Twenty Five Candles

A grown-up birthday cake. For serious grown-up people. Like me. Because I’m 25 now.

This Friday I will turn 25 years old! Quarter century birthday – halfway through my twenties!

I never anticipated what it would feel like to be 25. When I was growing up, I dreamed about turning 15 and going to high school, turning 16 and learning to drive, turning 18 and going to college, but I never had a clear idea of what the years following would bring. There really aren’t a lot of milestones after 21 – besides being able to rent a car at 25 and having to sign up for your own health insurance at 26. (And I already have my own health insurance, sooo…. guess I’m done with milestones!)

After so many years of looking forward to my future, I’ve experienced many of the life events that a child imagines: graduating from college, getting married, having a full time job. Here I am! Looks like the last things on my list are to have some kids and grow old. Right? To infinity and beyond…

Well maybe. Maybe not.

What does 25 feel like? So far I know that my 25th year of life feels like not being certain about a number of things, and yet having a more and more defined sense of who I am and what’s important to me.

Lately I’ve been questioning my career goals and where I want to be in 5-10 years. It’s been two years since I started my piano studio. Two years isn’t a very long time for a business to flourish (it’s still just a baby!), but I’ve been getting impatient with the studio’s growth. Being my own boss and organizing all things piano-related has been my passion and continues to inspire me. I have seen significant growth this year, but not as much as I imagined when I started out. I really thought by this time I would have more students and not have to continue substitute teaching for additional income. But I’m just not there yet. And as a staunch pragmatist, I have to wonder if I ever will be.

Somebody get this girl a balloon!

I love Eeyore’s expression in this GIF. It’s hard to keep from feeling this way about my studio from time to time. When you’re a one-woman show and also your own worst critic, it’s easy to feel like a failure. It takes energy and God’s grace to get out of that rut.

Because I do substitute teach every week, I am in and out of the schools playing the role of a music teacher. I see how it works and learn a lot about what makes a program successful. I have all the qualifications and knowledge it takes to do that job. Teaching full time in a school is a job that is constantly presented to me as an alternative to running my private studio. Some days it is tempting to think about changing course and teaching full time. The most desirable elements of the full time teaching gig are an increased salary, opportunities for raises, health care coverage, and paid time off. The least desirable elements are basically everything else about the job (in my opinion).

This is the dilemma of age 25: career options.

I’m trying to maintain my energy for growing my studio in hopes of seeing more progress while also considering my other options. I’m trying to build a solid financial foundation as a self-employed person to start saving for the future. I am seeking God’s wisdom in this and hoping to see a clear path unfold this year, as my initial teaching license expires and I begin looking at options more seriously for the long-term. I would really appreciate some prayers in this area of my life for those of you reading this who know me. As my studio grows little by little, continuing to substitute teach has felt more and more exhausting and has taken a toll on my private teaching. But before I can stop subbing, I need a larger group of kids (7-10 students) to enroll in private lessons.

All year I have been working to find a new market of students. I tell my husband I am trying to “crack the homeschool code.” I joked with a friend today that I’ve been looking for them like Where’s Waldo? in Kansas City.

My thoughts spin round and round trying to work out how to reach my goals for my studio. Year 25 may involve more praying for the right thing to happen than trying to make it happen on my own.

As tiring as it can feel to create my own job and my own professional development, I couldn’t be more thankful for the opportunity to have so much control over what I do on a day to day basis. I am beyond thankful for the kids that I get to mentor and teach, for their smiles and for the funny things they say, and for how I get to watch them improve and grow as people. I know that this is the job I want. At age 25, I know my mission in life:

I want to be an active member of my community as someone who is making a difference in the lives of children and families. I want to use music instruction to help connect with and provide for the needy near me, whether those needs are emotional, mental or physical.

Goals for this year:

  1. Do more good

  2. Worry less

  3. Let go and let God


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