525,600 Minutes

With less than three hours left in 2012 and now ‘Seasons of Love’ stuck in my head, it’s nearly impossible for me to not look back on the weirdest, most wonderful, roller coaster of a year in my short 21 years of living.

A lot happened, and a lot for the first time:

  • Cross country road trip, from Lakeland, FL to Los Angeles, CA with my best friend in the world, Johnny Dockman
  • Saw tumbleweeds and turbines
  • Saw Route 66 and where it ends
  • Stood on the edge of the Grand Canyon
  • Roswell, New Mexico and saw all the alien paraphernalia
  • Bought moccasins from an Indian in Arizona
  • Lived in my first real apartment in Los Angeles
  • Had my first internship at Greenhouse Productions/Hollywood Prayer Network
  • Rode the ferris wheel on Santa Monica Pier
  • Explored Griffith Observatory at sunset
  • Took pictures with my sister in front of the Hollywood Sign
  • Stalked outside the Golden Globes with Johnny
  • Saw my first in the flesh celebrity Angelina Jolie
  • Followed by Queen Latifah, Daniel Radcliffe, Evan Rachel Wood, Jessica Alba
  • Visited Paramount, Fox, Raleigh and Warner Bros Studios
  • Found one of my favorite places in the world, Venice Beach
  • Walked down Hollywood Blvd, and during the Oscars
  • Put my hands and feet on the Walk of Fame outside of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre
  • Toured the Kodak Theatre, where the Oscars have been hosted for years
  • Had my first In-N-Out Burger and fell in love
  • Watched ‘Beauty in the Beast’ at El Capitan with Meghan Fitzmartin
  • Paddleboarding on Easter with Christina & Johnny in Malibu
  • Was an eyewitness for an insurance company about a car accident
  • Turned 21 with cupcakes on Santa Monica beach at night with Johnny and Meghan
  • Did all my own cooking–and survived!–from January to May
  • Edited using Avid for the first time on “The Star” (which made it to HollyShorts)
  • Graduated from Southeastern with my best friends with a B.S. in Film Studies/B.S. in Communications
  • Watched senior capstones from BEHIND the big screen at the Polk
  • Spent my first summer without a job since I was 15
  • Had my first and last paid film gig at Fiddler Films
  • Dragged Sarah to zumba at the gym and wasn’t killed by her in the night
  • Survived boot camp at the gym
  • Got stung by a jellyfish
  • Was the ONLY person dressed up for the Dark Knight Rises premiere
  • Got paid for amateur modeling for an online clothing store (we don’t need to ever discuss this past this blog)
  • Finally cracked and got an iPhone
  • First time being a bridesmaid for Samantha and Justin
  • First time spelunking
  • Dramatically left the country in 8 days
  • Flew alone internationally for the first time on a double decker
  • Lived overseas in Singapore for almost three months
  • Used public transportation alone successfully for the first time
  • Survived two months of physical/spiritual bootcamp
  • Tried biryani curry, murtubak, tandoori and prata in Little India, SG and got hooked
  • Had pig stomach, pig intestine, pig hooves, crocodile soup, durian, tofu and grubs
  • Rode an elephant
  • Met my international family for the next year
  • Had chili crab, crab beehoon and malay noodles for Thanksgiving
  • Moved to Africa
  • Started learning Swahili
  • Tried chips mayai, dagaa, ugali, mandazi, chapatti
  • Went cliff jumping for the first time
  • Went to the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Ocean
  • Swam in the biggest lake in the world (Tanganyika)
  • Ate a goat that was living only hours earlier
  • Used a choo
  • Bathed in a bucket
  • Hiked in the rain
  • Lived in the village
  • Got amoebas/worms while in the village
  • Got measured for traditional African garments of my own
  • Attended African church for the first time
  •  Traveled on a ship for the first time
  • Played with so many African babies
  • Had my first Christmas away from my family
  • Saw Zebras in the wild
  • Drove across Tanzania in two days
  • Revived my love for reading
  • Started this blog
  • Held a wild chameleon
  • Drank more Orange Fanta than I want to talk about
  • Rode every single emotional roller coaster possible, high and low, good and bad
  • Survived Stop Kony, Chic-fil-A, the Zombie Apocalypse, the end of the world and other trendy facebook topics that have long since faded into obscurity
  • Didn’t vote in the first presidential election I was only enough to vote in
  • Stayed up all night for the first time in my life
  • Hear God all but audibly speak to me like He used to when I was younger

2012 has been a lot better to me than I’ve been to it, for sure. Looking past my less than shining moments that seemed so huge at the time, I discovered that I’ve been really blessed and actually able to find the “great, wide somewhere” and take it head on. My life this year is nothing short of a miracle and I’ll never stop saying it.

One thing I’m not doing this year is vowing to “be a better person”. I will not say that I’ll work out more or read my bible more or start a new hobby or read 50 books or any other rules I typically give myself each year. I want my “yes” will be “yes” and my “no” will be “no”. Sure, I want to read more, learn the djembe and how to dance like an African while I’m here and make a couple of meaningful short videos about our stay here, but more than all that I just want to actually know Jesus and see what knowing Him looks like when I live and love with other people.

The reality is that when I wake up tomorrow, January 1st 2013, the day will be as new and fresh a start as it will be the next day, the next day and the day after that, and every day that God Almighty rules from his throne of grace.

And that’s more than enough.


3 thoughts on “525,600 Minutes

  1. Aw, this blog makes me miss you bunches! I’m glad that you are living your life truly alive; if that makes sense? That is something I am currently learning how to do– giving everything I do 100% instead of just surviving. And you are so right, every day is a fresh new start . Life goes by so fast and all we can do is take it one day at a time and make the most of it. Which I can tell you are doing already. I was talking with some patients the other day and they were talking about how adventurous their life has been and how to some people, that’s just the life they were given; a wild life full of changes is what was handed to them in their life. Then they were saying how some people make their life that way. Living every day to the fullest potential, taking chances, understanding that life is what you make it, and truly making a difference. Which I know and always have known you are doing. So proud of you and the beautiful life you are leading! I can’t wait to hear all about your year and of all the lives you have touched. 🙂

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