25 Things I’ve Learned As I Turn 25

25 Things I’ve Learned As I Turn 25

I feel as though this is a pretty typical post you see for big milestone birthdays. I wanted to put a bit of a spin on it and let you guys into how my last 24 years have shaped and molded me into what’s about to be one of the best years of my life! I have a lot to look forward to this 25th year, so it’s been extremely refreshing to look back and reflect on how far I’ve already come.

In the past 24 years, I have graduated college; technically not high school- long story, gotten a big girl job, moved states, have lived overseas, gotten a dog, purchased a house, started a blog, and have gotten engaged!

Then there are the struggles. I have lost those that I have loved, I have left a job, I have had major surgery, been rejected, had my heartbroken, and have struggled with myself.

Good or bad, I’m so grateful I opened my eyes on my 25th birthday, ready to take on another year. So without further a-do, let’s jump into it!

  1. Self-love and self- awareness is a journey. You get better and better at it, but it doesn’t happen overnight.
  2. Self-confidence does not equal self-love. I said it. I find myself still battling my confidence in other places in my life other than the love of myself.
  3. Some people just don’t love, respect, and/or support you as you do for them. That’s okay. Recognize it, evaluate the relationship you have with them and figure out whether it’s a healthy relationship to keep in your life.
  4. Emotions are not a weakness. Learn to communicate your emotions, but understand that being “more emotional” doesn’t make your emotions less valid.
  5. As you grow, some people will always see you for the person you were. Those people are probably not in your life anymore…you know who you are. You don’t need to prove you’ve grown. Your actions will speak for you.
  6. TREASURE YOUR ALONE TIME. Being comfortable being alone only makes you stronger when you’re with others. It keeps you balanced.
  7. Just do it. Life is too short. If you want to travel, find a way. Want to start a new hobby, try it.
  8. Spend time on what brings you joy.
  9. De-clutter your life and refocus on people, goals, dreams, and versions of yourself you want to work on. Anything that doesn’t serve that purpose, let go.
  10. Fail, fail again, and then try again until you succeed. Success comes from failure. The failure to try does not bring you success.
  11. Let your mom continue to teach you…especially when you think you can sew, but can’t.
  12. There’s not one way to do something. Honestly, don’t get stuck in your ways and realize everyone has their way of doing something.
  13. Everyone falls on the dance floor at least once in their life and everyone dances on a table at some point or another.
  14. Everyone has something to contribute and something to teach you. Listen up!
  15. Just because you’re right does not make you smart. Be smart and know when to be right.
  16. Stop pacing your life to those around you. Do things in your own time.
  17. Dear college, you were the best and worst.
  18. Family isn’t always a title given to those that are blood related.
  19. TAKE CARE OF YOUR SKIN. Skincare before makeup 100%.
  20. Making friends as an adult is so much harder.
  21. Take time and truly learn to have a healthy relationship with money. Financial independence is where real adulthood kicks in.
  22. In general, take care of yourself. Seriously, go to your annuals and don’t skip the dentist; although I’m not a fan. Just take care of your body.
  23. Get off your phone, be present.
  24. Your life isn’t over when you make a mistake. You’re alive right? Okay then, clean slate, keep living.
  25. Seriously- call out people commenting on someone’s body. It’s not cool. You don’t know someone’s story so zip the lips.

Bonus 26- Drink the beer, eat Chick-fil-A, and just be content with the fact that all your clothes will always be covered in dog hair.

Well that’s all folks. What would you tell your younger self? Let me know!

As always, thank you for stopping by.

xx Alicia

My Genetic Testing Experience

Hey guys! I took a few polls on my Instagram this weekend and you guys let me know that you wanted to know more about my genetic testing experience. Please remember that this is just my story, I’m not a specialist and I’m only sharing what I learned! If you have questions, I highly suggest you talk to your doctor about the possibility of getting tested. 

I would be lying if I was not nervous writing this, but transparency is key with you guys. My experience with genetic testing was recommended by my doctor as we started digging into family history. Doctors have recommended the testing to me before, but I have never followed through. As I start to have conversations about family planning, I realized the importance of the testing due to my family history. 

No one in my family, to my knowledge, has had this testing done before. Going through this experience has taught me that cancer stems from genetics or environmental factors and sometimes both. It’s usually separated by hereditary, familial, or sporadic cancer and I’ll leave those definitions below. My family history includes throat, stomach, colon, prostate, breast, and ovarian cancer. At the beginning of this process, I could attribute possibly only one of these to an environmental factor, which was smoking. Of course that’s what my mom told me, so I’ve never been sure. 

The best way to explain genetic testing is that it’s a test that helps you figure out if you carry any of the 28 main genes that are connected to 8 important cancer types that fall into that hereditary bucket I mentioned. The genes tested are for breast, ovarian, colorectal, uterine, melanoma, pancreatic, stomach, and prostate cancer. There is a ninth column for “other” cancer that really just means that with specific genes, they can tie back to multiple other cancers that aren’t necessary as “prominent” as the eight mentioned. 

For the testing itself, I had the option of a blood or spit test and was told I would have results in about 2-3 weeks. As for the results, the genes could fall into three categories: positive, negative, and uncertain variant. For uncertain variants I was told that they are treated as a negative result until there is an update on the specific gene, but often the gene is categorized as a negative anyways. 

If a gene came back as positive, there is a structured plan for managing the risk. Each plan would correlate to the specific gene mutation found. There were also statistics provided to me for positive results. One specifically that explained a positive result would correlate to a 50% chance that my parent(s), sisters, brothers, and children would have the same gene mutation. 

So exactly sixteen days later after spitting into a tube, I got my results. I locked myself in my room and listened to my specialist tell me I tested negative for all but four genes that came back uncertain variant. She explained I would get updates on those genes as more research was done, but to treat them as negative results otherwise. 

This easily has been the best news I’ve gotten in a while and made me very grateful I did it. I have truly had a weight lifted off my shoulders as I’ve always worried about cancer. Of course this doesn’t mean that I am immune to cancer, but it does mean that nothing in me has put me at an additional and elevated risk. 

All in all, my experience was a good one. I had a supportive specialist that answered all my questions and ensured I understood all the information provided. Luckily my results came back negative and my nerves have been put at ease. I truly recommend this test to those of you that have worried about cancer within your family. For me, this has calmed my mind for the simple fact that I now know my body isn’t putting me at a disadvantage to this very impactful genetic disease as well as knowing my chances of passing it on to my future children. It’s a painless process and worth it if you’ve been thinking about it. As always, thank you for stopping by and I will see you next time! 

xx Alicia

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Hereditary Cancer: Occurs when an altered gene (gene with a mutation) is passed down in the family from parent to child. People with hereditary cancer are more likely to have relatives with the same type or related type of cancer. They may develop more than one cancer and their cancer often occurs at an earlier average age. 
Familial Cancer: Likely caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. People with familial cancer may have one or more relatives with the same type of cancer; however, there does not appear to be a specific pattern of inheritance (e.g., the cancer risk is not clearly passed from parent to child).
Sporadic Cancer: Occurs by chance. People with sporadic cancer typically do not have relatives with the same type of cancer.