Heres to 26

My 26th birthday. What a wonderful time to be alive.

If you would’ve asked me what my life would be like 10 years ago I would’ve said, “I’ll be married to the perfect guy (LOL - no pressure), with at least 1 kid, a custom-built house, and a #GirlBoss at an amazing high-paying job.”

Well, I do have a damn good job and get to do what I love, but the marriage+house+kid thing isn’t quite here yet, and that’s cool.

Somehow I’ve shifted from wanting a custom-built home from corner to corner, to moving around and renting every year. Instead of that perfectly built home, I now dream of a simple cabin in the woods with a big porch. A quiet place for me to retreat to and drink my coffee. A place where I can listen to the birds each morning, roll out my yoga mat, write and move real slow. No meetings or urgent matters. Just slow lovely mornings.

The marriage/husband I “planned” for (LMFAO, I know, ridiculous, but hang with me on this one) has certainly changed. From very surface-level relationships to now the deepest relationship I’ve ever known, I have finally become open and honest, and purely me where I had never felt comfortable to in the past. At one point in my early 20’s I had my “dream guy” checked off completely. All that was missing was… me. HA! Seriously, I wasn’t me. Instead I was this “perfect, always-put-together, everything is flawless Hailey” and it was oh so exhausting. Now at 26, I am me exactly as I am, with another whole human in my life. No weird expectations or false realities. Just us being ourselves together. In love with growing and learning and the pure bliss of this life. I couldn’t have dreamt this love up if I tried, or this man.

Oh yeah, and that kid thing. Woooo. Not yet. But I believe someday I will be blessed to raise some bad ass wilderness loving kids ;). For now, no I’m not pregnant. (I had a bug/virus/or something recently that raised the question from a few people, haha!)

Let’s flashback even further...if you would’ve asked me what my life would be like now when I was 6 years old I would’ve said, “I’ll be a super star. I’ll write a book and speak to women.” With no one else’s opinions of that dream but my own and the support of my family telling me I can do whatever I want. How simple and real is that?!

Barefoot. Imperfect hair. Wearing makeup when I WANT versus putting makeup on every day because it’s a norm I created for myself (Gah, that’s exhausting). Playing outside. Writing in my journal every day and living by no other time schedule but my own.

Ah, now that’s much closer to the life I want and live every day. Somewhere between 6 and 16 I crafted this “dream life”. My end goal. My “if I make all of this happen I will be successful and doing it right”. An all-american, perfect, cookie-cutter life that I knew everyone would adore and approve of.

16 year old me. 18 year old me. 20 year old me. That damn plan for my perfect life. So damn sure of it. But what does 16 year old Hailey’s answer to adulting even really mean? Does it equate to anything other than a checklist of how I thought I was supposed to “live my life”. That’s sure what it feel likes. I look back at my old “plan” and can’t help but laugh. I was grasping for something to measure myself against. I lost myself, my voice and my love for being free, and stuck myself in a box of “normal”.

At 26, I’m fulfilling the dreams of my 6 year old self. Why? Because when we are children, we know what we want. We know what our hearts desire, because we haven’t had our environments and others opinions and beliefs pushed on us to make us feel any differently than what’s in our hearts.

I’ve been writing birthday blog posts since I turned 21, and each year I reread them and just giggle. Remembering where I was and how the words came out. I am not the me I was at 22 or 23 or 24. Maybe next year I will have changed even more to where this one will make me giggle too. Man, I hope so ;)

As I reflect on all of it, I am grateful for all of the things that have brought me to this moment (even my silly “plan” for adulthood). I know my life is not in my hands, but in Gods. That I am meant to trust my gut and follow my heart, because that’s where my true purpose lies. Not by external validation or the expectations of others. I know I am here to do big things.

And for now, I’ll sit back and reflect on another wonderful birthday. A day spent with my love and family. Slow and wonderful. Nowhere to be and nothing in particular to do. A slow morning sitting at the coffee shop, a picnic in the park, writing and reading, dinner with my family and my favorite tradition of cake and presents. I just love this day.

I have so much gratitude for each of you who have wished me a happy day, for your continued support in everything I do, and the joy you bring to my life near and far. I am so blessed. Thank you for being here.


So much love,