How to describe 2017?

It was both beautiful, marvelous, exhilarating, and remarkable beyond all belief, yet challenging, heartbreaking, and filled with a cloud of insane sadness.

Some of my best memories were made this year. I was blessed with the opportunity to travel to a new place, meet amazing new people, and live the dream I’ve been dreaming for years now – to go abroad and see the world. I had adventures – from snorkeling in the


The ASC gang

Great Barrier Reef to sleeping in a sheering shed in the Australian Outback to navigating the Brisbane bus system (not recommended). I also got to connect with so many new friends from all over the world, whether from various countries abroad or even from across the States. And I got to see the world through a brand new lens, one that reflects the thoughts and opinions of those who live on the other side of it. I am forever changed because of it.

I came back to the States with a longing in my heart, however, partnered with a deep confusion. I felt, and still feel, like I lead several lives. I am my hometown version of me, the me that my parents and all my relatives know as well as my high school friends and acquaintances. I then have my Messiah persona, the person that people at college expect me to be. And then I have my life in Brisbane, a life that half the time still feels like a fairy tale. Did it really happen? Did I dream it up? Then I talk to my host family or my uni friends and know that it is in fact a real part of me, but with the knowledge that I still don’t know how to incorporate that reality with the one that I am living now. My many realities can never know the others fully. It’s a strange feeling.

Soon I am to start yet another life – my post-graduate, adult life. The life of a woman with 22046895_883823981784444_8010011106672104754_na degree and a whole world open to her. So many choices are ahead of me, and I am ignoring all of them with the hope that things will somehow fall into place. And I know, at the end of the day, that God will lead me straight to the place He wants me most. But even in that knowledge, I am still left with the fear of my lack of knowledge. I am confronted with my utter incompetence to live this life alone when I have been so heavily supported for so many years. Even “on my own” in Australia meant that I had a family system there to hold me together when I needed it. Who is the adult me? How can I merge duty and responsibility with the longings of my heart?

This year has been a year that has left me with more questions than answers. In a way that is exciting, because for the very first time in my whole life I don’t know what is around the corner for me. I would be lying to you, though, if I didn’t admit the fear that I feel in light of the ambiguousness of it all.

2017. What a hell of a year.

2017, here’s to you and the memories, good and bad. 2018, here’s to the unknown, whatever it may bring.


xoxo, Riss

Cover photo credit to Anna Gibson

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