My life has pleasantly and (sometimes) painstakingly surprised me.

This past decade has been such a whirlwind. It’s hard to summarize in a collage or in (several) journal entries. I think the biggest overall lesson that I have learned is: life can, and will, surprise you.

In college, I did random zumba and kick boxing classes on campus. I never thought I would be into CrossFit… but I tried it, and I loved it. I was so into it that I never thought there would come a day when I would NOT be into CrossFit… but here I am, diving into olympic weightlifting, wondering how in the world I ever thought that doing snatches for time was a good idea.

When I was a kid, my family wasn’t really into the outdoors. I always wanted to try camping. Last summer, I finally did. I never thought I would commit to it… but I ended up camping somewhere every other week for four months straight. I never thought I would get into backpacking. I couldn’t imagine carrying ALL of my gear on my back and not having access to toilets or showers… but this summer, I went backpacking every other week for a month and a half. I never thought I would be fit or strong enough to be on a search and rescue team… but I tried out, and was invited to join the team. It was a challenging decision, but I chose to decline for personal reasons.

I never thought I would fall in love… but Tinder worked its magic and I unexpectedly found someone in my college town. I thoroughly enjoyed and cherished my time with him. I couldn’t picture my life without him… but he and I broke up. I never thought I would get over it… but I healed. I never thought I’d talk to him again… but we became friends. I never thought I would enjoy being single… but I have truly fallen in love with myself and am basking in my freedom.

I was far from the top student in my class. I didn’t match to a residency. It took a lot for me to become comfortable as a clinical pharmacist. I never thought I could be the only pharmacist for the entire hospital… but here I am flying solo on night shift. I’ve been doing it confidently for 3+ years now.

This post was inspired by watching “The Imagineering Story” on Disney+. It’s about the history of Disney and its theme parks. On International Women’s Day, I admitted that I used to think femininity was weak. Today, I am admitting that I used to “judge” people who are hardcore into Disney. I’d go to the parks MAXIMUM once a year to hang with my friends and their kiddos. I had a good time, but in the back of my mind, I thought Disney was escaping reality, way too expensive, and not worth more than an annual visit. I couldn’t fathom why anyone would spend hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on Disney when there is SO MUCH MORE to explore in the world! National parks, other countries, outdoor adventuring. I shrugged it off, thinking “to each his own.”

After watching that series, I have a newfound respect for Disney. It isn’t “fake” like I thought; it’s a phenomenal demonstration of human ingenuity. The level of artistic creativity, mind-blowing engineering, and heart-felt thoughtfulness is amazing. The details are so impressive because they were crafted by a team who is genuinely passionate about what they create. There is a rich history and heritage within Disney of which I am now a tiny bit aware. I’m always deeply excited to head off on an outdoor adventure. But for the first time in my life, I feel that same excitement for my upcoming visit to DISNEYLAND. I never thought I’d see the day.

So many people have positively (or negatively, which is also a positive thing when viewed through a growth-mindset lens) affected my journey in all these endeavors. A friend brought me to Crossfit and changed my life. A supportive gym community helped me convert to just lifting and changed my life. My brother helped me with camping and changed my life. My brother and coworker taught me backpacking and changed my life. My friends made my Tinder account and changed my life. My family and friends helped me through my breakup and changed my life. Several mentors trained me as a health care provider and changed my life. My cousin told me to watch one series and changed my life. We affect each other, whether we like it/are aware of it or not.

As the new decade draws near, I have no “resolution” in mind. In 2019, I focused on the words “simple” and “explore.” I think my words for 2020 will be “open” and “balance.” I want to keep letting others influence my life, and I want to influence others. I want to actively hold myself open to new experiences and the ever unfolding magic of the universe. I want to surprise myself… and be surprised by life!

I’ll be on the verge of turning 40 at the turn of the next decade O_O Who knows what will happen by then! Maybe I’ll have snatched 150 pounds. Maybe I’ll have scaled Everest. Maybe I’ll have found my life partner and built our family. Maybe I’ll have quit pharmacy, built my own business, written a book, given a TED talk, and appeared on “Ellen.” Maybe I’ll have gone to every international Disney park. Maybe I’ll have done and become a bunch of things that aren’t even on my radar right now.

I have no idea what the future holds… no one ever does. I never thought my 20s would look the way they did, but I’m so grateful that everything turned out in this specific way. I wonder how I will feel in another decade, looking back at the 30s that I am about to embark on. I definitely have my hopes and preferences for how things will unfold, but things rarely (if ever) go as planned. This fact used to terrify me. Now, it thrills me. Bring on all the magic and surprises!

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