It’s a Friday. This morning i took a test, a friend made me banana pancakes, and now i’m doing what i love most: drinking coffee and writing. Happy birthday to me; i am no longer a teenager. i am a twenty-something (for the next 365 days, that “something” just happens to be zero). This is, as people have said to me a million times in the four hours i’ve been awake, growing up.
Twenty years ago on some kind of Tuesday, i made my entrance. God said, “Ash would be a good idea.” and here I am. Twenty years, 240 months, 1,040 weeks, 7,300 days, and probably less than ten haircuts later, and I’m still here. I’m glad about that. My dad said some dad-ish thing about how i will “never have a one in front again” and how “i’m growing up and it’s a good thing.”
i don’t disagree.
The reality is that i am a person who will never really grow up but has been “becoming grown” for a long time. The only difference now is that I am no longer a teenager and I now fall into the category of a “twenty something” and that’s it. There is no big party, no gray hairs (if there were, i’m sure i wouldn’t be able to find them), no man at my father’s door offering him a sheep for my hand in marriage. i’m twenty years old. i’ve lived a lot a life, had a lot of bad days and even more good days. i’ve laughed a lot, cried a lot, and slept too much. i haven’t seen enough of the world and i’m anxious to see more of it. i’ve lived twenty years and learned a lot of lessons.
Because lists are fun, here are twenty things i’ve learned in these endless numbered days. I’ll only elaborate on a few, I promise.
1. Haircuts are overrated. // You don’t need to wash your hair as much as you probably thing you do.
2. It’s okay not to be okay.
Somedays, you have to skip class to sleep in. Some days, listening to a sermon and painting is what you need to do. Some days, you have to say “no,” and that’s okay.
3. i can’t do anything without Christ, but with Him, i can do everything.
John 15:5 // Philippians 4:13
4. Dogs are great. Cats are better.
5. Calling my dad my best friend is always good.
Earlier this week, i called my dad. i wasn’t having the best day and he could tell, with 253 miles and five hours in between us, that i wasn’t myself. Three hours later, i had sunflowers and snacks waiting on me. He said, “You sounded like you needed a pick-me-up.” The man sent me flowers. i am thankful that my Heavenly Dad knew exactly what i needed in an earthly dad.
6. People need other people.
We can’t help this. Don’t fight it.
He’s given me really great people to learn this lesson with and i’m thankful.
7. Caffeine addictions are real.
As i type this, i’m on my second cup for the day. i love coffee something fierce.
8. Books are important.
Read one. Write one. Study one. Share one with a friend.
9. Find something you’re passionate about and do it.
i have a lot to say about dreams. Check it.
10. Guatemala smells bad.
i promise. take my word for it.
11. Adventure is necessary.
12. American Eagle belts are forever (forever = seven years and running).
13. Sunshine fuels joy.
14. No one else can play my part.
15. You can never be “too happy”
i struggled with this for a while. Once i got to a place where i experienced real, genuine, smile building, laughter driving joy, i wanted more. That’s because that feeling is from the Lord and we were designed to crave it. However, sometimes i feel bad for being happy. i look at people who are struggling and feel bad that they’re sad and i’m not! But friends, we can’t let that happen. We have to realize that happiness is a gift, it’s not something we should feel bad about. We should take our given happiness and allow it to be the thing that inspires us to help those who aren’t happy.
16. i am worth, “Because i want to.”
My counselor said this to me last spring and it was so powerful. i used to have this habit of justifying every little thing i did. i thought i had to have a valid reason to take a nap, go home for the weekend, or buy myself chick-fil-a. i didn’t get that i was worth little happy things throughout the week; i would always treat others and encourage them to treat themselves, bit i didn’t understand that “because i want to” was a good enough reason to fuel an action. i was wrong. i am worth, “because i want to” and so are you.
17. “Learn to love yourself first and everything else falls into place.” – Lucille Ball
18. I can’t be all the things.
Jesus is all the things. Not me, not you, not your mom, not your best friend– Jesus. He is all we need. He is all the things we try to be to other people and to ourselves. You and i, no matter how hard we try, can’t be all the things. Don’t exhaust yourself by attempting to be.
19. Speak truth to others, let them speak truth to you.
Everyday, i text one of my best friends and remind her of some easily forgotten truth and she reminds me. Whether it’s remembering that it’s okay to skip class, not wash your hair, or solid truth from the Word, it happens. We declare it over each other and ourselves. It’s becoming a sweet habit and i love it. Yes, sometimes truth is hard and almost unwanted, but it’s always truth. Sometimes the hardest thing to hear is the thing we need to hear the most. Let it happen.
20. Don’t build so many walls up that others can’t get in and you can’t get out.
i would like to think this is self explanatory, but unfortunately it isn’t. Earlier this week, i stayed up until 4am with two of my favorite people in the world and we let it all out; the fun things, the scary things, the things we hadn’t told anyone. There were no walls except for the four that made up the dorm room. Last spring, the Lord revealed that i had put myself in a box. An unhealthy box that i will eventually write about. Long story short, the freedom from this box is what has paved the way for me to live the beautiful free life i do today. Some walls are necessary, but you don’t need to build a frickin fort around yourself to shield from the world. Life isn’t a war of you against everyone else. Let others in. Do life. Share life. Live free.
One to grow on: follow your dreams.
Here’s to the mistakes, the successes, the “could be” and the “will be” that comes along with this one.
Twenty will be a year of adventure. A year of finding more of myself and living this crazy story that the Father has written me. i hope you’ll be a part of it. But for now, i have an informal to get ready for so i can go dance my face off with my best friends.