Imagine my excitement twenty-one years ago today as I was introduced to the world. My aunts and uncles were so pleased, my parents proud, my older brother jealous and my grandparents put another tally on the grandchild count. But, seriously, nobody could have been happier than me. After nine months of strenuous growth and development all the meanwhile hanging out in a womb, I was ready for the limelight!
Okay, so maybe (definitely) I don't recall any of that... but, I am sure of one thing. Since day one I have been surrounded by the best of the best. Parents kind and dear is an understatement. Anyone that knows Steven and Arlynne Landeen knows that they are two of the most quality people in the world. Both of them are so sincere, compassionate, eager to serve and did I mention HILARIOUS? I do believe that in the pre-mortal life we were able to have some say in who our families would be. Let's just say that I was the envy of all the intelligences for choosing them first. For. Real. I couldn't have been dealt a better hand. Beyond that, I have possibly the greatest grandparents in the world, and in conjunction my extended family of aunts, uncles, and cousins are quite the crop. Then, although Travis may have wished I were a boy for the first few years of his life, he warmed up to me, and was everything an older brother should be. In only a matter of a few years I was joined by my two younger sisters, who are my best friends. My family is my foundation, and easily the biggest part of who I am. I consider myself blessed to be a part of their ranks, and to have what we call "believing blood" running through my veins. I have been raised right, and I know it.
Alongside my family; my neighbors and ward members have equally impacted me on my road to twenty-one. Some have been around since swaddling, and others have worked their way into the patchwork. Some of them babysat me, and I have babysat others. Some taught me in primary, others in young women's, and yet more from their front porches with my hand in their cookie jars. They have counseled me through the hardest times of my life and carried me when I was weak. They have teased me about my red hair, razzed me about being short, and asked enough questions to keep me out of trouble. I have had enough support and words of encouragement to fill an Olympic size swimming pool, twice.
As for those I consider my friends, the list could go on forever. I have broken it into three categories; childhood, high school, and college. Chances are that you know where you fit. My childhood friends are a huge part of who I am, and always will be. We lost ourselves in imaginary worlds, skinned our knees, and established the deepest kind of trust there is. Their moms were my moms and could easily chastise me just as well as my own. Those friends carried over into high school, and my circles expanded. We worked hard in school, but not nearly as hard as we played. There are countless incidents that can't be documented, there were crushes that developed and hearts that were broken, but we stood by each other through it all. Then there was that day when we moved the tassels on our caps and we took big steps towards the future. I went my separate way down to SUU but came to visit often. I struggled through my first semester, which was unanticipated. I thought I was invincible and completely capable of making friends at the drop of a hat, when it didn't come all at once it was hard. Eventually the Lord placed some people in my life who lifted me and helped me feel at home. Over the course of the three years at Southern Utah University I gained some of the best friends imaginable.
The road to twenty-one hasn't always been smooth, but despite the turbulence through the years I'd say it was the best one I could have taken. There have been pit stops and friendly faces all along the way that have given me joy in the journey. You may be thinking that I am writing this like a life history, or a eulogy as if I am an old woman. Don't get me wrong, I know that I am young, and have so much life to come. Being twenty-one isn't even nearly the end, in fact it is the beginning of a lot of things.
I've only just begun. I am still in the spring of my life, and at the beginning of the decade of decision. So what's next? Well, that's the question on all of our minds isn't it? We plan and we plan, but in the end, hardly anything really ends up the way we anticipate it to. I graduate in December with a Bachelors Degree in Sociology and a minor in French. Then what? I'll tell you what. I have decided that rather than have a plan A, B, C, D, and E, I'm establishing five plan A's. I'm going to prepare for it all, that way when opportunities present themselves I will be ready for anything. So, go ahead, ask me if I am going to grad school, going on a mission, entering the workforce, traveling abroad, or heck getting married. Because I will answer with, "I'm working towards it." The truth is, I am not going to make any irrational moves. After all I can do, I will turn it over to the Lord to direct my paths. He has always been a part of my decision making and that isn't going to change.
So bring on twenty-one, and bring on the future!
I'd say I got off to a pretty good start today. Thank you for being so wonderful to me, not just today on my birthday, but every other day of my life. It is truly the people in my world that keep it spinning, and that means you. "For of him unto whom much is given, much is required" (D&C 82: 3). May I endeavor to deserve each of your friendships, because more than just feeling lucky, I feel pretty blessed.
Here are some photos to document today.
For starters, Caleb took me out for some late night ice-cream last night.
This morning I played tennis with this girl, who I love.
After work, Grandpa and GranNorma gave me more vegetables than I could ever eat, ever.
Then we visited my Grandma Landeen,
WHO SHARES HER BIRTHDAY WITH ME!
Which makes it easy to be the favorite. :)
For dinner dad made some delicious tacos. (also, he made me breakfast too).
Then after institute Tyler serenaded me with a ukelele.
Meanwhile Alan beat-boxed, and gave me a warm gatorade.
Which made me feel pretty special.
Then to top it all off, I had a visit from my best friend, Hero.
She made me this friendship bracelet, which i love.
All the while I was receiving phone calls and text messages from people I love.
This day deserves an A+ in my book.