Five Minute Friday is a writing event that has writers spending five minutes writing on the same topic and then sharing them at http://katemotaung.com/five-minute-friday/. This week's word is Celebrate.
Yesterday I posted the photo above for Throwback Thursday, one taken during my college days. I was so shocked when it got over 50 likes. The compliments I received on it made me blush. But there were some responses that made me bristle. I had several people say "I remember her." This happens fairly often, mostly from people I knew in my childhood and youth. I guess in a way, they don't know the me today. When I did the math, I realized that photo was taken 35 years ago. After experiencing a tightness in my chest after that revelation, I decided to celebrate instead of mourn.
Yes, that was 35 years ago. It was my freshman year in college, a time when I had my whole life ahead of me. The roads I thought were before me the day that photo was taken are different but that doesn't make them bad. I didn't get the degree right that first time in college but I went back to school and got a second degree that offered me the opportunity to do the job I have now, one that I do like and feel suited for. There are things that I don't have in my life that I thought for sure I would have that day I leaned up against that tree and smiled for the camera. But that doesn't make it bad. I am so lucky to still have both my parents, to have a loving, kind sister, friends that are my tribe, and a faith community that gives me hope.
Thirty-five years ago, I might have wondered how I could celebrate this life that I have, with all its seemingly missing pieces. But it is all in what you choose to celebrate. And today I am choosing to celebrate it all - the job that pays my bills and allows me to take a wonderful week-long cruise to another country; the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and chair my church's annual fall carnival; even the simple things like looking forward to book club on Tuesday where we will eat great food and enjoy the fellowship so much that we might forget to talk about the book. I have so much to celebrate, even if that girl in the photo is only a memory to some. That girl has been through so much and is still here to live another day. That's reason enough to celebrate right there.