It's Not About Where You're From, It's Where You're Going

It's Not About Where You're From, It's Where You're Going

The place you're from may shape who you are, but it doesn't define your future.

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Being from a small town in the South, it's commonplace for kids to graduate from high school and start working a job in their hometowns. You're born there, you stay there, you die there. Not to say there's anything wrong with it, but more often than not, people don't escape the small town life. Again, it's mostly the choice of the person to stay in their small towns, and it's all based on the idea that where you are from is your identity.

I challenge this idea each day.

See, I've never believed in the idea that where you are born is who you are. I understand that it is an important component of developing us into who we are as adults, as well as crafting our belief systems. These are important realities to respect, however, I have always refused to be an executor of the small town stereotype. I am not small-minded, I do not settle for a simpler lifestyle because it's easy, and I am capable of being the best at what I am aspiring to become. These are NOT determined by where I'm from, but rather, where I am going.

I firmly believe that people use where they came from as an excuse not to figure out who they are because the process is difficult and requires years of working on yourself and trying new lifestyles. I'm from a town where maybe ten percent of high school graduates attend a four-year university. Fewer than that go somewhere outside of a community college. Even fewer than that graduate from college.

Rarely are these people from impoverished homes with divorced parents or from families that were torn apart by mental illness, poor health, and drug abuse. Even rarer do these people go months on end without seeing their parents, working from sun up to sun down just to earn their keep in high school. All of these personal realities reflect where I'm from and what I experienced growing up.

Compared to many of my peers, they are anything but my inhibitors.

Where you're from is one of the largest influences on who you become as a person. The person you become as a result does not have to be a victim of anything — mediocrity, pessimism, ignorance, etc. Rather, you learn about the place that you're from. You never stop watching it or the people inside of it. You take away the positives and learn not to succumb to their negatives.

What does it all mean? Where you're from only matters for 18 years of your life. After that, it's all on you to determine what you will make of your life. Take it from me... it's possible to have a millionaire mindset while you live in rags. It's possible to be thinker while drowning in a sea of talkers. Your ambition, your hustle, your vision — these are the things that make you who you are.

What do all of my points have in common? They are all about where you're going, not where you come from. The world doesn't care where you come from. It does care, however, about what you learned while you were there. This is where your experience plays into your ability, reflected through your ambition.

You can be from a place you're not proud of. You can be from a place where everyone fails or settles to be less than their best selves. Or you can be like me — from a place where you feel like you were meant for more, and you know in your heart that the place you came from doesn't define you. Remember, it doesn't have to matter where you came from; it's where you're going.

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The Truth About Young Marriage

Different doesn't mean wrong.
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When I was a kid, I had an exact picture in my mind of what my life was going to look like. I was definitely not the kind of girl who would get married young, before the age of 25, at least.

And let me tell you, I was just as judgmental as that sentence sounds.

I could not wrap my head around people making life-long commitments before they even had an established life. It’s not my fault that I thought this way, because the majority opinion about young marriage in today’s society is not a supportive one. Over the years, it has become the norm to put off marriage until you have an education and an established career. Basically, this means you put off marriage until you learn how to be an adult, instead of using marriage as a foundation to launch into adulthood.

When young couples get married, people will assume that you are having a baby, and they will say that you’re throwing your life away — it’s inevitable.

It’s safe to say that my perspective changed once I signed my marriage certificate at the age of 18. Although marriage is not always easy and getting married at such a young age definitely sets you up for some extra challenges, there is something to be said about entering into marriage and adulthood at the same time.

SEE ALSO: Finding A Husband In College

Getting married young does not mean giving up your dreams. It means having someone dream your dreams with you. When you get lost along the way, and your dreams and goals seem out of reach, it’s having someone there to point you in the right direction and show you the way back. Despite what people are going to tell you, it definitely doesn’t mean that you are going to miss out on all the experiences life has to offer. It simply means that you get to share all of these great adventures with the person you love most in the world.

And trust me, there is nothing better than that. It doesn’t mean that you are already grown up, it means that you have someone to grow with.

You have someone to stick with you through anything from college classes and changing bodies to negative bank account balances.

You have someone to sit on your used furniture with and talk about what you want to do and who you want to be someday.

Then, when someday comes, you get to look back on all of that and realize what a blessing it is to watch someone grow. Even after just one year of marriage, I look back and I am incredibly proud of my husband. I’m proud of the person he has become, and I’m proud of what we have accomplished together. I can’t wait to see what the rest of our lives have in store for us.

“You can drive at 16, go to war at 18, drink at 21, and retire at 65. So who can say what age you have to be to find your one true love?" — One Tree Hill
Cover Image Credit: Sara Donnelli Photography

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My First Year Of College Wasn’t Great And That’s Okay

I didn’t adjust as well as I thought I would, but I made it.

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Everyone always raves about how much they loved their freshman year of college. The independence, the parties, meeting all these new people from different places. It's a big milestone in your life. But not everyone has an amazing first year. And I'm one of those people.

Don't get me wrong. I was so excited about college. Finally getting to be on my own, experiencing all these new things. I even met people in my class before we moved in. And the first month was a blast...but then it wasn't anymore.

Eventually, I slid into this “funk", you could say. I was depressed. I never wanted to leave my bed. Some nights, I didn't even wanna eat dinner. And soon, my friends noticed but soon just stopped inviting me out.

At first, they still would, even though the answer was always no. But I guess they got bored and tired of me always saying no.

Soon, I didn't feel like I even had any friends and at one point, I even found myself debating going home to avoid being alone in my room all weekend. I would force myself to make plans, but found myself not wanting to go out because I got ignored every time I did. It wasn't worth it.

I was homesick, isolated, and just wanted to fit in.

When the year finally came to an end, I couldn't be happier. But now that it is over and I'm home, I realize how much I miss the people that were there for me. The people that came into my life unexpectedly, but it was hard for me to really recognize they care about me.

I absolutely hated my freshman year of college. Yeah, it started out good and I found my sorority, but I never felt like I was wanted anywhere. I felt so alone. I became so incredibly isolated and distant and it took a drastic toll on me as a person.

But in spite of all that, I realize that maybe that's how it was supposed to happen. Because I'm a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and it will all play out.

This being said, my first year might not have been what I thought or hoped for. But I can truly say I am excited to see what my next year holds.

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