Wednesday, December 23, 2015

In-depth coverage: a year in review

Really deep in my head today. Trudging through the memories of the most pivotal and amazing year of my life so far. I feel so well-equipped for absolutely anything that may fall in my path from here forward. I've spent time in the trenches and pulled myself out each and every time with the help of God, friends, and family. But you know what? A lot with the help of just me. I'm finally giving myself the credit I'm due. I'm liberated. I'm free. I'm empowered. I'm owning my flaws and barreling through every obstacle. I know the definition of true grit inside and out. I'm resilient. I'm strong. Nothing beats this feeling.

January - New chapter, new house, the voyage of Kimmy and me.

May - A glimpse of the way I want my life to be in the future (in retirement or whenever that chapter may come). Spent time on a mission in Cambodia being a voice for some amazing and powerful girls whose voices were stripped from them. Learned the meaning of being the hands and feet. Loved others before loving myself. Truly the most amazing experience of my entire life thus far. I would go back in a heartbeat, and I will go back at the soonest opportunity without hesitation.

July - Accepted to grad school. With my team, won the case competition against 18 other teams in our tournament and one of 2 team winners among all 36 teams. Really humbling experience to be around so many professionals, yet to realize that I've genuinely got what it takes to hold my own.

August - First real vacation with my daughter. We did Disney. We had a blast. We didn't spend every penny we have. We made memories. I single-handedly traveled on a very huge trip, air travel and all, with a toddler, and we made it back happily and safely. One of my proudest accomplishments ever, no joke.

September - Started the realest juggling act of my adult life: single mothering full-time, work full-time, school full-time, 2 side jobs, and so much more--and I made it work. I somehow kept the plates spinning. What a grueling, satisfying challenge!

November - Turned 27 and reached a huge epiphany: I don't have to be defined by society's standards of a 27-year-old woman. I can let the pressure go. I can release myself. I don't need to be married, barefoot, and pregnant. I don't need anything at the current juncture. I define myself. There's no race to be won. There's no race at all! I can decide everything for myself. I need no advice or outside opinions. Everything I have is within me and before me. This month changed my entire outlook on life and freed my heart. (More on this in another post later.)

December - Took a solo daycation to Chicago (a lifelong dream destination, both for food and for art) and truly had one of the very best days of my whole life. Time waits for no man. Kelsey waits for no man. Kelsey doesn't need a man. As long as I have myself, my adventurous spirit can never steer me wrong. Scared to go somewhere new all alone? WHY??! What on earth are you waiting for?! GO!!!!!!!!!!! You will never regret it ever! Live YOUR life on YOUR terms! This month is still in progress, obviously, but I can't help but mention that I've also taken up a recent [surprising] interest in physical fitness and am killin' my goals. I'm also all set for the greatest Christmas ever with my darling daughter. I cannot wait for all that's ahead of us.

But as much as this is a year in review, it is also a life in review. A life well lived. It's a hard life. It's a stressful life. But it's a beautiful one. There is beauty in every moment, every breath, every breeze. It's everywhere if you just open your eyes, open your heart, open your mind, open your arms, and let life in. If there is no wind, row. Make your own way and allow yourself to enjoy it.

I'm in love with life. I'm in love with living! I am tied to no one and no thing. Only the passing of the hours and all that each solitary moment holds. The very idea of soaking up everything here is exhilarating, and I can't get enough of this world. All the people in it. All the places to be explored. I yearn to touch it all.

I'm happy. Happier than I've ever been in my adult life. How did I even get here? (Through a whole lot of bad.) Was it pretty? (No.) Was it messy? (Undeniably so.) The path was long and hard and incredibly daunting and imperfect, but I have arrived. I have felt every emotion in the book this year without exception. Every valley and high, I have experienced. Dark, depressing weekends when my daughter was away, and I spent 48 hours lying in my bed simply existing with the deafening, noisy thoughts inside my head until I could go pick her up and fall back into our normal pace. The last evening in Cambodia with my soul sisters, such beautiful daughters of Christ, when half of us were sobbing, half were smiling, we all were praying and singing to Jesus--when the evening sky turned the most vibrant bright pink, and I could have sworn we saw the face of God right there on that slab of cement. Direct juxtapositions of huge, heavy emotions and off-the-wall experiences that make absolutely no sense side by side. But this is my life. It's the only one I've got. How can I not love every moment with every fiber of my being?

One burning questions laps at the edges of my mind at all times, but I now have the answer. Am I enough? Of course I am enough. No one can make you feel inferior without your consent (Eleanor Roosevelt). God has blessed me with this incredible life, and I am enough. I am a mother, daughter, sister, friend, adventurer, jokester, writer, art lover, traveler, foodie, dreamer, weirdo, idealist, wit master, and more. And I am enough for all of the people who meet me in those roles. Beyond that, I don't care what anyone thinks because I love me. I am happy with the way I am. I know myself. I love myself. I'm living a genuine and authentic life, totally true to myself, and there's no way I'd rather be.