Goals

I have a few goals for this year…except they’re not so much for this year but for this stage, this piece of my life. Married but before kids. Young with aspirations and also with responsibilities.

Life changes quickly and often drastically, leaving me scrambling to figure out my new normal. So while I have a firm grasp on this era, I want to make the best of it.

Some are big, some are little.

I want to spend more time with my horse–enjoy Saturday morning rides, quick training sessions before the sun goes down, and even hot summer hose-downs with Chappy.

Chappy

I want to read. Reading keeps me grounded, keeps me learning, keeps me growing. I need to read.

I want to buy a house–a dream of ours for this year, this place in our lives. It’s scary for me–settling down, staying, committing to a place. I’m a traveler, a bit of a wanderer at heart. I have been in my current house for nearly 2 years, that’s more than twice as long as I have lived anywhere since I was 17. Buying a house? That’s a whole new adventure.

I want to travel. Not far and wide, not like I used to–we don’t have the money for that if we’re going to be making big investments (see previous goal). But still travel. Learn that travel doesn’t have to be to far away places. Travel doesn’t have to mean embarking for the great unknown. It can be a weekend in the Virginia mountains, a visit to Montecello, or even a canoe ride through the Great Dismal Swamp (can you believe I’ve lived in Virginia for 3 years now and haven’t yet been there?). But even these local travels must be purposed, intended, sacrificed for.

The Blueridge Mountains.

Perhaps more than anything, I want to write. Really write. I don’t talk about it much, because it is so close and dear to me. It’s vulnerable. But I love to write fiction and I have a story–a good one–that has been percolating for years now. It needs to be written. I need to get it out of my head and down on paper. And I need to do it now.

And all of this boils down to one thing–I want to savor this era of my life. I want to love it. I want to live it…with singleness of heart.

The culmination of an era… (aka preparing for graduation)

The culmination of an era… (aka preparing for graduation)

It’s hard to even grasp how much has changed since I first arrived at Regent University to start my graduate school career. Sure, I expected to be starting a new life, in a new place, making new friends, and having new adventures.

But it never once crossed my mind that I would end up…well, married.

It probably should have. After all, during one visit to the area with a friend a few weeks before moving here, she told me that I should find a “surfer boy” to marry. Apparently she’s more prophetic than I give her credit for.

surfing

Husband surfing

I came to Virginia Beach following the road I thought lay before me. Graduate school. But somehow I didn’t see all the twists and turns that road would take before I reached my destination. I didn’t know that my degree would take me three years to complete instead of two. I didn’t know I would meet and marry Husband. I didn’t know I would be offered my dream job.

I didn’t see all the blessings that were coming, but I’ve done my best to flex with every curve and embrace every change.

It’s funny how that happens. How we make a plan and set out on our way just to find that our path changes, sometimes we’re derailed, sometimes just gently nudged to take a different road. Sometimes its just circumstances out of our control. Sometimes its so clearly the Lord.

“A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” – Proverbs 16:9

And I’m so glad he does.

Us

Sometimes life has a way of changing us. Three years ago I was just turning 23. I had plans and dreams. I wanted to live in Africa for a year or two. I’d thought about joining the Peace Corps. I had never even been on a date, marriage was the farthest thing from my mind. I just wanted to truly LIVE my life, not just muddle through.

Now my goals are different–not better or worse, just different. Husband and I talk about buying a house…after being a gypsy for the better part of five years, something like buying a house is a huge change for me. But it’s good too.

Not everything has changed though. I still dream of going to Africa, maybe next year. I still want to learn French, publish a book, and travel the world. I still want to live every moment of my life to its fullest.

Sunrise over Virginia Beach.

Saturday morning I graduate. I close this chapter of my life and start a new one. And I wonder, what will be written on those pages?