I turn 24 years old today.

Otherwise seeming to be known as my “Kobe” year, in reference to Kobe Bryant.

Kobe Bryant’s death was one of two celebrity deaths that made me cry.

I will never forget where I was.

I had just given a speech at a fraternity event in college in downtown Kansas City.

Once I stepped off stage, I looked at my phone and saw the news that Kobe Bryant had died in a horrific helicopter crash that killed many others, including his daughter.

A few hours later, after returning to campus, I began to reflect on loss I had experienced in my life.

My uncle, my grandparents, my aunt, my cousin, my friends, other family members, and Mac Miller (the other celebrity whose death affected me deeply. He is my favorite musician.)

It hit me like a brick wall.

We learn a lot from loss and the change that comes from not having those people around anymore.

As I turn 24 today, I reflect on a few things.

  • I reflect on being thankful to be alive. Each day we can experience, learn, feel… it is all special and unique.
  • I reflect on loss, in more ways than just death. We lose relationships, we lose resources… that loss can be so hard, knowing that it is still here on earth around you each day, but you no longer have that in your life.

But the biggest reflection of today is reflecting on change.

I feel I have changed mightily over the course of my childhood self, my junior high self, my college self, to now.

The core aspects of my values have not changed (respect, perseverance, care, courtesy, etc.), but what makes me who I am now comes also from the experiences I continue to have in my life while getting older.

I want to embrace that understanding… that change is good.

Change means we are going somewhere.

Even if it isn’t immediately in the right direction.

We try our best to figure things out as change comes our way, and life throws a lot of it at us.

I want to welcome change with open arms this next year of my life.

Whether that change is something returning from the past, something immediately affecting the present moment I sit in right now, or something brand new that is affecting my future, I want to be open to it all and appreciate it.

Change is usually scary and/or difficult, but the reminder I give myself is stronger each time I give it:

“I have gotten through it before, I can do it again.”

As we experience more and more change, understand situations and what we are capable of, we can become confident in knowing that at the very least, we will be okay and get through it.

Hopefully, each change that comes this next year of life is one that I can learn from.

So, let’s welcome change with open arms.

Here’s to 24.


“I’m livin’ every 24 like Kobe did.”

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