Today is my 21st birthday. It's weird for many reasons. 1. I'M 21?!?! I don't feel that old. 2. I'm not with my twin sister on my birthday. This is one of only 3 birthdays in the 21 years I've been alive in which Katie and I have not been together on our birthday ("age" birth because I was sent to another hospital as soon as we were born, age 16 because I was in NYC for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade with my high school marching band, and this year). Today feels so bizarre celebrating without her. 3. I'M 21?!?! Oh wait, I already said that.
To commemorate the end of my 20th year and beginning of my 21st, I decided to write a list of things I learned in the past year. This list is not all-inclusive, but it's a good start to what God has been teaching me the last 365 days.
1. Stop caring so much about what other people think. People are going to form quick judgments. They're going to look at your outward achievements as a measure of success. They are not always going to see you for who you truly are. Love God, love people, and don't worry about the rest.
2. Be a true friend. Call people up, spend meaningful time with them, share in joys and sorrows, talk about everything from the weather to the things hidden deep within your heart. Love like Christ loved. Build meaningful connections with people you could do life with on a daily basis.
3. Love (and serve) your enemies, including the people who tear your heart apart, the people who are rude, the people who seem to have an unreasonable grudge against you. Serve those people without spite and without bitterness.
4. Just because life isn't going the way you think it should doesn't mean God's not in control. Life is hard. It's full of pain, heartache, and mourning. BUT GOD holds the world in his hands. He is so big, I can't even grasp it. I choose to trust in my God to reign in my life, even when the chaos doesn't make sense to my human brain.
5. Social media is not the place to start arguments. If you need to confront someone, do so in person. Not on social media, not over text. Personal communication is key. Passive aggression is a cowardly way out of a dispute or controversy.
6. I LOVE my major. Speech pathology is the best major out there, and I'm so glad God directed me toward this path. I love learning more and more about the intricacies of communication, and I can't wait until one day I'm helping a child, a young adult, an older adult, or wherever God leads me in the field learn to communicate better and more effectively.
7. Kids say the craziest things. They just make life so fun!
8. Technology moves insanely fast. Try and keep up.
9. Plans are awesome, and I enjoy making them on a regular basis. However, don't shy away from a little bit of spontaneity. It won't hurt you, and it might just bring exactly what you need into your life at the right moment.
10. Lead with grace and humility, knowing you are not perfect, and neither is your leadership ability. Seize every opportunity to learn from wiser leaders and expand on your leadership skills.
11. Take time to reflect and remember. Remember God's goodness and grace. Remember the blessings He has lavished on you. Remember the Cross and the sacrifice Jesus made. Remember that if you are a believer in Christ, you are made new. Remember the lowest and highest points in your life. Remember God's faithfulness through the storm.
12. Seek help and encouragement from others when needed. No one can live life alone, including you. It's not a fatal flaw to show that you, just like everyone else, don't have it all together all the time.
13. Patience is a virtue.
14. See beauty in everything.
15. Take risks. A comfortable life will only get you so far.
16. CF sucks. Know that, but don't let it hold you back.
17. "Life is too deep for words, so don't try to describe it, just live it." -C.S. Lewis