Year-End Snapshot: 2014

Despite the possible cheesiness of a year review/reflection blogpost I feel like 2014 was significant enough to warrant some reflection and since I have the month off of school I figured I would very much like to do some blogging before I am once again flooded with papers to write and books to read.

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While I am not sure I would file 2014 as a “great year” it was definitely a valuable and formative one. After a harrowing winter and spring during which I felt very discouraged, depressed and exhausted in every possible way, I was so grateful that summer brought both literal and metaphorical light. Having free time where I wasn’t intensely grieving for the first time since starting college was incredibly helpful. I had the chance to explore my passions: write, work for a great nonprofit, travel with my dad, and I had time to reflect on all the growing I didn’t quite realize I had been doing in the first two years of college– and adulthood– and to think about the person I am becoming. I am excited to be at a much better place in my relationship with myself now than I was one year ago, and to have been able to more accurately pinpoint my passions, interests, skills and how they all might fit into the larger story of my life.

I have spent far more time with other Christians my own age in the passed year than I ever have before. Although I still don’t feel like I have quite found “my people” I am grateful for the ways in which meeting and having discussions with new people has allowed me to fine-tune my own beliefs and personal theology, as well as helped me to better understand and empathize with those whose viewpoints differ from my own. I feel increasingly grounded in my relationship with the creator and am learning to trust more and more than I am where I am meant to be, even when life feels hectic or lackluster or rough.

I have been able to delve into my academic passions in new and exciting ways. This fall I wrote a 23 page research paper on women in the antebellum anti-slavery movement. Getting to spend so much time on a subject that I find truly inspiring and fascinating was such a gift and a challenge. I especially valued being able to spend so much time with the primary source documents involved–the writings and speeches of the women who worked so hard for this movement and believed so ardently in the rightness of their cause. I also got to write a 16 page mock business plan for the nonprofit I one day hope to found (a mentorship program for teenage girls), which will provide a great basis for a real organization proposal once I am ready to do that.

As always, I am incredibly grateful for my family. I think that perhaps late teens and early twenties are just a bit of a lonely time of life, but I feel so blessed to have loving, engaged parents who I can talk to about my dreams, passions and frustrations with. I am also endlessly thankful that I was lucky enough to have two best friends born into my family in the forms of my giant, funny, smart brothers who always know how to make my day a little better. (I know this is especially cheesy, but you just need to deal with it because cheesy family mushy stuff is super important.) Basically, my family is amazing and I don’t know what I would do without then and all that jazz. P1080732

I feel especially grateful for the discussions I have been able to have with my family about the injustices we have witnessed in Ferguson, in New York, in our own neighborhood and in many other places. They have served as a solemn reminder that our fight for justice, mercy and love, as followers of Jesus is far from over. I have valued being able to process these, as well as many other important issues, with my family throughout the year, and to be able to encourage each other to use our voices, skills and privilege to bring attention to the voices and stories of the oppressed and downtrodden.

I have spent a lot of time observing this year, there is a lot going on in the world, a lot of injustice, a lot of sorrow, a lot of brokenness, but also a lot of healing, a lot of change, and a lot of hope. I am still trying to figure out how best to contribute to the healing, how to promote positive change, and how to live into hope, but I feel like I have learned a lot about that in the passed year and I am very excited to see what I will learn in the coming year.

Thank you so much to everyone who has read my posts and thereby processed my year with me to some extent. I hope to write even more in 2015 and I look forward to sharing it with you!