Year 26 was....interesting. I experienced love, lost, and a pandemic. Though many sad situations were encountered during 2020, I surprisingly encountered something, or someone, that I did not expect to meet...myself. The funny thing about being stuck inside during a pandemic is that you end up spending a lot of time with yourself. I really learned about who I am, including the good, bad, and ugly. But this self reflection transformed into growth. I can say that not only did I learn a lot about who I am, but also a lot about who I want to be.
The first big realization I encountered during year 26 was that home is not a place, but where love exists. Cliche and corny, I know, but it is indeed fact. I have lived in about four states in the past five years, each teaching me something different. But the main conclusion I found from all of those experiences was that living is less about the location and more about the people. I have not lived in my home state since high school. I have had so much fun in all of the places I have lived, but something about being around my family and friends has given me gratitude. I feel so grateful to have this much love surrounding me. Though I may venture off to another state again, there is no place like home.
The second realization I encountered was that the biggest, and maybe most important, relationship I needed was with myself. I have to admit, being in a relationship has been a tug of war struggle I have had since....forever. Relationships and I usually don't go well together. It is always the same story: girl meets guy, girl and guy communicate for a month, guy acts weird, girl and guy become strangers again. Ironically, I thought I may have found a guy to be with. But without going into great detail, everything I thought I wanted turned out to be what I don't need. Many of us millennials wanted to be married with kids by 30 (let's all laugh), but I have found that the relationship I really want is with myself. Now I am not saying that I am not open to meeting a great guy and eventually get married and have kids, but it is no longer a need...more like a "if it happens, cool" type of situation. The person I really want a relationship with is, myself. I owe it to myself to provide all of the things I thought I wanted from a guy, love and compassion.
The last realization I encountered was that happiness comes from within. Who would have thought that in a pandemic, happiness would be the word that comes to mind? But a great deal of lessons were learned. I learned what I like, what I don't like, what friendship means to me, and I also became closer to God. It is really the simple things that make me happy. Watching a good movie, sipping a glass of wine, and being surrounded by my family reminds me that life is about enjoying the moment. I no longer wish to be stuck on the "what if." Moments pass by so quickly, and I do not want to miss it. I experienced the lost of a loved one last year, but the outcome of that situation was understanding that God has created a purpose for all of us. We have to enjoy every moment, and even when things seem like they are spiraling out of control, remember this too shall pass. I want to look back on my life and say "I really enjoyed it."
I am very grateful for the lessons I learned during year 26. I am turning 27 in a couple of weeks, and I feel that last year's experience of learning will now blossom into a life of peace, happiness, and blessings. Thank you for reading this, and I hope that you can take something away from what I encountered.