26 was a big year in the life of Aimee. I don't know, honestly, if it'll be one of the years that pop out in my mind when I'm sitting in a rocking chair on the front porch of the home I hope to someday own. I'm not sure if it'll be one that gets highlighted in my memoirs. But I do know that, undoubtedly, it's the year that has taught me the most valuable lessons so far.
I can't even begin to quantify the things 26 taught me. There are no amount of blog posts, instruction manuals, or letters to friends that could put into words all of the ways it grew and stretched me as a person. I waded through the muddy waters of a toxic work environment. I dealt with rejection and doled some out myself. I discovered my boundaries by running into them head-long. I flew across the world and had neck-deep conversations with total strangers. I found a fresh start and discovered just how life-giving value, encouragement and appreciation can be. I was surprised by people, and I surprised people. I was disappointed by friends, and I'm sure I disappointed some. I learned that you never wear new shoes as a tourist, and you always say yes to foreign garments, even if you're busting the budget.
I've been reflecting on the lessons. On the heartbreaks, the clean slates, and the never-agains. I'm more than a month into 27, but 26 is still screaming for a podium. So I guess it's time I do my due diligence, time to share the stories and the lessons. You know why? Because the biggest thing 26 taught me is that you're never alone in a struggle. Someone, somewhere has been through it and someone else is going through it. And while I'll throw blame at the internet for plenty of issues in our society, I think community and solace are two things it's really, really good at.
I learned a lot of things situationally, and I'll get to those. They'll have their day. But one thing that couldn't be ignored were just how many lessons I learned from the people who surround me, the people who didn't set out to teach me anything. Isn't it funny how, often times, the people who impact you the most are the ones who aren't trying in the least? The ones who are simply living out their lives to the fullest and, in doing so, showing you a road map for all that you could be?
That's the kind of legacy I hope to leave. Sure, I hope when I do try to bestow wisdom I'm able to speak words of life that leave an impression. But more than that, I hope that just by living out my days I'm showing people a glimpse of something bigger. I hope I'm making my mark without even trying. I think that's what Jesus did, and I think that's what we all should strive for. You know what they say about walking the walk vs talking the talk.
I've decided to call them out, though. These people who are creating a framework for my world-view deserve not only to know, but to be praised. Because if there's one thing I know, it's that everyone is important, but not every hero needs to remain unsung. (Don't worry, I won't actually sing - nobody wants that!)
So check back everyday (!!!) over the next week and join me in calling out these pals of mine. (And no, they don't have any idea it's coming.)