"I tried to give her everything she wanted. And damn. Did she want it all. She wrote it down. She spoke it out loud. She even announced to the congregation at church that graduation Sunday exactly what her plans were. The career. New York City. Of course she left a few things out though. Like falling in love by 23. Married by 25. Kids by 27. Her religion was agendas and she worshipped the details. She had absolutely everything mapped out. What she wanted. When she wanted it. And how she was going to get it. She was 18 with "her whole life ahead of her" as they say. And with that, she had every step of the way...planned

I have realized that, my 20's have been filled with trying to accomplish a life plan that an 18 year old made for me. I tried so hard to deliver, not realizing that the *when* wasn't important. That I’m allowed to change my mind. I have struggled endlessly with not having the things that I thought I'd have by now. And I've realized that, some of those *things,* I don't quite want anymore. And some of those *things,* I'm definitely not ready for. It's a difficult reality to accept, that the things you may want the most, you're just not ready for.

I spoke with her recently. And instead of agendas, we're going to seek out laughter and people to share it with at the dinner table. Comfort and a hand to hold when it's cold. Adventure through plane rides & sleeping on your shoulder and walking on soil that my feet have yet to touch. Excitement with road trips, singing at the top of my lungs next to you. Reaching new heights and eating cold pizza at every mountain top. Endless words and more pens that quickly run out of ink.

The beautiful thing is, now I know that the *when* isn't the most important factor. If it's meant for me I'll certainly have it. And if not, then something better than I could have ever dreamed up is well on its way. I will never apologize to her for failing. Because it's okay that I’m not where I thought I’d be. I always, somehow, end up right where I’m supposed to be.

Thank you for the birthday wishes last week. And to that 18 year old with her head full of dreams, life does not have to be a perfect to-do list to be wonderful."

— Gloria from Denver

Connect with Gloria on Instagram at @gloria.evelyn.

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