I think my first birthday with the official birthday questions was on my 20th. I was just home from studying abroad in London and had moved in with the women who would quickly become a second family to me.
Now, every time I answer them, they remind me of those days sitting at our kitchen table under the florescent lights and sky-patterned, crepe-paper ceiling when it seemed as if everything was possible. So in honor of my recently celebrated birthday, I thought I’d take a minute to reflect with the help of the official birthday questions (Thanks Jessie!).
What was the best part of the last year?
The best part of the last year has been seeing how much more I am capable of than I even realized. A year ago I was still an intern who wasn’t exactly sure what she wanted to do. In the last year I was hired full-time, helped out on some high profile projects, and was accepted to graduate school.
But even beyond all of that, I think that the biggest growth has come in my Church callings. I love thinking about who needs a visit or a meal or a hug and then being the person who brightens another’s day. While these aren’t unnatural responses for me, my natural inclination is to talk to people I already know and stay home on Friday night with a good book. Knowing there are people I want to meet and reach out to has helped me overcome that and build more meaningful relationships.
Something I hope I take away from this experience is that I don’t have to be in a specific calling to minister to the people around me. So much of what I’m doing now, could be done by any member of the ward.
What is a piece of wisdom you’ve gained over the last year?
Keep moving forward and don’t freak out too much. It’s going to work out.
In retrospect that seems so easy to say. That I shouldn’t have been freaking out when my internship was ending and I didn’t have a job, or when I decided to do an MBA and didn’t know what schools I should apply to, or when I had a disagreement with someone and thought we could never recover our friendship.
Thinking about the big decisions and problems and how they could effect your life is almost paralyzing, but stopping for a second and thinking, “What can I do about this today?” has helped me continue moving forward despite the overwhelming stuff that I know needs to be resolved. And it often puts me in a better place by the time the resolution need to be made.
What are you most looking forward to in the next year?
I’m excited to go back to school (minus the lack of sleep, homework, and tuition). I like being stretched intellectually and can already see it applying to work situations. I know it’s going to push me and help me become a better contributor and I like the idea of having more capacity and skills. And surprisingly, I’m excited to meet new people (that’s big for an introvert.) Especially new friends that are outside of my normal Church employment/ward circles.