A time for celebration. A time to revel in God's creations. A time to say "thank you". And lastly, a time to appreciate and be grateful for family, friends and life's simplest pleasures. You. Me. I.I turned 25 this past weekend and I had such an amazing time with family and friends. I usually like to take the whole month of September to celebrate my birthday by doing small things for myself like going for a manicure, or taking myself shopping because I deserve it (ladies, you always deserve it!), and lastly, spending quality time with myself. There is nothing more soothing than quality time, your thoughts, some wine and a great view. You get time to reminisce about the year gone by, you get a chance to think about what you have and have not achieved, and then you get to think about the future and make some plans for what's to come. This year was a roller-coaster but despite how uneasy and hard to stand it was at times, it was still an amazing experience. I have learned so much this year, and took some gambles in life. Some good. Some bad. But a gamble all the same, and I have learned valuable lessons in the process. Acknowledging that I was turning 25 - a quarter of a century - was a really scary time for me. First, I couldn't believe that I'd made it to 25 because I remember being 17, in high school, and not being able to do much but always wishing I was older so I could do all the "cool adult stuff", like going out with friends way past curfew, sipping on some beverages and dancing the night away. We all did that underage party-ing scene with them fake IDs and it was great. But at 18, being in Scotland ... one must do as Scottish do. I had fun at 18, and then I moved to Canada, and then it was 19!! and I was like, "NOOOOOOOOO!!" LOL. Freedom had been teased unto me, and taken away ever so quickly! But life went on. And then 19 came and went, and I learned how to be an adult again. 20 came and university got real but being an adult was still fun and carefree. Then of course, 21...and then I was an adult everywhere!! But it's not like I really used that freedom. I was in university, no passport and living on the student budget. Life was still good though and I was learning a lot about myself through those years. Who I was as a young woman, the business student and the carefree soul yearning to be loved, and most importantly, discovering me. Life was real but good. University made me appreciate myself more, my family and the relationships I carved through those pivotal years that have helped me grow and realize who I am as a person. 22 was the finale of my undergraduate years and the beginning of the next chapter. And at 23... well, that is the year that everything changed, for me and my family. Life as we knew it changed. And while it was a sad turn of events, it brought us closer and made us stronger as a unit. 24 was a blip in the grand scheme of things as we settled into life as we know it now, and I started to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. It took a fatal knock at death's door to finally realize that life is short, and you must do the things you love and live the life you have always wanted and strive to achieve what it is you have dreamt of. When darkness enveloped me, I had to embrace it and escape into it without understanding what it meant, and what would happen. But in the darkness, I learned what I was capable of, and figured out what had been missing. I had been missing myself. Pleasing everyone else and doing what was expected of me. I was happy but I wasn't being true to myself. I realized that sometimes you have to take chances, trust yourself and your heart to gain who you are in order to be happy. Once you do that, everything else will fall into place with perseverance, hard-work and determination and by His guidance.