All things exist in seasons; each season of your life will always require a different version of yourself. Who you are now is so important presently, with all of its complications of personhood, but it is also preparation for who you will become. We navigate these changes as gracefully and resiliently as we can, but can be often sidetracked by our projections, comparing other people’s journeys to our own. The thing is, you can’t live for other people. You are born with only you, and that is a blessing and a power humans have been pondering since the beginning of time.

Seasonally speaking, spring often symbolizes the cyclical beginning of time, in terms of faith, nature and opportunity. The birth of a new, green world from frost and snow feels like a miracle, and the only way to engage in this miracle is to engage in the change occurring around you. For example: this time last year, I decided that there was no such thing as “failure” or “wrong” anymore. There was only “winning” and “learning,” and I decided that I was going to do whatever possible in order to be my strongest self.

No matter what next stage the course of this life reveals, my aim is only to gain as many strengths as I can. You can be physically strong, you can be fast, you can calculate equations, you can sing, you can draw, you can write, you can speak at all different levels of experience. Spring for me is a time that very naturally encourages all the ways I can improve myself. There are so many ways to be strong, and becoming your best self can mean testing your limits and gathering as many of these strengths as boundless potential allows.

What I have learned from senior year (or as I like to call it, Womb II) change can be uncomfortable and ugly and challenging. It often does not look or sound or smell the same; it may not entertain the same circles as it once did. This is important. There is no growth without challenge and turmoil. You don’t deserve me at my Fire Lord Zuko if you cannot appreciate my Book Water’s Petulant Prince. That kind of struggle is one of the most important lessons of renewal and rebirth: you can hate and love the process simultaneously.

The good times and the bad times can be the same exact times, family. While you are stressing about job offers, internships and relationships, it doesn’t have to stop you from laughing, playing and enjoying the beauty in your struggle. Every moment matters. If the beginning is always better than the end, then all you have to do is never end. As long as you keep living, you can keep winning.

Bird Jackson, a Contributing Writer for the Voice, can be reached for comment at