Twenty-four. That is my age just today. I am no longer twenty-three, and one more year until I have to start using my anti-aging creams. This year has brought the most amount of growth than I even considered possible. It was the hardest year of my life. However, I wouldn’t change a thing. I am so thankful for one more year of life. If I could summarize another year in a word I would say redemption. Twenty-three will be the year I lost hope and joy and found it again in a level so deep I did not believe existed. I found strength within my roots. I found joy and hope in faith. The struggles that I faced this past life year is the reason I am doing this now. I went through so many feelings that I was not ready to handle. Pain became something so deep that words could not do it justice. I needed to say so much and I felt trapped within my overworked mind. Writing became my outlet and I fell in love with the art all over again. I found hope within my writing and faith came alive. I was able to heal through writing and find that I was not alone as the voices in my head so often said. I found myself amidst the chaos and I didn’t hate what I saw anymore. I found joy in the love of Jesus and an even deeper joy in sharing that love. My smile grew more and more effortless with each passing day. Twenty-three is when I decided to choose me. I elected to love me before looking for someone else to do the job that was mine all along. It is the year I pushed past my comfort zone and lost my fear of doing so. It is the year I decided to go after what I wanted full force-win or lose. So far I think I’ve won. Whatever the outcome, I finally get to say I tried, I lived, I asked, I spoke out, I danced, I wrote, I smiled, I cried, and I did it all without holding back. That alone is a win for me. Twenty-four now is nowhere near the image of what I saw as a little girl looking into what I thought was centuries forward. Yet, I am happy at where I am, and in no means do I plan to get comfortable at this stage. I look forward to grow another year-I also mean that in a literal sense-God? I am excited for what is to come and I vow to take risks and live to the fullest even when circumstance gets in the way. I vow to love and laugh even when it is easier said than done-or at least try my very hardest. I vow to be a good student for the lessons every day brings. Cheers to being two-dozen years old.