We are heading into a new decade.

That is right — decade. 10 years. Wow. And as we head into this new decade, I can’t help but reflect on who I am, where I have come from, and just how I got to this point in time: 25 years and 4 months, living in Dallas, nannying and working front desk at my climbing gym.

It is kind of crazy how fast these 10 years have flown by. 10 years ago I was a sophomore in high school, I had just gotten my braces off the semester before. I was taking piano lessons from my grandma and plugging into my youth ministry.

Yet at the same time, it feels like these 10 years have dragged on and on. How has it not been more than 10 years? It feels like a lifetime ago I was in high school, it feels like decades ago I was in college.

A lot has changed in 10 years.

More specifically, I have changed a lot in 10 years.

Picture this: I am a high school sophomore, shy and timid, listening to Taylor Swift’s “Fifteen” on the bus on the way to school. All I want is the cute neighborhood boy to fall in love with me, and I am counting down the days until I get my license.

Today, I am significantly more outspoken and confident, jamming out to Maggie Rogers’ “Love You For A Long Time” as I drive to my nannying job. All I want is to climb a grade higher than I currently am, and I am counting down the days until law school begins.

A decade ago I felt weak and insecure and afraid of the future. I did not know what I wanted to do or who I would eventually become. Today, I feel much more driven and able to succeed and pursue my dreams. I want to go to law school, I want to become a better Christ Follower, daughter, sister, friend, neighbor, woman every day.

Some things never change.

Jesus Man, he will always be consistent. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. My parents, though they may evolve too, will always love me the same. My passion for community and social justice will never change.

I just came off of a week of spending time with my family, both immediate and extended. It is their consistent love and support that have gotten me through all of this change and evolution. As a family, we will always love and support one another, that will not change.

I suppose, like many things, polar opposites must coexist in order for us to experience the fullness of life: the good and the bad, the healing and the hurt, the joy and the sorrow, the change and the constant.

Today, I am thankful for both.

I am thankful that I am not the girl I was 10 years ago. I am thankful I am not who I was or who I have been, but am instead thankful of who I am in the present, in this very moment. And I am already excited to see what the next 10 years will bring, how those will shape and refine me.

I am thankful for the constant. I am thankful for people and places that never change, faces who will always be familiar, towns I will always call home.

This holiday, perhaps even more than ones in the past, I am overwhelmed with gratitude. Gratitude for my community of friends, family, baristas, climbers. Gratitude for how far I have come on my mental health and wellness journey. Gratitude for The Lord who has been oh so kind to me.

I encourage you to consider what you are grateful for–people, places, things, etc.–and to look back to 10 years ago, and see just how much has changed, and just what has not. And I encourage you to be thankful for all of it, the good, the bad, and the moments in-between.

Posted by:Mae

My name is Maelyn. I hail from Dallas, Texas but am originally adopted from a tiny village in China. I’m a full-time legal assistant by day and a part-time creative after work. I spend most of my time planning trips, climbing rocks and eating tacos. I’m serious about living well, fostering community and dreaming big.

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