I don’t know about you, but I’m no longer feelin 22. To begin with, where does time go? I feel like I was just blasting some T-swift and turning 22, now I’m officially half way to 25. Man, can I pause this time in my life?
22 was quite a year though. I went out to rollerblade at windmont yesterday and reflected back on the past year. 365 days ago, I wouldn’t have pictured in a million years that my life would’ve turned out like it did. In the past year, I finished a year-long internship, graduated college, accepted a position out on the east coast, left my family and friends for 4 months, worked at a golf tournament, and now I’m in between traveling to Chicago and New York for work. I was the girl who wouldn’t have even though twice about being more than an hour and a half from home, and now I get on a plane every few days because I can’t seem to get enough of that whole traveling gig.
So it was a good year.. Honestly, it was one of the most amazing years of my life. I learned so much about myself, I’ve had plenty of time to contemplate, both who I was, and who I’ve become. I look back at even the beginning of the summer, and realize that I’m a different person every single day. Everyday I learn something new, I find new reasons to smile and grow and change. I used to be terrified of change. But now, I embrace it and learn from it in any way that I can.
If I learned anything this year, it’s that being open with people and open to new things is one of the best things that I can do in life. So, as I start off 23, I wanted to share with ya’ll 22 of the things that 22 taught me.
22. Stepping out of your comfort zone is scary, but it helps you grow in ways that you can’t even imagine. I was terrified of leaving home. It was hard at first, but once I was out and going, it was the best decision I could have made. No matter what you’re being challenged to do.. Pray about it, and put your trust in God. If He’s presenting you with an opportunity, it’s for a reason. He wouldn’t ever give you something that you can’t handle. It can open your eyes to so much and lead you to experiences that change you inside and out.
21. Traveling, even if it’s just in the United States, opens your eyes to different ways of life, people, and incredible sights. I hadn’t ever been to the east coast. I haven’t really traveled to that many places. In a few short months, I was able to see Washington, DC, New York, and so many other places. The attitudes of the different regions, their ways of life, the things they do for fun.. Everything is so different and it’s amazing to experience. Travel when you can. It’s something I think everyone should do, even if it’s just one time. This land is so beautiful, and there’s so much to see, so much that can change your life.
20. Nothing beats heart to hearts and deep conversations. Whether it be over coffee, late at night, or early in the morning, opening up to others is refreshing. It helps you connect on a deeper level. When you’re transparent with others, you don’t have to pretend to be something or someone that you’re not. I love getting lost in conversations, learning all of the fears, happy times, and struggles of someone, knowing that though it seems like it, we’re never alone.
19. Deep breathing and prayers can get you a long way. Some days are extremely overwhelming and it feels like nothing is going right. I struggle with anxiety and it’s the worst. Sometimes my brain just won’t stop turning and my thoughts just think the worst. That’s when it’s the most important for me to stop, take a breath, pray, and calm myself down. I close my eyes, realize that no matter what I’m facing or where I’m at, that Christ is right there with me. I don’t have to be afraid, nervous, or anxious because He is in control of everything and I don’t have to worry. Remembering that has been key to regaining my calm and trusting God regardless of the situation.
18. Looking out at the ocean and realizing how incredible God is for creating this world and all of us is an incredible thing. Whether it be the ocean, an open field, mountains, or just any landscape, I could stare out at nature forever and not get tired of it. It’s hard to wrap my mind around that the same person that also created us created something so intricate and beautiful. Nature is beautiful and we oftentimes get so wrapped up into the hectic, busy schedules of our everyday lives that we forget to stop and take a look around at where we are. The seasons are changing now and it never gets old looking at the changing leaves that are falling. Every place is beautiful in its own way. Remember that about yourself. The same God that created all of this beauty, also created you and you’re beautiful (/handsome).
17. Having a big heart is one of the best things in the world, but sometimes it hurts more than it should. I care a lot about everyone in my life, sometimes more than I should. I want everyone to be happy, and when someone isn’t, then I try to fix it. There are friendships I’ve tried to maintain, but no matter how hard I try, it’s not always reciprocated. That’s what gets to me. I think of how things used to be, and miss it. But, life does goes both ways and I’ve learned that sometimes, it’s just better to let go and move on, no matter how bad it hurts. But, that doesn’t mean I don’t care anymore. Because I do, I always do. One thing I’ll always do is care about each and every one of you.
16. However, you can never love too much. I love with my whole heart, with everything in me. If I’ve met you, then chances are I’ve told you that I love you. Whether it be family or friends, I feel like I can never express how grateful I am for those in my life. Maybe it's because i've seen so many young people lose their lives long before their time. Maybe it's because I just have a fear of losing people in my life. Sometimes people aren’t a fan of that, sometimes they’ll take it the wrong way, but I’d rather say I love you too much than look back and regret letting someone know that I appreciate them in my life. It’s not the I love you can we date love, if I tell you I love you it’s because you mean something to me. I’m not trying to start a relatinoship or be something more than a friend. It’s just that you’re important to me, you’re one of my friends, and I care about you, so I want you to know that. You can’t ever love too much. If anything, this world needs more love in it. So, don’t be afraid to love with all that you have.
15. You’re never going to understand some things in life. Whether it be the death of a loved one or a friend, an illness, or anything that is out of your control, there’s always going to be things that happen that you cant make sense of. It’s not easy. It’s one of the hardest things to wrap your head around and to live through, but it’s possible. I’ve learned to trust God with whatever it is. Some days are harder than others, some times I just break down and get so sad and wish I could make sense of things that I don’t understand, but I know that I can’t and I won’t ever be able to. God’s timing is perfect timing, regardless of whatever it is and everything happens as its supposed to, and we just have to trust that.
14. No matter how bad you wish you could go back in time, you can’t. I replay memories in my head all of the time of the day before I left for the east coast for the summer. I had a little party at my house with family and friends so I could see everyone before I left. Christen and I were showing grandma what a selfie was, and she just laughed and said like usual how she doesn’t understand technology and was glad she didn’t have to grow up with that kind of stuff. Little did I know, that would be the last time that I’d have a normal interaction with her where we’d laugh and smile and just sit in my kitchen. When she had a stroke in the beginning of August, I was in Washington, DC and I felt so helpless. When I finally saw her a few weeks later, I saw her in her wheelchair with her paralyzed left side of her body. She can no longer walk or use her left side of her body, and it’s really hard to cope with that. I’m so thankful that she’s still here with us, but at the same time it’s so hard to know that things will never be as they were before. It’s that way with a lot of things though. Friendships, relationships, reminiscing on school days, etc.. There’s always going to be memories and places we wish we could return to, but when all that’s left is memories, we have to cherish those and appreciate the good times that we got to have together.
13. Friendship is friendship, regardless of how long you’ve known someone. My best friends have been around since fourth grade, when we embraced each others awkwardness and thought it’d be cool to play polly pockets and become friends. They’ve been there for me through so many ups and downs, and I’m grateful every single day for them. It’s crazy how we all live hours apart and rarely see each other, but whenever we’re all home and get together, it’s like we haven’t been apart for more than a day. We of course have lovely group messages and I know that I can call them anytime I need to and they’ll be there. LOVEYOUGUYS. Then there’s the friends that I haven’t known long.. The ones from college, the ones from work, who I haven’t known as long but it seems like I’ve known them forever. The ones that pray with you, pray for you, encourage you, and make you a better person. The ones that’ll wake up and be ready to explore on our off days, that’ll drag you out of bed and say lets go on an adventure even if I was already in my pajamas. The people who spend day after day together and work long hours with, that understand every ounce of struggle when the days get long. The ones who will stay out until 2 a.m at honky tonk singing every country song that plays, probably looking like fools in comparison to all of the laid back people who are regulars there. This year has been full of new friendships, and though they’re only a few months old, it feels like it’s been years, and that’s what I love about it. Cause it doesn’t matter how long you’ve known someone, it’s about being there for someone whenever they need you. Whether it be to laugh with or to cry with, to tell your fears to or to pray with, you’re always going to need someone, and life would get pretty hard if you tried to face it all yourself.
12. Hand written letters will never go out of style. I like to write, if you can’t already tell. Blogs are different because it’s easy to type out words, but I absolutely love writing people notes and letters. There’s something about opening up a piece of paper and seeing the words written by someone else with a pen or pencil on a piece of paper that I adore. Maybe because it shows that someone actually took the time to write something, or maybe because it’s something that I can keep as a keepsake. Whichever the reason, I’ll never get tired having a piece of paper and other peoples words in my hands.
11. All we have is right now, this very moment in time. I used to freak out about the future. I used to always want to have a plan for today, tomorrow, next year. Then, I realized that all we have is today. We aren’t promised tomorrow, we aren’t even promised the next hour. You never know when God might call you or I home. Instead of planning for tomorrow, I live in the moment, the here and now. I embrace it and live as if I’ll die tomorrow. It’s amazing the different perspectives you gain living that way. I take chances; I do things that scare me. I try not to focus too much on the past, to get stuck in what was or what might have been. All that we have is right now, and there’s no point in stressing about mistakes made in the past, they’re lessons learned. Live for today, and live with every ounce of life you have in you. Live for those who lost their lives too soon, live for those who aren’t able to do things that you can, and live for yourself.
10. It’s okay to be alone. And, it’s okay to be okay with being alone. Some people find it weird that I enjoy being alone. I don’t mind going to lunch or getting coffee and sitting at a table by myself. I could sit out at a park by the water for hours by myself and not feel awkward about it. It’s good to be alone. It’s good to be comfortable with being alone. It’s nice to not feel dependent on someone else and to be your own person. It helps you learn about yourself, to grow as an individual.
9. Nevertheless, I also can’t wait to be married. Call me crazy, but I’m excited to meet whoever my husband will be. I’m excited to have sleepovers with my best friend every night, to wake up beside him every morning, cook him breakfast, and spend time together going on random adventures, to go to church together and pray together, to go through this crazy life together. For now, I’m being patient and waiting for that one special guy, but I’m praying for him everyday, wherever he might be.
8. Life moves too fast to not live the life that you want. You shouldn’t let someone else tell you how to live it. You shouldn’t let other people tell you what you should be doing with your life. At the end of your life, do you want to look back and realize that you didn’t do something because some other people didn’t approve of your dreams? You only get one shot at this life, so don’t waste it trying to live a life just to impress others. Do what makes you happy and live the life you’ve always imagined of living.
7. God’s timing is perfect timing. Always. I can be a very impatient person. I try not to be, but it’s hard. I want to know what I’m doing with my life, I want to have a boyfriend, I want to have my own little apartment to decorate, there’s a lot of things that I dream of, but that I must be patient with and wait for the right time. It’s hard to wait on something, especially when you have no idea when it’ll happen, but that’s what we have to do. God’s timing is always perfect. Whether it be for a job, a relationship, a new friendship, etc.. He’ll always provide for you when the time is right. Have faith and be patient.
6. People will come and go from your life, but each one crosses your path for a reason. Some people will open your eyes to new ways to look at things, will impact your life in ways that you couldn’t imagine. You’ll love them and maybe have to let them go, but no matter who it is, they will impact your life in someway. Whether it be today, tomorrow, or years from now, each person crosses your path for some reason or another.
5. Regretting something won’t make it go away, so you have to face it and move on. There’s always going to be things that happen or things that you do that you might regret. Regretting something won’t change it. You have to learn to embrace everything that happens. If you regret something, you probably have learned from it. Every decision you’ve made has molded you and shaped you into the person you are today.
4. This generation has become too dependent on technology, and I’m not a fan. Everywhere I go, I look around and see everyone’s head down looking at their phones. With Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat, there’s so many different apps trying to steal our attention. I won’t act like I don’t’ do it because I’m just as guilty as everyone else. But, I try to in moderation. At the dinner table is what drives me the most crazy. I see people out on a date, both on their phones not talking to one another. We’ve become addicted to always having to be in the know, so we’re not left out of whatever’s going on. Even though by doing that, we’re actually missing out on life right in front of us. So next time you’re out with your family, friends, or significant other, see how long you can go without touching your phone. You won’t regret spending quality time with someone, you’re not going to miss out on anything huge by giving up some time on your phone. You’ll be happy you did.
3. Paperback books will never get old. This goes with the technology. Kindles, ebooks, and the likes are all convenient replacements to paperback. However, having a book in my hands and being able to turn the pages will forever be my method of choice. It’s nice to lay outside with a good book and get lost in the storyline. It might be old school, but then again, I’ve always liked how things were back in the 90s.
2. Sunrises, sunsets and stars are absolutely amazing, no matter where you are. If you took me on a date that involved going on a walk, watching the sunset, or stargazing, then I’d be 110% happy. The beauty of a sunrise or sunset never fails to amaze me. By the ocean and in an open field particularly. They’re such good reminders of new beginnings every day, that we have a fresh start, and reminds us of how small we really are. Looking at a sky full of stars can do that to you. I sat outside the other night and there’s just SO many stars. During the fall and winter they seem especially bright, and I could just look at them for hours. Take some time to stop and enjoy these beautiful sights. It’ll help you appreciate this precious life.
1. You should tell those you care about how much they mean to you. Every single day. If there’s one lesson I’ve learned in the last year and a half is this.. We never know when God will need one of His children back home. You could be 17 or you could be 74 when its your time, but we will never know. My biggest fear is losing someone and not ever telling them that I loved them. Appreciate those in your life. Love them, hug them, spend time with them, make memories together. This life is precious and beautiful, but it isn’t our forever home. We’re only here for a short period of time. It goes fast, too. We have to remember that, and remember to tell them that we appreciate them and love them whenever we get the chance.
So there’s my wisdom for the year. It’s a lot to read, and if you made it this far, props to you. 22 was great, but I’m still living everyday to the fullest. I’m determined to make every day great, and to make the rest of my life the best of my life.