I’ve been nostalgic lately and I’m not really sure why. Maybe it’s my constant time spent on college applications. Maybe it’s the senior trips being planned. Maybe it’s the way my mom comes and sits on my bed with me and we talk like adults, like friends, instead of strictly mother to child. 

I’ve also been thinking a lot about the way that I’ll look back on these years. The laughs I’ll remember, the regrets I’ll have, the people I’ll keep in touch with. I’ve been thinking about all of the best friends that I’ve had. The first moved to Alaska, the second we grew apart, the third went off the deep end as they say, and the fourth I still love to death but is 2000 miles away, and the fifth I just outgrew. They were all amazing, amazing people, but they’re all people of the past. 

Sometimes it hurts to admit this to myself, but I’m ready to move on. I’m ready for the Next Big Thing, the next segment of my life. I’ve also been wondering if I’ll miss these years. I’m sure at times I will, just like there are times now I wish I could be nine years old sitting at a picnic table with the third best friend again. But I don’t want to be one of those people that let it consume them. I want to be all in, all there, 100%, wherever I happen to be at that time. I’m ready to welcome change. I want to be one of those people that takes what life gives them and runs with it. 

Change is good. Change is necessary. A year ago today, I wrote in my journal about how I didn’t understand the people here. (I’d moved in August of 2015 from Colorado to Pennsylvania, halfway through high school, but that’s a story for another time.) I said that everyone is crazy different from me. “I’m just not like these girls…” 

Well guess what. I want to tell you life got peachy, life got fab, and I’m rockin senior year with everything that I’ve got. Well, half true. Life did get peachy, and fab, and senior year I hit the ground running, but I’m still different from those girls. I still don’t understand them a lot of the time. But you work around it. You get up you go out you stop pitying yourself and you try. Yes sometimes it still sucks. We’re gonna have sucky days our whole lives. But it’s ok. It’s ok because change is vital. Change saves us. It makes us better, even if we are uncomfortable. No, ESPECIALLY if we are uncomfortable. 

The next day, a year ago tomorrow, I wrote: 

“Lord, I know that life is good. 

I also know that life is hard. 

But God, I know that You made me for hard things. You made us all for hard things. 

So Lord, I’m grateful that every day gets a little better, and I pray that it will continue to, and I pray for courage, and heart.”

How much more beautiful do you think life would be if we embraced the changes? I go to college in nine months. My parents are down a kid then. My cousin leaves on an 18-month LDS mission in a month and a half. Bella entered high school; Hadley, middle school. 

You could be getting married, or moving out, or moving on, or starting a business, or quitting a job, or traveling somewhere new, or having kids, or having your kids leave you. 

So whatever your Next Big Thing is, be all there. Embrace it. Every stage is worth loving, because it’s your life and you’re the only one that can make it a good one.