When I was, I don’t know, 16? I used to dream about what my life would be like in my early twenties.
I wanted to be a young bride, a young mom, while achieving my degree in whatever it was at that moment that I wanted to be when I grew up. A dancer, a musician, a nutritionist, a group fitness instructor, a dermatologist, an English teacher…
I never once thought that my life would look like it does now but I am so grateful that the plans I had for myself didn’t unfold the way that my sixteen-year-old-self wanted them to.
By 24 I thought that I would be settled. I thought 24 was old. I thought I would know for certain what would happen in the coming five years and that my life could be surmised into predictable boxes labeled family, friends, work, beliefs. It was a white picket fence dream and all worthy desires but I grew up and I chose a different path.
While my friends became the young brides that I wanted to be, I didn’t feel prepared. By the age of 23, all of my friends from my hometown were married and settled down in my white picket fence dream life. I, however, longed for change.
Every few months I changed my plans. I moved around a lot, changed degrees a couple times, went to hair school for a year, took an internship, dedicated myself to studying literature, cut ties with old habits, changed beliefs, changed again.
I grew and receded and grew some more and I had time and space to do it. I found a certain foundation as a person, a solid ground to stand on that wasn’t built on expectations from some picturesque dream that I conjured at 16. I found courage in my independence and started making bigger and harder decisions that ultimately lead me across the ocean to a place I had been longing to call home for many years.
My perseverance and determination opened doors I could never have dreamed of and I know that Heavenly Father was orchestrating it all as I longed to come back to church and change my life for the better.
Year 23 changed my life. I remember last year on my birthday I made a vow that this would be a better year. I would be better and I would do things that would positively affect the course of my life. I look at this year as a testament of faith and endurance.
Here are 24 of the most beautiful and life changing blessings I received throughout the last year of my life:
- I was approached for an internship as an assistant writer in the branding industry.
- I received A’s after an intense summer semester while working my first internship at the same time.
- I applied for and got accepted to a study abroad program to London in two weeks.
- After my acceptance, I moved to London a month later on my own.
- I began letting myself desire to be an active member of the church.
- I cut ties with those who made it harder for me to seek positivity in my life.
- I moved to London, started uni, and made concrete goals spiritually and intellectually.
- I braved my anxieties and pushed myself out of my comfort zone.
- I attended my first FHE in October and made a group of amazing friends straight away.
- My friends became the best I’ve ever had in my life.
- My parents were able to visit me in the city.
- I experienced my first English Autumn (incredibly beautiful)
- I saw the city lit up in Christmas lights (magical)
- I went to the temple with my family over christmas break (complete joy!)
- I moved into my first flat in London.
- My housemates are heavenly cherubs who help me celebrate life’s sweetness and help me bear life’s burdens.
- I took on my hardest semester yet and learned a lot about different writing styles.
- I made my first cold calls for journalism stories (scariest thing ever).
- I hiked in Wales and ate an entire gluten free pizza.
- I was able to accompany one of my London sisters to the temple as she went for her first time.
- I danced all night at a club on my housemates birthday to throwback 90’s music (and I mean all night).
- I visited Dublin Ireland and surrounding area for the first time.
- I actually celebrated my birthday and loved it.
- I feel continual gratitude and joy for all of these blessings, accompanied by moments of overwhelming love for my Heavenly Father and how he has brought all of these things into my life and so many more.