This picture was taken on my 20th birthday.

At that time I was unaware of all the great things coming my way. I wasn’t expecting to ever be the person I have become in just 2 years.

Now at 22 I have this whole concept on life where I have to smile.

At least once in the day.

To make up for the frowns I let sit on my face before my 20’s.

I was excited to enter my 20’s. I kept saying in my head, “I am not a teen anymore. I am an adult.”

Little did I know the responsibilities and the obstacles I would face.

Money, college, relationships, health problems.

Two years later I can honestly say, screw all that.

Life is a gift. Too many people don’t make it past their 20’s.

If I let these things destroy my 20’s, did I really even live life?

It’s all about resilience, the ability to bounce back after hardships.

I was suddenly thrown in this world where I no longer was a victim of my past. My teenage years were difficult but I saw my 20’s as an opportunity to escape the sorrow, or the insecurities.

My friends took me out that day and as they told me to smile for this picture, I said in my head, “May this be the first of many smiles…”