It’s 5am. The birds are singing morning melodies outside my window. The night is aging and the stars are slowly losing their dark mystery to the morning haze. My mind is at ease and my thoughts are collected and calm. Unusual for me after being at such an amazing party (Bear Bash!) But instead of drowsiness, worry, anxiety, or the countless list of “things Anna MUST do” running through my head, I am filled with peace and a sense of security. Sure, my future is uncertain and a giant leap from my former way of life, and yes, in only two and a half months I will be driving to California, my new home. However, I have no fear. No worries. And strangely? No regrets. I look back on my high school years fondly, with warm memories and even failures that have aided me to be stronger. If you knew my back story and the things I went through, you might ask “How can you look back and feel so… good?” The truth of the matter is, I think I’ve realized something very important about life. Through these four years if teenage drama, massive piles of homework, hectic schedules, and personal tragedies, I’ve learned that every bad situation is not the end of the world. Every time it seems like I had fallen too far to get back up, God proved me wrong. He reached out His hand and said, “Let me help you with that.” I look back with a smile on my face. With warmth in my heart. I hit a lot of bumps in the road and accumulated a few bruises, but for every bump, there is joy, for every bruise, there is healing and love. High school has taught me to be my own person, and not to define myself by who hated me or who enjoyed my company. Rather, it taught me to define myself by God and His unending love. High school was a time for everyone to figure out who they were, and that journey continues into college, the work force, or the armed forces. Our lives are all connected and everyone has a story. Everyone has something you don’t know about them. And everyone is on similar journey’s. No, we don’t lead the same lives, but we all struggle, we all hurt, we all dream, and we all love. We aren’t as different as we would like to think.
Despite the many bumps I hit, I don’t regret a single one. Because each bump has a story. Each bruise has a lesson behind it. And if it were not for those specific lessons and stories, my life would not be the same. I would not be on the path I am today. God has a plan for each and every one of us. He isn’t some kid sitting on an anthill holding a magnifying glass (I love that movie…) Rather, He uses those bad situations for good, and He uses them to mold us into people of strong character, integrity, charity, and people of God’s love. God is a huge part of who I am and of my life experience thus far. He has shown me my errors, corrected my perceptions, and taught me how to love. My patience with people has grown exponentially, and my love for myself and for God’s Creations has followed suite.
Although this chapter of my life is over, a new one has begun. I plan to take the lessons I learned in high school and apply them to my future goals. I dream, I imagine, I create. I strive to succeed, and strive to live every day like it could be the last I’ll ever have. One very important lesson I learned from high school is that you never know when another curveball might come. You never really know when your life could be turned upside-down. So instead of defining yourself by what you do (sports, music, activities, academics), define yourself by who you are (loving, kind, generous, strong, honest, etc.) Don’t waste your time trying to be somebody else or please someone else. Don’t try so hard to “fit in” if the mold you are attempting to fill will harm you and compromise who you are as a person. Look ahead to the future, but don’t wish your life away waiting for the next step on the “ladder to success”. Live in the moment, and make every second count. Living in the moment does not mean try to party and live recklessly, but it means to live your life fully. To fulfill yourself and others. To love, to laugh, to learn. To truly live. Pour into others. Create long-lasting, strong relationships built on firm ties that are not shrouded in lies, petty envy or deceit. It is NEVER too late to mend a broken relationship, or to apologize for a wrong that happened years ago. It is never too late to forgive or be forgiven. It is never too late to love those who did not treat you well. And it is NEVER too late to say yes or no.
Life is a journey. Take it one step at a time. Keep your goals in mind, but remember that today only happens once. Strive to live your life to the fullest. Remember to live, laugh, and love. But most of all, keep positive and try to live life with no regrets.
Signing out, listening to the bird sing me to sleep,
I am yours truly,