Four years ago, I spent Easter morning watching the sunrise on the east coast of Florida. I had spent the night with some of my best friends and we had caravanned to Cocoa Beach because it also happened to be my 18th birthday. We waded in the water, drawing our names in the sand and listened to the sunrise service and later, a wedding, taking place nearby on the beach. We moseyed home and I spent the afternoon surrounded by my family, eating good Italian food and dreaming about the last days of high school and my upcoming move to Tampa for college.

Four years later, Easter Sunday had a different feel to it. Life has changed – not necessarily in a bad way, because that is how I would have viewed it previously, but it is just different. There was no one over fifty at our dinner table today, my boyfriend sat to the right of me and my future is not quite as certain as it was four years ago.

In the past four years, I moved to school in Tampa and life barreled on. I’ve changed – I’ve changed in that I had figured some aspects of myself out, I’ve discovered good and bad things about myself and had good and bad experiences.

In the past four years I’ve lived in four different bedrooms, worked five different jobs (and quit all of them), joined a fraternity, held two internships, traveled to another country, been on two cruises and been to three funerals. We lost one of our own barely a year after that Easter morning spent on the beach, forever changing the dynamics of the kids I had grown up – most of whom have drifted away, leaving behind a sort of glue and understanding that we’ll never really forget, whether we want to or not. We lost our grandmother, just a week ago this year, on Palm Sunday. She lost her battle with lung cancer and though it wasn’t quick…it was, and I am sure time will only tell how different Easter is again next year or in four more.

Within the next couple of months, because Easter fell early this year, I will turn 22, graduate with my bachelor’s degree and be a bridesmaid for the first time in my roommate’s wedding. My college friends will move and then move again, start new jobs or find a job and slowly but surely stretch and drift, like everyone does over the years. Sitting here, I have no idea where I will be in four years – I have ideas of what I want Easter to look like, but I’ve learned that life comes and comes and doesn’t stop for anything. Even if I could predict the future, I don’t think I’d want to. Looking back at the good and the bad over the last four years, it’s life…it’s living and sometimes, most of the time, it’s enough just to experience it day by day.

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