2013: The Year of Alive.

It’s here already. Holy moly. Is it me, or did 2012 go faster than any year on record?

Anyway, it’s here. December 31, 2012. Out with the old, in with the new right? We’re winding down the holidays, closing out the books, reflecting and setting new goals for a new year. Just like every other year.

Just like every other year.

I have a confession. I’ve been in a rut. Like, a massive crater of a hole. And the reality is I dug it myself. I’ve been comfortable (which is by no means a bad thing.) I have good friends, a good job, good parents, a good house…you get the picture.

It’s all good.

But I’m not ready to settle for good. That’s what I’ve been doing. I’ve been o.k. with life just being comfortable. I mean, I worked a lot of years to get to comfortable! I survived high school, I freaked out through college, and somehow managed to crawl through the past few years transitioning into adulthood (which, PS, no one tells you is going to be the HARDEST TIME OF YOUR LIFE. Praise God for our friends.) Let’s not lie, it’s still hard. But, as I’m about to turn 28 later this week, I have had a realization.

I’m not dead.

(Alright, I can see this is where you start thinking that I’m being a drama queen. “No Heather, your life is not over just because you’re in your late twenties.” I know, I know. But you should try spending majority of your time with college students…trust me, I feel old. There are slang words and dance moves I don’t know!)

Annnnnyway. I’ve been treating life like I climbed to the top of some grandiose mountain top and here I shall now stay and find a way to be content. Because clearly this is all there is.

Um, excuse me. No. (Sometimes you have to get a little sassy to life.)

For years I’ve been hanging onto one of my favorite bible verses: “Be still, and know that I am God;…” Psalm 46:10. And yes, it’s still one of my favorite verses. Contentment in God is one of the core truths of life. However, not too long ago we were talking with our life group and I remembered one of the greatest pieces of advice I have ever heard in my life.

Pray and move. 

For the love of it all, be still for a time, but then do something! Talk to God about it. Pray, pray, pray all day, everyday. But do something as you’re praying. Faith in God means faith in the reality that He will divert any plan that isn’t His. He’s not going to let you do something harmful to your life as long as you’re in Him. Pray and move.

Ok, so this was a really long, drawn out way for me to get to my point. My point is, I’ve been trying to change my prayer. Away from my usual: “Why is this happening?…what do you want from me?…what am I supposed to do now?”

Do you see the main problem there? Yep. That’s right. Me.

So now here’s the new goal: “What do YOU want my heart’s desire to be?…what do YOU want from me?…what do YOU need me to be doing?”

Ahhhh. Better. I’m by no means claiming to be the queen of praying and seeking (on the contrary, I’m actually really bad at it) but I’m trying.

So this is probably about the time you’re wondering about the title of this post, am I right? What does Alive have to do with anything? Well, remember what I said? I’m not dead. Yippee!

Alive is what this year is about. In all sense of the word. Celebrating being alive (this week is dedicated to that…Birthday Girl!), finding passions that make me come alive, rejoicing in the fact that I (and YOU) are alive, and FEELING: joy, pain, hurt, love, anxiety, all of it. Being real and being alive. Experiencing new things. Not just sitting and being content. And of course, all with some sass and sarcasm (come on, this is me we’re talking about.)

This has been one of my favorite quotes in recent years…

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” 
–Howard Thurman

So here we go. Alive in 2013. Who’s with me? Will you explore being alive? Will you try something new with me? Will you choose your own word and share it with me?

I decided to be part of a blog project this year, One Word 365 (see the logo over there —> Look, and come back to finish reading!) It’s a community of people who each choose one word to live their years by and share their experiences. I started following it last year and decided to jump on board this year.

I believe in this year. And my goodness do I hope it goes a little slower than last year!

Here we go, loves. Here we go.

Advertisements

5 Years and Counting.

Approximately five years ago, give or take a week, this was me…

Graduating undergrad. Leaving my home at Otterbein and heading off into the real world. I was in a pretty good place; I had an apartment with my three best friends and a job that I started prior to graduation.

This time of year always holds a special place in my heart. Working at a university, I’m reminded of the utter excitement and absolute fear that ending college brings. And as this is a milestone anniversary, I thought I’d take a look at a few things I’ve learned in the past 5 years:

I don’t know if you ever feel like an adult.
The other day someone called me an “MBA holding homeowner” and I literally almost started sobbing. I have these things; titles, degrees, mortgages, etc that are all supposed to mean that I’m smart, responsible and capable. And yet most days, I still feel like a child. I’m often intimidated by my students and all the ambition they have, forgetting that I’m in the mentor position. I always kind of thought that when I got to the next milestone, I would feel more prepared. But alas, I’m not sure it works that way. I’m not sure we ever feel ready and settled.

It’s ok not to know.
I spend my days convincing 18-22 year olds that it’s ok if they don’t know what they want to do the rest of their lives We push everyone to always have an answer to “what now?”; Where will you go to college? What will you study? What will you do after graduation? When will you get married? When will you have kids? Bahhhh…

Sometimes, it’s ok to just enjoy the present. Sometimes you just need to be still and figure out who you are before you can figure out where you want to go. And if you do set off in a direction, and it doesn’t work and you turn right back around…that’s ok too.

One of my favorite verses, Psalm 46:10: “Be still and know that I am God.”

Home will always be home.
No matter what, I will always be a Clyde Flier. I will always love Pizza House, sitting around bonfires and going to Lake Erie on weekends. I’ll always be a country girl. I still want my mom and dad to sweep in and make things better. And even as I change, and my hometown changes, I still feel comfort every time I drive into town (which unfortunately isn’t that often anymore.) There’s just something special about knowing where you belong.

People are more important than anything. Anything.
I’m notorious for saying that the people I spend my work day with are more important than the work I’m doing and the pay I’m receiving. And I believe that. I’ve had jobs in which I spent my days alone in an office, sometimes never talking to another co-worker the whole day, never seeing a human face-to-face and accomplishing nothing except seemingly making money. I don’t believe that’s a fulfilled life. We’re here for a reason, and that reason involves connecting to each other. Put people first. Everything else will fall into place.

Family is a fluid concept.
It isn’t until you’re away from your family that you realize that can mean more than blood relatives. I’ve found my true soul mates are some of my best friends. We’ve gotten each other through the past five years, sometimes dragging one another when life made that necessary. We’ve laid on the floor, staring at the ceiling, waiting for some kind of direction. We’ve stood next to one another through weddings, heartache, babies, moves (oh, good grief, so many moves!!), job changes, job loss, celebrations and frustrations. I know for a fact that I would not have come through these past few years without these people. They mean the world to me. And when you’re on your own, nothing could be more important.

I’ve learned far more than just five things in the past five years…but I thought I’d save you from some of those boring lessons, such as how to cook a turkey on Thanksgiving or how to steam a wedding dress (of which I think I’ve become an expert!) What lessons do you have to add to the list??

To any of my students (I know some of you find this)…know that it’s ok. The next few years may be scary as all get out. But we’ve all been there. And we are coming through on the other side. There are some lessons that only life and time can teach us.