I turned sixteen on Thursday.
For some reason in the past years leading up to this one, I have looked forward to, and dreaded, this year. Sixteen is always such a big deal. It's Sweet Sixteen, the middle of the teenage years, the age when countless story book heroes find their strength, their reason for living, and their love. Sixteen is the age of Sleeping Beauty when she fell under her spell. It's the age that, as a little girl, I always looked forward to and thought to myself, that's when I'll be grown up. I used to want to get married when I was sixteen. Haha...
A little part of me feels like I'm intruding on the age. I'm not ready, not prepared, not experienced enough to be the hero of a story. But heroes are just like you and me. Their insecurities are what made them who they are/were. And I find that very encouraging.
The point is, so what if five years have passed. Or ten, or twelve. I feel exactly the same. My view has broadened, and my thoughts have stretched further than I ever thought they could (and yet somehow there is still MUCH further to stretch). My body has changed, and I've gotten older. But inside me the little girl is still there. Except now when I read about sixteen year old heroes I don't think about how brave or mature they are. I think about how inspiring it is that they pushed through what they did, despite all their insecurities, fears and emotions. They weren't any more ready to be the hero than I am right now to be sixteen. But just like my age, it really couldn't be prevented.
And so, with all that, I thought I'd share a little bit of my last six years: one picture from each birthday. Behind each one is a year of life that helped make me who I am today. Behind each of these smiles is a year that in some way, changed my life. I hope you enjoy them. :)