As I travel home from Michigan, I can't help but think about everywhere I've been in my lifetime and all the roads I have yet to travel. I have traveled all over numerous countries, and yet there are so many places I have yet to see. The list is endless. I have been from East Coast to West Coast, and so many places in between. I've skied the rockies, driven the coast in California, laid on the beach in Cabo, snorkeled in Tortola, sailed in the Bahamas, driven through Montreal, shopped in Toronto, skinny dipped in the most remote lake in Quebec, horseback rode in the mountains of Montana, ate dinner on the beach in Nantucket, biked the hills of Michigan, cruised the Caribbean islands, fished in the Keys, partied in some of the hottest clubs in NYC, and explored Charleston. I have backpacked around Europe for two weeks - I shopped Paris, ate gelato in Venice, explored Rome, hiked the gorgeous mountains of Switzerland, and drank beer in Germany, just to name a few. I have been so insanely lucky in the 20 something years I have been alive. All my travels have really opened my eyes to many things.
Life is so full of unexpected surprises... good and bad. I never expected to be where I am today. Plans change. People change. And whether or not it is for the better or worse, everything always seems to happen for a reason. I have come so far from where I was a few years ago, which just makes me realize how much more I have yet to grow, how many more places I have yet to experience, and how many people that have yet to enter my life.
Where will I be a year from now? 5 years from now? 10 years from now? Will I be happy? Will I be successful? There are so many open ended questions that just cannot be answered at this moment in time. No one can predict their future, but you can set goals and work hard to make sure they happen. You are in charge of your own destiny and happiness - even though there will always be unexpected things that pop up along the way.
During this 7 hour long drive, I thought a lot, and what I realized is that in the end, it's not all about where you are, but who you're with that really matters. Everyone should lead their own life, be their own person, set and follow through on their own goals, but one of the most important things is to truly appreciate the people around you. Relationships are the most important, rewarding and challenging aspect of life. I wouldn't be the person I am today if it weren't for my friends and family who support me and stand by me every single day. Life changes, but your friends and family stay the same. They are what matters most.
So, set goals. Work your ass off. Enjoy every day. Surround yourself with people you love, and people that challenge you to be a better person. Be forgiving and accepting of others. Not only learn, but grow to be a better person from your mistakes. Relax. Enjoy life and don't sweat the small stuff. Always listen to what other people have to say. Treat everyone with respect and care, even if they don't always deserve it. Go more than half way in relationships - it will pay off in the end. Travel as often as possible. Explore new places. Don't take your job too seriously. And most importantly, always stay strong to who you are and what you believe in.
I know I can't wait to see what my future brings.
*all images via tumblr