Each new year, I choose one word that I feel will best guide me through the coming year. In 2017, I chose the word “breathe.” 2017 was the year that I graduated high school and left home to begin a completely new chapter of my life at college. To say I was terrified would be an understatement. I started college and left everything familiar at home. I met completely new people, experienced things that I had NEVER experienced before, and I ultimately stressed myself out more than a few times. But I never forgot my word: breathe. I continuously reminded myself that God was with me and that He was carrying me through the unfamiliarity. He never left my side. He reminded me to breathe and to trust Him and the path that He had put before me. And what started as the most terrifying experience ended as one of the greatest years of my life. I love my school and I am so thankful for the people I have met and the things I have been able to experience. Remembering to breathe and trust God helped me more than I can say.

In 2018, my word was “courage.” I reflected on 2017 and noticed that I lacked courage in more than a few areas. I said no to some things that I should’ve said yes to, simply out of fear. In 2018 I reminded myself to be courageous. I reminded myself to stay true to myself and to stick up for what I believe in, always. I prayed for God to give me courage to meet new people and step outside of my comfort zone even more than I did in 2017. In 2018, I flew on an airplane ALONE for the first time ever. While that may seem like no big deal to most, it was a huge thing for me. I used to be afraid of flying, and the last time I was on a plane I had a panic attack. This time, however, I was calm the entire flight. In 2018, I became a more outgoing and social person. Anyone who knows me well knows that I’ve always been quiet. I’m most certainly an introvert. I decided that this would be the year that I would try to break out of my shell more. I spent more time hanging out with a nice group of friends that I’ve come to grow very close to. They’re some of the greatest people I’ve ever met, and I look forward to continuing college with them by my side! I am beyond thankful for them. I learned that being around genuinely good people is good for the soul. In 2018, I auditioned for an indoor percussion group. I said no to fear and yes to the opportunity. And I learned SO much from that experience. I won’t soon forget it. I think 2018 was one of the best years yet. I’ve grown so much as a person. Thank you God for showing me what it means to be courageous.

For 2019, I have chosen the word “content.” One thing I majorly lacked in 2018 was being content with where I am in life. I played that nasty comparison game. “He/she has more on their resume than me… he/she is going to be a better teacher than me… he/she has a better grade in that class than I do… he/she made ‘X’ chair in ‘X’ band and I didn’t…” the list goes on! Having these thoughts made me miserable. I knew something had to change. In 2019, I’m going to work on that. I’m going to sit back and remind myself that God doesn’t compare what he creates. He delights in me! He has a plan for my life. Never compare yourself to others. Only compare yourself to the person you were yesterday, last week, last month, last year! Wherever you are in life: be content. I always think about who I was as a person/performer/student/musician this time last year. And you know what? I have grown SO much since then! I have improved so much as a percussionist and I learned more than I ever thought possible in one year. And that’s all that matters. Compare yourself to who you were this time last year, don’t compare yourself to your peers. They’re on a whole different path that God has set before them. A path not meant for you. Chase the purpose he has for your life. Chase Him.

So, in 2019, I will remember to breathe and trust God when life gets too crazy to handle. I will remember to have courage when fear tries to control me, and I will learn to always be content with my path and the person I am growing into and becoming.

Thank you God for this life I get to live.