Bring on 22

Well everyone, I got to celebrate yet another year of my life this past weekend. I am extremely grateful for the people that went out of their way to make my day special. Let it be known that I am a very difficult person to surprise because of my curiosity. Many people have tried, yet many have failed. However, one individual was able to uniquely pull off the most amazing surprise party for me, and I really did have no idea! Huge shoutout to one of my besties, Kaitlyn. To say my life has improved since she became a part of it would be an understatement. Having her in my life has been such a blessing for many reasons. But I think the greatest reason is simply because she makes me want to continue on this path of truly pursuing life and happiness, despite the hard things. And Kaitlyn is one of many. You, my lovely readers, are my motivation as well. 
A lot has happened since I turned 21 last year, and as I look back and see how far I’ve come, I can’t help but smile. Sometimes it’s so easy, in the moment, to wish that the pain or the difficult things we go through in life wouldn’t happen, or would just go away. In the moment, I didn’t want to feel the pain of a broken marriage in need of mending that only God can provide. In the moment, I didn’t want to feel the exhaustion of finishing school and working full time to pay bills. In the moment, I didn’t want to feel alone and scared of what the future held. But I’m so glad that I had to and still have to go through some of those experiences. Every single thing that I went through as a 21 year old, has shaped me into the woman I’m going to be as a 22 year old. And I’d like to think that way for the rest of my life. I hope that each year I’m able to look back at all that has happened, good and bad, and smile knowing that I am the woman I am today because of it. 
With that being said, I want to share with you, one of my greatest take aways from this past year. 
Do you really want to know why it became easier to genuinely smile each day?…                                                                                                     My life was no longer solely about me. Suddenly, other people and their lives were important to me. I went from trying to find the good in each day, to being the good in someone else’s day. 
Why does it seem so difficult for us to be kind to one another? I’m not saying that I would consider myself mean or cruel before, even though that is the opposite of being kind. Not being mean does not automatically make you a kind person. Unfortunately, I think we’ve begun to settle with this idea that if we refrain from cruel words or deeds, then we can have a clear conscious and that's all that matters. But it’s so much more than just that!
Being kind means that instead of responding rudely or refraining from a response at all, you respond with grace and patience. A response that deep down means, “Hey, I know that you are a human too. Which means you’re not perfect, and you’ve probably got hard things going on in your life as well. So instead of acting selfishly, I’m going to make sure that I take this opportunity to better your day.”                                        
Now that’s not always easy, especially when all you have been getting in return is cruelty. But I can promise you this: when you respond with grace and patience—when you choose to be kind, things begin to change inside of you. And when things change inside of you, things begin to change around you.
My life has changed. The purpose and happiness I feel in each day stems from the random opportunities that I am given to show someone kindness. I use to want to be remembered as the girl who had her life in order by the time she was 19; to be remembered by how great my life was. But now, I want to be remembered as the woman who saw the brokenness in her life, as a way to better someone else’s life. 
How do you want to be remembered?….
It’s never too late to change your life. It’s never too late to be kind.