Of all the years I’ve lived, the year of 20 was stand out & spectacular – it was filled with adventure and stretching myself and more of learning about who I am and where my passions lie. And while I learned a lot, I also grew a deeper appreciation for a lot of things, people, & moments in my life, so here we go – the top 20 things I was most grateful for in the year I was twenty.
I. My faith in God, who’s always leading and guiding me on great adventure (even when I numb His voice & try to avoid where He’s leading me).
II. Words. I realized how much I value words (and how much I miss them when I'm not writing). I spent a lot of time avoiding words this year, but even when I avoid writing them down, words find a way to calm me. I’m also super happy & grateful that I’ve started writing them down again.
III. Family. As we all grow up and as we grow a lot closer, I continue to grow an appreciation for their unending love and support.
IV. Alone time.
V. Moments of beauty that take your breath away – specifically Honduran sunsets that make the sky look like it is on fire, & evenings when there are cotton candy clouds in the sky & toes curled in sugar like sand.
VI. #cyHonduras: for making my year unforgettable, for turning chocala into a thing, for all the laughs that made my belly hurt (& sometimes for the tears when our hearts hurt), for putting the fun back in fundraisers, & for clearly demonstrating & reminding me how awesome our God is.
VII. Calvary CRC, my home & place of refuge. Thankful for their love, their consistent (& awe inspiring) support, their clear demonstration of God’s love, & for always feeling like home.
VIII. Ryerson: for being a solid place to work, for the privilege of my education, & for incredible mentors & role models.
IX. Steeped tea, road trips, poetry, incredible role models, the colour yellow, & a million people I can call when I'm sad & need to chat (or when I'm overjoyed & need to celebrate).
X. 336 Jarv, my little home. Grateful for amazing roommates, for safety, & for a roof over my head (even when it’s leaky).
XI. Mel - thankful for her immense love of life, her kind heart, her ability to make me laugh super hard, & her desire to see me paint with bright colours.
XII. Honduras. Forever grateful for the opportunity to go there again, and even more thankful for the beauty of the country & the people, the renewed love of community in my life, and the super strong, strong women. (If I can be a fraction of these women plus a fraction of my mom, I’ll be a thrilled gal.)
XIII. Good pens, fun water colours, laundromats & vanilla lattes with cinnamon & good tunes on a quiet evening, and knitting.
XIV. Clean water & lots of access to it – I’m so thankful that I don’t have to choose between a concrete floor or having water for the rest of the month. I’m thankful for the opportunity to learn about this injustice this year, & for the families who made me rethink the way I live. (& I’m thankful for leaders who recognize that injustice and go back to the family to give whatever water we have left.)
XV. My health & my two strong legs to take me wherever I need to go. (& for when my feet can’t take me to the places I want to go or to the faces I want to see, I’m thankful for busses & trains & people that chauffeur me around the greater Hamilton area.)
XVI. The little sun beam children that are in my life. Not only do they tell it like it is & make me laugh out loud with their antics & thoughts on life, but I’m most thankful that they make me want to a better person. Also for making me laugh.
XVII. Bubblegum ice cream from Hewitts. Not only is it the best bubblegum ice cream on planet earth, I also rarely get to have it which makes me even more grateful for it.
XVIII. The spread of Hannah-isms. Because no matter what, hearing people say long hair don’t care, KOO KOO KA CHOO, or chocala will forever make my heart warm & put a smile upon my face (even if they don’t mean to or don’t know what it means).
XIX. Renewed trust in myself and a new belief in myself as a strong, resilient young woman who can get through whatever shit life tosses her way with faith, incredible people that love her, some writing, and a whole lot of joy (& also tea).
XX. Joy. I think this has been a year of discovering the difference between joy & happiness. And then, it became about finding joy in small moments (like randomly walking into salsa dancing lessons in the park) & in the big moments (like standing up in front of people with your boss & the vice provost of students, & hearing your boss whisper, “This is a KOO KOO KA CHOO moment”). Pretty thankful to be living a life that feels very anchored in and surrounded by joy.
Bring on some super great adventures, 21. I'm ready for ya.