A Life Full of Light
“Oh you’re still young!” Or so that’s what people tell me when I let them know my age. Most people actually respond with surprise, “You are not! I thought you were 22!”
With 26 approaching in two weeks, I have started compiling a list titled “26 Things To Do While I’m 26.” I’m one of those people who see my own glass half empty- never able to meet all of the expectations I set for myself. In my own opinion, I can never be good enough. I must always be striving for more, to be better. I can always be a better sister, cousin, daughter, aunt, godmother, niece, goddaughter, Roxy-lover, friend, roommate, writer, teacher, co-worker, and person. Therefore, I am encouraging myself to reflect upon my short but full life and all of the beauty that surrounds and fills it while promising to make the best of the year to come.
I’ve had pets all of my life. I have had turtles, a hamster, fish, a rabbit, and dogs (one who was my earliest friend and another who is my best friend). I grew up around the corner from both sets of my grandparents. I got to see them every holiday, every birthday, and any day I wanted. I played outside. I spent every summer of my life breathing in salt air. I have parents and siblings who define the meaning of home for me. Other than a few bumps in the road over the years, I have promising health. My parents have never told me I couldn’t do something professionally. They have never held me back, no matter how badly they want me closer to home. I had the opportunity to receive one of the best high school educations out there. I am still in touch with teachers who guided me into young adulthood with unwavering support. I was fortunate enough to serve impoverished youth at the age of 17, which brought my life’s purpose to my own awareness. I have friends who have grown into family. I attended a university that had service at its core and I met so many people who continue to inspire me. I lived with my best friends for four years and have been able to spend every New Year holiday with them since graduating. These friends have seen me at my worst and loved me through it. I don’t know how they did it, but I have never met people around whom I felt so loved and accepted, even when I was struggling to love and accept myself. I got to serve students with mental and emotional disturbances in York, SC. I rediscovered my passion for social justice in Atlanta, GA and I learned how to love even more deeply in St. Louis, MO. Florence, Italy was my home for three months. THE statue of David was my neighbor and my worldview expanded. I met the family that gave me my grandmother by selflessly allowing her to come to America 68 years ago. I stood in the house she grew up in, I walked on the steps of the church in which she married, and I set foot on land and set my eyes on sights I had only seen in movies or read about in books. Italy, France, Ireland, Great Britain, and Spain are not just pins in my world map, they are mentors who have fostered my deep appreciate for the world and travel. I have run races of distances that once scared me and in conditions which some would deem silly. I have held 2 babies just hours after they were born. I get to be auntie and godmother to two of the coolest kids I know. I see the beauty of the world every day in the eyes of the children with whom I work. For the past 4 years, I can promise you that every day I have worked with a child (whether he was 16 or 6) I have learned from him and my faith has been restored time and time again by the love and resiliency of a child. I have a home in a city I have grown to love, surrounded by people who challenge, love, and encourage me.
At (almost) 26, I have so much for which to be grateful but I’m mostly grateful for the gift of being able to see so much of the light that has filled my life now that the fog has lifted. I can also promise you that 26 will entail a whole lot of laughter, love, and clapping off beat. Here’s to another year of dancing through life and learning to enjoy the ride.