a few weeks ago, i was surprised and honored to receive an email from my minister asking if i would be a part of our annual “decades” service, during which a congregant from each decade of life is given three minutes to answer the questions, “what are you leaving behind in the old year?” and “what is your dearest hope for the future?”
and this is what i said:
Even before I was asked to participate in this service, I had been spending a lot of time reflecting on how my life has changed in the past year. My day-to-day existence is often chaotic, so it can be hard to gain perspective, but looking back, I can see now that 2013 has been one of the most transformative years of my life. In many ways I feel like a completely different person than who I was just 12 months ago.
This year was definitely a painful one; I found myself disappointed and hurt by people who I deeply cared about. I over extended myself and had to reexamine my own definition of success. I learned to have humility at work. And I learned what it means to truly be a friend.
This year was also one of the most fulfilling years of my life—I joined this congregation, began practicing yoga, and gained confidence in my academic, professional, and personal lives. I built and worked to maintain the relationships that anchored me during my moments of despair and madness, and I am profoundly lucky to share my life with the people I call my family and friends.
Overall, I think the laughter definitely outweighed the tears.
I’d like to think that as my twenties pass by, I’m becoming more myself—learning to be as authentic as possible in every aspect of my life.
So even though 2013 has been a year of turmoil and profound confusion, it has also been one of great joy, and I don’t want to leave anything behind. I want to take all the lessons I’ve learned in the past 52 weeks and carry them with me as I continue on my journey to becoming my adult self. Life will continue to hurt in one way or another, and it seems to me that the only thing I can do is be myself, try to stay sane and just go through it, attempting to find humor along the way.
And as I look forward to 2014, all I can hope for is the continued health, happiness and growth for myself and those around me.
i’m not terrified of public speaking, but i’m not super experienced at it either, so i definitely had nerves beginning to hit me as early as friday night.
but i’m so glad i decided to participate. i love my church and it made me feel even more connected to the congregation. the other speakers were terrific and it was fascinating to hear how they interpreted the prompts. i had a few great chats with other members afterwards, and it was a truly positive experience. it makes me smile just thinking about belonging in such a wonderful place.
a safe and happy new year to you all!