She was a beautiful dreamer. The kind of girl, who kept her head in the clouds, loved above the stars and left regret beneath the earth she walked on.
— Robert M. Drake
When I was 8, I had a folder of clippings that included wedding dresses and possible themes. When I was 15, I had my first kiss. When I was 17, I thought I fell in love. And now I'm 20, and I don't know who I am or what I want to become. My eyes are bright open, and I'm waiting for any opportunity to find my true path.
Let's take a walk down memory lane. As a child coming from a divorced household, I've always dreamt of having a perfect family with a picket fence when I'm older. I dreamt of having what I didn't have when I was younger: The husband coaching the soccer team, weekend getaways, a typical, carefree life.
I looked at growing older as the answer to all of my childhood problems; the idea was glamorized. When you're young, everything seems so simple because you really believe that with age, comes all that you want and all that you need simply because you're mature and you have all of the “answers.”
But the thing is, I am older now and I have no idea what I want. I often wonder if the teenage version of myself would be proud of who I am now. Would she be disappointed I stopped dancing? Would she wish I stayed in contact with my old friends? Would she be proud I continued writing?
It's crazy to think of how different I am now compared to who I used to be. Thinking back to old memories is like an out-of-body experience. It's even crazier to think that, someday, I'll finally have everything figured out and look back at this time when I was so unsure of everything and (hopefully) smile.
The funny thing about life is that it's set up to always be preparing us for something more. Whether it's junior high preparing you for high school, high school preparing you for college, heartbreak preparing you for love or loss preparing you for change, there's always something coming next. But right now, I'm waiting and wondering what is next for me.
The other day, I was explaining to my best friend Alex how it's crazy that I don't have my life mapped out.
“It's not even like I'm at a crossroad, it's like I have no road. I have no idea what will make me happy five years from now," I said.
He replied, “Every day you spend not knowing who you are, is one more day you become more aware of yourself.”
That simple realization made me grasp, that in the times of despair — when you feel the most fragile — that is when you begin to know yourself the most. It's both humbling and heartbreaking to realize I have the freedom to change my mind and reinvent myself every day.
I'm 20 years old. I have no idea what I want from life, but I woke up this morning breathing and I have the freedom to not limit myself. Moments like these are essential to appreciate the significant and insignificant aspects of life.
I don't know what will make me happy five years from now, but I know what makes me happy now. It's real what they say: Life or death. There isn't much else.
And for those days in which you need a reminder it's OK to not have everything figured out in your early 20s, here's a list of things that will do just that:
1. A good hair day. 2. Flowers blooming. 3. Complementary food. 4. Car rides with your best friends. 5. Knowing all the words to a song. 6. Finding new music. 7. Not having to wear a jacket outside. 8. Sleeping in clean sheets. 9. 100 percent charge on your phone. 10. The elevator arriving the second you push the button. 11. Passing puppies on the street... 12. ... and being able to pet them. 13. Clicking "unfollow." 14. Snagging the window seat on a plane. 15. Big, tight hugs. 16. Seeing someone wear your college sweatshirt. 17. Payday. 18. Warm towels. 19. New candles. 20. A “How are you?” text. 21. New razors. 22. FaceTime or Skyping with family and friends. 23. Comfortable silence. 24. A warm, cozy bed with fluffy pillows. 25. Breakfast made by someone who loves you. 26. Finding goodies in your pocket like money, a hair tie or candy. 27. A good night's sleep accompanied by sweet dreams. 28. Hot food, but not hot enough to burn your tongue. 29. Silly faces while taking selfies. 30. A new follower on social media. 31. Chocolate ANYTHING, be it dark, milk, white, cold, melted, warm... doesn't matter, as long as it's chocolate. 32. The cheering sound of a crowd. 33. Turning on the radio to your favorite song. 34. Waking up and realizing you have hours left to sleep. 35. Leggings. 36. Tea and your favorite Pandora station. 37. When your package comes before the date it's supposed to. 38. A good workout. 39. Brunch. 40. Getting your point across without having to argue. 41. A cup of coffee at the perfect drinking temperature. 42. Looking through old pictures. 43. Eating cookie dough. 44. Dressing up for a night out. 45. Waking up from a nightmare and realizing it wasn't real. 46. Nice compliments from strangers. 47. The cold side of a pillow. 48. Laughing so hard your abs hurt. 49. Sunsets and sunrises. 50. Remembering that while the sun may always set, it will also always rise.
It's both humbling and heartbreaking to realize I have the freedom to change my mind and reinvent myself every day.
The best way to capture moments is to pay attention to the little things. So, the next time you're feeling stuck and second-guessing your next decision, realize you're human and you're allowed to cry and scream and beg with agony. But it's also normal to appreciate and smell the roses.
If you look for the bad you'll find the bad, if you look for the good you'll find the good.
The best part of life? Every morning you have a new opportunity to become a happier version of yourself. Even when it seems like everything is going wrong in your life, there is always something that is going right.
Because the person you will be in five years is based on the books you read, the people you surround yourself with and the things that you do today.