This was my first bridal collaboration, and it was tons of fun working with such talented people! So thankful for the opportunity!
When I was 8, I thought I’d have myself all figured out by age 9.
Obviously that didn’t happen, and so I pushed the bar to the year after that, and the year after that, and the year after that. When I was 16, I looked at older girls in college and thought I’d probably have most of my insecurities sorted out by the time I hit 18. But when my 18th birthday rolled in, I was full of insecurities and that image of being a self-assured, strong and brilliant young lady was shattered.
This went on every year. My constant dissatisfaction with my personal growth led me to conjure an idea of myself for the following year and the years after that. It offered me a reason to push forward and believe that things could get better, that I could continue to grow into a better version of myself.
Honestly, looking back at all those years of wading through puberty in high school, entering college, chasing after dreams and discovering tainted realities, I am not the same person I used to be. It’s a good consolation that we never remain quite the same.
I don’t know if many of us grow into the people we’ve always wanted to be. I don’t know if I can truthfully say that I am well-pleased with my progress in this journey of becoming more Christlike, or being a better writer, or just being a better version of Carissa Gan. I don’t know if I’ve become the person that my 8-year-old self would’ve been proud of and aspired to be.
But I do know that this is a journey that takes time – lots of it – and sometimes growth happens in the quiet corners of life that often go unseen or unnoticed. It’s almost always accompanied by a pain and loss of something personal. That changes you, and deep in your heart, you know something has been rewired in your life and a major shift has taken place.
And with every passing day, month and year, you know that you probably didn’t accomplish everything you secretly hoped you would. You still look at other 27-year-olds and wonder, “What am I really doing with my life? Am I living up to God’s standards? Am I making a difference in my community? Am I learning new things or still frolicking in my comfort zone?”
Of course I hope to God that I’m growing forward, but there are just exhausting periods of time when I feel stuck in the same place without an ounce of motivation to move forward.
This time, I’m just going to take it one day at a time and be real with myself. Maybe I’m not exactly where I hoped I’d be. But I’m still here, pouring my messy mind out on digital paper.
I’m thankful for all the mountains I conquered. I’m still climbing some right now, but I’m not going to rush the uphill battle. My pace might be slow, but at least I’m still on this mountain. I’m still climbing it, and one fine day, I’ll be able to stand proud and tall on its summit and look down at the vast and deep expanse of the journey, and know that I conquered another giant in my life.
Strolling through the alleys, taking in the scents of the streets and the cold winter air. There’s nothing I enjoy more than exploring cities.
It had been six years since my last visit, and it was a strange feeling to be walking down those streets again and seeing different shops this time. I kept asking myself, “Was this here before? Is this restaurant new?”
In the quest for familiarity, I found foreignness.
I was viewing Melbourne through fresh eyes.
Halls Gap, tucked about three hours away from Melbourne City, is a quiet village that houses sandstone mountains, exotic Australian wildlife and lush scenery. It’s the perfect getaway if you’re seeking some peace and quiet among nature… and kangaroos!
Despite its chilly weather, Melbourne gave me a warm welcome.
As I gazed down at the city from 285 meters above the ground, my heart soared within my chest.
Here I was again, back in a city that seemed both familiar and foreign at the same time.
Hello again, Melbourne! I came back after 6 years, and a lot has changed. I didn’t even recognize half the shops on the streets – I guess most of the older ones just got replaced over the years.
Gray skies and cold winter air greeted me when I stepped out of Southern Cross Station. The city still retains its timeless beauty through its juxtaposition of Victorian and modern architecture.
I’m at the end of my four-day weekend. It’s a bittersweet feeling, shrouded with plenty of nostalgia. It’s always hard to bid goodbye to a nice, long weekend, isn’t it? I always wish I had more time to do everything I wanted to do – catch up on creative writing, spend more time with my favorite people, take more afternoon naps, finish a good book, work out, take my dog to the park, and well… the list goes on.
But I gotta say that I’m extremely thankful for my time off over the last couple days. I spent a bulk of my time hanging out with friends, having meaningful conversations and laughing so much over some very interesting card games. All in all, it was a great weekend well-spent with good company!