Happy New Year!

I have just finished putting together my decade-in-review and wow, A LOT has happened. It’s funny how 10 years can feel so long and so quick, all at the same time.

I have tried to include only the highlights for brevity’s sake, but I’m sure I’ve missed some!

  • 2010 – Graduated high school a year early, had my non-baby baby, started college at IWU
  • 2011 – Went to Israel with Dad, joined Chorale
  • 2012 – Went to Haiti, transferred to SNU, joined the Cheer team
  • 2013 – Went to England/Paris, went to Hawaii
  • 2014 – Spring Break to San Diego with Bre & Kae, went to FL with Kae & Mom for job interviews, graduated college in Dec, Avery (niece) was born!
  • 2015 – Moved to South Korea to teach English, got Koko, went to Jeju
  • 2016 – Went to Thailand with Kae, moved to Austin, met Kyle, went on a cruise w/Kae
  • 2017 – Met my bio fam, sailed around the British Virgin Islands, Nichole graduated college, got Chloe
  • 2018 – Costa Rica, Bachelorette & Bridal Shower, got married in Colorado, Kae graduated CPA, went to Aruba, started grad school, joined a small group at church
  • 2019 – Reese got engaged, Phoenix/Grand Canyon, New Mexico spa, several surgeries, paid off credit cards, first year of no presents for Christmas, started babysitting/giving piano lessons, joined the worship team playing piano, Baylin (niece) was born, went to NACAC for work, got a dining table!

This was a fun exercise. I needed help from photos to remember years, and going through the pictures I have from the last decade reminded me just how amazing my life has been.

However, it’s a bittersweet emotion that I’m feeling.

I feel so blessed (I typically hate that word, but I’m feeling it right now), but I’m reminded of all the people out there who might not have the same reality. People who live in towns where peace is a rarity and war is prolonged, kids who don’t have a kitchen table or guaranteed meals every day…

Let me tell you what the problem is. The problem is, I’ve been reading too many books. Books will help you experience realities other than your own and those realities are hard to shake (not that we should try). This is why NO ONE and EVERYONE should read.

I digress.

My hope is that I’ll take what I’ve learned from the last 10 years and use it to help elevate other people during the next 10. Growth is always a great thing and I want to help myself and others get to a better place – however that looks, whether big or small, whatever that means. I don’t know details, I don’t know the plans, I just know what I’ve been feeling and what this year-in-review exercise has reminded me of. I would imagine that it’s a pretty common feeling in all of us and one that should be talked about more often.

This exercise has reminded me that my purpose is not for myself, but for others.

A great quote from The West Wing reads, “Having talent & education does not place you above the rest of the world. It makes you responsible for it”. I wish I had a special talent or gift that I had harvested earlier on, such as nursing or accounting, so that I could make a tangible difference in someone’s life. But to quote another great, Albert Einstein, “I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.” I feel you, Albert. Curiosity is my thing.

Even though I have no special talent, I have been gifted an incredible life filled with amazing opportunities, education, and people. I believe that was intentional, not for me to soak up the wonderful and keep it to myself, but to give it away as much and as often as possible.

I think my word for 2020 will be “elevate”. It’s a funny word, possibly cliche, but it perfectly captures my desire & my lack of details/plan for what is coming. I’m excited for what the next decade will hold and I hope you’re there with me, every step of the way.

Happy New Decade!

Love, Alana

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