eighteen things i learned in twenty-eighteen

31 December 2018

*blows dust off keyboard* hi (I remember so many years ago there was a blogger I was following who'd been inactive for a while and when they came back they used that same wording - "blows dust off keyboard." for some reason i've always remembered that and i think this is a more than fitting opportunity to use that) 

So, if you even remember me, well, hi.  Nice to see you again.  It's been exactly 75 days since I last posted on here, and not even going to lie, that was a pretty half-hearted post.  I never thought I'd be the person to just up and out of the blue stop blogging for so long, but ahahhahha....i just did. 

This year...well.  It's been one crazy heck of a year.  I'm excited to begin a new year, just to have a fresh slate and to leave 2018 in 2018.  So much transpired this year....and it was hard, like really, depressingly hard so much of the time.  But I grew so much as a person this year.  It's strange to think about the person I was a year ago.  I'm so not the same person.  And I think that's why blogging was so hard for me this year.  I've had this blog for over six years now, and obviously, I've changed along the way, but never as drastically as I did this year, and it was so weird to think about blogging...something that seemed like it was part of a "past" version of me.   I got busy with school and other interests, and I also got Netflix (and am trying to learn how to not procrastinate on that stupid APP UGH).  Overall the past few months have been crazy, boring, growing, and perspective-molding for me.   Blogging kind of got lost underneath it all.

So here I am.  I'm on Christmas break.  My last one in high school.  And I'm trying to pull up a blog post.  To try to recap the past few months, let alone this past year, would be dredging up so many memories, good and bad, and I don't feel like I have the energy and willpower for that haha.  It's unbelievable to remember how much happened this year, and while I am grateful for the life I was given, making a recap post isn't just something I feel like doing this year.

But I learned a lot this year, through the highs and low lows, and I'm grateful to God that He pulled me through on the other side.   So here are a few of the many things I learned this year:

1) Ultimately, life isn't about you.
This year was life-changing in so many different ways.  But, last month something happened that...honestly, still terrifies me.  Long story short, I was a permit holder -- I was planning on going for my driver's license test come January.  On November 10th, me and my dad were headed home, and I was driving.  I took my eyes off the road for a second, unknowingly swerved into the other lane and collided head-on with an oncoming pickup truck.  Needless to say, I no longer have my permit.  Thank God no one was hurt, and surprisingly, everyone was actually so kind...to me.  The accident shook me to my core.  I was shaking.  Apologizing profusely.  It was insane, in the worst way.  Man, even writing about it now shakes me.  It was...terrible, but a wake-up call to my life.  (Surprisingly, the song I had looked down to turn off before I crashed was Wake Me Up by Avicii.  ha. ha.  thanks, God.) I remember sitting in some random (but very kind) neighbor's living room that freezing cold fall morning, looking out the window, shivering, and thinking, there's no point to any of this if I'm not following God.  WholeheartedlyI remember sitting in school two days later Monday morning and thinking, wow.  I could've like...not been here today.  I mean, head-on collisions sometimes don't result in continuity of life, if you know what I mean.  The fact that no one was sent to a hospital and we're all here....that's what I call a miracle.  That's what I call the hand of God.  I'm here, literally, because of Him.  He gave me my life; the least I can do is live for Him.  

My life isn't mine to dictate, it's God's.  His will should be the only mandate for my life, y'know? 

2) The steadiest and surest confidence is that confidence rooted in God and nothing else.
This sentiment also stemmed from the accident.  Success (define it how you will...we all have different definitions of the word), for me, is something I believe can only be achieved by being fearless of other people.  That God holds my next breath in His hand is something that was vividly imprinted into my mind after the crash; and in light of that, God's opinion is the only one that really matters in the end, y'know? If I was living right in His eyes.  Because after this life, that's the only thing that's going to matter.  So people's opinions are, frankly, irrelevant.  Do it all for God.  That's the path to success.

3) Each breath is such a gift.  Such a gift. 
Clearly, the accident shook me up a lot.  But in all honesty, that accident completely reversed my perspective on life, so, yes, I feel like I learned so much from it.   Life is an incredible gift, one that many, including myself, take for granted all too often.  How fortunate we are to have breath in our lungs and a chance for a future. How beautifully fragile it is to be human.

4) People's opinions don't matter.  You do you, bravely.  That's what makes life worth it.
Kind of already talked about this, but this is such a big point for me.  If you want to live a worthy life, one that you can be happy with and proud of, you've got to be meaningful and purposeful.  Peer pressure/caring about other people's thoughts isn't going to give you that deep sense of peace and harmony within.  You have to be self-aware.  Don't let other people (who might I add, are people.  not God.) distract or intimidate you from your individual journey. 

You only get what you go for.

5) Your opinions and thoughts will change with you as you grow.
And that's okay.  And good.  I've changed so. dang. much. this year, and it's crazy.  The beginning of this year...the start of so many rebellious feels, sad feels, unsure, scared, fearful, trying-to-figure-my-future-out feels.  This summer...I hate to use the word depression...but in a sense, I believe it was.  I went into the school year with a crazy mindset/perspective.  And then November...poof.  That accident got me shook.   And then December, well, December is December.  crazy month.  a month with a lot of perspective growth. 

Allow yourself room to grow, kiddo.  You're gonna change.  Embrace it.

I went to NYC three times this year (and absolutely fell in love with the city).  This was taken on my first trip there this year in April, en route to Liberty Island.
6) Know your purpose, know why you're here.  Then fire and forget.
In November I went to Inviso Visit Weekend at King's College in NYC (love ya, TKC!), and there was a panel with the president of the college.  Man, that guy had some good thoughts.  The entire point is basically what he said in regards to living in the big apple.  To live in New York City -- your point is not to blend in.  If you want to make it in that city, you can't be aimlessly moping around.  You have to be entrepreneurial, driven, hard-working, motivated.  In my opinion, that applies to anywhere.  Definitely NYC, but success is not exclusive to there.  You can rise anywhere, but the same qualities apply.  Those qualities are the defining factors of what it takes to 'make it.' 

Apparently "fire and forget" was a phrase they had in the military (the president was formerly in the Air Force) and honestly, I thought it really applied to life.  You're gonna evolve.  Do it now.  Learn as you go.  As long as God gives you breath, you have time.  Don't waste it.

I got this quote from a movie recently: "I think you should stop worrying so much about what other people think and just do what you want." How do you achieve goals in life? You've got to tune out distractions, opinions, everything -- and focus on what's important.  

7) The most important matter in life is following God. 
I came home after I wrecked that morning and sat in bed for an hour.  It's crazy how a near-death experience rocks your world.  It was clearer than ever to me that morning that ultimately, regardless of whether I attend college half an hour away or five hours away, whether I become an artist or an engineer, whether I do whatever, following God is the only thing of real, substantial value in this life.  I think I'd do well to remember that the rest of my whole life. 

8) Know who you are and what you're worth.  You are capable.  You are strong.  You are confident.
You got this.  Repeat positive affirmations about yourself over yourself.  There's enough negativity in the world coming at you, you don't need to add to it.  In the end, you have to live with yourself, no one else.  So. Be nice to others and especially yourself.  (also, being kind to yourself also means it won't always feel like you're being kind to yourself.  sometimes it's a hard love.) 

9) Confidence is key.  
But don't worry if you aren't who you want to be on day one.  Confidence/courage is built up by the small, everyday encounters and experiences we encounter that challenge us and cause our bravery to expand a little.  Small progresses create lasting and sure confidence.

10) Everything happens for a reason.
Yep.  Even if you don't know why or see why or possibly imagine why, trust the process.  It's a tried and tested one.

11) Let truth be your anchor in life. 
Because that's what's going to ground you after you spend hours scrolling on perfect Instagram feeds or after you come home from a long day/week and you're exhausted and your goals are looking a little foggy.  Truth should be your guiding light throughout life.  It's what'll keep you going in the dark and keep you grounded in the light.  It's what'll make you the person you were meant to be.

It's lowkey crazy I still have so many pictures from Utah haha.  One of my dreams is to travel and take pictures and stuff....can't imagine how many pictures I'd end up with then.

Got up at 3 AM on the last day in Utah for these pictures.  I don't regret it.  (Although I was so so sick for a straight week after coming home)

12) All you can do is try.

So don't be afraid.

If you fail, you learn from that and do better next time.  If you succeed, you continue persevering to become a better person.  Don't be afraid to fall, be afraid not to try.   A good life doesn't happen from hiding behind your comfort zones. 

13) The present is where life happens.

Thrive now.  This was a huge perspective change for me this year.   For most of this year, I was in this zone where I thought since my life sucked and I hated every part about it, I couldn't let myself say "I'm thriving." I thought that was a phrase that could only be used someday farther down the road when life was better.  Sweetheart, if I had died in that accident, there wouldn't have ever been another day to say that.  

Getting lost in the future (or the past) is no place to be if you have any intention of creating a good life for yourself.  You've got to love the life you have now.  You have to accept where you are.  Yes, work for change, work for a better future.  But don't get caught up in that.  Honestly? The way I see it, Lord willing I'll be here next year...and if He leads me to it, He'll sure lead me through it.  After all, I'm living on lent breath from Him.  

The only moment we're ever promised is the present one, so do what's right, find the positive, and smile.  You're alive.  Be happy for where you're at.  And try to thrive.

14)  Be humble. 

Humbleness is the one thing that's going to take you far in life, kids.  Pride will be the death of ya. 

15) Run your course.

I read somewhere this year: fear, worry, anxiety, comparison -- they're all weaknesses.  What do we do with weaknesses? Work on them, till they're no longer our weaknesses.  Focus on yourself, not others.  Focus on building yourself.   

There's always going to be people.  People we compare to, people we look down on, people we idolize.  Forget them.  Run your race.  That's all you got.  Your story is individually yours.  You're so special and unique because you're YOU.  God's got us.  

We moved in August (after a week's notice ha), so in a sense, it almost feels like there were two parts to 2018.  So many memories from our old house, man.
The last trip to NYC I took in November to visit TKC.  Actually won the photo contest there with this picture! 

16) Do what's right.  

Even when it hurts.  It's worth it. 

17) Submission, not addition.

I saw idea this in a movie recently.  As a Christian, Jesus is not an addition to our lives.  He's not some cute idea that we can plop onto the life we try to build for ourselves.  It's about submitting life -- the good, the bad, the ugly -- all to Him, and letting Him have His way with it.  Making those hard changes when needed, realizing and accepting the truth about who He says we are, and living like we believe it.

18) Keep God #1.

Everything else will fall in place, where they belong.   Give your dreams to Him, give your life to Him.  It's a daily process, but it brings peace.  Peace is an eternal anchor, regardless of your circumstances. 

So, hopefully, that made sense to you.  If not, I kind of get it! These are all just thoughts that I've had recently, and I wanted to write them down, so maybe, in twenty years I'll read over this and be like...oh yeah, that's what my life was like then! 

It feels so crazy to be writing a blog post again...like woah.  I've missed this.  I've missed you guys :')) 

Tell me, what was 2018 like for you? It was such a different year for all of us, and I'd love to hear about yours.  I'm so ready for a new slate in 2019 (also I'm gonna be graduating in 2019...so, um, that's crazy but also so! exciting! yayyyy!! fun!) 


senior year updates: #1

14 October 2018

two years ago my blogger friend Rachel Seo did a series of senior year updates on her blog, and last year my friend Grace Anne did senior updates on her blog as well.  so, to keep it going (primarily since i'm a senior this year ;) i decided to do senior year updates blog series this year! hope you enjoy x


so as far as actual things i did this year so far.  well.  great question! xD

I took my first SAT (such a long story please don't ask).
I had my first senior meeting(s).  (man, we waited so many years for this and it's finally here what a time to be alive lol.  also my class is all right.  so that's good i guess)
I got super sick and still made it to school (achievement? i guess... idk man)
I visited my second college (let's just say it was not as good as the first & i kinda don't expect to go here heh)
I started college apps.  (we're just going to call this an achievement okay!!! also props to Abby for being the most supportive friend ever like thank you)
I went THRIFTING. (slightly straying off the academic theme here, but i kinda feel like there was a trend towards thrifitng recently so i dragged my only friend (ha. ha. ha.) along to go thrifitng with me and it was actually kind of fun! i got one sweater (that i'm currently wearing))


such a plethora of feelings oh my goodness.  senioritis is a REAL thing, my friends.  and the funny thing is i've literally only had it since this year, so i guess it really is a senior thing....WHO KNEW.  the second funny thing (truly, nothing is fun or funny about school.  kinda just trying to add the entertainment value i know this is sooooo highly entertaining  you're welcome) is that at the end of junior year i was kind of so SO sad to leave school and to not see the then-seniors anymore, but i think i actually mentally graduated with them last year too because this year i have zero sad feelings whatsoever about leaving.  i'm a lot more just CAN WE PLEASE BE DONE WITH THIS SCHOOL YEAR ALREADY or at least just let me go home! please!

and yes.  i saw a tweet that said "don't wish away senior year" and I GET IT.  truly.  it only happens once! (thank GOD) so yes, guys, i'm trying to enjoy it to the best i can.  but don't get me wrong, i will be so, so happy once high school is over and i get to move on to the next phase of life :) BUT.  nevertheless, here we are.  living day by day and learning along the way (oh my goodness did you just see how that rhymed WE ARE LIVING)

so, some other positive reinforcements!! 1) your worth and identity is found in Christ alone, so it doesn't really matter what anyone thinks about you.  forget them!! 2) work hard for the future you want.  3) make your life one you love.   and ultimately, just learn to love the moments you're in, but life is constant change so...keep grinding and work hard for what you want, kiddos.  peace and love.

senior year so far = a few fun moments, increasingly overwhelming workload wth, really boring/depressing/sad/not -fun

keeping it real, folks


I figured I should end this post with some goals.  because goals are fun and healthy, you know? (also, this will give me a great starting point for my next senior updates post, so....there you go.) 

hopefully, by the next time a senior updates post rolls around on this blog, i will have:

☆ finished college applications (am i too ambitious? stay tuned to find out bc even i don't know anymore) 
☆ blogged slightly more (teehee)
 maintained a slightly healthier schedule
☆ do some more creative work (because after all, that is what i would like to do for my career.  and, yes, blogging is 'creative', but i want to do more.  notice this ambitious theme????)

so i'm pretty sure the stars aren't aligned up there ^^^^, but that's all right because this is a blog post.  not funny? ok.  xD BUT i'm trying to get this post up asap, so, give me some credit. :)

SO.  what's up? are you still in school or out of school? AND HOW'S THAT GOING FOR YOU? :))

(and yes i'll try to post again in a timely fashion because i've heard miracles still happen so you never know!) 

ALSO: if you want to design some super cool cards/inviations head on over to  https://www.paperlesspost.com/ to customize some pretty sweet stationary!! 

the wander diaries: utah [pt. 2] w/ VLOG

08 August 2018

I've been on-and-off editing a little video from my trip to Utah in June (y'all aren't sick of hearing about it yet, are you? ;) and finally finished it a few days ago.  Life has been nuts, and I'm probably going to do a life update soon (fun fact: we freaking moved.  so.  that was fun). 

But as I was putting the final touches on this edit, I couldn't help but reminisce a little about that wonderful trip.  It was altogether too short, but these pictures take me back to the dry heat, insane views, and incredible mountains.  There's definitely a balance in soaking in the moment and capturing it on film, but I'm so glad I got these shots.  Because there's nothing around me close to it.

I hope you like this video and that it gives you a little peek of what the trip was like for me.  Like I mentioned up there ^^^ I've been working on this video for SO! LONG! I was literally at the point where I'm like, "i hate this video so much if i ever have to see it again i will SCREAM." So I finished so I could move on lol (procrastinator anybody?)


I hope you liked it!!

Also, I'm back on Instagram after like, two whole years :P So if you're new you should definitely check it out [link] ! I've been posting new photos from Utah (and other places **coughcough** like **cough* new york city *cough* yes i'm fine thank YOU!!)

THANK YOU for reading this blog post and taking the time out of your day to make it to the end! You are so loved and needed in this world, and I hope you find a little bit of happy in your day today :)

Have you ever been to Utah? What did you think of the vlog style? (It was definitely a mix of different..stuff.  haha!) Have you ever been outside of your country? HOW WAS IT?