Sunday, December 29, 2013

Reflecting on 2013

2013. A year with more up’s and down’s than I would have ever thought possible in a matter of 12 months. I still have a hard time reconciling with some of the events that took place, but like all things I know it will make sense one day, even if that day is not on this earth. At the same time, my life has also been changed for the better. I am saying goodbye to 2013 much happier than I was welcoming it in. So let’s take a minute to reflect on all the happenings this year has given me… all the memories that will stick with me forever… all the moments I never wanted to end… and even the ones that still make me cringe.
            I am going to be completely honest. The beginning of the year had more down’s than up’s for me. But on the fortunate side, the end of this year has been quite the opposite, giving me more up’s than down’s. I guess this is life and that’s just how it goes.

            I started the year off with two pieces of me broken. As a girl, a teenager, and a human being, I experienced my first heartbreak. I never expected a broken heart to take as big as a toll on me as it did… but when they say it feels like the world collapsing it really isn’t an exaggeration. And I am a happy person, not emo whatsoever haha but it hurt me bad and had me stuck in a bit of a rut for a while.   The other part of me that broke is a bit of a funny story to tell the truth! For New Year’s Eve me and 6 of my favorite people (even including the boy who broke my heart) decided it would be fun to spend the night jumping around on trampolines at no place other than Hangtime in Provo! It was a New Year’s deal… like only 6 dollars for 3 hours of fun play time! But if you ever decide to play on tramps, don’t go for 3 hours. The results are shocking and awfully upsetting. No, I didn’t perform any sick tricks or even have a collision with a person or object. Yep, all it took for the bones in my foot to break was the exhaustion of the same repeated motion of pounding and jumping. Haha about an hour before we left I realized my toe hurt extremely bad but I thought it was just a cramp or something so I kept jumping my heart away! I even joked about it being broken, but honestly how ridiculous would that be if it were true right? I didn’t even do anything crazy! But when I woke up on January first and couldn’t walk we took a trip to the hospital and sure enough, it was broken! The part about my foot breaking that sucked was not the broken bone itself, but the timing of it. January third was the first day of lacrosse practice and I had been looking forward to that day for a month. Not necessarily because I am a die-hard lover of lacrosse, but I was so excited for an activity to take my mind off my broken heart for 2 whole hours a day! So instead of being able to run all my feelings away to cope the way I wanted to, I was stuck sitting at home, unable to do anything productive for about 6 weeks. Yet on the plus side I discovered a love for the TV series Friends! Haha so if anything good came out of me being a bump on a log at least I developed a new sense of humor and got a couple good laughs which heaven knows I needed at the time!

            Returning to lacrosse was not as tough a transition as I thought it would be. There were new coaches and the conditioning was not as intense as it had been the previous year, according to my teammates. In fact, the second practice I went to I lapped about half the girls on my team on one of the drills. It surprised everyone including myself, but I seriously think I just had soooo much pent up energy from sitting around I needed to get it all out and forget everything that was happening in my life for just a second. The first couple of weeks of my return to practice I pushed myself to all my limits and worked hard to prove my spot on Varsity. I ended up making the cut and I was stoked!

            But then a couple weeks later when games started, I received more news that cut me down. I got an email from BYU saying my acceptance had been declined. I was devastated. In my mind, that was my last hope, the only reason to keep trying.  At that point, I sort of gave up in all aspects. I stopped trying during lacrosse practice, leading me to sitting on the bench for the majority of game time. I gave up trying to make the most of high school. I was beyond ready to get out, away from all the people I felt were fake and phony.
            I think what got me through those last couple months of high school was a trip I took with three of my very best friends. I counted it as being my senior trip, even though it was during spring break and none of those friends would be graduating from Brighton with me. That vacation was an opportunity for me to leave the world behind for a week and find the beauty of this world and of life. We created some of the best memories and grew so much closer even though that seems impossible because we were already so close!

            A couple days after we returned from the trip I was forced to say my first goodbye to one of my best friends who was leaving on a mission. I miss the crap out of that kid, just as I do all the others serving, but my testimony of missionary work has grown from each farewell talks and wonderful weekly emails! Anyway, saying goodbye was hard but time is going by pretty quickly now and hopefully they will all be back before I know it!

             Also when I returned from the trip we had to start AP study groups for the upcoming test at the end of the year. Luckily, I LOVED my study group to death. Seriously. Besides my great friend Abby, I didn’t know anyone in my group super well at first. We were all so different. And if it hadn’t been for that group, our paths would never really have collided. But I am so grateful they did because I love those people. Our meetings were super beneficial for two reasons. We covered all the material we needed too, plus some & we always ended up crying from laughter at some point or another each time we met up. Holy smokes, I never knew how funny they would all be! And due to them, I passed the test! Thank the heaven’s something finally went right for all the hard work I put into it!

            The last couple weeks of high school were a breeze and probably some of the best I had had all year. I didn’t have anymore hard homework because my AP test and AP portfolio were finished with, leaving me with time to spend with some friends who would soon be leaving on their missions and other friends I didn’t get to spend as much time with as I would have liked. We had our Senior Dinner Dance, which was a complete blast! And then before I knew it, even after awaiting it for about a year and a half, I GRADUATED! What a great day. I wasn’t sad to say goodbye to that portion of my life as many of my classmates were which I think is a good thing. I felt ready to move onto bigger and better things and let my life begin!

            Two days after graduation I would say step one of beginning a new life was checked off. To begin, me and my soon to be roomie drove up to what would soon be our home, the beloved Logan, to complete our SOAR session. Basically a counseling session to tour the campus and sign up for classes and have any questions answered. This got me so excited for what would soon be my reality… a new phase of life! To top that off, that night I hung out with the one and only TD, a boy who every girl in school would have died for. Like not exaggerating (ha). Soooo that was quite exciting, as one would imagine, especially because he texted me and showed up completely unexpectedly. I’m talking about the hottest, most popular kid from Brighton, wanting to hang out with the average me. Needless to say, that was a memorable night, with an even more memorable ending (if ya know what I mean…) WOO!
            I was on a high for the next 14 days. After this high came the lowest low I have ever been. One of my very best friends since childhood, Becky, passed away. 20 years old, in perfect health, passed away. Causes are unknown, even after an autopsy was performed. This loss and uncertainty caused the most pain I have ever felt- mentally, spiritually, and physically. I can’t put into words how hard this loss was and still is on me. My whole body felt numb for weeks and smiling did not come naturally. I had to remember all my blessings and make the choice every morning to be strong and to be happy. I hate that I had to loose her. I hate that her family had to loose her. But I have never been surer that the Plan of Salvation is real. I know I will see her again. I know she was needed in heaven, even though I feel like I still need her here for me and for the ones who love her so deeply. When I first received the news, I was so confused and so so mad. Why did I have to go through the impossible when things were finally looking up for me? Why did her family have to loose her when they had already lost their Dad and Husband several years before? Why would I never get to see her in this life again when she was one of the few people who knew me best, who was willing to listen to me for hours no matter what I was saying, who made me laugh harder than anyone ever could? I still don’t know why. And I don’t believe I ever will in this life. But I am grateful everyday that I know where she is and that she is happy and reunited with her Earthly Father and her Heavenly Father. I truly couldn’t be happy without this knowledge.

            With that being said, this summer was different than any I have ever had. Normally my summers are filled with vacation after vacation. Luckily, I had this summer to spend time at home and rest my mind and body while trying to recover from those enormous amounts of pain I felt heaped upon me every day. There couldn’t have been a better summer to be laid back. I got to spend lots of time with the some of the people I needed most at this time. I spent many days with my family, lots of time with friends who were leaving on missions and those who I would have to say goodbye to when we all went off to different schools.

            Suddenly, summer was up and it was time to start school! I felt ready. I felt excited. And I was so happy the time had finally come! I wasn’t even that nervous about moving in with four girls I hardly knew who I would soon be seeing everyday. We had all hung out 4 times over the summer, and I felt confident we would get along without much drama. And guess what?! I was right! I love those girls so much. They have become my best friends in such a short amount of time. I got incredibly lucky to have them all in my life. I hear others horror stories of rooming situations and I am proud to say our issues have been minimum.  
            This semester has been better than I ever dreamed. I’m honestly grateful for the everything that got me to USU. Although I was so devastated when I didn’t get accepted into the school I have always dreamed on attending, I know I didn’t get in for a reason. If I had been accepted, I would have gone. And although I still love BYU and may even end up there one day, I know I was supposed to come to USU for my first semester of college. I have grown in ways I didn’t think possible so soon after what happened this summer. I have been able to step outside my comfort zone and focus on becoming who I have the potential to be, whereas if I had gone to BYU, I believe most of my focus would have gone toward not drowning in classes. At USU I have done well academically this semester, receiving a 3.8, while still being able to teach myself other skills and learn more about myself. I have found and developed passions I didn’t realize I had. I discovered journalism and want to major in the field. I even conquered a fear I have always had-heights- and now love to go rock climbing to relieve stress. I still believe working hard to earn good grades is important, but I have learned there is more to life than getting A’s. I have taught myself to loosen up and let myself have fun instead of stressing myself out over school. I let myself live in the moment without worrying what will happen in the future. Life is a precious gift and if you don’t take it by the horns and go you are wasting it.

            A phrase I hope to live by in 2014 is one I heard at Po Bev one night:
“Some say reach for the stars, but I reach for a new galaxy”

I know it’s cliché, but anything is possible if you believe you can do it! Set goals, make a plan, and GO! Because if I can believe anything’s possible after the hardest year of my life, you can make it possible for yourself too.