5 things I learned in 2019

You know how there are those times in your life that you just remember so vividly. You feel you are almost still in that season of life because you remember every detail.

There was the time when my best friend and I lived down the street from each other, which I thought was the best thing ever. We would combine all our barbie stuff in my room and play for hours. We only had one Ken and we would argue to see which of us had to have our barbie's husband away in the army or off on a world tour. When the barbies were tired and the sun was down, we would walk all the way to her house then back to mine. Then we walk to the halfway point between our houses, count down from five, and then start walking back to our houses at the exact same time because we didn't want to have to walk back alone in the dark.

There was the time that my cousin and i were obsessed with MyFroggyStuff.com and when my family was in Colorado on vacation my cousin and i would get up early to make duct tape purses for our American girl dolls before she left for school.

Then there was that time when me and my friends were boy crazyyyyyy! We would sit in our secret spot in the ocean across the street from my friends house and come up with dream scenarios for how “our crush” would ask us out. Sometimes if everyone would give me a percentage of how likely i was to date my crush and one time i got a 98% chance!

I was so happy i went home and wrote it in my journal, (did i forget to mention i don't keep a journal) i found the single entry the other day... glad i’m out of that season (at least for now).

See what i mean there are those times, seasons in life, that you just remember so well... i could go on forever…

All of those memories are slightly awkward, but those moments make up who I am and I’m grateful for them.

That one afraid-to-walk-home-alone-in-the-dark friendship, well we’re not friends anymore, there wasn't a huge fight we just slowly grew apart and we were each ready for a new season. i have moved on from American girl dolls, but i haven't and will never move on from my cousin and I only have a crush now and then, but i like it that way. I like that me and my friends can laugh about our past weirdness and then we can start talking about really good stuff like school, life in general, God, and what’s on our bucket list.

As December came to a close I felt this overwhelming gratitude for what a great life I lead, seasons in my life, and all the things I've learned. I wanted to just pause for a moment and talk about the things I've learned in 2019, tying it in with some of M.L.K.'s finest quotes, so here we go.

(also I say "seasons of life" about 30 times... I'm sorry.)

"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase."

moments just happen

I've always been a curator of moments, wanting to have memories on film, paper, or video. It is a continuous struggle to want all memories captured but also to really live in the moment.

There was this instance where I was going to my friend's house, i had thought about bringing my camera but I took a leap of faith (heres to you M.L.K) and decided that I'd just be with my friends that night. We laughed all night long. At some point if my camera would have been brought out, we would have stated filming ourselves, then the camera would have been the focus but this time the focus was being together and it is one of my favorite nights to look back on.

It’s hard because I want memories to be captured but i also need to step back because sometimes pulling out the camera ruins the flow of the moment.

"Change does not roll up on wheels of inevitability, but comes through with continuous struggle, and so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom."

its okay for change to happen

I've always pictured my self as a family person, like i’ll always chose my family over my friends and that sort of thing. Don’t get me wrong my family is incredible but as i grow older, i am realizing that i need time to be on my own to fully grow.

I need time to be with my friends to create experiences and memories, as I experience adventure and moments in a different way being around people my age. I almost feel like someone different, I laugh differently when I am with my friends than I laugh with my family. I discover things about me with my friends, because I’ve always been the-closer-to-home-girl, maybe I am a bit more wild and adventurous in different ways than I thought.

My friends have always been more wild then i have been... yelling to people across the street, going to the beach at 4:30 am, and shouting a quick conversation to college kids from a car window. I actually adore that about them, their wildness, besides 5 am sunrises are exhilarating.

One memory I have was from a time a few months ago, (holy cow, I’ve changed!). Just back from a trip and my friends said we should go to a high school football game. Shy Dev said, ”ohhhhhhh noooooo”, kinda weird i wouldn’t want to go to a simple football game, right? But they persisted, “Come on Dev, it will be so fun”, and shy Dev just wanted to have everyone hang at the house, however, I was slowly relenting. Even my dad was surprised I was considering it. Eventually I did go to the football game and had the best time ever.

So i learned that it's okay for me to be a little wild sometimes, have some separation from my family, so M.L.K. I'll keep working towards my freedom to be adventurous and now looking back I absolutely love this way I've changed.

"If it falls on your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures, sweep streets like Beethoven composed music, sweep streets like Leontyne Price sings before the metropolitan opera. Sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry. Sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will have to pause and say: Here lived a great street sweeper who swept his job well. If you can’t be a pine at the top of the hill, be a shrub in the valley. Be be the best little shrub on the side of the hill. Be a bush if you can’t be a tree. If you can’t be a highway, just be a trail. If you can’t be a sun, be a star. For it isn’t by size that you win or fail. Be the best of whatever you are."

i'm here on maui for a reason

In 2019 i learned that I'm in this state, this town, this island, for a reason. One of the things i am most grateful for in my life is my wonderful friends: that make me ride my bike to Ross, stay up all night, and spit water through my nose (oh yeah i did all that in 2019 too!). I’m guessing you remember the blog post’s where i said how much i hated living on Maui and life was so hard for me, and I wish I could move off island, (well let’s thank God i’ve moved on from that season of life).

Since choosing to accept that THIS is where i live right now, I’ve had so much more fun and felt so much more free. I realized that if I'm always frustrated or grumbling because i don’t want to live on Maui, then i can’t actually enjoy my life; besides maui has so much to offer that I would miss if I kept hating the island. So i made a challenge as 2018 came to a close to embrace Maui: watch surfing, take photos of the beauty around me, really immerse myself in this beautiful state, and apply myself to enjoying Hawaii at its finest, and now i can't imagine moving away.

Thanks besties, you helped me to embrace what was already around me, and with a little nudge from my own heart, I’m clearly changed. Also Maui, you are pretty great.

So M.L.K. I’ll be the best little palm tree on the west side of my island.

"We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive.There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us."

forgiveness is important

I admit this has been one of my tougher struggles, I've even had hard time writing about forgiveness today. When I try to forgive (at least most of the time) the desire to find fault in the other person takes over, part of why I think it is so hard to forgive sometimes is because we think that we are above the person who wronged us and we don't want to forgive them because then they become equal to us again.

I feel that i have grown some in this area but maybe not in the ways i would have liked...

I'm sure you expected me to explain how I now can forgive others easily, thats not the case, I have learned more this year on how to forgive myself. Like Martin Luther king said, "We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive." Either ourselves or others, I also like the second part of the quote which says "There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us." I think that is a really cool view to take, we have to remember that what (blank) did to us, well you could do the same to someone else next week.

I think it often happens when you are ready to forgive someone, they do something else that gets on your nerves... and your back where you started, not wanting to forgive them. I once heard someone say, "its not about forgiving the other person for them, as much as helping yourself move on from a past wrong", I love that quote, when it becomes hard to forgive others mistakes you can always remember, do it for yourself, because you need to move on.

A couple months ago I was in a season of life where I felt like I was in a slump and I was blaming myself for it. I criticized myself, "if I did (blank) things would be different," but things didn't change, I don't think I ever really expected them to, my wishes were unrealistic.

I eventually got out of my slump (i wish i could tell you how but to be completely honest i forgot :|) and then instead of being like "wow Deveraux that was really dumb", i forgave myself.

I feel like I didn't realize that forgiving myself was an option.

It's interesting that the thought of forgiving myself hadn't come to mind, but if you think about it, does it really seem like a huge issue to forgive yourself? No, right, it seems really doable which is really heartbreaking that for many of us it takes so much to forgive others but we can forgive ourselves in a second.

I think its the issue of wanting to be above. In life everyone makes a lot of mistakes, including myself, and so for me sometimes I think, oh, for once I did nothing wrong and (blank) did do something, so if I don't forgive this person I can keep the I-did-nothing-and-they-did-something-so-I-am-better-than-them mentality.

So, where does that leave us now?

Examine your heart and see if anyone you know needs your forgiveness.

You may be thinking "look dev, who are you to tell me I need to forgive someone, I bet you have someone to forgive."

Guess what, your totally right, I DO!!!

So excuse me a sec while I forgive them...

I'm backkkk, and my slate of forgiveness is clean, and I hope yours is too, so lets make a pact, lets keep our forgiveness slates clean and soak up the freedom in our hearts.

"You are as good as anyone, everyone can be great."

i'm growing up

A couple of days ago I had a moment. I saw this picture of myself and i was like whoaaaaaa, Okayyyyyyy, I looked so grown up and pretty. It was different from when you look in the mirror, where often you see your flaws, your childish hands (personal experience), your too small shorts, you know how it goes. But this was a really good picture of me and I was pleasantly surprised.

Past seasons of my life, looking at myself I’ve thought this part of me looks weird and then i realized one day it shouldn't matter how I look. i want my friends, my people to like me the way i am, at my best and my worst. It was a really ah-ha moment for me. There was this quote I heard on instagram which I loved:

"I had a moment the other day that really changed my perspective on how I view my physical appearance. I was thinking no one has ever impacted me by being beautiful or having a perfect body. it might get my initial attention or even be inspiring, but its never been the reason I remembered them. I'm impacted by people for their kindness, their loyalty, their patience, their genoritsy, there vunrablity, etc. I've never said "she changed my life because she was pretty and skinny." we spend so much time worrying about the thing that means the least to people." -Becca Tilley

With that in mind it seems silly to worry doesn't it? It all ties in with what M.L.K. said years ago, you are as good as anyone!

After I realized that I wanted my people to see and love me at my best and worst I stopped worrying. i let myself wear the outfits I never would have thought I could have pulled off before, done the brave things I never would have wanted to do in the past, take silly pictures and not care how I look in them, and my gosh in 2019 I've been so free.

It was almost as if I was putting myself in this box with not only the way I looked but also the choices I was making. "dev you hate maui so you hate the beach, dev you were afraid of the water so you can't suddenly like it now, dev you don't want to go cliff jumping with your friends so your not going". It sounds terrible doesn't it, to be so limited and not allow myself to change. I guess it explains why I've felt so free when I let go of the reins and I became who I wanted to be and allowed myself to grow.

So, I started saying yes.

I now know what i like and what i don't, i know my limit for bravery, i know what i believe in, who i love and who gets on my nerves, i know what i look good in and what i don't and more. After I realized I could freely accept myself as I was and quiet the voice of criticism on how I look or act, I had this moment where I just thought, "crap i'm growing up."

You know that song "stay gold" by Stevie wonder (from the "Outsiders"), my favorite verse is the last one...

Life is but a twinkling of an eye

Yet filled with sorrow and compassion

Though not imagined all things that happen

Will age too old

Though gold

Stay gold

Life is but a twinkling of an eye, growing up only takes a second, our endless summers will come to an end. That struck me a bit, i'm growing up, quickly. Although growing up is bittersweet, the things I'm learning now will stay "gold" forever.

When your younger you always feel so young, you wish that time would just pick up its pace a bit and move a little faster. Your days are so free, sure there is school and friend drama, but it's all simpler. That fight with your friend is quickly moved on from by the next day.

Yet, when you get older it's more complicated, the consequences are harsher, the struggles are larger, and that fight with your friend most likely isn't over the next day. Life continues to be amazing it's just different as you get older. It takes some getting used to for sure.

The other day me and my friend were having this really good conversation, one of those talks that you just want to write all the little tidbits down so you don't forget. Well I had this out of body moment (ever had one... its kinda weird) where I listened to my friend say something hard going on in her life then I responded with a piece of advice and I was shocked; we sounded so old, our problems so mature, and I was surprised I was also that I had some good words for her having never gone though that particular issue before.

Then I saw her years before as an 11 year old with glasses and braces and me 10, in my gap kids swimsuit with two braids sitting in the pool because I hated the beach, There we sat telling each other "false" stories about our "true loves". I felt so old to be talking about boys alone in a pool with a middle schooler. Oh how times have changed.

My last 2019 reflection is that "I'm growing up". The thing is, looking back at all of my past reflections, they all have the same theme of learning more about myself, accepting myself for who I am, and most of all, growing older. "Gee-will-ikers" I was growing up all of 2019 without knowing it! In fact, I am growing up now, so quickly, its really bittersweet, but I just feel so overwhelmingly blessed that i am where i am today!