Growing Pains

I wasn’t planning on doing a reflection for 2014, or even one of those Facebook picture things.  It just felt cheesy and overdone. Then a couple days ago a friend of mine asked me how 2014 was for me.  Sadly I already feel like I am at the age where the years just fly by in a blur, which is the answer I would normally give every year.  However this year was different.  I realized this year was actually very eventful.  Some good, some bad; some happy, some painful.  Through all of it I had grown more than I imagined possible.

I was really blessed this year to get to experience some truly wonderful adventures, and be surrounded by some truly amazing human beings. I had the opportunity to travel to some wonderful places:

Ames, Iowa with these lovely gems

Ames group

Newton, Kansas

2014-05-29 14.12.57-2

Philly where I also got to ride along with the Philly PD

2014-02-21 10.44.16

And my favorite Zambia 🙂

Zambia waterfall

Would you believe my wandering feet still don’t think that is enough travel for one year?  I know they are hopeless, but what is a girl to do.

This year I also got to be apart of two of my dear friends weddings.

Bre Wedding w katie

Bekka wedding

I went rock climbing

Rock climbing

I got to know this goober really well, and learned that my brother and I are basically twins

Dave

My brother also bravely taught me how to shoot a glock

Gun Shooting

2014 was also a year full of changes, such as graduating college.

Graduation

I went from life at full steam ahead with lots of coffee and little sleep, to life coming to a near dead stop.  I am still trying to figure out what people do with free time.  Although having a free saturday to sit by a fireplace and drink delicious coffee while I write this blog isn’t a bad life.  Still it was a big adjustment.  Suddenly my whole life is there for me to do whatever I wanted with it, and I realized just how little I knew what I actually wanted.  I am still trying to figure out that one out too.  Which leads to the next big change of 2014 – starting my first big girl job as a paralegal. Which has honestly been wonderful.  I have a great boss who genuinely cares for people and does everything he can to help those who need help.  Which in turn allows me in small ways to be able to help people as well.

Yet despite all of the wonderful things that happened this year, I still had one of the hardest years of my life.  I will save you the sob story details, but one day I realized that this is not the life I had planned on living.  At all.  Things just kept happening and it felt like my life was falling apart at a rapid rate.  This wasn’t suppose to be how my life turned out.  I am the girl with the plans and the won’t-take-no-for-an-answer attitude.  Not the girl crying on her deck one late summer night because she felt like she failed at life.  Since that night, I have given up thinking that life would follow my plans.  Life is not a plan; it is a journey, a rough adventurous one at that.

Looking back now I wouldn’t change a thing (expect maybe the dramatic tears), because I learned an important lesson.  If I cannot learn to know that I am enough during my failures, I will never be able to feel like enough during my successes. It is not about the things that we do in this life, it is about the person we are while we do them.  You can be an extremely successful person, but if you cannot love yourself for who you are without all the glamor of success, then no amount of success will ever be able to change that.

It is called growing pains for a reason.  It is painful.  I still remember the growing pains I use to get when I was young.  It was not fun, and quite honestly I felt awkward for a while until I adjusted my long limbs.  Life is a lot like that.  It is painful, and you know what you will probably feel a little awkward as you adjust.

In America, we seem to have this idea that to struggle means you are less of a person.  Struggling is the equivalent of weakness. We hide our struggles because we don’t want people to realize that we are weak or that our life is messy.  Can we just stop for a moment and realize how ridiculous this is?  The best people that I know are the ones who have struggled.  They are real, they have been refined by fire, and they are anything but weak. They are the people that are aware of the world around them.  They are the people that know how cruel life can be, but they love life anyways.  They are the people who have such a deep sense of appreciation for the life around them.  I know that for me, I could not have become a better person, a stronger person without a little growing pains.

My favorite movie is the Count of Monte Cristo.  If I haven’t forced you to watch it with me, then we should talk about our friendship.  There is a scene in which the count gives the birthday toast to his son (only at the time he doesn’t know it is his son).  He ends the toast with this, “Life is a storm, my young friend. You will bask in the sunlight one moment, be shattered on the rocks the next. What makes you a man is what you do when that storm comes. You must look into that storm and shout as you did in Rome. Do your worst, for I will do mine! Then the fates will know you as we know you: as Albert Mondego, the man!”

Maybe you are like me, maybe 2014 was a rough one for you.  Maybe your growing pains still hurt or maybe they just feel awkward.  Now I normally avoid science as much as possible, but I have been an athlete for long enough that I know in order for your muscles to grow stronger they first must be torn and broken down.  The human spirit is like a muscle sometimes.  In order for it to grow stronger, sometimes it must first be broken.  But what we sometimes forget in the midst of our struggle, is that our human spirit will bounce back stronger than before.  When the next storm of 2015 hits I know that I will smile and say, “Do your worst, for I will do mine.”

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