It’s almost 2015, the year I used to think was going to bring me resolution and stability. Yet here I am- in grad school, broke as a church mouse, single, living in an apartment with 4 people I met through craigslist, no car and no permanent job. It’s funny how life doesn’t turn out the way you thought it would.
No, life hasn’t turned out the way I thought it would, but it has filled me with awe, joy and most of all, gratitude.
I’m drenched in wonder with the fact that I get to spend any time whatsoever on this spinning planet. Life is so deep, so mysterious, so mind bogglingly beautiful, that I can’t help but be grateful just to be alive. Despite all the unknowns and disappointments, this past year has given me many experiences to be thankful for.
Moving to Baltimore has forced me to rediscover and redefine my identity. For the first time, I accept and appreciate myself. Not because I finally became who I thought I should become, but because I realized that you don’t have to be perfect to be lovable, and you can’t truly accept others until you accept yourself.
I have met so many amazing people since moving here, and I’m keenly aware, now more than ever, of how desperately people need each other. My family, friends new and old, co-workers, helping professionals, teachers, classmates, supervisors, mentors, kids, even strangers- I wouldn’t be where I am today without all of them and I won’t get much farther without them.
How different this planet would be if we measured success not by power, money and winning warfare, but by how many people we helped and by how selflessly we loved? What if we cared more about upgrading someone’s quality of life, than we cared about upgrading our iphones?
Baltimore has taught me to live with my eyes open- to see the need, even if I can’t do anything about it in the moment. And I’ve learned it’s the moments when I can help or show kindness, that bring the most joy.
I’ve learned to embrace the low moments in life too, because they are the ones that teach you the most about how to love. And last of all, I’m learning to not be scared when the future you hoped for crumbles, because many hands will be there to help guide you through the rubble, and they will help you rebuild.
I’m pursuing my dreams and goals, but holding tightly only to joy, to love, to beauty, to gratitude, and to grace for myself and others. I’m holding on to intimacy with the Divine, believing that ultimately we are here simply to know and be known, to love and be loved. That’s the beauty, and that’s the mystery.
Life doesn’t always turn out the way you hoped it would. Sometime it turns out better.