20 Things I Learned the Year I Turned 20


  1. Life does not get less complicated as you grow up.
    • At the beginning of this year, I had recovered from what I *thought* was a complex and crazy year. I didn’t know what the future held, and was looking ahead with some trepidation (uncertainty is not my favourite thing). Little did I know, this year would be the most intense, unexpected, emotional roller coaster of a time. The good, the bad, all of it was far more intense and unforeseen than I had known possible. 
  2. A good opportunity doesn’t necessarily equate to being “the right” opportunity.
    • One of the harder and more frustrating parts of this year was learning to trust my gut. I had several jobs/programs/potential opportunities come my way these last 12 months that were… amazing. On paper, they were perfect. At the time, I struggled to parents/friends/bosses why I left, or didn’t jump, but I made a practice of listening to God and to my instincts. (Looking back – everything makes perfect sense, and I am so endlessly glad that I did.)
  3. I am more insecure than I thought I was.
  4. My emotional capacity is limited.
    • You’d think this one was obvious. But I’ve been quite accustomed to (and comfortable) being a regular support for my friends and family. Talking someone through a breakup, phone calls into the night, distracting from difficult situations when necessary… I’m very much an empath, and I like being able to help my people however I can. However, this year I suddenly found myself needing support in a way I haven’t before. And I discovered that in those moments where I felt broken and empty, I was unable to be as present and generous with time and support as I had been. This took me on a bit of a guilt trip, but I’m realizing it’s not a flaw, it’s just human nature. If I don’t take care of myself and my own emotional stability, I can’t love my friends well anyways. “You can’t pour out of an empty cup”, if you will.
  5. I have taken my family for granted.
  6. Recognizing and acknowledging an issue, while an important step, doesn’t fix anything.
  7. Mono sucks. 
  8. I am who I am and I am okay with it.
    • One of the more painful things I’ve reflected on this past year is realizing how much of myself I have made small to fit in a box that I thought would be better accepted. I didn’t even recognize how much it had affected me until I began to get free of this mindset. I laughed harder than I can remember laughing in years. Stopped caring about whether or not my stories, jokes or anecdotes would be as amusing as someone else’s. I just started being. (I highly recommend it.)
  9. I really, really, really love writing.
  10. Being able to laugh at yourself is an invaluable skill.
    • I always joke that I developed this out of younger-kid syndrome; I never ever beat my brother at anything, so I quite quickly familiarized myself with failure, and as an after effect, became okay with it.
  11. Trying to be a step ahead of God does not work.
  12. You’re probably capable of a lot more than you think.
  13. I can come across a lot more sarcastic than I am around people I don’t know very well.
  14. Phantom of the Opera on Broadway is phenomenal. This one has nothing to do with growth or development, but I learned it this year, and it’s important.
  15. “If you love it, let it go” sounds a lot more poetic than the act of doing so feels.
    • This year was a big one for learning to let go of people, plans, and expectations. Real talk: the last 10-11 months have felt like one thing after another – just as I’m beginning to process one thing, adjusting to a new normal, the rug gets ripped out, again, and again, and again. Letting go of what I thought things would look like, what I wanted them to look like, has been an excruciating process.
  16. On a related note, if you need to let it go, there’s most definitely a reason.
    • I have been quoted as saying, and I will say again, God’s not screwing with you. He doesn’t play games and mess with your head for kicks. That’s not to say that sometimes crappy stuff doesn’t just happen, because we live in a pretty messed up world, but if God is calling you in obedience to something, there’s a greater purpose. Even if it makes absolutely no sense from where you’re standing, it is worth it to trust the One who knows.
  17. Regularly hanging out with/nannying adorable children does not, in fact, help calm baby fever.
  18. I will listen to any album Taylor Swift puts out on repeat for weeks. Even when the lyrics feel like a personal attack. (Additionally, All Too Well is a lyrical masterpiece, but I learned that in 2012.)
  19. I have a hard time accepting affection from people, or at least believing it’s genuine. I’m gonna work on that this year. 
  20. God is good.
    • I don’t know if I can technically say that I learned this this year, but I’m gonna. I knew this coming in. I’d seen it time, and time again. But did I still question it? Yup. I’m not going to go into details on all of my tough conversations with the Lord this year – there were many. What I know is that he continues to be faithful, more and more. And the harder the pain is, the sweeter joy to be found. The greater trust is built. 

This year was far from boring. Interestingly enough, at the start of this year, I again find myself in a state of uncertainty, with the future undecided and wide open. I’m not going to lie, I don’t love that. I’d prefer to have a bit more predictability than I do at the moment. But. This last year, despite the ups and downs, was without a doubt the best year of my life. I was most alive this year. Most present, most generous with time, love, even finances. I’m ready for what’s next. Terrified as hell, but ready.


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