- I took my first breath.
- I wore bows in my thin, short hair to help others learn that, yes, I was a girl.
- I began to speak: words, words, words.
- I took naps; other days, I rebelled, deciding instead to jump upon my bed.
- I learned what it was like to lose a friend, in our family dog, Mikki.
- I learned what school was, and friends, and stranger danger.
- I began to critique words, wondering why steak and stake were pronounced the same, but spelled differently.
- I played doctor, basketball, school, soccer, and I played it all with my brother and sister.
- I began to get homework at school, and I thought it was cool.
- I moved to a new home and learned that some families you’re not born into, you live into.
- I learned that not all people in this world are good, that sometimes a nation can be at once rocked and as strong as a rock: United We Stand.
- I watched a teacher leave for war, as he was in the army reserve, and I wrote voraciously to replace his absence.
- I learned that being a teenager was not so much about the label, as it was about managing awkward moments.
- I learned that high school was a big, big place, and that sometimes it’s okay to feel very, very small.
- I tried to be a perfectionist at everything I did, raising my hand in every class, getting A+’s on papers and math quizzes.
- I learned that everyone fails; for me, it was driver’s license tests.
- I finally gained independence with a driver’s license, and parental pressure to drive smart and slow too.
- I became an adult, according to society’s definition, but still, at heart I was and wanted to remain, a kid.
- I lived away from home for the first time in my life and found it strange to sleep in a large, cave-like room, with an orange glow, with seven complete strangers.
- I began to make Penn State University my home, falling in love with the campus in autumn, my roommates in North Halls, and the trails I traveled on runs.
- I turned 21, went out for my Phyrst beer in a bar, and found comfort in the fact that all we really need are a few close friends.
- I made an impact in the lives of one hundred-thirty eighth-grade students through teaching and dancing, and I witnessed pure selflessness, and bravery too.
- I learned it’s true what Blink 182 says: Nobody likes you when you’re 23. (Nobody, meaning mainly any worthy employer.)
- I finished my first full year of teaching, and absorbed everything that came with it: overwhelmed feelings, stress, tears, pride, and joy.
- I now know that no matter how far away family may be, we find ways to connect, whether through a crazy, but totally doable #Run1000Miles challenge or a silly Skype video call; we make time for those who matter most.
I was apprehensive about turning 25, as it seems to be so much bigger a number than all the rest, but I realize, it’s my year to truly make a difference, in others’ lives and in mine. I want to make an impact in this world, I want to leave my footprints in the earth, and I want to place my fingerprints on a path of positive change. I want to start with you. Let me know how I can make your life a better life to live, and I’ll see what I can do.
All my love,