There's always been a motto that's defined the eras of my life. For my twenties, the motto is "trust the process." And here is how I live it.

Like most people, I would assume, different seasons of my life can be categorized by certain mottos. Growing up and throughout high school, my days were dictated by everything happens for a reason.

When I realized that sometimes life just sucks and there can be no explanation associated with misfortunes, I lost that phrase.

I went off to college and adopted the best four years of my life as my go-to idiom.

Through a few meaningful experiences, I was able to shake my belief that nothing good existed outside of college and have wholeheartedly embraced trust the process as my new way of life.

My twenties have been met with great joy and devastating pain. I’ve experienced unbridled happiness but also excruciating sorrow. Through it all, however, I have imprinted trust the process onto my brain and heart so I never forget that it is necessary for me to believe that the journey is just as, if not even more, important as the destination.

I remember being a little girl and being taught to believe that everything happens for a reason. I don’t know if I learned this through my faith background or because my anxiety caused me to know that there was a greater motive for everything, but I would steadfastly proclaim that there was a purpose behind each and every little thing – good or bad.

I’ve always been naturally inquisitive, somewhat annoyingly so. I used to ask strangers what their kids names were (because I just HAD to know) and I demanded my grandmother tell me what Heaven is like thousands of times.

As I grew older, however, my innocent curiosity turned from strangers’ family members and Heaven to how can wars and the mass murder of millions of innocent lives be paired with a phrase as commonplace as everything happens for a reason?

It really started to bother me that I would equate the sufferings of the world to such a cliché expression.

So, I stopped doing it.

I researched social justice issues. I immersed myself into experiences that would push me and make me think about who I am and who I wanted to be. I learned about the world and what I can do to make it a better place.

Then, I took action.

The four years I spent at my tiny liberal arts college in central Massachusetts were nothing short of amazing. I was convinced that nothing in my life after graduation would ever be able to compare to having my best friends living, at most, a 10 minute walk away or being constantly surrounded by endless inspiration.

The best four years of my life were between the ages of 18 and 22. My existence was going to go rapidly downhill after that, or so I thought.

The first time I did not find myself staying up to the wee hours of the morning finishing a paper or cramming for a test five minutes before class, I felt relieved. When I heard about the toxic drama and competitiveness for the first time after I got my diploma, I was so happy that I wasn’t there to deal with it firsthand. When I found myself crying uncontrollably in my bed thousands of miles away from my very best friends, I turned to my new roommates and was so thankful that I had a loving community to comfort me.

It took eight months after my college graduation for me to switch from the best four years of my life to trust the process.

Graduating college was a part of the process of my twenties’ journey. I’ve finally accepted that and in doing so, have learned to fully immerse myself into new opportunities and experiences without staying too attached to college.

It took longer than I wanted it to, but I have learned that the best way to move forward in life is to trust the process. To learn to understand that where you are now is a stepping stone to where you are going next. To believe that you are where you need to be and that you will go where you are needed.

I’m 23. I have five more weeks of my dream internship, and then no plans. I am going back home and quite possibly living on my mother’s couch for an indefinite amount of time. Terrifying, right? In some ways, yes. But, I know that I just need to trust the process.