32 isn’t a year I would choose to live through again.
I don't buy into the theology that God makes everything happen for a reason. I realize that may bring others comfort, but for me, I believe God is at work in all things and there's a difference in those two statements. God doesn't "allow" or "make" things happen to strengthen or test me, but God is present in my pain, in my grief, in my questioning, in my doubting, and in my struggle.
While, at this point in my short life, I wouldn't choose to do this past year over, I also wouldn't change anything about it. I have learned and grown so much, and for that I am incredibly thankful. I've learned how strong I am. If I had seen a preview of 32 before I entered this past year, I would have had so much doubt that I would not be able to handle what was about to come. I didn't handle it all on my own and I didn't handle it all well, far from it, but I learned not only of the strength within myself, but also within the beautiful community of those who surround me most closely. I've learned another important piece of caring for myself. I believe I had always been a proponent of mental health, encouraging others and trying to break the stigma, but never took my own advice. I started going to therapy regularly, and that has been as important as eating well and being active too my self-care. I've learned the difference between being nice and being kind and this fuller understanding of these two words has been revolutionary for me. I’ve learned that being the bigger person does NOT mean keeping my mouth shut and just moving on. I can still stand up for myself and what's right and remain true to myself, my whole self. I’ve learned even more about boundary setting. I have never been more rooted in my boundaries, and even when they make others upset or uncomfortable or are interpreted as rude, I can’t help how other people feel, and that has to be ok. I’ve learned that momma bear and wifey bear are both very passionate and you should do your best to stay out of the way of both. I've learned to live each day choosing discomfort over resentment. This has given me the strength to say hard truths that make my heart beat really fast and make me feel like I have butterflies in my stomach, but I'm so thankful afterwards. All of these lessons are ones that have been in the works for a while. They are all ones I will continue to lean on and
improve upon. They are all ones that were learned with the help of others. 32 wasn't a walk in the park. I wouldn't want to do it again. But it was FAR from all bad. It gave me a son. It gave me big dreams. It gave me more time with my best friend. It gave me a deeper sense of self and of calling. It gave me a greater love of being present. It gave me a more rooted realization of the complexities of this world. It gave me a different and more full lens through which to see the world. 32 was a gift. And I'm excited for whatever joys and celebrations, whatever struggles and challenge are ahead for 33.