2 Decades

Happy 20th birthday to me! It's my second birthday being away from home, and it does feel pretty strange not being with family and friends on this special day. Thank you all for the birthday wishes! They mean so much, especially from all the way across the Pacific!

Dear 19,

Being with you has been fun. It's been a lot of fun, actually. I've learned so much from you about life, love, people, and God. While you were still around, I experienced my freshman year of college, made tons of new friends, and travelled the world, among other things. 

No offense, but I'm actually a little excited to leave you behind. We both know it's for the best; we can't be together forever. Not that being with you hasn't been great, because it has! But, the time has come to move on. What I'm trying to say is, it's not you; it's me. I've got to let go and move on to bigger and better things. I mean, come on, 20 is in a completely different decade! You understand, right? 

I'll always cherish the memories we had together, and I know that one day very soon you'll make some 18-and-364-day-old very happy. I hope that there's no hard feelings between us, especially since you and 20 are pretty close. We both knew that this had to come to an end eventually, and we can still look forward to what the future brings. 

I'll never forget you, 19. I have so many pictures of us and so many great memories that I wouldn't trade for the world. Thank you for the good times and the bad times, for the sunny days and the cold winter nights, for the friends I've made and the experiences I've had. 

But mostly, thank you for the memories.

Goodbye, 19.

Your friend, 

Here's a look back at some of the people (and places) that helped make 19 so great!

Okay, so technically this was taken on my last day of being 18,
but I think it's a good picture to begin with since
 I officially started classes at UT when I was 19.  
One of the best parts of this past year was all the amazing friendships I made at UT.
(I miss you, Alexis!)
My family has been so supportive of me my whole life, especially during this past year.
This is us at family weekend last September. Go Vols!
Late September of last year I started thinking about New Zealand. It was a tough choice! Leaving
everything that's familiar for a whole semester is quite difficult! For months, I prayed about it,
talked to my parents about the decision, spoke with advisors, got a passport, applied, and now I'm here!
I know, I know. Enough with the Tennessee stuff. It's hard to explain how incredible being a part of the Big Orange Family is, but it really is an amazing feeling. UT was a big part of being 19 for me, and I wouldn't trade my time there for the world. I'm actually pretty excited about spending part of 20 there!
Of course, 19 wouldn't have been the same without this amazing man. God blessed me beyond measure by placing him in my life. He's been with me throughout all of 19, which had some pretty rocky patches in it. I'm so thankful for time we've been together, and I am looking forward to what God's plan has in store for us. I love you, Ben!
I don't know what I would do without these ladies. Even though so much has changed over the past year, from babies to college to travelling the world, one thing remains constant: we'll always be there for each other, even though we're miles apart. God has blessed us with such a unique, strong friendship, and I can't thank Him enough for it. Thank you for all the support y'all have given me this past year! I love y'all!

Another picture of my family. But, you really can't have too many! I wish I had some recent pictures of my grandparents, my aunts and uncles, my cousins, and all the family that helped make 19 so wonderful. These people absolutely mean the world to me, and I love them so much! (I promise I'm not trying to make you cry, Mom!)
19 has been one great adventure. But, I know 20 will be even better.
What new changes could come with being 20? I have no idea. 20 is a brand new adventure that I'm so ready for. I'd like to say thank you to everyone; God, my family, my boyfriend, my friends, my church family, my pastor, my teachers, everyone who has helped me become who I am today. Thank you for the encouragement, the prayers, the support, and the love that you've given me throughout my life and especially during my 19th year. You'll never know how valuable you are to me. I can't wait for the plan God has for me and my life as I enter another decade. I pray that I'll use this year (and this decade and the rest of my life, for that matter) for His honor and glory. 

For I know the thought I think toward you, saith the LORD, 
thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
Jeremiah 29:11 KJV

Hello, 20. 


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