Life is a series of chapters; each adding up to create our own unique story. In the riveting tale of our lives, there are villains, heroes, conflict, drama and plot twists. Within these tales, we share both the role as the author and the protagonist. As the authors of our life stories, we have complete control over the material presented in each chapter, and the order in which it is to be presented. However, as the protagonists, we are subject to all of the miraculous plot twists and conflict that arise from chapter to chapter, and must simply resolve our problems one at a time.

The best part about human nature is the diverse thoughts, expressions, and creativity of each and every one of us. When we think back on the key moments of our lives, we will have a wide array of experiences to reflect on. As a 20-year-old, I am still in the beginning chapters of my story. Within the early chapters are the faces I met throughout the years, the relationships I created, sustained, or lost, along with the great stresses of life that seemed so monumental in the past but seem so trivial now.

It is a comforting thought- that this is just a chapter. The thought that keeps you up at night, or the big exam you have been studying weeks for- it is just a chapter. Conflict and conflict resolution are often key elements to a fantastic literary work, and as such, we must experience this throughout the many pages of our story.

In a moment of reflection, I realized that we are all in the process of writing different chapters in our lives. My older brother, for example, is in the process of ending a chapter. As he waits for his plane to leave this afternoon, I can’t help but think that somewhere on that final page, he is writing a bittersweet and heartfelt closing sentence. The new chapter holds one of great excitement: marriage, a new job, a new state across the country, and many twists and turns that he, as the protagonist, cannot yet perceive.

My older sister is currently writing a new chapter as well: one of motherhood, and the many ups and downs it brings. The responsibility of raising a child, the joy of marriage, all while maintaining a job as a high school teacher. As I sit here, mid-chapter, I can’t help but ponder the key themes of my story. Yet again, maybe I’m not supposed to know. While we are all the authors of our own stories, it can be fun to simply act as the protagonist, and go wherever the story takes us.

We often like to refer to a new event in our life as a new chapter in our lives. In a Carrie Bradshaw manner, we can’t help but wonder what is going to happen as we wait for the events of the future to unravel. When will we have a chapter of grand romance? Of great success? Of pure unadulterated bliss? Just like our favorite novel, we often wish we could skip ahead a few pages or chapters until we get to the best part.

However, when we do this, we miss other key elements of the story and often regret reading ahead. Often, the morals of the story are woven throughout the chapters, in a strategic way that slowly builds to a grand lesson in the final chapter. Just like our English teachers used to tell us: don’t simply read online summaries or skip chapters to finish the book faster. We must take it page by page.