Liz Degen | 29 – A Year in Reflection
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29 – A Year in Reflection

May 5th Sunsetlizmomdad_edit

It’s the end of 2014, and I’ve officially been on this earth for 29 years. I was told that 28 would be the best year of my twenties, and in a crazy way it might end up being true. 28 started out pretty low. Like, embarrassingly low. I couldn’t seem to find the power to ever be content with where I was, what I was doing, and who I was with. I sat and calculated every positive thing in my life: Being alive ✓ apartment ✓ job ✓ two cool roommates ✓ family ✓ friends ✓ infinite Star Wars paraphernalia ✓. I browsed through hundreds of pinterest photos of flowers and ferris wheels with meaningless motivational quotes about life. I scrolled through instagram for hours watching everybody else go to Disneyland, adopt French Bulldog puppies, and get engaged. Why did it feel like everyone in the world except for me was totally 100% on track?

As the first quarter of 28 progressed, I met some people who helped me truly understand the key to changing your attitude about almost everything: Perspective. When you shift the focus from the background to the foreground (or vice versa), details start to come to life that weren’t so obvious before. I tried looking at my own instagram feed while pretending I was someone else who didn’t really know me in person. Bacon. Sushi. Family. New friends. Old friends. Lipstick. New boots. Selfies. Sunsets. Suddenly the little things that had seemed so dull to me became a little more colorful. These are the little things that made up my life and who I am. Since happiness doesn’t come from motivational quotes, I decided it was time to make a change. It was time to say goodbye to Queens.

I packed up and moved to Long Beach in May. In less than a month I had acquired brand new friends, a TAN, a new found confidence, a new life. I felt my stress float away with the perfect ocean breeze of the summer. One day while I was riding my cruiser down the boardwalk, blasting the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack with an iced coffee in my hand, something completely epic happened. I realized I was happy. For no reason at all. I wasn’t with anyone, I wasn’t going anywhere, and there was no point in me doing what I was doing. For an over-thinker, this was a HUGE deal! Everything made sense. Part of being happy is simply learning how to be confident with your own decisions. If something makes you smile, run with it and don’t look back. Don’t get me wrong; life has thrown me an obnoxious amount of lemons since that day, I’m just getting faster at making lemonade.

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The beach is so good to me, and I’ve been blessed with the most wonderful roommate in the world. We have about 3 things in common, yet we are perfect together. She accepts me for the total weirdo that I am. It’s winter now, and aside from the occasional joggers and dudes with metal detectors, the beach is empty. As cold as it is, I will never forget about my first summer in Long Beach and how it changed me forever. Maybe I was really just waiting in line the whole time, until I finally hopped on the rollercoaster this summer. Can’t wait to see where this ride takes me. Thanks mom and dad, for bringing me into this crazy world. As I get older, I can see that life is really just a series of shit storms. But when we learn to recover from each one, life is really quite fantastic. Cheers to everything I learned in 2014, Cheers to new adventures to come in 2015. Happy New Year.

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