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Looking Back and Looking Forward
December 28, 2016
Like many other people, as 2016 comes to a close, I am looking back on this year and all I was able to experience. I know for many of you, this past year was full of grief, unwanted stress, and fear. But I also know this year was full of laughter, joy, new life, and freedom for many.
For me, I look back on 2016 fondly. There was a whole lot more joy and laughter in 2016 than tears and anxiety for me, and for that I am extremely grateful. I realize this won't always be the case, so I'm embracing all of the experiences I had in 2016 and holding them close.
This year was a year of travel. I calculated it, and over the past year I have been on 12 airplane rides and have spent over 20 hours traveling by car. For me, that's pretty crazy.
My 2016 travels began by going to Florida with my choir at IWU for our Spring Break tour.
So many good memories with friends and such beautiful sights. I also got a little sunburned...whoops.
My travels continued as I made my way from Indiana to Papua New Guinea.
Papua New Guinea
Then from Papua New Guinea to Japan.
Mall of Asia in Manila, Phillipines.
And finally, Japan back to the California, and then California to Indiana.
In terms of road trips, my family made a trip to Fayetteville, AR for a family reunion and then another trip to Upstate NY to visit my grandparents.
This year was also a year of relationships. As many of you know from reading my post from the beginning of 2016, the word God wanted me to focus on was "open". Shortly after coming back to school, God opened my eyes to see I was not loving people enough, and with that, I began to realize He wanted me to be more open with others--to truly see, love, and embrace others. My relationships flourished and it's amazing.
No, I don't have a million friends. BUT, I have people who I truly love and who love me back. These people invest in me and I invest in them, and it's wonderful.
Probably the biggest relationship change in my life this year was upgrading to a fiancé!
HOLY COW I'M GETTING MARRIED.
Finally, 2016 was a year of tremendous growth.
This was the year I became content in my own body.
This is the year I allowed myself to be loved and decided to love others more.
This is the year I decided to try and understand more rather than condemn.
2017 will be a year full of many changes.
I am finishing my junior year of college. I am beginning my senior year of college.
My brother is graduating high school.
My sister is getting her driver's license.
I am getting married.
Some of my friends are graduating from college.
Some of my friends are studying abroad.
Things won't be the same in 2017.
But, in a way, they will be.
I'll still travel.
I'll still develop relationships.
I'll still learn to be content in my body.
I'll still be loved by others and seek to love in return.
I'll still strive to understand others first before judging.
There's excitement, anticipation, many unknowns, and a little bit of fear as I head into 2017.
But I am at peace.
I know this year will bring change, but I also realize this change will cultivate growth.