Twenty Thirteen

2013 has been… eventful, to say the least. 

After this year, I think that we can all agree that:

1. Foam fingers and wrecking balls will have a whole new meaning. Thanks Miley.

2. Breaking Bad’s Walter White is the most badass fictional character… ever. (And let’s be real, we all have a fat crush on Aaron Paul.)

3. We all laughed at one point at the irony of the Fast and  Furious star Paul Walker dying in a car accident… #sorrynotsorry

4. Everybody freaked out about the proposition of the US going to war with Syria… and then seemed to forget that it was even being discussed like a week later.

5. “Nelson Mandela died? Wait, I thought that was Morgan Freeman… Oh, wait! He did the “I Have A Dream” speech, right?” The fact that there are people in my generation that are this ignorant could make me drop-kick a kitten. (Let’s be honest, we’ve all wanted to do that before, but you get my point.) Dat’s ridiculous doe.

lolz dat’s funny doe

On a more personal level, however, this year has been tremendous in the shaping and molding of who I am becoming, who I want to be, and the things I want to accomplish in my life.  This year has been the most challenging of my life, both physically and emotionally, as well spiritually, intellectually, sexually, socially, etc. But with these challenges has come the most reward – an amount so unsuspecting, yet fulfilling.

The first four months of 2013 were spent diving into the realm of theology, literature, and philosophy, as well as into the exploration of the backcountry of Yosemite National Park. My spontaneous decision to study “abroad” in Bass Lake through the High Sierra program has led me to such great heights and depths in terms of my appreciation for the outdoors, my understanding of who God is, my search for deeper truth within my faith and academics, and my overwhelming sense of love and friendship that I’ve received in my relationships. I smile as I remember the countless afternoons spent lounging and kayaking at the lake. Those laughter-filled nights spent on the brown leather couches in the D-Hall, with a bowl of cereal to my left and an intimate cuddle puddle to my right, seem as though they were just last week. It was almost a sensory overload when I would lie on Star Rock late at night with the cool, brisk air on my face, the smell of fresh pine in my nostrils, and the vast expanses of the stars shining bright above me. And the pillow talk was above-par, every time.

Sure, the semester had it’s fair share of difficulties and challenges. I suffered a bad case of cabin fever at times, and I struggled in my relationships with particular individuals. “High Sierra isn’t the real world” was such a frequently spoken phrase that it was easy to look past the truth of the statement, and I had to learn it the hard way. But each moment, each mistake,  and each memory has its role in shaping who I am now.

It’s always difficult for me to be able to fully describe how High Sierra changed my life. But I know that I am a changed individual from it, and I’m incredibly thankful that I had the opportunity to be a part of such a unique, life-enriching adventure.

And with that, my first year of college was complete! For anyone, this would be means for celebration because of what comes next – summer vacation. This was not the case for me.

I won’t go into the details of my relationship with my family. After all, there is no such thing as a perfect family, and each has their fair share of difficulties and struggles. In specifics to mine, especially how I felt about being back at home, I battled feelings of inadequacy and disappointment, which caused a series of low points in my familial relationships. It’s been a continual process of healing and forgiveness, and I sincerely hope that 2014 will hold more positivity in this area.

Around November, someone really close to me attempted to commit suicide. I was absolutely devastated. You can never truly grasp the idea that death can so easily intrude into our lives until it almost happens. Especially being in my young stage of adulthood, I have this false sense of invincibility, and this experience reminded me that shit can happen to anyone, no matter how blessed I’ve been in other areas of life.

They may not have died that night, but the person that I once knew was gone. So I grieved. I grieved for all of the memories that we shared, for all of the moments that will come that I almost lost.

Now that I’m back home, things have gotten better, yet the bad news doesn’t seem to relent. Someone else very close to me informed me that they don’t have much time left due to health technicalities.

Humans are such fragile creatures, so easily perishable… so easily broken down. I’ve had to come to terms with the idea that I have absolutely no control over how long the people I love will be alive with me. God does. I’ve been told, “It’s all in God’s plan; if it’s meant to happen, it will.” And for some reason, I really struggle with that concept. Countless nights I’ve spent lying awake pondering why the hell so much shit happens in the world. And a lot of these questions floating in my brain are unanswered, but I’m slowly learning that I don’t need to know all of the answers. I don’t need to have control. What I do know is this: with the time that we are all given, we need to live it to the fullest.

Nicholas Wolterstorff said it perfectly when he wrote, “Perhaps we all take each other for granted. The routines of life distract us; our own pursuits make us oblivious; our anxieties and sorrows, unmindful. The beauties of the familiar go unremarked. We do not treasure each other enough.”

So as 2014 begins today, I hope and pray that I will continue to mature into a young adult who loves with all of her being, who seeks adventure and unforgettable memories, and who appreciates the immense beauty that can be found in the ordinary.

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