It’s never too late.

I look at my life as it is right now, and until now, it seems very average to me. I was a straight A student in high school, and I participated in my fair amount of activities that would sufficiently pad my resume. I graduated and came to a well-known, respected university as an Honors student, and now here I am.

Since being here, I’ve met people who have done and will continue to do incredible things. They lead movements for causes they’re passionate about; they encourage those around them in every way possible; they maintain impeccable academic reputations, and they’re loved by everyone they know. I’ve found people here who I can look up to, and I’ve encountered peers in the same walk of life as I am who I also admire for their accomplishments.

Recently as I was thinking about those incredible people, I began to reprimand myself for not being more like them. Why didn’t I have a fancy title (or two, or three, or four for that matter)? Why wasn’t I a recognized scholar or athlete? Why wasn’t my name and face well-known on campus? Why was I just another average person in a massive sea of wandering souls?

For several days after that train of thoughts occurred, I was angry. I told myself I never had enough potential to do anything significant anyway, and that’s why I had never tried harder to be incredible. I attempted to justify my own past laziness by telling myself that I’d done a few good things before. But the more I thought about it, the more angry I became at myself. I realized that I have forfeited so many dreams– big and small ones– because I gave up too easily and too soon. I wanted to graduate as valedictorian of my high school’s graduating class, but I let “senioritis” get the best of me. I wanted to earn a full scholarship to an out of state school, but I was too fed up with studying to put in the extra effort to improve my test scores so I might have a better shot at it.

Now, I’m not saying that I’m not happy where I am right now, because I truly am happy and blessed. I know that God shaped my life and my path to bring me to the exact point where I stand today, and I don’t regret any of the decisions I’ve made. Upon comparing myself with the incredible people around me, I did, however, regret forfeiting the possibilities that wholehearted pursuit of my dreams could have opened up.

After I spent nearly a week being angry at myself, I realized I was doing nothing more than having a prolonged pity party. Why was I wasting my time mulling over the past when I have a future full of possibilities? Who ever said that my window of opportunity to be incredible was already slammed shut and sealed tight? Let me think… hmm, no one! I finally realized that I have so many dreams in my heart, and there’s NOTHING stopping me from taking steps to accomplish them RIGHT NOW, in this very moment! The notion that it was too late for me to do something astonishing was only in my head– what a liberating realization!

So, although this awakening wasn’t an easy one to come to because I buried it in self-hatred for so long, it has finally risen to the surface of my perspective.

I cannot be told ‘no’ so many times that the word ‘yes’ will be eliminated from my world entirely. I cannot fail so many times that it will become impossible for me to succeed. I cannot make so many mistakes that I will permanently condemn myself to a life of mediocrity.

And most importantly, it is never too late to become incredible.

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High Five for Friday 2.24.12… one day late!

Well, yesterday was a bit of a crazy day what with me trying to get things done and Alex getting here. So here’s some highlights from this week, just one day late.

 1. I got an econ test back on Wednesday, and I made a 94. Shocking in the best way possible.

2. I went to the Chapel Bell meeting and it was an interesting experience, in an immensely good way. I was truly inspired by the optimism, motivation, and cool ideas that filled the room the entire time. It’s truly an awesome movement, and I hope it continues to grow. You can read more about the Chapel Bell here. If you have something inspiring to say, I also encourage you to let your heart be heard– take the Chapel Bell Challenge!

3. This week I went to dinner and dessert with Katie and some other friends for her birthday. She’s such a wonderful friend, and I’m so glad God chose to bring us together.

4. I’ve been to Two Story twice in the past 48 hours. Productivity + good coffee = so much happy! If you’re a coffee addict like me or you just love a good place to chat or study and enjoy a good cup of joe, they’re an awesome local business to support. Check them out here.

5. I spent the entire afternoon yesterday and all day today with people I love. I spent a lot of time with Vica being productive and talking about anything and everything, and I definitely needed all of it (the picture below of us isn’t from this weekend, just a side note). I saw Tori for a brief few minutes today as well, and I was missing her like crazy. I was sitting at Two Story last night and picked up my phone to call her and tell her I missed her. When I opened my phone, I had a message from her telling me she’d be in town today (Saturday) and wanted to see me. You can’t tell me that wasn’t God. Alex and Jason were also both here from out of town, and I can’t even begin to say how wonderful it was to get to spend time with them. When you don’t get to see people all that often, you appreciate their presence that much more when they’re around. We’re all rooting for Jason to get this huge scholarship that he was here interviewing for, and let’s just be honest– we’re praying for the means for Alex to be able to come here, too.

Vica.

Tori.

Alex and Jason.

As an add-on to the last one, I’m learning to truly appreciate the amazing people that I have in my life. No matter if it’s a weekend or a weekday; if they live next door or several hours away; if they’ve been in my life for years or just came into it recently– I am blessed beyond measure by the people who are in my life right now, and I don’t have enough words to sufficiently thank God for that.

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The crowd roars.

The thump of her feet against the mat is heard only an instant before the entire arena explodes into cheers and applause. But above all that crowd noise, the one thing I hear is the cheering of her teammates, and the one thing I see is their immediate celebration as she smiles. Despite the fact that I’m merely a spectator in the audience, a feeling of victory swells up inside of me until I can’t help but smile.

Don’t we all want that to happen to us? What a feeling that must be, finishing a rigorous task and knowing that you gave it your all, then having it followed by a celebration with those you love, who have worked just as hard as you and who are longing for your success just as much as you are yourself.

A gymnastics meet may be merely entertainment for some, but for me, it was truly a source of inspiration. I realized that I want to be incredible at something like those girls are incredible at gymnastics. I want to give my all to something, and have a team of people surrounding me who are doing the same.

I am by no means a sports connoisseur, but I do know enough to say that life can be metaphorically compared to a sports team in a huge way. Everyone has heard the saying “There’s no ‘I’ in team,” but it’s more true than we know. Every single one of those gymnasts is incredibly talented, and that much is obvious in each and every one of their performances. However, the gymnastics team couldn’t win those meets if it consisted of only one member; it takes every member and their diverse range of talents to optimize the whole team’s performance. In the same way, one person with a dream can do magnificent things if they set their mind to it. But what happens if two people with dreams come together? Or three, four, or a thousand? It all sounds so cliche, but when we’re together, we can truly accomplish more than we could even dream as one person.

Besides the hugely expanded capacity to take action that a team has in contrast to one lone person, we can’t forget about the added bonus of the victory celebration. When one person wins, everyone wins, and everyone is uplifted by the sweetness of hard work finally producing a fulfilling result. Everyone is pushed to drive even further forward, and the capability of each member is magnified by their desire to contribute something worthwhile to the team as a whole. The passion that was already burning in everyone’s heart will explode every time a victory celebration is held until that passion simply cannot be contained, and that is the point when world-changing action becomes a stark reality.

The passion that an athlete has for their sport can translate into anything in the lives of people all over the world– the fight against human trafficking, the struggle to end poverty, the desire to make the people around us feel valued and important, anything. And if the fight is made easier by the celebration of a team for every small or large victory, then maybe we should consider putting aside what divides us so we can unleash the power of true, uncorrupted teamwork. If we could somehow pull together and be a generation that ACTS instead of just TALKS, I imagine that the future would become infinitely brighter for us and those who will come after us.

When we all dream and act together instead of letting others take responsibility, the question isn’t, “what could we accomplish?”

The real question is: what couldn’t we accomplish?

Home is where the heart is.

That phrase has become so overused and cliché, but I’m realizing just how true it is. It’s also becoming very obvious to me that home can be just about anywhere, and it can be a million different places all at once.

Home can be the house I grew up in, or the small room I now call my second home. Home can be on a bus having a conversation on a Friday afternoon. Home can be in a dining hall at midnight, and it can be the grocery store when I run into an old friend I haven’t seen in a while. It can be a kitchen table in an apartment, or the dining room table of my grandparents’ house. It can be in a dorm conference room on a Saturday night, or in my living room talking to my parents. It can be a parking lot, a sidewalk, or the hallway outside a classroom when I’m talking on the phone to someone I’ve missed dearly. All at once, home is in more than one place, in more than one town, and in more than one state.

I no longer have only one home, because home is not a physical place. Home is people. Home is made up of the souls that I connect with and hold close to my heart, and for that reason I can call a million different places my home. In the place where I grew up with my wonderful family and friends, I feel like I’m right where I belong. In Athens, where I’ve only lived for a little over 6 months, I feel the same.

I’m realizing that life is not about being in the right place at the right time. It’s about having the right people in my life. All the time. No matter where I am.

I am so indescribably blessed.

High Five for Friday: 2.17.12

Happy Friday! It’s that time again! Time to recall and relay the awesomeness of my week 😀

1. I finished knitting a scarf! Here’s a picture of me wearing it (this was taken pre-coffee and pre-makeup… no comments allowed, haha)

2. There are not words sufficient enough to describe the elation I felt when I opened a Valentine’s day package from my parents and found this. I’m already through chapter 9!!!

3. I’ve started looking into some internship/volunteering/job opportunities for this summer as a result of reading my book. And to be quite honest, thinking about the possibilities of my future just get me PSYCHED. I have so many things I want to chase after and now that I’m in a position to start taking action toward my dreams, I’M JUST SO EXCITED TO LIVE MY LIFE!!! I can’t wait to see what God has in store for me.

4. Speaking of things that God has in store for us, I had a friend tell me that God used me in a dream to communicate something to her. It involved glitter backpacks and a previously undiscovered spiritual gift. When she told me about her dream, I couldn’t help but smile. For whatever reason, it made my week brighter.

5. My lovely sister Shannon was the best Valentine’s Day date ever. I laugh every time I’m around her. It’s such a blessing to be able to call her my sister!

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A dilemma.

Being the social media addict that I am, I’ve been trying to come up with some purpose for this blog. I feel that it should have some central theme, but I’ve tried and tried to come up with that theme to no avail. I only have a few random posts here so far, and I’m somewhat frustrated that they don’t actually contribute anything to the lives of others.

Honestly, I think I just want to write and know that my words aren’t wasted talking about nothing of importance.

And it just hit me. I’m staring at this computer screen, trying to dump something meaningful onto a page, but all I can see are my “High Five for Friday” posts highlighting the best parts of my weeks since I started this page. And then I realized, why can’t I just write about a High Five for Life?

So that’s what I’m going to do. I want to dedicate this blog to pointing out the beautiful, optimistic, joyful things in my life. Whether they be big or small, I just want to write about them and purposely dwell on them. After all, I did name this page “Todo Me Parece Bonito,” which translates roughly to “Everything Seems Beautiful to Me.”

And in this process, maybe I can conquer my own pessimism and encourage someone else to do the same. Let’s do this.

High Five for Friday: DOUBLE TAKE!!!

Since I forgot to do a H54F post last Friday (it was a CRAZY day, believe me), I’ll just do a double dose of H54F this week! So, for the week of January 29th-February 3rd, here we go:

1. I got back my first test grade of the semester on Tuesday. I’m definitely happy with it!

2. I went to an event planning meeting this week, and as a result, I joined a campus organization that I’m super excited about: PRSSA!

3. I went running this week for the first time in a long time. I didn’t do any spectacular distance, that’s for sure. But I’m proud of myself nonetheless and I’m hoping to get back into that habit. This was my motivational song during my run.

4. I made it through my first accounting test alive. Enough said.  (just a more recent update to this: I MADE A 96!!!)

(please pretend there is an awesome picture of my relieved post-test facial expression here)

5. I got to give tours of my dorm today! I LOVED it. I gave my first tour to a friend of mine from high school, and I was so excited to see her that it only added to my major adrenaline rush. It only reaffirms to me that I did the right thing by changing my major to PR, because that’s where my passion lies. I love everything about where I live and everything about this school, and I hope that was obvious while I was giving tours 🙂

And for the week of February 4th-10th, here we go again:

1. I started up snail mail correspondence with two of my friends this week. I’m pretty sure I was born in the wrong time period because I enjoy old-fashioned things like writing letters back and forth. Oh well, I love it 🙂

2. I went to my first college basketball game on Wednesday night with some of my wonderful sisters! We played Arkansas and won. Go Dawgs!

3. It’s the little things like this that make my days brighter.

4. In the past week, I’ve decided to take up knitting and playing the piano again. Even if I don’t have a lot of time to do them, at least I’ll have some hobbies back in my life that I truly enjoy. In the chaos of every day I tend to lose sight of how to slow down, so maybe devoting myself to those will force me to slow down from time to time.

5. I came home tonight for the weekend, and my grandpa made Chinese for dinner, which was AMAZING. I then fell asleep beside a heater on my grandparents’ couch and woke up to my Grammy asking if I wanted some banana pudding. The answer to that question is always “yes.” Really, having my family close by is a blessing, and being away from them at school makes me realize just how true that is.

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The value of friends.

I went with Danielle on Saturday to visit our friend Alex at Auburn, and it was probably the best thing I could’ve done with my Saturday. The entire day I wasn’t once afraid to speak my mind, or laugh whenever I wanted to. I knew they wouldn’t judge me or change their opinion of me based upon what I did or said.

I am thankful to have friends who TRULY teach me the value of having friends in the first place. Some “friends” will teach you how to be a doormat, and others will gladly assist you in demoting your self-worth in order to build up their own. Some will make it appear as if you’re always in the wrong, and some will only have concern for your whereabouts when they need something from you. But personally, none of those describes my best friends. I can honestly say that although they may not know it, they’ve helped me embrace all of the oddities of my personality and my life. I’m grateful for the fact that they love me despite and because of all my quirks.

And because I have them, I’ve realized that through both the best and the worst of my days, I am so very blessed to live this life.