a grateful farewell.

So today is my very last day of being 21 years old.

I feel like 21 is the year that you’re looking forward to when you’re younger. It’s the final “landmark” birthday. You know, when you’re fifteen you can get your driver’s permit, at sixteen your license. At 18 you can vote even if you have no idea what you’re even voting about, and it makes you feel sophisticated and civilized, the middle-class equivalent of “coming out” into society. Oh and you can buy lottery tickets.

At 21, you can finally go and sit at a restaurant and order a drink, and (I’ve been told this gets old REAL fast) get a little excited when the waiter or waitress says, “May I see your ID?” Why, yes. Yes you can. You know why? Cause I’m 21. Read it and weep. What’s that? I ordered a diet coke? Well…can I show it to you anyways?

But once you reach that milestone, there aren’t quite as many exciting privileges to incur upon gaining another year of life.

Even so, I’ve been hearing a lot about thankfulness lately, and how gratitude has the ability to drastically change your outlook on everything…so for the last day of this milestone year, I would like to appreciate everything that made my 21st beautiful.

I’m thankful for wonderful friends, both old and new.

I’m thankful for adventures and my first speeding ticket.

I’m thankful for my family, in Roswell, in Athens, in Winder, in Kenya, in Haiti, and in Mexico.

I’m thankful for my church, and for the privilege of sharing the gospel.

I’m thankful for service and smiles and laughter.

I’m thankful for days of snow and creativity and calm.

I’m thankful for change, and I’m thankful for dependence in uncertainty and fear.

I’m thankful for community and hospitality.

I’m thankful for food, in particular banana bread, and its innate ability to bring people together.

I’m thankful for opportunities to go to new places, meet new people, speak new languages, learn new things.

I’m thankful for stories, and the joy of telling them.

On the material side, I’m thankful for diet coke, and my chacos.

I’m thankful for tears and the comfort they can bring.

I’m thankful for conversation and the help and healing it supplies.

I’m thankful for lunches, on Wednesday or other days, with friends in real life.

I’m thankful for honesty and redemption in friendship.

I’m thankful for words and the power they hold.

I’m thankful that what is lost can be found.

I am thankful for hope.

Most of all, I’m thankful that, milestone or not, I do not doubt that 31, 41, and 61 will be just as exciting, just as redeeming, just as full of joy and laughter and learning, as 21 was.

Goodbye, 21, and thank you.

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