I went to the gym and trained for a 5k. I volunteered at one of my favorite places on earth, The Kentucky Horse Park. I adopted an amazing dog, who I named Atticus. I got another job, something completely brand new, but my input is valued and my confidence is growing.



Atticus (Follow him on Instagram: @atticusthespotteddoggo)

Turning twenty-six means more than the fact that I could be considered “in my late twenties.” It means more than knowing that I better have my own healthcare (thank god I do). My mother will never know me at twenty-six. She knew me over the past twenty-five years, every twist and change in my personality and growth. She was with me every step of the way. Turning twenty-six feels like climbing Mt. Everest completely alone. You are technically an adult when you turn eighteen, but for the first time, I feel like I’m on my own.



My mom and I at the 2010 World Equestrian Games

Whatever I go through this year, whatever changes in my life is all me. Don’t get me wrong, I have an incredible support system of friends and of course my father but my mom and I were a team and now I’m the one left standing. I’m lucky though, she left me with a good head on my shoulders and a stuborness that won’t allow me to give up.

I have no idea what year twenty-six is going to bring me but I’m going to do things that scare me, live a life that makes me happy, and not take a single day for granted.





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