I can't believe that 22 days turned into 4 right in front of my eyes. I have four more days to be the reigning Miss Nebraska. It's a crazy, crazy thought. The closer this week has approached the more people have asked me how I'm feeling about giving up the crown, job, and title. Two months ago I would have told you that I wasn't even close to being done and that I wanted to keep the job for much longer. Three weeks ago I would have told you that I was definitely ready to pass on the job and dive into my summer. As I was avoiding packing my suitcases last week everything hit me.
The life that I knew before was flipped completely upside down on June 11th of last year and the life that I've known for the last 359 days will be altered in just 4 days when I crown the next Miss Nebraska. The feelings I'm experiencing are a whole culmination of things. I'm humbled with the year I've been given to dedicate to this experience, excited for the new girl to experience it, and thrilled to be with the people that have supported me over the years to reach this. But I'm also at the "this whole thing is really weird" stage. I'm not a competitor this year. I'm not thriving to reach this dream. I'm simply here to guide and support the contestants and end my year with a bang.
Approaching this year in June of 2011, I thought I was going to have a world of time; in March I realized just how quickly it had gone by. Many people confuse a year to be a lifetime when it's truly so short. I shared with a dear friend the other night that this will always be a part of my life but just like college graduation, a wedding, children and a wonderful job, it will only be a part. Although it has become a lifestyle for me doesn't mean I have to rely on the happiness I've received from it to last throughout my life. I will find new endeavors and come to new parts of my life that will fulfill me. In the whole scheme of things, my year as Miss Nebraska 2011 will only be a part of the huge life I will live. The 20 years prior to winning prepared me for the job and the job has prepared me for the rest of my life.
It's this that places the peace on my heart. In the midst of all these horribly weird feelings, I'm at peace knowing that this is truly only the beginning to the rest of my life. Not that, that makes me think any less of it, but it's true. I won't dwell in this life and wish I had it back but take from it what I've learned at apply it to the rest of the life I have to live. The networking I've been exposed too, the opportunities I've been given, and the things I've learned have opened up my world. I will never be more thankful for this last year but when I look for the big picture it will be sitting comfortably with the rest.
I don't regret any part of this year. Whether it be good, bad, in between or unknown, it's been this way for a reason. God works in mysterious ways and though I may forget, I try not to argue it. This year has been a blessing and it is tough to realize that I'm officially done in four days but that doesn't mean I won't be remembered or thought of. I've given this year all that I could and I've become a better 'me' because of it.
My first blog as Miss Nebraska 2011 said, "I don't strive to be the best Miss Nebraska, I strive to be the best 'me' because that is what will make my life, my journey, and my future destinations real and amazing." I have been the best 'me' this year and given it my all. I have been the spit fire, crazy, weird Miss Nebraska and loved every minute of it. This year was given to me after years of hard work and I did it. I traveled the state, I spoke my voice, I promoted my platform and the organization, I competed at Miss America and I did it all with pride. My year as Miss Nebraska 2011 may end in just four days but I will always be Miss Nebraska 2011. And I will always remember and appreciate all of you who have stood beside my, behind me and even those in front of me pulling me on the way. This year wasn't and isn't all about me. It's about the people in this state who have influenced me, leading me to influence others.
This is my sixth consecutive year in the city of North Platte during pageant week and I'm about to make it the best one yet.
With all the love and appreciation a girl can give,
Miss Nebraska 2011
The scripture verse that I read before bed one year ago was this,
"Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom." Psalms 90:12
Funny how perfectly it fits here.