I don’t know about you, but I’m the type of person who loves to go back through old pictures of me and my friends. And I will admit, it doesn’t just stop at pictures. It can be Facebook posts, tweets, YouTube videos, blog posts…honestly, I could do it for hours. That’s kind of embarrassing..? But, it’s even more fun with friends (good save, Taylor) when we get to reminisce on old times and long for the simpler days, while simultaneously laughing at how silly and immature we were.
Nostalgia makes me think about life, and actually how much of a miracle life is. It makes me think about how crazy it actually is that I’ve lived 365 days since this day one year ago, that I’ve lived over 8,500 days total. That 8 years ago I was a freshman in high school, and that that’s all I knew up until that point. I could never imagine the things that would happen in the next 9 years. I couldn’t see what was ahead of me, what was ahead seemed unreal. And now, everything that has happened in the past 9 years, I look back on as memories, many with nostalgia.
Imagining what my future will be like is difficult, because the reality of it is hard to grasp – it will always be that way. Sometimes it’s hard to not think about my future as being just a longer stretch of whatever my life is at the present moment..as strange as that sounds. What will my career look like? What opportunities will come my way? What’s going to be that occurrence that alters the course of my life as I know it today? Will I get married? To who? What will my family be like? The blurriness of the abstract, the vastness of the endless possibilities, make it that much harder to visualize. And then I remember that I’ve been in this situation before..every day of my life. All 8,500+ days of my life, I couldn’t ever comprehend what the future would be. And day by day, that future I could never imagine became the present, and then the past. One day, I will look back fondly on my early 20s and the unique struggle of the post-grad life, and think, “Ah, those were good times. Those were simpler times. If only I knew…” I will look back on the friends, experiences, and memories I’m making now and say, “Remember when…” I will understand things that I can’t possibly understand now. Isn’t that amazing?
Maybe you’re reading this and thinking I’m crazy to be so intrigued by this idea..I get it, it’s a little Inception-y and you may be feeling that I’m thinking waaay too deeply about something so simple. Won’t argue with you there.
But when I look at my life as a whole, and I see the chain of events both big and small, and I see the way things have brought me where I am today, I’m left in awe at the ways I see God’s hand in everything.
When I look back on my childhood, I reminisce about the days spent with my family, the days playing with my mom and dad, and with my cousins, aunts, and uncles. I couldn’t understand that one day I would become independent.
When I look back at my elementary school years, I reminisce about playing on the playground – playing sports, playing in the sand, the playground injuries. School was fun…but I also remember how I thought everything revolved around me. I was selfish and self-centered. I couldn’t understand the ways in which my life would be turned upside down in the form of a relentless God picking me up, turning me around, and putting me on a new, difficult path.
When I look back at my middle school years, I reminisce about the joys of making friends, the beginning of finding out who I was, the highs from those middle school romantic relationships.. the simplicity of, go to school, do homework, play basketball, hang out. That’s it. But I also remember how much I didn’t understand where my worth came from. I couldn’t understand that one day I would learn that all I was after was superficial attention, and that it would never satisfy the way Jesus can. (I also never, ever could imagine that I would be single for the next 9 years. Lol.)
When I look back at my high school years, I reminisce on the excitement and freedom of growing up, learning to drive, picking my classes, and picking my friends. An adventurous time, filled with many spontaneous trips to Disneyland, many risks taken, and really just a lot of fun. But I also remember the hardship of losing my mom. I could never imagine the ways God was going to use it not only to touch the lives of others, but also to deepen my faith. I could never imagine that this faith journey would be the main reason my college experience was what it was.
When I look back on my college years, my heart overflows with joy at what it was. I reminisce about the excitement of it all, learning truly what it meant to be independent, making new friends and having a huge change of scenery. I was in a new environment – a private, Christian school, where my professors prayed for us before class and shared their passion for Jesus and how the integration of that into everything was so crucial. I could never imagine how this Biblical foundation would cause me to fall in love with Jesus in a much deeper way, and that “centering my life around God” would no longer just be an idealistic phrase. It would become the true desire of my heart; the one thing always in the front of my mind..in choosing careers, opportunities, lifestyles & habits.
And now, here I am. On the cusp of a new season, seeking the true meaning of purpose. Trying to figure out the desires of my heart while asking God to show me His. Ready to head out on my first mission trip for 3 weeks, something I really never cared about in my past. And I look back, and think fondly of every single period of my life and the person I was in those seasons, not because I was a perfect person in any of them (because trust me, I wasn’t) but because it has all led me exactly to this place here.
And it’s easy to think this is all my life will ever be, because this is all I know. This is all I can see. But I look forward to the day that I can look back on this time and feel that fond sense of nostalgia. And who knows where I’ll be then.
Dear Future Me, I hope that my present self is faithful to pave the way for you and all that lies ahead.
If you’re new to my blog, #WVW (Word Vomit Wednesday) is a fun little weekly challenge my friend Brian and I started to encourage more consistent and authentic writing. The point is to write down, or word vomit, whatever comes to mind, with lots of vulnerability along the way. Many have joined in on the fun, and you should too! 🙂