This year has been so crazy, so it's a little hard for me to believe that it is already the end of November. I still remember where I was at even at the beginning of this year and I am so grateful for every single thing that has happened in between.
Since I will probably reflect on this year again closer to the new year, here is a brief list of what I'm thankful for this season:
I'm thankful for work. As exhausting it is for me to work so much, I am thankful to have the opportunities to be able to provide for myself.
I'm thankful for food, because food.
I'm thankful for each day, no matter how busy or lazy I am. Every day is a day that the Lord has made, and I will always rejoice & be glad in it.
I'm thankful for my family. It's been quite a year with them, especially my parents, but I'm thankful to have them always. Good or bad, they've shaped who I am today.
I'm thankful for my friends. This year, my friend group has gotten much smaller than what I am used to, but it just makes me so much more thankful for those small select group of people that I can't do life without.
I'm thankful for being in a long distance relationship. It brought out a lot of things from both of us, but it has brought us closer than ever.
I'm thankful for Darell. This year has been a year of growth for us, and I am so thankful to have had him supporting me and standing by me through all of the growing pains.
I'm thankful for the unknown. This year had a lot of unknowns for me--my relationship, my finances, my post-grad plans--but a little bit of faith has brought me a long way. Thank God.
I have to also say that if you're reading this post, I'm thankful for you. Because of all the changes happening in my life this year, I am thankful that after all this time you still choose to read/follow this blog. I have not been on my A game as I usually have been in the past with this blog, but I thank you for the grace to understand that I am human and live a life outside of this computer screen, so thank you.
Traveling solo, especially as a female, can be a very exhilarating but also nerve-wrecking experience. You get to see the world from your own eyes but sometimes you might wish that someone was there to share the experience with you. As a woman, it's an even bigger deal because of everything we have to deal with in regards to our own personal safety.
Although I didn't actually travel through Australia by myself, it was my first travel experience of any kind alone. In the past, I have traveled with friends and family of course, but never by myself. I had heard so many fun stories of traveling alone and meeting great people along the way, but I've also heard of the horror stories of the ways women are treated when traveling.
So on my trip, I learned a couple things about traveling solo & why I recommend it for anyone thinking about it, especially if you are a woman:
+ You get to see the world from your own perspective and no one else's.
When you travel with other people, your judgment or opinions or traveling a certain way or going to a certain place can get clouded if you are with others. Their opinions might overpower or influence yours to be different than what you may have thought if you were alone. If you're alone, your opinion of a place is completely yours and you get to see what you want when you want it. You have the option to choose exactly what you want to do, and whatever comes from it will shape your opinion and nothing (and no one) else.
+ You get to meet some really interesting people.
Whether you are traveling by plane, boat, or car, you are going to meet different people along the way. Especially if you are on a plane or boat by yourself, take advantage of it! Those people don't have a choice but to talk to you, haha. One of my professors said that planes are the best places to network with people, so do it! When I went to Australia and back I was on four different planes because of layovers in Hawaii, I sat next two four different people (although on the last flight I fell asleep and woke up and the guy was gone), and I had the chance to talk with them about themselves and why they travel and things like that. It just so happened that all of them were older adults, so they definitely had a lot of wisdom and life experience to offer me. I wish I had a better mix of older adults and people closer to my age but I still enjoyed talking to them nonetheless.
+ It teaches you to be responsible for yourself.
Even if someone booked the whole trip for you, once you get past security you're on your own. Only you can get you to your gate and into your seat (if its assigned). Only you can be responsible for your own passport. Only you can be the one to recognize your suitcases from the baggage claim (and if you're lucky like me, make a friend to get it for you if it's as heavy as mine was). If you are doing the whole trip by yourself and not just the actual traveling part, then you are also responsible to get your accommodations set up (and to make sure you are able to get there too).
I have always loved travel since I was a child but doing it as a young adult has only fed my desire to travel more. I'm hoping to do some more traveling soon :)*
*I know that the recent events around the world have shaken some peoples' thoughts about traveling but I say that it shouldn't stop you. What happened in Paris and many other countries on that day could've just as easily happened in your neighborhood. So while it's definitely important to be cautious, don't let that hold you back from traveling completely! If you do decide to travel to one of those affected places such as Paris in the next few weeks or months, if anything, it'll be the safest time to go because security will be at an all time high!
So go travel and see the world. See the world by yourself if you can. It is such a great experience and you'll be glad you did.
I am a month away from being done with my undergraduate degree. I am so close but yet so far. You know the feeling. There is an event or goal that you are so close to accomplishing you can almost taste it. This is the point when it is easiest to get lazy or give up because you are so close you can almost let it all go.
Well I'm here to say: fight the good fight! Laziness is our default in this stage of the game because we've worked so hard for so long it's easy to just check out, but don't! (Which I'm sure most of you won't anyway.) However, here are a couple easy tips/encouragement to help get you through the next few weeks:
+ Write out your to-do list everyday.
For me, I try to take on my tasks day by day so that I don't get completely overwhelmed by everything I still have to do in the coming days/weeks (although sometimes I get overwhelmed anyway haha). For futuristic thinkers like me, it helps to focus in on that day, rather than your mind going off into the distant future where you will be where you want to be. I use the Daily Docket notepad from Inkwell Press on top of my planner that I LOVE from Ban.do (by the way they are sold out so you'll have to wait until they release their new ones to get them :( )!
What I currently have in the Big Day Lite app
+ Have a visual reminder of your goal to motivate you.
I use the Big Day Lite app to remind me of big or exciting things coming up for me. Actually, today, I only have 30 days left until I am officially done with my undergraduate career! I'm so freakin' excited you don't even know. Although this visual reminder, whether on your phone or on your wall, may distract you at times, I always tell myself that if I don't get my work done, then I won't ever get to where I want to be. For my situation right now, I tell myself that if I don't get this done, I won't pass the class and I'll have to stay another semester of school, which I DON'T want to do.
+ Most of all, live in the moment.
I think when you have a goal or event that you are really looking forward to it is so easy to get caught up in everything you're excited for but at the cost of missing out on what is happening right in front of you. That could mean not being fully present when you're with your friends or actually passing up on opportunities to take a break from working so hard to just live right now. I struggle with this because I am such a planner and I could spend all day planning everything in my life, but I try to remind myself of this every day especially when I feel like I'm getting sucked into the future. You don't want to leave college or do what you want to do or complete your goal and realize that everyone around you was waiting for you to notice them or to spend time with them but you didn't so they went and had fun without you. You don't want to be that person; You still want to look back on the days leading up to that event or moment and know that you enjoyed your time in that season of life.
We are nearing the end of the semester and the end of the calendar year, so it's easy to get antsy and anxious even if you're not a senior in college like I am. Whatever you're waiting for, stay strong! You can do it. I'm right there with you.
What are you waiting for? What are you close to accomplishing or what event are you looking forward to in the next few weeks?
I can't believe it has already been a month since I was in Australia! The high has barely worn off; I cannot describe to you just how much it has changed my life.
Obviously, one of my favorite parts from the whole trip was getting to be with Darell again. It was worth waiting the last few months to finally get to hug him, kiss him, just to be around him again.
As I've said in previous posts, the first few weeks of being long distance was really hard for me. It forced me to face some of my own personal issues head on and I really needed to lean on God to be my comfort.
However, even though it was hard to be apart and be living completely different lives, it made the reunion all worth it.
To be honest, I was a little nervous to see Darell because part of me was scared that things would feel so different because we both had been apart for a few months and it wouldn't be the same in a bad way. However, from the moment that I saw him with my cousin at the airport things fell right back into place like before, but we were both slightly better versions of ourselves which made our time together so amazing.
All of this is to say that waiting is really hard when you're in a long distance relationship, but it is so worth it.
The feeling of getting hug them and hold their hand again after kissing them through a screen is so amazing and so satisfying.
So if you are in a long distance relationship, hold on! You can do it because when you do, you'll be glad you did.