21

The clock has begun chiming 162,240 times. There have been 7,670 sunrises. I haven’t seen enough of them, but, following my birthday tradition, this is the one from this morning.
Right as it peaks its head over Umbrian hills. Thanks Mariah, Alea and Abby for joining me!
It’s not too eventful turning 21 in Italy, where I have been able to legally drink for the past three months, but somehow I don’t see my birthday festivities being all that much crazier on the other side of the Atlantic. I don’t deny the convenience of turning 21 two days before I come home, though! Every year, I learn and grow more. Things do not become clearer with age, but I’m banking that that is because I have become a more complex individual. Here are 21 thoughts. They are changes, lessons or reflections from this past year.
  1. I have become more open and accepting of others, especially those with different lifestyles or views. I used to think I was already open, but I was not.
  2. I learned how to travel. Go with purpose, but keep it slow and relaxed.
  3. In Cambodia, I learned that no matter how poor I am, I will still be a very rich woman.
  4. Whatever your work is, do it well. Do not let it rule your life.
  5. Live the Italian way – take long walks and eat longer meals. Work is secondary.
  6. The longer I live, the less sure I am about what I will do in the future or where I will be.
  7. I might teach English abroad for a bit.
  8. Going out is pretty fun. I am almost never inclined to go, even if I think I will be. Thus the uneventful 21st.
  9. I really do like writing and literature, and I’m glad I decided to study it. I think I could probably do something with it.
  10. I cannot save the world. I am not that special. I can still do something.
  11. Prayer is powerful. I knew that already, but I have seen it more in action.
  12. Serving food is humbling.
  13. Responsibility does not make life easier. It is still really good though.
  14. I have become more selfish, but I also depend more on the Lord’s grace and fire to make me into something more beautiful.
  15. My sisters are all grown up, and they are awesome.
  16. Hospitality is hard, but it is a good way to love.
  17. I have some seriously awesome friends in my life.
  18. Some of my friends are starting to get married. Holy cow.
  19. An awesome guy has not yet waltzed into my life; my awkwardness does not aid this issue.
  20. I am a young adult now. With the right time and money, I can do most anything I want to do. That is an awesome time of life.
  21. I don’t rely on Jesus as I should. I have found myself tempering Him, especially when I am not in Charleston. My faith is solidified, but I fear I don’t live it very well for others.

Thank you for all of the birthday wishes today. The presence and love of friends and family, even when you are thousands of miles away, reminds me how very blessed I am.

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