A year ago (more or less), several key things changed in my life. I mentioned in an earlier post that I think I have done fewer things this semester than I would like, and that is mostly due to Normandy. In light of that realization, I began thinking about some of the things that happened to me roughly a year ago and realized how much they impacted me.
Having My Jaw Unwired: It has been nearly a year that my jaw has been healed and I think about that experience constantly. Introspection and silence changed me significantly for the better, despite the fact that it was one of the most lonely times of my life. I grew more confident and happy in being alone, I realized the value in listening to someone well, I cultivated many of interests that I did not encourage when I was surrounded by people, and I realized how alienating physical impairments are.
Deleting My Facebook: Slightly more than a year ago I deleted my Facebook, and I certainly do not regret it. I originally deleted my Facebook because I wanted to spend my time doing self-improving, cultivating things. The same for television. Instead of doing those things, I told myself it would be better to read, write, practice banjo, talk, cook, walk, think, or any other action that produced something, rather than something that just stole time away with nothing to show. The biggest benefit I received from deleting my Facebook is that it significantly increased my self-confidence. I incessantly checked my Facebook and saw pictures of people doing fun things without me, and I was distraught at why I was not there. Instead of giving me a feeling of inclusion, all Facebook did was exclude me from my friends and make me unsatisfied with doing something alone. I wanted to be in pictures, tagged in statuses, and have a lot of friends, instead of being happy with what I was doing in the moment. Now I can enjoy time with my family, time reading a book or grocery shopping, or time sitting in my backyard because I am not plagued by the constant worry of what other people are doing. Deleting my Facebook was one of the best things I have ever done.
Became a Vegetarian: I think the true anniversary of my vegetarianism is in two or so weeks, because I believe I committed to avoid meat at the end of Lent. Nonetheless, giving up meat has changed my life. I have had a relatively easy time of it, though. I do not know how to explain it, because my family eats a regular amount of meat, and I have always enjoyed eating it. Inexplicably, I have not struggled with meatlessness. Perhaps it is because I am not draconian in my limits: I try bits of just about every meat entree my friends or family eat, I just do not order it; I eat venison because it is better for the environment to kill the deer than to let them run wild; and on my birthday I intend to eat meat. Heck, I was even a vegan for awhile, but that was so difficult that I mostly stopped. I still do not drink cows’ milk if I can avoid it, and I try to only eat cheese when the cheese is not an afterthought of the dish, but a highlight. Butter I am a slut for. I enjoy cooking vegetarian and explaining my dietary choice to others (better for the environment!) And, I have indirectly (thanks, Katlin) convinced at least two people to try being vegetarian, and my mom and dad have adopted the tradition of Meatless Monday, which is fantastic!
Becoming a Catholic: This also occurred at the end of Lent, April 23rd if I am not mistaken. This has definitely changed my life for the better. Partially because I have met so many new, fascinating people through my Catholic faith. My experience would be different if I abandoned my Protestant traditions like going to church with my family and seeing my friends from those churches, but since I did not leave behind that part of me, Catholicism has only added onto my faith. I love many things about Catholicism, including the theology and tradition in it, the stern old-people like nature of the church’s teachings (which is good in today’s society), prayers like the Rosary, its outspoken viewpoints on controversial topics, and the regality of Mass. God has changed my life through giving me this gift, and it is certainly one of the biggest changes to ever occur in my life.
Joining Younglife: Although I am in between teams currently, my experience on Travis Younglife was superb. I had no idea that my time there would be so rewarding for me. I know that Younglife focuses on helping high-schoolers, but it also benefits leaders’ relationships with God. The whole “you have to know your stuff to teach it” thing applies big time. I met many amazing students, and many of my fellow leaders changed my life. I love what YoungLife is about; its ministry is pure at heart and fueled my honest love. Sometimes the bureaucracy got annoying, but I always could see through the rules and know that at the heart of it I was being given the privilege of talking to kids about God and helping them through thickets in their lives. I know I will continue in YoungLife somewhere else, but a year ago when I was placed a seed was planted in me that is still growing larger.
I Began Blogging!: I did not start this particular blog until last May I think, but right around this time I had another blog on the interweb that I have since discontinued. I have been lax with blogging lately because my mind has been elsewhere, but do not think for a second that I do not love it. People ask me why I blog or if it makes me feel vain, and I do not have a good answer. Not that many people read my blog. The people that do (and comment) I love! But, I firmly believe I would do this if no one else read it, because that was how it was for the first three weeks. Blogging is a great outlet, even if I misspell words, ramble and go on tangents, or take terrible pictures. I enjoy it, and I really appreciate that you guys read it!
I Solidified my Friendship with Sean and Michael: These two doods have changed my life big time. I roomed with Sean last year and it was a life-changing choice that was absolutely God-sent. Sean is a great Catholic, an amazing friend, good to Ashley and his other loved ones, passionate about sports and God, kind, helpful, driven, red-headed, old in the mind, hilarious, and lovable. Michael has taught me how to care about people, ask insightful questions, expanded my music tastes, make hard choices, and persevere, and he is hilarious, congenial, people-pleasing, well-dressed, self-improving, and sharp minded. My friendship with these two guys is unlike any other friendship I have ever had. I know them so well, and they know me as well as anyone on the Earth. Their faiths have grown me; their patience has improved me; their genuine natures have strengthened me, and their jokes have given me a sexy six-pack from laughing so much.