Sunday morning I woke up to my alarm, sat up, rubbed my eyes until I could see and lazily swung my feet to the side of the bed and slid off in slow motion. I made my way to the shower, knowing I only had a limited time to be ready to leave my house, make it to Eagan and off to church. While washing my hair for the third day in a row, something I am used to only doing 2 to 3 times a week (I think it helps keep my hair healthy :)), I found myself wondering how I’d end my freshman year of life. What could possibly encompass the ride I’ve been on since August of last year? What is it that I want to say to sum up what I’ve learned?
The truth is, I’m one year out of college. I’m a newly twenty-three year old. I’m older than I was and I’d like to think wiser. I’ve had some really hard times, and some really great ones. I’ve made some really good friends, and had some slip through the cracks. I’ve seen some friends win some, and seen them lose some. All the while, I’ve lived and I’ve learned.
I’ve learned that life isn’t always going to work the way you think it will. Sometimes, the story you write for yourself in your mind ends far differently than the one you end up living. You end up some where you never thought you’d be, surrounded by poeple you never knew you’d know. You wind up regretting mistakes you never meant to make and cherishing moments you never thought you would experience. Your life becomes a box filled with memories and photographs, cards and notes, and people you carry with you wherever you might go.
If you’d have asked me in August where I’d be today, at the end of the first year of the rest of my life, I’d have probably told you something pretty exciting. It may have been something like this: Well, hopefully I’ll either still be living in North Carolina, or have moved to Colorado. I will have finished my book and be on my way to sharing it with the world. I will be about twenty pounds lighter and eating healthy meals (HA!) I will be working a full time job in a career in Public Relations. I will, blah blah blah blah blah.
Those are most likely the things I would have told you.
Tonight, however, I sit here in a home I never knew I’d have, living a life I could not have imagined.
I am back in Minnesota, surrounded by a family who means the world to me. Learning about my brothers as adults, loving my parents as my friends, and seeing the amazing and sometimes frustrating things they all bring to the table. In a family filled with so much love, I am in awe of the way God helps us through our storms. While we may not be the perfect family, I am continually full of pride when I think about the family God has placed me in. No matter what has happened, and what will happen, I know and trust that God’s plan for each of us is perfect.
I am working as a waitress nearby my house and for the first time in a while I find it easy to pay my bills. Feeling accomplished at the end of the day is something I’d been missing, and it is a feeling I don’t want to fade away. I am also starting my venture with my new job with the Minnesota Twins. Working in their premium services department, ushering in priority seating sections, and I cannot wait to get paid to watch baseball and hang out at Target field. While working hard of course. I also am excited about my grad school adventure and my growing passion to work with kids with autism. I love to feel God’s hand guiding me through this transition age between graduation and adulthood.
I have also been incredibly blessed with amazing friends. There are women in my life right now that I could not live with out, and a few great guy friends that hold a very special place in my heart. I’d also like to mention that the boyfriend God’s given me has been a daily dose of joy that seems to get better by the day. The best part about it all is that they’re all over the map, and no matter where they are or where any of them go, my heart just keeps holding them close and I take them with me through my day.
While this year has brought me trials and has tripped me up in more ways than one. I’ve learned that the only thing that we can do is pray, trust and hope. Faith is what holds us together when the world seems to be falling apart. And life is what happens when you get back up and do all you can to make your world the greatest place that it can be. So, say your prayers. Be thankful. Tell your friends how much they mean to you. Use the gifts you’ve been given. Be honest. Believe in yourself. Do everything you can everyday to be the person you were meant to be, and until you are, keep working at it. Don’t let another day go by that you don’t embrace the joy that’s out there for you to grasp.
I can not express how much I appreciate the kind words of encouragement and support I’ve received from all of those who read and follow my writing. I am humbled by your kindness and grateful for the love.
To finish where I started.. on Sunday morning, I concluding my morning shower with this song streaming through my voice:
When you laugh be sure to laugh out loud
‘Cause it will carry all your cares away
And when you see, see the beauty all around and in yourself
And it’ll help you feel okay
And when you pray, pray for strength
To help you carry on
When the troubles come your way
And when you dream, dream big
(Dream Big- Ryan Shupe)
Do all those things… and hopefully, it will make your sun shine that much brighter.
Blessings and love always,
Your devoted friend and graduate of her freshman year of life.