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.

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 High School Seniors In Their Last Semester

Senior year moves pretty fast; if you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

Dammit, you made it. The final semester of your senior year. You’re at the top of the food chain of high school, and it feels so good. You’re probably praying this last semester flies by, that you get out of town as soon as possible.

At this point, you’re calling teachers by their first names, the entire staff knows you by name, and you’re walking around school standing tall, owning those hallways. You’re convinced you’re ready to leave and move on to the next chapter in your life.

You’ve already experienced your last football game, standing in the cold in the front row of the student section all season long, decked out in your school colors and cheering loud and proud. That is, until they lost, and you realized you will never have that experience again. Never again.

SEE ALSO: What I Wish I Knew As A Second-Semester High School Senior

You already had your last winter break. Preparing and celebrating the holidays with your family, ice skating and sledding with your best friends. Those quiet nights alone in your room watching Netflix, taking for granted your loved ones just a few rooms away. Never again.

If you’re an athlete, you may have already played in your last game or ran your last race. The crowd cheering, proudly wearing your school’s name across your chest, giving it your all. For some, it may be the end of your athletic career. Before you knew it, you were standing in an empty gym, staring up at the banners and thinking about the mark you left on your school, wondering where on earth the time went. Never again.

I’m telling you right now, you’re going to miss it all. Everything you’ve ever known. Those early mornings when you debate going to first hour because you really need those McDonald’s hash browns. The late nights driving home from practice, stopping for ice cream of course, ready for a late night of homework. Getting food on a whim with your friends. Endless fights with your siblings. Your favorite chips in the pantry. A fridge full of food. Coming home to and getting tackled by your dog. Driving around your hometown, passing the same sights you’ve seen every day for as long as you can remember. Hugs from your mom after a long day. Laughs with your dad. And that best friend of yours? You’re going to miss them more than anything. I’m telling you right now, nothing will ever be the same. Never again.

SEE ALSO: I'm The Girl That Enjoyed High School

Before you start packing your bags, slow down, take a deep breath, and look around. You’ve got it pretty good here. The end of your senior year can be the time of your life; it’s truly amazing. So go to the winter dance, go to Prom, spend Senior Skip Day with your classmates, go to every sporting event you can, while you still can. College is pretty great, but it’s the little things you’re gonna miss the most. Don’t take it for granted because soon, you’ll be standing in a packed gym in your cap and gown, wondering where the heck the time went. You’ve got a long, beautiful life ahead of you, full of joy but also full of challenges. You’re going to meet so many wonderful people, people who will treat you right and people who won’t.

So, take it all in. Be excited for the future and look forward to it, but be mindful of the present. You’ve got this.
Cover Image Credit: Hartford Courant

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5 Things I Don't Know How To Do But Should've Learned Years Ago, As Told By The Kardashians

In my opinion, there should be college classes completely based on mastering these topics.


There are many things that I don't know how to do yet. These, however, are things that I am now realizing are things I maybe should have learned a long time ago. Things that if I knew anything about them, it would improve my life exponentially. Hopefully some of you feel the same and we can learn together.

1. How to cook chicken


Seems easy, but this is deceivingly difficult. No one tells you what type of chicken to get, and there are so many options. Like, do you get chicken breast or chicken cutlet or chicken tenders? Which way is the best way to cook it? Pan fry, bake, deep fry, poach, steam, etc! And how do you make it not taste like paper? What, like, spices do you put on it? In my last year of college I have made it my duty to learn how to make every type of chicken.

2. How to work a dishwasher


So, I know how to put the plates and silverware in, obviously. And I always clean them off before because I never trust the dishwasher soap to get everything off. How would it? And where exactly does the little dishwasher soap go? No one tells you where the leetle hole is that the soap bar goes. There's like three different holes in the door thing, and how are you supposed to know which one the soap goes in? Just guess and hope for the best? That's what I do.

3. How to pay your taxes??? Literally how


No matter who I ask, young or old, no one understands anything about taxes. I have been working since I was 17 and year after year when I ask my parents for help filing my taxes, they agree begrudgingly while squinting at the paper pointing at the little boxes with a "I think it's that one." I have never and will never understand anything to do with taxes, period. I will leave this to the professionals.

4. How to do anything with insurance, ever


Once again, wtf? Do the companies make these things impossible to understand on purpose? Like, all I want is to get my birth control from CVS and be done. Is that so hard? Why do I have to switch it to Walgreens (to whom I am NOT brand loyal, to, by the way) and then check if they cover my insurance? And WTF is a copay? And there's something that you pay before you get a copay? All I'm gonna say is that my mom tried to explain it to me once and it went in one ear and out the other.

5. How to arrange a cheese board


This is something that I feel shows you have truly made it at an adult. You have people over to your house and just throw together a lovely charcuterie board for your guests like its nothing. But what do you buy for it? Cheese, obviously. Meats? What types of cheese and meat? Grapes? Nuts? And how do you arrange it to look all pretty? Mark my words: when I can make a yummy and visually appealing cheese board, I've made it.

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