Ode to 2014

Hello, friends.

It’s the new year, and as such I am going to try to keep up on my blog a little better. As I’ve mentioned before, amidst homework-writing, political newsletter-writing, missionary-writing, and personal journal-writing it’s sometimes hard to find time for blog-writing. BUT, I enjoy it, and I like to think there’s someone out there who also may enjoy what I have to say. So here’s to a year of consistent blogging! We’ll see how it goes.

In light of the new year, I want to focus today’s post on the year we just had—2014. For Christmas, My mom gave my husband and I little grateful journals, and asked us to write in them every night something that we were grateful for that day. I was so excited about this. I have been wanting to start a grateful journal forever, and although I most of my journaling on the computer now, I’m still a bit traditional and enjoy having an actual book to put ink into. This gift and the beginning of the new year was just the motivation I needed to get started.

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As I began to write my first entry on Jan. 1, it only made sense to spotlight 2014 and what the year taught me. And in order to do so, I need to backtrack a little. As most of you know, two days after we got married on Dec. 28, 2012, Kindall and I jumped on an airplane and flew to Asia where we spent the first year of our marriage. That year, I rode on an airplane 20+ times and traveled to 9 different countries. I learned a new language. I made amazing new friends, and saw incredible things. I spent every second learning and growing and working and adventuring with my new husband.

And as much as I missed my family, quesadillas, and the comforts of home, I was scared to come back. I was scared to come back to “real life” and have responsibility take over the unlimited time that I could spend with my husband when it was just the two of us and a billion Chinese people. I was scared to get stuck in the Utah bubble and miss my adventures. I was scared I wouldn’t get on an airplane again for who knows how long. I was scared to be demoted from an American superstar in Asia to one of 30,000 faceless BYU students. I was scared to go from a small branch of 80 international ex-pats, where we were primary teachers and the “cutest couple of the year,” to a married student ward where “newlywed,” “BYU student,” and “Utah-native” basically meant I was the same person as everybody else. I was scared to have to try to make friends with people my age again, when in China my friends’ ages spanned from 10 to 65. (For some reason, I often find it easier to make friends with old and young people than people my own age. One example of this: after an entire semester in an anthropology class last semester the only friend I made was the 55 year old lady who sat next to me. She was really great though.)

But as I sat and reflected on the adventurous 2013 and the normal, newlywed student couple 2014, I cannot say that I was happier or more fulfilled in 2013 than 2014. In fact, I have to say that my happiness has only grown and will keep growing, I hope, as long as I live.

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2014 taught me something: that life is beautiful. No matter where you are or what you are doing, the fact that we live, that there is life all around us, is beautiful. And as I looked back, I realized that the “normal,” year of 2014 taught me so much. It showed me that if I have a passion and dedicate myself to it, I can do whatever I want and be good at it and find joy in it. It taught me how to make new friends (even with those my age!) and develop deep relationships based on love and true care for the other person. It taught me what it’s like to have a small, helpless, adorable creature depend on you for everything, and how to love that creature even during the less adorable times that often involve one of my favorite things being chewed up and strewn all over the house (Oh, Moose). It taught me how to be a leader and to be someone who others look to for an example of love and service, although I still have a long way to go with those skills. It taught me to balance the busyness of life and focus on the things that will bring me the most joy in the long run. It taught me the joy that comes with trying new things and the self-worth and fulfillment of developing hobbies. It taught me that adventures don’t just come when you’re in an exotic place. It showed me that I love Kindall not only when we are out on blissful adventures, but in the normalness of everyday life—waking up early together, going to school, doing homework, making dinner, watching movies. It’s been two years and I still love him more and more every day.

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PC: Martha Mae Photography

 

2014 taught me that no matter how glamorous your life is, how adventurous and crazy and fun, the things that really matter are love, service, improving and finding joy in yourself, and spending time with those you love. Somehow a year at school with my hubby was just as fun as a year of traveling Asia. Because those things that matter, they are the things you can take with you anywhere.

So here’s to 2014. Thank you. And here’s to another year and lifetime of loving life.

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