I turned 28 and it’s… different.

EDIT 8/15/2020:

I clearly didn’t post this in May. Very fitting for me. But I’ve been in a rut this whole year basically – it ebbs and flows. Whenever I’m in a rut, I always find my way back to writing, so today I renewed my WordPress subscription and looked at the 20+ drafts in my queue and thought, I’d better get to work! So, enjoy this very belated birthday blog post.

This year, I turned 28.

Side note, I noticed I tend to come back to my blog every birthday – not sure why that is, and I’m REALLY not sure why I can’t produce consistent content – probably has something to do with I never know who I am, but that’s another post…

Back to it.

This year, I turned 28, and well, it’s different. It’s ALL different. Normal is gone. My expectations for my 28th year – slashed. My celebrations? Sweatpants, pizza and cake with my family because that’s literally about all I could do.

Why? A little well-known virus called COVID-19 that took the world by storm and changed everything.

Given my birthday is May 11th, you’ll realize I’m a Taurus. Given I’m a Taurus, you’ll realize that change is not my strong-suit. Every birthday, I expect to feel a certain sense of anxiety mixed with anticipation, because I know, even if it’s not all at once, life is changing, and it’s a little unnerving to me. I’ve grown to be more accepting of change, but this year, this change? It’s a lot.

I was looking forward to celebrating 28 in a big way. I was really ready to date this year, which has become all but impossible. I was really ready to travel to places that I ALONE wanted to travel to – not for weddings, for get-togethers, or for anyone else’s purposes but my own. I was really ready to step into just a bigger version of myself after what feels like years of diminishing my light.

Now, 28 doesn’t feel so exciting. In fact, it feels debilitating. All these plans of grandeur have left my mind and have been replaced with the complacency of sitting in my apartment on my own, feeling like my youth and opportunity has been ripped from me be an invisible enemy.

All that said, I would’t be “happily Haleigh” if I wasn’t trying to find the silver lining in things, right? So here are 28 things I’m looking forward to this year:

  1. HARLEE!!! A puppy. A pupper of my own. Two years ago I put a bernedoodle on my vision board, and finally, I made it happen! She’s coming my way September 2020 (which now, is very soon!) Dog Mama status here I come!
  2. Training Harlee.
  3. Taking Harlee on walks.
  4. Taking Harlee on trips.
  5. Snuggling with Harlee.
  6. Teaching Harlee tricks.
  7. Watching Harlee grow.
  8. Generally being obsessed with Harlee.
  9. Making my first solo apartment my own. I’m always doing things around the place and redecorating, and it’s so fun to be really finding what my style is.
  10. Figuring out who I am, on my own. Living alone has given me a new freedom to live and be in my natural state. I’m still discovering new things about myself all the time – some of it’s hard to work through, some of it’s cool. All in all it’s a journey.
  11. Growing closer to my family. The older I get, and given the world climate, I learn more and more just how precious my family is to me. I’ve always known this, but my ties to them have taken on a new emphasis.
  12. Cultivating existing and new friendships. I’ve always said this, but I’ve always wanted that tight-knit group of girlfriends. I don’t necessarily have that, and maybe that’s okay. Instead, I have close friends from different chapters in my life, but I would die for all of these women. THAT said, a few neighborhood girlfriends would be nice 🙂
  13. Continuing my health journey. I am still dealing with chronic health issues, some which have gotten worse it seems, so I’m keeping the hope that 28 is the year for some major breakthroughs so I can start LIVING again.
  15. Completing my NASM certification. I’m not exactly sure what the end goal for this looks like, but I’m paying for the course so I guess I’d better get certified LOL.
  17. Finding a local volunteer opportunity that I am passionate about.
  18. Taking Autumn walks in Lincoln Park (with Harlee).
  19. Witnessing one of my favorite people marry the love of her life!
  20. Roadtrips to Michigan.
  21. My best friend moving to my neighborhood in September 🙂
  22. BAKING!
  23. Decorating my place for the holidays.
  24. Cherishing the small & quiet moments.
  25. Continuing to be kinder to myself.
  26. Dating? Still TBD LOL.
  27. Going out dancing again? One day? Post COVID?
  28. Being a dog mom (just reiterating).

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