With less than 1 day left of my 20's, I have been doing a little reflection on the past 29 years of my existence. I always thought that when I turned 30 I would have life figured out. Now that I am knocking on the door of the next decade, I can say confidently that I don't. However, I am at peace with knowing that life is a journey, and each step has taught me something invaluable.
I've squeezed as much out of the past 10,949 days as I possibly could, and I am thankful for every season, every tear, every success and every challenge that has brought me to this point. As I close this chapter of my life and begin writing the next, I think it is important to do so in an attitude of thanksgiving.
So before I blow out the candles, I want to reflect on 30 things that I am truly thankful for in my life...
1. My parents. I have been blessed with 2 of the greatest human beings on this earth to call mom and dad. They have loved me and supported me every step of the way, even when I chose to travel the world and teach music in lieu of college.
2. A husband who pushes me and encourages me to be my best self. Sometimes we argue because he believes in me more than I believe in myself. As cliche as it sounds, he is honestly my best friend and I can't imagine life without him.
3. A God who sacrificed everything for a relationship with me. This still leaves me speechless. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. - Romans 5:8
4. The chance to travel the world see the beauty beyond our boarders. There is nothing that fills my cup quite like experiencing new cultures and beautiful places in this big world. I am thankful to have traveled to many places and met hundreds of people who showed me the meaning of hospitality and goodness in humanity.
5. True, meaningful friendships. Some people go through life never knowing the joy of a true friend. I am beyond blessed to have some of the greatest friends in the world (and all over the world) who would drop everything in a heartbeat if I needed them (and vice versa!)
6. A home. After spending several years living nomadically and then another several years working with the homeless population, I have developed a new found appreciation for a place to call home.
7. Michigan. I honestly believe I live in the best state in the U.S. If we could only import some mountains I don't think I would ever leave.
8. Mistakes. They've been my greatest teacher and motivator.
9. Nature. My happy place. Where I can go and completely unplug and refresh my mind and soul.
10. The ability to do what I love. I spent that past 10 years or so, trying to figure out what my true passion was. Turns out it found me, and I am beyond grateful to have the ability to create my own future doing what I enjoy.
11. Running. I have also developed a love for running. Well, it's more of a love/hate relationship. But one thing is for sure, I love how I feel when it's over.
12. Getting to know myself. It may sound strange, but for most of my life I thought I was an extrovert. Which was quite exhausting, because I'm not. It's not that I don't enjoy being around people, I just need equal amounts of "me time" to recharge.
13. Hiking. There is just something about strapping up those laces, putting my hair in a ponytail, and hitting the trail (make-up and care free) that makes me feel fully alive.
14. Restful days. I am a big fan of the weekends. Netflixs, books, yard work, walks, writing, coffee, etc. Did I mention I'm an introvert?
15. Cooking. This may come as a surprise to some of you, but I actually really enjoy cooking (sometimes.) If I am not crunched for time and I can turn on some Ella Fitzgerald and pour a glass of red (or white) wine, I could honestly spend hours in the kitchen.
16. Laughter. I am thankful for people in my life who make me laugh. This world is too crazy to take seriously.
17. Being an Aunt. I've never really been a big "kid" person, that is, until becoming an Aunt. Now, some of my favorite people in the world are under the age of 6. They make me laugh and they never cease to surprise me.
18. Health. This is one I admittedly take for granted most days. My world came to a screeching halt four years ago when my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. All of the sudden we went from the family that that doesn't happen to, to the family that it was happening to. From that day forward every healthy day given to us is something I am truly grateful for.
19. Peace of mind. Over the past several years, I've realized that I have a little problem with anxiety. However, it is one of those "count it all as joy" kinda things. Through something uncomfortable and scary, I have learned so much about the importance of mindfulness and the gift of peace.
20. My siblings. Not everyone can say that their siblings are their best friends. I can, and I am extremely thankful for that!
21. My second family. Four years ago, I gained 5 new family members who have enriched my life and blessed me beyond belief. They are some of the most giving, supportive, encouraging people I know, and I am truly thankful to have them in my life.
22. Writing. I'm no Hemingway, but I love to put my worries, victories, life lessons and random thoughts down on paper. The less that stays stuck in my head, the better.
23. Simplicity. I love the art of living life simply. I try not to hold on to things that I don't need and to appreciate the things I have. I've learned that more stuff only clutters your life and your heart. Less is more.
24. Coffee. I don't crave coffee as much as I do the experience of it. The quiet mornings with steam rising in the light of the sun, or sitting in a coffee shop on a rainy day while I get work done. It's just one of lives simple joys.
25. Music. Music has played a big role in my life and experiences thus far. It gave me a reason to wake up and go to school everyday in high school, and allowed me the opportunity to travel all over the world and meet people from every walk of life afterwards. I don't know where I would be without the influence of music in my life.
26. Friendly Strangers. There are a lot of crabby people out there, so when a perfect stranger is kind to you for no reason, it is truly something to be thankful for.
27. Wine. I think this one speaks for itself.
28. Changing Seasons. I used to hate every season except for summer. However, after living in California where seasons don't really change, I've learned to appreciate each season and it's uniqueness. From the warmth of summer, to the colors of fall, the smells of spring and well.....Christmas.
29. Solo dance parties. In an effort to live in the moment, I sometimes have dance parties by myself when no one is home. Don't act like you haven't done it!
30. Life. I know it's only 30, but life seems to be going by rather quickly. Moments of gratitude seem to slow it down, even pause it sometimes and let me breathe it in and appreciate the time I have.
So thank you to my twenties, you have been good to me, but get ready thirty cause I'm comin' at cha!