Ride the Roller Coaster

Letter to 24, from 23

Ride the Roller Coaster

Roller Coaster” by Free Photos via Pixabay (CC0 Creative Commons)

I sit on the eve of meeting you, and I’m at a loss for words. Speechless to the growth and knowledge and pain and triumph that has happened leading up to you. There is not enough time in the world to explain to you all that has happened this past year- but maybe there is to tell you a bit of what I’ve learned.

It’s been quite the roller coaster. Exhilarating moments, nauseating moments, moments where I wish I was off the ride and moments where there’s no other place I’d rather be.

And on the eve of 24, I feel like I’m sitting in my seat on the ride, waiting for the restraints to be released. These restraints kept me from falling off in the scariest of moments, but now I’m ready for the next, ready to be free – released into a new exhilaration.

I want to go off into the rest of the amusement park, to find my next adventure.

I guess that’s what it feels like going from one year to another.

I’m hungry. For more of life, for more of God, for more of love, for more opportunities to breathe. There’s so much more to do, there’s so much more to say, there’s so much more good to be released into the world. I want to be there, now.

But wait… isn’t one of the best parts of the ride when your coasting at the end? When you can look back on that big turn, or that upside down spin and say, yeah, I did that, and it was awesome?

Sometimes I feel like I’m too quick to look for the next thing- too quick to leave an experience behind in the hunt for the next one.

That’s one of the main things I’ve learned in my early 20’s- to slow down, take a breath, and allow myself to feel.  In a world where we value accomplishments more than soul rest, and resumes more than lives we’ve impacted, we miss the fact that if we Instagram our way through life, we miss out on actually living it- and living it well.

So, my dear 24-year-old-future-self, I’m hours away from meeting you. And out of all the things I’ve learned + experienced in this past year, the main thing I want you to hear is that you need to continue to love others, to love them exponentially, and without pretense. That adjustment in my heart has been what has completely thrown my life for the biggest loop of all this past year, and what I hope you carry close into our 24th year over anything else.

In loving others, we cultivate empathy + feeling + compassion + kindness. And I think we can both agree that the world needs more of that – the world needs more of you. In the words of my main man Paul:

“I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation – the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ – for this will bring much glory and praise to God.” – Philippians 1:9-11

I guess I’m not at a loss for words anymore, my dear 24. That’s my prayer for you, and the perfect way to end this letter. You’ve got a voice that has a place + purpose in this world, and I pray that you use it to remind others of the same thing, through loving them well.

Love,

23

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