As I sit on this airplane making my way home from Prague, I can’t help but smile. It’s a long way from the anxiety, stress, and sadness I felt a few months ago on the flight home from Paris. It’s a long way from the trepidation I felt as I left home just a week ago for this trip.

I was scared to leave again. I didn’t want to spend my entire trip wishing I was somewhere else. Wishing the opportunity away. I sat on the couch when I should have already been in the car, wishing that some circumstance or another could keep me home where I feel safe and happy and loved. Unfortunately for me at the time, there was no family emergency I needed to stay home for, no inclement weather keeping the plane from taking off, and no illness that would keep me bedridden until the event was over. I had to go.

A voice in the back of my head was telling me to trust. Trust that things would be better this time. A small voice, but a voice nonetheless. I listened. I went. It was so good.

Not to say that everything was perfect or that I didn’t miss everything happening at home, but it was a different kind of good. The kind of good that reminds you that everything doesn’t always have to be easy to be worthwhile, that sometimes things get really, really bad before they can get really really good.

I have family and friends who are of various religions and they have always told me that it’s all about faith. About believing that a higher power is looking out for your best interest, whether it seems like it or not. Well, to my family’s dismay I still can’t get behind the fact that someone else is working my life out for me.

I believe that every decision I make should be my own, as well as the consequences that arise from them. I have faith that wherever my choices take me, I have the strength to decide if I want to stay there or make my way back out. The hard part is keeping that faith alive when you feel like you might be making the wrong decision, but that becomes a hell of a lot easier when you realize that there is no right or wrong decision, just different paths.

I never look back at anything I’ve done with regret. Maybe sadness, but never regret. Every single decision I have made in my life has brought me to this point in my life. Had I not had that boyfriend in high school who I moved to Wilmington with I would be living an entirely different life. Had I not quit my job only to come back a few years later, I wouldn’t have the best friend I had always wished for but never could find. If I hadn’t decided to take a chance on a random kid in my DM’s on Instagram and invite him to dinner I would have never truly known what it feels like to be loved completely without question.

I wouldn’t say I’ve lived a hard life by any means, but I have made some hard decisions. Decisions that took me seconds to make, and ones that took months to fully come to fruition. Happy ones, heartbreaking ones. They all have one common denominator: faith. I have the strength to decide if I want to stay here or make my way back out.

I have the strength to speak honestly always, to do what feels right for me unapologetically, and to live my life as best as I possibly can. I know that when things inevitably get difficult I can trust that it will get me to a place where I can look back and be thankful for the struggles, because I am… Thankful and full of gratitude for the hard times that I didn’t allow to make me hard. Thankful for the difficult decisions that led me to this place of gratitude for the life I have the opportunity to live. Thankful for the faith that got me through.

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