On June 20, 2018, I will have completed twenty trips around the sun. It’s crazy to think I’m already in my twenties. It originally seemed like an insignificant birthday, but when I thought about it more it’s not as insignificant as I thought. I’ve managed to keep myself alive for two whole decades. Throughout all my clumsiness and everything, I think I’ve turned out pretty okay. It’s something worth celebrating!

As my birthday approaches, I start to look back on this last year of life and everything that happened and made an impact on my life. Nineteen was a crazy year! I made a lot of new friends, met some people that have changed my life, had a job transition, went to Washington D.C., finished my second year of college, went to Exponential (an amazing church planting conference), saw Harry Styles, lost my dog, made the Dean’s List, and did it all by the grace of God. Throughout it all there were quite a few overarching lessons I learned this year of life. Here are the highlights.

It’s okay to not be okay at times. This has been something I’ve struggled with for awhile. Starting in my teen years, I’ve felt like I needed to always maintain the feeling that I was always happy and nothing was wrong when it came to how others saw me. This feeling has followed me into my young adult life. I had the automatic answer to the question “how are you?” set as “good” permanently etched into my vocabulary. The problem with this is I wasn’t being real with people. When my dog died in April, I was feeling a lot of pain and hiding it in front of the people who care about me wasn’t doing any good. It was actually making things worse because I was bottling everything up. I finally realized that it was okay to be vulnerable and let people see the side of me that isn’t always happy and cheery. That is where the true healing began to happen. Yes, I am pretty cheery most of the time, but like a normal human, I have my bad days where I feel down and that is completely okay. God works through the times of pain to make you stronger.

You have to be intentional about keeping in touch. I’ve had to say a lot of goodbyes & “see you later”s this year. It’s always a hard thing to have to do. Especially for me, I become very attached to the people in my life. I care for each person and want to get to know them more. One thing I’ve learned about saying goodbye is that you have to be intentional when you say “keep in touch.” It’s easy to forget to text someone or give them a call to check in. Life starts to go on as normal and often people are forgotten for a while by mistake. You don’t have to wait for the other person to reach out to you. Be the person who sends a note of encouragement or just checks on people. Most people are worth keeping around, even if it’s just by text or social media.

Pets are actually the best. I’ve been pet sitting a lot this year and I am absolutely loving it. I have always had a deep love for animals, and now I get to be around them a lot more. I’ve gained quite a few regular “clients,” although most of them are my friends so saying clients is a weird term to use. I love all of the pets I get the pleasure of watching and they bring so much joy.

Taking a break is okay. I’m an extreme busy-body type person. If I’m not doing something, I tend to go insane. The downside to this comes when I pick up too much to do. It’s so easy for me to bite off more than I can chew, but my stubborn spirit won’t let me admit it until I’ve run myself into the ground or hit a wall. This year, I’ve made it rather intentional to take some time to rest. It’s okay not to say yes to everything, even if it stings a little or someone gets upset. If they get mad at you, they probably don’t have the best intentions anyway.

Going to class actually helps improve your grade. No, not because attendance itself is a grade. This past semester, I only missed class for a work conference & then I missed one day after my dog died. Going to and being attentive in class actually made a world of difference for my grade. Last Fall, I can’t tell you how many of my Astronomy classes I missed and my grade reflected that. This past Spring, I made it to every single class that I could and made the Dean’s List. I’m sensing a correlation there.

Those are just a few of the many things I learned in this past year of life. I’m optimistic & excited to see what all God has in store for me as I enter my twenties. Whatever comes my way, I’m thankful for each and every blessing. I’m also thankful for the people who have gotten me this far in life. I couldn’t have done anything without you all!














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