To the girl who is 23

Each year, I look forward to reflecting on what the previous year has taught me, what I have learned, and how I have grown. If I could pick one word to describe my 22nd year of life, it would have to be fast.

There are a few different meanings when it comes to “fast” in terms of year 22 for me. 

First, looking back on the past 365 days, I can’t believe how quickly time has passed. This time last year I was flying back from Greece where I celebrated my birthday, watched my sister get engaged and was returning home to live in London. What better life could I ever imagine? (Seriously, if you have an idea, let me know). And now, I am back in America, quote on quote settled into the life I am making here. It isn’t the same as the one I was living a year ago, but that doesn’t mean it is not as good, it is just different. 

Second, I didn’t realize how fast I would begin to plant roots in the spot where my feet are. I moved back to America and yearned for a community in a familiar place. Soon, I was introduced to a group of girls who loved the Lord and wanted to lead similar lives in my newfound bible study. These are women I can count on to always be there for me, through the good and the bad, they are rallying behind me. I became more involved in church and nurturing those around me through giving back. I felt a connection to my “old/new” home, as it is somewhere I have always known, but attempting to see it in a new light.

Third, as reality began to set in, I felt the urge to return to the life I had just left. I didn’t realize how quickly I would want to return to the life I had just left. My London life, the city girl, the one I could only dream of. It was right in front of me, and I left it. But, the thing is, it was not supposed to be permanent. I remember sitting in the living room in January with my mom, sobbing about leaving London, telling her how much I wanted to go back. But, it was a season, one that I hope to return to. However, I am learning to not be in a rush for it. I have my whole life ahead of me, just opened the door of 23, so I am learning to be content in the space I am currently taking up.

Fourth, I did not realize how fast I could find love. You know, there are many different definitions under one simplistic word. 

I fell in love with myself more during year 22 than I ever had before, self-love. Loving parts of myself that never seemed to be at the forefront of my thoughts. For example, I fell in love with the color of my eyes. This never meant much of anything to me, but as I began to speak positively about things in my life I could control, I began to find more things within myself to be in love with. 

I fell more in love with others, philia. I began to surround myself with people I actually wanted to invest time into relationships with and vice versa. I learned that when I was intentional about the people I spent time with and those I followed on social media, the less I was comparing myself to others and the more I found reasons to fight for those around me.

I fell in love with someone, eros. If you would have told me that in the midst of change and confusion, when all I could do was rely on God to know my every step, a man would be put in my life, I probably wouldn’t have believed you. I found a love that is true, noble, good, and all the other characteristics a girl can only dream about.

And, I found a deeper love for the Creator, agape. I have always loved this version of the word, as it is filled with warmth and is a soft place to land. I was challenged in my faith during year 22 and grew in intimacy with the Most High. If that isn’t something to just scream from the rooftops, I don’t know what is.

I really do think I could continue this list for days, but this is a good start. (I can always save those for more posts to come). All that to say, life moves pretty quick and one day you blink and you are a whole year older. If we don’t take the time to slow down every once in a while, we may lose sight of things that really matter to us. I may not be exactly where I thought I would be, but I can make the choice to find happiness, I can learn from mistakes, and I can strive to always be better than I was yesterday.

So, to the girl who is 23, or maybe you wish you were 23 again, live in the moment. Your feet are in this spot for a reason, be here. Do not worry about what is to come or what has happened. We can now only reflect on the past, we can hope for the future, but we get to make the choice to be the present. This life is nowhere near perfect, and that’s okay. Find ways to love everyday, slow down and take in the world around you. Time really is flying these days, so look up from your phone, take a mental picture, and find gratitude. Here’s to 23 and all the lessons and adventures it is going to bring! I cannot wait to take you all on this ride with me.