I have now been 21 for over 2 weeks, and just getting around to blogging about it which is probably because school and work are taking over my life. But!!! Here we are now, when I should be sleeping, but sitting on my computer instead. So, what has 21 been like you might ask? Well, pretty similar to every other year, but now I can legally drink alcohol. But, 21 just began, and I want to look back at 20.
On my birthday, my best friend Arinn asked me what my greatest parts of year 20 were and what I learned during that year. And if I’m being honest, it was hard to answer those questions, maybe because it is automatically easier to focus on the negatives, but I thought a lot of learning and growing happened in year 20, so let’s rewind to October 2019.
On my birthday last year, I spent it with a boy who I was infatuated with and who I thought was my person, spoiler alert: he wasn’t. And that’s all on that subject. In November 2019, I got to initiate my favorite two mini me’s into our sorority, which was so amazing. In December 2019, I celebrated Christmas with about 4 different family groupings. We took a girls trip to Chicago and I had the opportunity to see Mean Girls on Broadway. January 2020, the boy mentioned above broke my heart. On the first day of 2020 actually (probably should have seen it as a red flag for the year to come, but oh well). I celebrated birthdays, snow days, and successful interviews in the beginning of 2020. In February, I experienced my last concert for a while, and what a good one it was with Luke Combs headlining. I fell back into a relationship with a boy who I loved deeply, and life seemed to be going finally according to plan, and then, you guessed it, COVID hit.
March through April seem to be a blur as a whole. Spring break trip cancelled, online school started, moved back home, our dog died, and of course we were stuck at home. It seemed like life was going to be in a slump for quite a while. In May we got our Rooster boy, and I could not have been happier. He was like a built-in best friend who loved to cuddle and play ball. While my internship got cancelled (thanks once again COVID), I was given an opportunity to spend another summer instilling confidence and God’s love into little girls every day. In June, I was able to help develop a virtual philanthropy event to raise money for the Ronald McDonald House Charities. Oh! Also, in June, I got baptized!! That was a huge milestone, even though it wasn’t how I imagined it to be. July was much of the same as June, many trips to the lake, hanging with my little girls, and as much time outside as possible.
In August I said goodbye to camp and my volunteers who were like younger sisters. I took one last trip to the lake and packed up everything and headed back to school. Everything was looking up until I got COVID. And yes, I’ll be honest life post COVID hasn’t been happy-go-lucky a majority of the time, but I am trying to find the good in every day. September to October has been very repetitive. School, work, coffee shop, walk, repeat. Not much variation has occurred over the past few months, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t positives to find.
As I reached the end of year 20, what exactly did I learn? I learned not every frog you kiss is going to become your prince. I learned you have to get out there and experience life to see who you truly are. I was reminded that traveling is so good for the soul. I learned that documenting experiences is extra helpful to look back on during the bad times. I learned that love can and will come back into your life, even if it isn’t the right time. I learned that pandemics can’t stop you from giving back. I learned that online school is a day at a time kind of a deal. I was reminded that dogs will never leave your side. I especially learned that family will stick by you during thick and thin, so to hold on tight to those you love most. I learned that a coffee a day makes the frowns disappear, even if its just temporary. But, I especially learned, that even during a year where it seems like nothing eventful happened, you can look back and see how much even the small experiences have shaped who you are today.
So, to the girl who is 21, yay! I am so proud of you for making it here! Celebrate and surround yourself with the people who feel like light. I would encourage you to reflect on year 20, and all the ups and downs it may have included. Know that each day may be its own battle, but there is good in every day, especially when it doesn’t seem like it. I pray you find yourself a little more this year. I pray you learn to love yourself and encourage those around you to do the same. I pray you get rid of toxic people in your life and fill up your walls with photos of those who truly make you feel loved. Cheers to 21, may it be the best one yet!