The summer after my freshman year of college, I had the opportunity to visit some of my family that lives in Minnesota. I remember I was so, so excited for this trip for so many reasons. That trip was my first adult experience of a long and tiring travel itinerary all alone, figuring out places to stay, having conversations with people and not being able to lean on my parents for support, and wandering around big cities with no agenda. Looking back, I can now see that it was one of the first times I felt brave and independent and capable.

Growing up, I remember being taught these qualities through sports, education, my parents, friendships, and at Sunday school.

But actually living these- being brave and independent and capable- as an almost 22 year old in a brand new city has been completely eye-opening. I’ve learned there’s a lot of hard work behind these actions. It’s the daily choice of stepping out of your comfort zone-into a life that I dreamed about as a naive high-schooler, now finally reality.

“Darling, your comfort zone is great but you will never grow there.”

The past couple weeks since I moved down to San Diego, I’ve been praying, writing, and contemplating about the dreams and desires of my heart.

There’s little desires like waking up to hot coffee, biking to the gym under the warm sun, and driving to the cliffs to watch the sun set over the ocean. I desire to include these small things in my everyday because they bring me joy. They remind that I am brave for making a big move by myself. They remind that I’m independent and have been abundantly blessed to live this life. They remind that I’m capable of working hard to make sure that I get to enjoy these little things everyday.

And there’s the big, bold God-sized dreams of my heart. I dream of impacting the Lord’s kingdom in small and powerful ways. I dream of a big family and lots of love and goodness. I dream of a marriage where two people daily choose one another. I dream of a job that I’m passionate about, working with children to reach their potential and recognize the image of God and the work of his mighty hands in their lives.

What I’m trying to say in this post is that if you aren’t living the life you’ve always dreamed about right now, I want to encourage you that there are small things you are capable of doing to change that. No, you may not be able to move to Paris or become a missionary in Uganda. But you may be able- actually, you are capable- of celebrating the little things as big things in your daily life. It can be things like pausing to watch the flowers fall of a tree. Or making yourself that cup of coffee at 3pm because it makes you happy and not just because you need it. Or driving with the windows down during golden hour. Or big things like looking for a new job, starting a new friendship, finding a new church.

What I’ve been learning lately is that I don’t really need to feel like I have to go to Europe to accomplish my dreams. They can happen here. In my new home, in small little ways, where I daily choose to look for the good and beautiful in everything.