To the girl who’s another year older

As I officially packed up the sash and tiara from this year’s birthday celebrations, I am once again in awe of the past year. My birthday is always my favorite day of the year and to me feels like a new beginning, like how most people feel on New Year’s, that’s how my birthday is. The feeling of a clean slate and a brand new start to become a better version of myself, learning and growing every step of the way.

Just as I did last year, I spent my birthday post reflecting on each month of the previous year. And that is exactly what I plan on doing in this one as well, kind of like consistency if you haven’t been able to notice. So, let’s jump right in. This time, I’m going to section my reflections into different ‘seasons’, because boy was 21 a year of many different chapters in one big book.

From the Darkness: November 2020, I spent a majority of the time with the people in my life who felt like infinite light. I began to focus on the good around me when though I felt like I was drowning in darkness at the time. In November, I took control of my own future, I decided to get myself out of toxic environments in whatever way that meant. I spent a lot of time at home, as school was still online, it was easy to commute home because there is nothing better than the security of home. As Thanksgiving arrived, I had made it through the darkest season I had ever experienced. I got to live at home for the next month and a half and the darkness seemed nonexistent as December began. From wrapping hundreds of presents, making dozens of cookies, and zooming family for hours (because, you know, the vaccine wasn’t ready yet) and figuring out what my spring semester was going to look like, it was all light. When December 31st hit, we hopped on a plane and spent the beginning of the most hopeful year yet at the beach.

The Best Months: January was a time of change and hopefulness for me, I discovered what true friendship, joy, and love looked like in a college house. From the snowball fights to the endless shotbooks, life was finally feeling like it was back to how I imagined it to be. Life was changing, my sweet friends were getting engaged and married, and being able to walk through that part of life with them was such a blessing. February was a time of comfort, as I was adjusted to my new environment, I began to prioritize on the people and situations that meant the most to me. This meant lots of coffee dates, always intending to get work accomplished but never did, and endless hours of Vampire Diaries watched on the couches on Sunday afternoons. Meeting women who welcomed me so openly into their lives who quickly became some of my best friends. March called for interviews, vaccines, formals, and weekend trips. Life began to quickly speed through the endless bestie sleepovers, snapchat filtered photos, and new flowers each Monday on my bed side table. The idea of comfortability was something so prevalent in life at this time. To The Girl Who turned 2!!! And every single day was the biggest blessing and it seemed as though I wasn’t able to ever stop laughing. In April, the podcast launched, and I began to take this brand more seriously with content creation. Weekends spent with family at home and soaking up the sun on the patio with roommates in between classes became the norm. My new normal was full of light and laughter with people who I hold so close. 

Goodbyes and New Beginnings: As May began with the sweetest hometown date with my best friend, the semester was quickly coming to a close. I had officially signed onto my study abroad program for the fall and I clung to every last ‘real’ college experience I could. This meant going to multiple baseball games, soaking up every moment with my bible study girls, and checking things off my college bucket list like getting up at 7 am to hike with my sweet friend Lex. There is something so sweet about knowing a part of your life is coming to a close that makes you want to be even more present in it. Everything in May was so bittersweet as I cried packing up my final college room and saying goodbye to the best 4 and a half months of my life, but I soon had to prepare for my next adventure with a new summer internship and everything that entailed. June held new beginnings, a new job, the possibility of a new relationship, new ootds every day, and new friends to hold. From minor league baseball games, to college-town visits, and picnics at sunset, June was a dream. July was spent working and growing in my newfound love for the idea of a 9-5. Spending weekends at the lake and weeknights with friends and family, it was the perfect final college summer. It was jam-packed with things each day but also consistent, just how I like it. As I said goodbye to my internship at the end of July, August started with the end of my summer class. I spent August soaking up all the family and friend time I could as I was soon leaving for my next chapter. August looked like rekindling old friendships, bachelorette parties, early graduation pictures, and some very tearful goodbyes. 

Separation and Surrender: September began as a time of celebration as I shipped myself off to a brand new country I would soon call home. I have made some of the best friends and experienced so many new things I would have never imagined I would be given the opportunity to. While I pushed away the idea of anything that was on pause at home, I gave up the idea that I had any control what was going to happen there. I became fully present where my feet were. I began learning that surrendering my need for control was going to be the only way I learn how to navigate my new life. I learned that separating what I think I needed versus letting what is happening happen, I was able to enjoy life as it is. As October came and has now gone, I celebrated life every single moment of each day. I wake up so excited to see what the day will bring, whether that just be a “normal” day in the city or hopping on a plane for a weekend getaway to Paris. 

And I guess where this story has to end for now, because as I have learned, I don’t know what this future holds, so guess we will have to wait and see where it goes from here. But all this to say, 21 was a year for sure. While there were SO many hills, there were obviously valleys as there always are. But, this year, I am making an effort to focus on the good instead of dwelling on the bad.

So, to the girl who is another year older, seems like we are getting wiser too, don’t you think? I am beyond grateful for all the lessons I was able to learn in year 21. But I want to let you in on a little secret, I have a really good feeling about year 22. I don’t know exactly what it is yet, it may be something really small, but I have a really good feeling. So here’s to learning, growing, laughing, and loving even more than last year. 22, I cannot wait to see what you have in store.