Last year I made my own 24th birthday challenge, which was to complete a list of 24 things in 24 hours on my 24th birthday. This year I created a 25th birthday challenge — an attempt to complete 25 things to celebrate my 25th birthday! Check out this post to see how you can make your own 25th birthday challenge!
the 24th birthday challenge
Last year, on the night before my 24th birthday, I created my very own birthday challenge. The challenge was to accomplish 24 things in 24 hours on my 24th birthday. The list included things I loved, things I wish I did more, things I always do but also never do, and even some things I was scared to do. The list was a vehicle for spending one day filled with special things, while also having the ability to reflect and be challenged.
the 25th birthday challenge
Spending my birthday completing the challenge was a positive experience, so I carried on the legacy for birthday number 25. Similar to the year before, I spent my birthday eve creating a list of 25 things. I didn’t look at my list from the year prior, so while some list items were repeats, each thing was chosen based on this current season of life.
So, here’s my 25th birthday challenge, or the list of 25 things for my 25th birthday. The list is directly below and keep scrolling to find a picture and bit more description for each list item!
- Morning run
- Watch sunrise
- Eat a good breakfast
- Drink coffee (at least 25 oz)
- Spend time in prayer
- FaceTime twin
- Read something
- Listen to birthday playlist (25 songs)
- Talk to a friend on the phone
- Cook something
- List 25 things I’m thankful for
- Go to 1000 Hills State Park
- Take picture of myself
- Spend time writing
- Dreams for upcoming year
- Create something
- Listen to a podcast
- Spend time with Alan
- Walk around Kirksville
- Watch sunset
- Eat yummy dinner
- Watch an episode of something funny
- Play a game
- Get dessert (ice cream)
- Be cozy at night
I made a point to document each item on the list with a picture so I could look back on my next birthday. I originally started capturing my birthday challenge with videos and pictures so people to follow along on Instagram, and I ended up being able to use a lot of the content to enhance this post as well!
1. MORNING RUN
I started my birthday festivities with one of my absolute favorite activities — a morning run! I got to take on the morning miles with the great company of some running pals AND soaked up the beautiful sunrise.
2. Watch sunrise
It was a really foggy morning so I wasn’t sure if there would actually be a sunrise to watch. Luckily, the sun started to peak out of the fields towards the end of my morning run so I watched the sherbet sunrise from my car!
3. Eat a good breakfast
I knew before I even woke up in the morning that I wanted either pancakes or waffles in the morning (I’ve been on a pancakes and waffles kick for a couple of months now!) I thoroughly enjoyed a stack of Buttermilk Kodiak Cakes with Siggi’s yogurt and berries, which was the perfect birthday breakfast!
4. Drink coffee (at least 25 oz)
I’ll be honest that I drink at least 25 oz of coffee every morning so this item on the list felt totally normal. It also was essential for me to complete this task if I wanted to function as a human. I stuck with the straight up black coffee and kept the mugs coming. I also opened a few birthday cards that came in the mail with the directions “Don’t open until your birthday!” from family members (thanks grandma!)
5. Spend time in prayer
I value the opportunity to spend part of my morning in prayer. It was extra special that Alan and I got to pray together, specifically for my upcoming year of life.
6. Facetime twin
If you didn’t know it, I have a wonderful and amazing twin named Lindsay! We grew up spending every birthday together so it’s really a bummer that we now live in different cities and don’t get to celebrate the same was as when we were kiddos. It was mandatory that we FaceTime each other on our actual birthday since we weren’t together. (Side note: We got to celebrate together in the same city a week later!)
7. Read something
As a graduate student, most of the energy I put forth towards reading is spent on academic textbooks. I do enjoy reading and I love when I can read a book and laugh out loud. Tina Fey’s book is an example of a book that helps me accomplish just that, so I took some time to read a few chapters of her book.
(It was a debate between reading Tina Fey’s book or Amy Poehler’s book! I probably would have read Amy’s but realized I lent it to a friend. They’re both enjoyable and I recommend!)
8. Listen to birthday playlist (25 songs)
I have about a million and a half playlists — one for most occasions, holidays, and moods. I created a playlist, “twenty five”, filled with 25 songs I wanted to listen to on my birthday. In my opinion, it was all the good stuff thanks to my favorites: Lil Yachty, Diplo, Kendrick Lamar, T.I., Chris Brown, Kanye West, Kid Cudi, Rae Sremmurd, Migos, OneRepublic , Beyonce, T-Pain, Macklemore, Big Sean…. Even Soulja Boy….
I’m going to keep this playlist for awhile and listen to it when I need to get hype.
9. Talk to a friend on the phone
God bless friends who call on the phone. I didn’t have specific plans to talk with a friend on the phone but I was just hoping one would call! I am a talk-on-the-phone girl through and through, and Nat knows how much I value talking for a few minutes on the phone versus a text message. That being said, I was super thankful to talk with my soul sister for a bit because distance is hard.
(This screenshot is me accidentally ending the call when trying to document the fact that I actually talked to a friend on the phone!)
10. Cook something
That birthday playlist you just saw gave me the energy I needed to cook something because I’ll be honest with you, I did not feel like cooking. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy both baking and cooking, but sometimes I just don’t really feel like putting in the effort. However, I committed to the list so I had to make something! I chose a one-pot meal that required minimal chopping in an effort to whip something up pretty quick. I followed Ambitious Kitchen’s Healthy Turkey Chili recipe (with a side of cornbread!) to pair with the cold weather, and it was so tasty.
11. List of 25 things I’m thankful for
Wow I am thankful. Each day I try to intentionally take time to reflect on why I am thankful. It’s easy to get caught up in negativity, which is why it’s important for me to remind myself of all I have to be thankful for. Gratitude surrounds me and it is helpful for me to take the time to really point out the things I appreciate in my life. I also believe that gratitude improves my positivity as well as overall health. This list is short but it’s the first 25 things that came to mind when I set out to write my list. Thank you, Lord, for your goodness!
12. Go to 1000 Hills
Thousand Hills State Park is one of my favorite places in Kirksville, Missouri. It deserves all of the praise it gets, and more! I have spent hours at this park whether it be on a hike, walk, or on a campout. One of my best pals, Taylor, loves 1000 Hills as much as I do so she accompanied me on a walk to soak up the color-changing leaves!
13. Take picture of myself
A few years ago, Alan and I started taking a picture of each other every year on our birthday. We haven’t done anything with the pictures yet, but one day we hope to put them in a book so we can see how we change from year to year! Meanwhile, I had Alan snap this picture of me when I picked him up from his shift at work. The sun was setting fast and we had to snap a picture to get that natural lighting, so this was taken literally in the alley behind the bar where he works.
14. Spend time writing
I really took advantage of writing about a year ago when I first started my blog. I wasn’t a big “writer” before then, and most days I don’t feel like one now, but I realized the great opportunity that writing allowed me to reflect and learn about myself and the world around me. Though I am not a wizard writer with an English degree (like my husband), I find value in putting effort into getting my thoughts into sentences. It’s just an added bonus if others are able to read those thoughts and understand them or gain insight from them as well!
15. Dreams for the upcoming year
I am a dreamer. I enjoy thinking big-picture, long-term, and setting goals so that I can work towards what I value and make dreams a reality. Do I think all of the dreams I wrote will become a reality this year? Absolutely not. A few? I sure hope so.
16. Listen to a podcast
My 24th year of life was when I became a podcast person. I used to never listen to them…ever. I became obsessed with a few shows and always have way more downloaded episodes then I’ll ever get to, but I wanted set aside to listen to at least one of them on the list. I have recently been digging Oprah’s interviews because I always learn something new, so I chose to listen to her interview with Barbara Brown Taylor.
This specific podcast episode answers so many thought-provoking questions, such as “How do we learn to embrace the darkness in our lives?” I can use all the advice I can get on dealing with emotions! She also asks the questions “What is giving you life right now?” and “What is saving your life right now?” I am obsessed with those questions and you might have seen me answer them in previous blog posts (credit to Barbara because it’s because of her).
Without giving too much more of the episode away, Barbara also talks about not knowing where you’re going and how you have to figure it out. She has a BEAUTIFUL metaphor where she says sometimes we think life is like a train where we wish we could just pick a train, get on, and then get off at the right stop; but instead, life is like as a sailboat. Every day we must check the wind to see which direction it is blowing and check the currents. The weather, wind, and current changes conststantly. It’s not easy — sometimes it is windy and sometimes it is smooth — but it’s not picking the right train.
LIKE COME ON, Y’ALL. Could I have picked a more perfect podcast for my quarter-century birthday?! Go listen to the episode regardless of your age, and then we can discuss it together.
17. Eat yummy dinner
The yummy dinner for the day was the end result “cook something” task I created for myself. Alan and I enjoyed big bowls of warm chili with cornbread for dinner. We ate our bowls so fast that I forgot to take a picture, hence Alan’s second serving bowl I snapped a picture of quickly before he demolished.
18. Watch sunset
I am sure you realize by now how much I’m obsessed with the sun, whether it’s rising or setting, so it only seemed appropriate that I watch both on the same day.
19. Walk around Kirksville
Going on walks around Kirksville has been a game changer for me throughout college. Movement has been so important to my mindset and overall wellness. I thoroughly enjoy going on walks, even short leisurely ones, and especially with Al. He got off work bundled up and walked with me, even though I knew it wasn’t the number one thing on his list of what he wanted to do when he got off work.
20. Spend time with Alan
Because Alan worked all day, I actually spent the majority of the day by myself. The alone time gave me plenty of opportunity to reflect, think, and accomplish items on my list! However, you best believe that as soon as it was 5:30 and Alan was released from work, I snatched him up and made him spend the rest of the evening with me!
(Note: this picture is from that same alley outside of the bar)
21. Watch an episode of something funny
Similar to how I enjoy reading a book that makes me laugh out loud, I also find pleasure in watching episodes of shows that can get me to do the same. The “Campaign Ad” episode of Parks and Rec is one of my absolute favorites — I have watched it so many times and still find it hilarious! I also chose this episode because I thought it was seasonly-appropriate because of election season.
22. Play a game
There’s only so many games you can play with two people, and praise the Lord that Bananagrams is one of them! I love the speed involved because it puts Alan and I on an equal playing field since he knows a million more words than me. We played one single game that ended in a dispute. Alan said “Bananas!” which is what you say if you win, when I had one tile left. We were going through his words and one of them was actually not a word so then I won because he was disqualified. Sooooo, not exactly how I wanted to win, but I’ll beat him easy next time.
23. Get dessert (ice cream)
When I wrote down “get dessert” I really meant “get ice cream.” I love a lot of kinds of ice creams, but Halo Top is one of my favorites! I got two flavors because I am indecisive and spent way too many minutes looking into the freezer trying to pick which one sounded best in the moment.
24. Create something
I will admit that the “create something” task was one of the last items on my list around 8 p.m. I thought I would create something like a painting or a craft project, but by the end of the day, I did not have energy for that. Instead, I created an even better dessert and topped my Cookie Dough Halo Top ice cream with crumbled up cookie dough crack bars. Yum city.
25. Be cozy at night
At the end of the day, all I wanted to do was be cozy. For me, that means putting on comfy clothes and snuggling up on the couch with Alan and a big blanket. It was a very chill way to end my very full day!
Well, there you have it! I finished all 25 things for my 25th birthday around 9 p.m. I actually had to motivate myself to keep going throughout the day because it took a lot more effort and energy than I anticipated! However, I am thankful I had the opportunity to celebrate my birthday with this challenge. I got to spend time doing things I love, things I want to do more, and things I see as important. This birthday celebration looked different from others, as I spent most of the day by myself, but I felt just as thankful and celebrated.
So whether you are turning 83 or 18, I encourage you to be intentional about how you spend your day! You can fill your day with whatever you choose whether it’s activities you love, people you miss, or food you want to eat. You do you, because you deserve to be celebrated.
Thank you to everyone who celebrated me so very well on my birthday and every day. I am thankful.
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- Have you every created a birthday challenge?
- Do you have any ideas on how to spend your birthday birthday in an intentional way?