My Tattoo Is A Symbol Of The Mountains I've Conquered

My Tattoo Is A Symbol Of The Mountains I've Conquered

And I realized that just because I made it to the top, nothing changed.

When I started thinking about what exactly I wanted for my first tattoo--the mountains easily came to mind. Although I thought of getting butterflies to match my mom's tattoo, or "lómhara" as a way to memorialize my grandfather's last words to me (that means precious in Gaelic), or even the moon and planets since I've always felt a strong connection to them, the mountains really stuck with me.

Not only would they symbolize my adventure of moving out to Colorado, something that didn't even seem like a possibility for a homebody like me, and leaving my hometown behind to journey into completely unknown territory, the mountains have become so much more to me now.

What I thought would be the hardest mountains to climb, ended up being some of the easiest. Sometimes the path was simple, straightforward, and steady. Sometimes the trails got a little rocky, adding some altitude here and there, and even feeling blind so I would have to keep moving forward with only cairns to guide me every now and then. But I always got to where I needed to go.

There were other unknown peaks that I would end up summiting in my time out here. Those that I never anticipated, that I didn't see coming, and that would really try to break me. Sometimes I had to move backwards, or start over, or break for awhile. Sometimes I had to find a new route, or get over whatever obstacle was in my way to continue on. Sometime those mountains seemed impossible to overcome without getting hurt along the way. I was tired at times, I was lost, and I was alone out there, but I had hope that something better would come.

I would find something better.

But when you reach the peak, when you think you've made it, sometimes you hadn't. And I realized that just because I made it to the top, nothing changed. I was still tired, lost, and alone at times. But I kept that faith in that things would turn around for me.

Coming down the mountain is a much faster hike than going up. There are new challenges, but they are easy and there is an end in sight. All the time it took for you to get to the top and cherish the view for a little while, it can sometimes seem unworthy of your effort, your health, and your time. But coming down is much quicker, its not the slow and heavy time, its not the long and hard drive, its the calming effectiveness of almost getting where you didn't even know you wanted to be.

I found that my mountains were not based off of getting to top, but were best when I came back down as a new person. The climb is hard, the view is great, but the descent is where you actually change. I opened at the close.

My tattoo is a simple of my adventures--my struggles, my hardships, my experiences. And most importantly, my growth. My mountains are a reminder of what I've accomplished, of what I've survived, and of what I've been capable of. My tattoo is a symbol of all the theoretical mountains I've conquered in the past year and that is what I see every time I look at them. I can see where I've been close to the end, where I thought I was at the end, and where I thought I wanted to give up.

Sometimes in life, the mountain's peak is only halfway. And sometimes, the ending is what you were looking without ever even knowing it.

Cover Image Credit: Maddi Burns

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.

Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.

7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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6 Reasons Traveling Is Good For Your Mind, Body, And Soul

Wherever you go, go with all your heart.


Have you ever traveled to a new destination and felt your mood instantly improve? Are you like me and feel happiest when you're on vacation? This is because traveling is a way for you to renew your soul and step out of your comfort zone. It keeps you happy and allows you to experience new things.

Visiting new destinations can open your mind to experiences you didn't even know were possible. You can meet new people, fall in love, try new foods, and see remarkable sites all while traveling. There are no limits to the places you can visit, and the things you can see. Currently, I am on a mini weekend trip to Arizona, and being here has opened my eyes and made me realize how impactful traveling really is on your mind, body, and soul. Traveling should be something you do as often as possible and whenever you get the chance. Here's why:

1. Traveling makes your heart happy 

Traveling is something that most people enjoy. It keeps the heart young and childlike. Traveling brings people joy because they get to experience new things that they love with the people they love.

2. It teaches you to embrace every moment 

Traveling can be unpredictable, especially because you are experiencing new things. Although it can be challenging, we learn best from these unpredictable moments. When we travel we learn to embrace every situation that is thrown at us.

3. Traveling relieves stress and improves mental health 

Traveling reduces stress and allows you to relax. More often than not, you take off work when you go on vacation and you focus on renewing your self. You get away from all the crazy things going on in your life, and you can just relax and focus on your own happiness.

4. It broadens your horizons 

Traveling lets you branch out and experience different cultures. You can try new foods, new activities, and meet all different types of people. You learn diversity, and you learn respect for other people and their culture's. Traveling helps you learn other perspectives around the world and lets your mind think in ways it never has before.

5. It keeps you healthy 

Traveling actually plays a big part in your physical health as well. During vacations, you often walk a lot to destinations and participate in calorie burning activities like hiking and swimming. Activities like these are often why you still are able to get your workout in while on vacation.

6. Traveling reminds you what is important 

Most importantly, traveling reminds you of the important things in life. We live day by day forgetting that every moment is remarkable. Sometimes, we get stuck in the same old boring routine and take for granted the life we have been given. Traveling reminds us that memories are valuable and that our lives should be cherished.

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