A Reflection On Twenty Years Of Life

A Reflection On Twenty Years Of Life

I'm still trying to figure out how I got here, but I know that everything in my life has come to me by God's grace.
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20 years ago, it was 1998. The Winter Olympics were being played in Japan, Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On" was the top of the charts, and I was born. Twenty years later, as I reflect on my life, I wonder how I made it this far. How did that tiny baby grow up? She was a chubby toddler, a shy grade schooler, an awkward middle schooler, a passionate high schooler, and now she's a happy college student. I find myself in an unlikely position. How did I manage to make it this far?

As a kid, I was taught three very important things: the good guys always win in the end, your "people" are more important than anything except Jesus, and Jesus will always get you through it. I don't think I truly understood any of those lessons until I was much older, but looking back now, I can see how they have shaped who I am. Everything in my life has come to me by nothing more than God's grace. Essentially, that's what those three life lessons amount to.

These twenty years, at times, felt stupid and pointless — especially the second ten — because I just wanted to get on with my life, to have experiences, to do something meaningful in the world. I was happy, but I knew that I wanted more. I just didn't realize that I was being prepared for everything that is ahead of me.

At twenty, there is still a lot of life left to experience, but there's also a lot I've already done. I've traveled to a few major destinations, I've gone on wild adventures in my hometown, figured out my taste in music, learned not to overdo it with the eyeliner, and discovered the freedom of grocery shopping for yourself for the first time.

I've lived with friends who I share a deep, sisterly love with. I've been successful and I've failed. I've known great love. I've experienced deep and profound loss. I've been so surrounded by the love of an amazing family that I don't deserve. I've laughed and cried and everything in between, sometimes at the same time. I've fallen back on Jesus and been caught by His love over and over. I've known God and watched as He stretched His hand down from Heaven. I've been frustrated when He's been silent.

So, as I sit and look ahead on the next one, five, and even twenty years, I wonder what they will be like. Will I sit and think "how did I make it this far" again? The answer is yes, probably. But I know the answer about how too: nothing more or less than God's grace and mercy. My three life lessons, my experiences, the way I've been loved, and the way I've lost all tell me this. So to my family and friends, thank you. To the people that have made me who I am, thank you. And most of all, thank You, Lord Jesus, for this life that I don't appreciate nearly enough.

Cover Image Credit: Lily Snodgrass

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To The Girl Who Isn't Graduating On Time, It Won't Feel Any Less Amazing When You Do

Graduating is something to be proud of no matter how long it takes you.

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To the girl who isn't graduating college "on time,"

I promise, you will get there eventually, and you will walk across that graduation stage with the biggest smile on your face.

You may have a different journey than the people you grew up with, and that is OKAY. You may have some twists and turns along the way, a few too many major changes, a life change, you may have taken most of a semester off to try to figure your life out, and you're doing the best you can.

Your family and your friends don't think less of you or your accomplishments, they are proud of your determination to get your degree.

They are proud of the woman you are becoming. They don't think of you as a failure or as someone any less awesome than you are. You're getting your degree, you're making moves towards your dreams and the life that you have always wanted, so please stop beating yourself up while you see people graduating college on time and getting a job or buying a car.

Your time will come, you just keep doing what you need to do in order to get on that graduation stage.

Your path is set out for you, and you will get there with time but also with patience. The place you're at right now is where you are supposed to be. You are going to thrive and you are going to be the best version of you when you graduate and start looking for a company that you will be proud to work for. Don't look on social media and feel less than, because at least you're still working towards your degree that you are finally passionate about. You will be prepared. You will be ready once the time comes and you cross the stage, move away, and start your journey in whatever field you're going into.

Don't question yourself, and be confident in your abilities.

With love,

A girl who isn't graduating on time

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Goodbye School, Hello Real World

I'm ready for ya!

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It's starting to hit me.

I've been in school, year after year, since kindergarten. Maybe even pre-school!

Now, I'm about to graduate with my bachelors in communication and I couldn't be more proud of myself. I'll say it. I often sugarcoat it or suppress it but d*mn it. I'm going to applaud myself. It was hard work. It took a lot of motivation, determination, (caffeine), and willpower to get to where I am today. I worked my ass off.

That being said, I can't help but think... What is life without due dates? What is life like without scrambling to turn in an assignment that's due at 11:59 PM? What is life like with actual sleep? Sleep? I don't know her.

Like I keep telling my boyfriend and my parents, I don't have it all figured out. At least not right now. But I will, and I'm in no rush to land my dream job right now. If anything, I want to take a year to myself. I want to travel. I want to sleep in if I d*mn well please! I want to read as many books as I want. I want to write till my fingers fall off (OK, maybe not that).

You get the jist.

I'm free. I can do and be whatever I want. And you know what? That's terrifying.

I'm lost. I've followed this structure for so long. Now what?

I don't have all the answers yet. But for now, at least right at this very moment, I'm so thankful to have been able to receive such an amazing education. And to be able to say I'm graduating with my bachelors in communication at 21 is an accomplishment in itself.

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