20 Lessons from My 20th Year Part 2

I always enjoy the anticipation of birthdays and today is no different. Tomorrow, I will be spending my birthday with my friends and boy friend in OKC, so today my mom has been preping for my family birthday celebration! She purchased ingredients to make my favorite dish-seafood Alfredo (from scratch, I might add). We also traveled over to Nothing Bundt Cakes and got a dozen bundtinis and I received a free little cake for my birthday! My mom also bought balloons, which my dog is terrified of. Tonight, we will eat dinner as a family, celebrate another year of my life, and go bowling. It’s such a joy to celebrate my birthday on more than one day with people I love so much.

With that being said, yesterday, I shared the first 7 of the lessons. Today, I’m sharing 7 more! Here’s to Part 2. Hope you enjoy.


 

  1. If you have the opportunity to travel, do it.

    Two years ago, Dr. Rix offered me the chance of a life time- to go on a mission trip. I turned him down. This past year, he offered it to me again! (I doubt this happens often.) I accepted this time around, and got to explore Swaziland, various parts of South Africa like Kruger Park and Cape Town, London, Rome, and Pompeii. It was magical. I am forever grateful for the opportunity and cannot wait to travel more!  I was able to see parts of the world I’ve learned about in classrooms. It was amazing to see pictures from textbooks come alive. There was this constant sense of exploration. More importantly, it was really eye opening to see the difference in how people around the world live. For instance, in Swaziland, college is such a blessing because it’s a very rare opportunity for them. People eat simply and don’t spend a lot of money. Then, you travel to a place like London where everything is expensive and extravagant. It’s a completely different world. Traveling really opens your eyes.

  2. Teachers have the ability to remain a constant in your life even when you’re no longer their student.

    I have contacted multiple teachers from high school this year. I’ve received advice for my future, such as how/where to apply to grad school. I’ve been given praise. I’ve even been given ideas for things as small as a research paper. My teachers from high school still teach me even now that I am almost finished with college. Mr. and Mrs. McKenzie especially remain close to my heart thanks to text messages, social media, and phone calls. I know that these people still care about me and my journey. They will continue to care as I grow older and settle down into life. It’s nice to have them around. It’s also a blessing to be able to turn to them for advice, because they’ve all lived life and can offer wise words. This is true for college professors as well who are consistent faces around campus, but whom I no longer have classes with. Even professors who have moved away still keep in contact via Facebook and email. They are willing to write letters of recommendation and serve as mentors. It’s a blessing and I believe all students should work towards building these types of relationships.

  3. Best friends remain best friends even when you’re miles apart and don’t talk often.

    My friends from high school are still my best friends now, something I am constantly reminded of. My best friend Miki sent me a beautiful Christmas/Birthday present this year with a card. She’s called me to tell me good news. She’s updated me when she’s sick. Even if we don’t talk every single day, I still talk to her. The same is true with my best friend Tori. She has had such an amazing year- getting engaged, getting accepted into grad school, and finishing school in 3 years! Each time, she’s called me to tell me the news right away and we’ve been able to celebrate. Just the same, when she had someone really close to her pass away, she informed me of that also. Friends are friends are friends. No matter the distance, I know I have these friends in my life forever and for always. (I even get to be apart of my best friend’s wedding as she starts to plan her big day!)

  4. Bills Suck. Paying for things suck. Simple as that.

    I’ve learned that bills are the absolute worse, especially because it makes it so hard to get ahead when you are paying things you owe. I don’t even have that many and it still frustrates me to have to pay money each month towards various things, like my cell phone. I think when you live at home and don’t need to buy your own groceries or laundry soap or even toilet paper, you really take for granted how much things cost. This year, I’ve learned the hard way that everything costs a lot of money and budgeting is hard. Thankfully, I’ve found some handy apps to help me track everything, though! Like Mint.

  5. There’s no such thing as too much coffee. 

    For me, coffee is greatness. Seriously, I drink at least one cup a day. I like to explore coffee shops. I like Starbucks. I even like brewing my own pots of coffee in my dorm. Coffee is where it’s at. I could drink coffee all day. Even at night. It doesn’t keep me up, but rather, it warms my soul.

    Find your coffee. What makes you happy on a rough day? What makes you excited? For me, it’s coffee.

  6. Finding a church home is both scary and exciting.

    I think prior to this year, I always chose to go to church where my friends went. It was just super comfortable and I didn’t have to make any decisions, which was great. However, this wasn’t helpful, because it meant that if my friends didn’t go to church on Sundays, I didn’t either. Somehow, I lucked out with Brad, because he wanted to tag along with me as I journeyed to find a church I liked. We tried a lot of different places. It was weird making decisions. It was weird not knowing everyone at the churches we visited. It was even weird being introduced at the places we went. Thankfully, it was also really wonderful. No matter what church we visited, people were so great! They got to know us. They told us about their church. They loved God. Honestly, it was amazing. The best part was finding a church that Brad and I both liked. After visiting numerous places, there was just one church that felt more homey than the rest. We visited a second time. Then a third. Finally, we placed membership. With that being said, this semester was the first semester of my college career that I never missed a Sunday. It’s been great and I am so happy to have a church home that I chose with Brad’s help. It is a place that focuses on community and service and loving one another. It also focuses on God and I feel like I constantly learn there. It’s great. (In case you are wondering and you are in the Edmond area, we attend Dayspring COC! If you are in need of a home, try it out.)

  7. Reading is and will always be good for the soul.

    I love reading. This is no surprise, especially given that I am an English Writing major. However, school makes reading for fun a bit difficult, especially due to all of the reading assignments I have had for classes. I really hate this, too, because reading has always made me feel better when I am feeling pretty bad. Lately, I’ve been given the chance to catch up on reading for me, though! It’s been such a blessing. I love books. I love their ability to take you somewhere new even if just for awhile. I love being able to read something quickly. I love words. I love story. I love it all. Not to mention, when you finish a book that really speaks to you, it is easy to look at life a bit differently. Reading and I will always have a special bond. I encourage you to pick up a book and get lost in it for awhile. If you are anything like me, you won’t regret it.

 

Alright, the last 6 will come your way tomorrow when I actually turn 21!

 

Thanks for reading.

 

As always, I offer blessings,

PB

20 Lessons from My 20th Year Part 1

The really neat thing about my birthday is that with each new year, I start a new age, too. Around this time last year, I reflected on the official closing of my teen years as I entered my 20th year. A lot of things had changed at the time and I wasn’t sure what to expect as I tackled this next step of adulthood. Though, now that I’ve lived a year of my twenties, I strongly believe that no one really knows what they are doing–at least not early on.

With that being said, my 20th year has taught me a lot. Who knew? I figured it would be nice to reflect on some of these lessons before tackling another milestone–21. Due to the length of these lessons, I’m spreading it out over the next few days. Enjoy Part 1.


 

  1. Friends you think will be in your life forever will leave and that’s okay. 

    A lot of people told me the friends you meet in college will be your friends forever. That may be true, but the first friends you meet in college won’t necessarily be there forever. I’ve realized that the friends I clung to so hard my first semester of college served their purpose, but no longer do so. Some of them moved away. Some of them stayed. Nonetheless, we’ve drifted. We aren’t enemies. We don’t hate each other. Our paths just diverted into various directions. My love for these people is still there, but I learned that I can do college without them and life goes on without their constant presence.

  2. Relationships develop at their own time. You can know someone for a long time before a friendship ever develops. It’s all about timing.

    This summer, I worked at a church with some other OC students–most of which I had known prior to the position, but never really gotten the chance to get to know one-on-one. For instance, my now good friend Chelsae and I had several of the same friends. I was even in her profile picture during rush season our sophomore year. But I had only ever talked to her a few times and we never hung out. After working together, we went to the movies and hung out constantly afterwards! We just clicked. This was a girl I had heard about constantly my freshman year, hung around once or twice my sophomore year, and now, my final year of college, is easily one of my closest friends at OC. This was also the case with Kelly, a girl I had worked on Soundings with for a whole year, before sitting down and getting to know thanks to work. And if I’m being honest, I didn’t think Kelly and I would make good friends while working with her on Soundings, something I told her. Boy, was I wrong. She is easily the greatest person I’ve ever met and knows me better than I know myself sometimes. Oh, and I can’t forget Brad. He was someone I had crossed paths with multiple times- Pi Fall Banquet, “coaching” Pi’s football team, etc. Yet, we didn’t get to know each other until we worked together. This summer brought me so many solid relationships and each relationship was with someone I had crossed paths with before. However, God developed the relationships when he felt I needed them.

  3. Family is family no matter the distance.

     This year, I officially lived in Oklahoma all year. I stayed through the summer and I’ve even been there for most of Christmas Break. This was a time of growth and independence, but I also learned that my family is still here for me if I need them. My parents are always a phone call away. I can make the journey to see them. They can journey to see me. My siblings are here for one another in times of need, even if it is simply in a group text message. We are still family no matter what. We support one another and have each others’ backs.  This is a lesson I am still learning and will continue to learn as my parents move to Florida. Distance will be hard on all of us, but we will grow through it and love each other more because of it.

  4. People don’t like to be placed on your to-do list. 

    If you know me well, you know I am the type of person who plans everything. I follow a pretty strict to-do list each and every day. I like to cross things off. I’ve learned this year that although I like to pencil people in, people like spontaneity. They like to do things spur of the moment. AND they do not like being crossed off your list–especially when that list consists of tedious things like homework, dishes, and laundry. At first, this really bugged me, because I like knowing what I’m doing each and every second of the day. However, I’ve learned that it’s much better to just go with the flow sometimes. (This is something I still need to work on.) But for now, I think healthy compromise is a thing, so I’ll plan AND have random time with friends and it will be great.

  5. It’s okay to cry. 

    I’ve always hated crying, because I feel weak when I do so. I feel like I’m being a baby. Rightfully so, too, since my siblings always made fun of me for crying while I was growing up. It also probably has to do with being super vulnerable with people and I mean, who does that? Yet, this year, I’ve cried a lot. I’ve cried to my mom, who always handles it well. I’ve cried to my dad, who always feels so bad because he can’t do anything to make it stop. This also makes him feel awkward (I think. He may disagree.) I’ve cried to my friends. I’ve cried endlessly to Brad. I’ve cried on floors, beds, in my car, in the hallway of the business building, in my professors’ offices, and even in parking lots of restaurants. I’ve had the whimpering sobs, the snotty ones, the hiccupy cries, and even the cries where I can’t breathe because the act of crying is all my body can manage. Each time I’ve cried, people have comforted me. Each time I’ve cried, I’ve realized I’m not alone. Each time I’ve cried, I’ve felt much better afterward. You see, crying lets it all out and your body knows when you need to do it. So, let it out! You’ll be a stronger person for it.

  6. It’s okay to feel your feelings.

    Actually, this is kind of funny, because I tell people this all of the time, but I don’t think I tell myself this enough. You feel the way you feel for a reason. Don’t shut off your feelings! Feel it out. Figure out why you feel that way. Then, deal with it. You have feelings for a reason. Don’t suppress them. If you’re having a bad day, it’s okay to feel upset about it. If you are having a good day, be happy about it! Just don’t dwell on negative feelings–get them out and let them go.

    (Also, shout out to the people who remind me of this. Especially those of you who throw it in my face that I say it constantly. You help me feel my feelings.)

  7. Babies will make you feel better- ALWAYS.

    This may not be a shared opinion, but I promise you that babies make me feel better. Especially Baby Parker. I’ve had so many rough days, especially this semester. Going over to the Parker’s house and holding Baby Parker instantly cheers me up. She has so much life to live and she is happy and lovely and just yes! Instantly, I feel better. Babies snuggled into you and make you feel warm inside. The troubles of your day instantly melt away. They are truly God’s greatest gift.


 

Alright, that’s all you get for now. Part 2 will be up tomorrow! Hope you enjoyed reading these as much as I enjoyed reflecting on them.

 

Blessings,

PB

Two Are Better Than One

You could probably guess this upon first getting to know me, but I am really good at making friends with people. Not to brag, or anything. It’s just a skill I’ve accumulated over the years. People tend to like me. I, in return, tend to like people. I thrive off of them. The more people I know, the better off I am.

Or so I thought. Lately, I don’t know how to connect with others. Or maybe, I know how to connect with others too well. I find myself constantly reaching out to everyone I meet. I want to know their problems. I want to help them and love on them and make them feel better. But in doing so, I forget about myself. I don’t tell people when I am hurting, or when I need help. I feel like I have to be so strong for everyone else, like they are too fragile to handle the weight of my problems too. Thus, I pick them up, throw them on my shoulders, and carry them through their burdened journey and avoid going down my own path that desperately needs to be adventured on.

I know when the problem started. I know why it got worse. I know why it is so hard for me to let people in, but I’m not sharing it. I don’t know how. Or maybe I don’t want to? Maybe it’s my way of hiding my vulnerability. But aren’t we called to be vulnerable with one another? Aren’t we called to lean on one another?

God never asked me to walk alone. He never asked me to take on everyone’s burden. You see, this time last year I was starting my job as a freshman RA. While tackling that job, I quickly lost friends. It was too hard for people to schedule around the fact that my life no longer revolved around me, but instead around the girls that I took on as my charges. I had curfew, again. I had dorm events and devos. I had people that needed me, and my friends had plans that I didn’t fit into because of that. They wanted to go out after Midnight because they could. They wanted to go out for dinners and play games and do things that conflicted with the time I had to spend with my residents. And at first, that was okay. But then it continued. I felt left out, unwanted, and most importantly, unloved.

A few months later, and I finally started to connect to people again. I was open with people, telling them how I was feeling. I was telling them when things were wrong. I told them when I was hurting or in pain. At first, it worked out quite nicely and I was once again surrounded by people who loved me. And then, those people weren’t there either faster than I could blink my eyes. I kept picking these people who I thought would stick around, but instead, decided to serve a short time in my life and leave.

You see, that’s the problem with being able to friend well with lots of people. You are able to connect quickly, but that doesn’t mean the connection always lasts. To them, I served my time, and that was enough for them. They moved on, leaving me to move on too.

Here I am at the beginning of the school year, though, and I don’t trust people. Don’t get me wrong, I have plenty of friends. I know they love me and that they would do anything for me. They’ve proven it so many times this year. Yet, I cannot for the life of me tell them what is wrong. I can’t tell them my hurts. I don’t want to talk about the fact that I’m stressed to the max. I don’t want to cry in front of them. I don’t trust them enough to be weak, and that’s not okay.

If anything, I’ve been reminded by people that it is okay to share my burdens. I’ve been reminded that I have friends that won’t leave me high and dry. And to be honest, I’ve been reminded of that fact by people I wouldn’t have ever expected to tell me things like that.

Like I said, God never called us to rely on ourselves, or do life by ourselves. People need people. We need friends, family, and we need God. So here I am, about to start my final year of college. I have people in my life that love me. I have people that are willing to talk to me, hear me out no matter what I have to say. More than that, they push me to talk to them even when it’s hard. Because of that, I know this year will be better than last year.  And because of them, I know that I can rely on them just as much as they can rely on me, and for that, we will be better off.

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?” Ecclesiastes 4: 9-11

Holding on and Letting God

When I think about adulting, I sometimes freak out a bit more than I probably should. Unfortunately, being 19 years old, I feel the need to cling on to being a TEEN and avoiding adulthood. Today, however, reminded me that I don’t have anything teen-like to cling onto anymore. Two very distinct things happen today that helped push me to this conclusion.

Dating used to be this very easy thing where the most important thing you had to figure out was who was driving, your parents or his. Then, it was what are we going to watch, because of course movies were the only types of dates pre-teens go on. Teens for that matter, only go to a cheap dinner or a movie also, normally on their parents dime. Well, today that wasn’t the case. I realized that any sort of dating is a lot more complicated. Not that I’m calling my meet up with this guy a date per say, but I will say he has a kid. We’ve been texting for a week or two, and upon being asked to hang out, he did mention this. My first thought was, “Woah, I’m too young to date someone with a kid.” My second though was, “Woah, I can date someone with a kid.” My final thought was, “This seems too serious of a situation to have to dissect. I can’t handle.” This is a very adult-like situation, but considering I have so many friends that are now engaged, married, or pregnant, it tends to make sense that I could end up in this type of situation. So yes, today, I bought a man and his 18 month old daughter froyo. Not necessarily a date, but very grownup.

Friends have also shaped my need to cling to my teenage years. My best friend from high school and I have been on the rocks for quite some time now. Our friendship has changed as we have grown. We now experience life apart, which isn’t necessarily bad, but it is different. With that being said, I think I’ve done the most adult thing I could ever do today. I apologized for my wrongdoings, but most importantly, I was given an apology. After a big fight, I’m not saying that we will be the same type of friends we once were. But as an adult, I know that closure is a lovely and much needed thing. The most important lesson I’ve learned, however, is that although we grow up and get older, we can still fall into the same routines with those who have a piece of our heart. Change is inevitable, but the love you have for people is forever. That’s adulting. Well, at least how I see it.