The weight of experience

This post is not about missionary work. #dontbemad

It’s not about dealing with companions or learning to speak a new language.

This post is about embracing great change. Not change like, “Oh, suddenly I like listening to Bruno Mars.” It’s not change like, “I’m giving up Diet Coke.”

This post is about change that alters the very details of your soul. It transforms you. It refines you. It defines you.

God is really good at filling our lives with changes like these.

Maybe you can relate.


Alumni. #itsathing

On Friday I graduated from college. #itswhatever

And by whatever, I mean great.

It was a stressful but highly rewarding experience. As are most things that mean anything.

And as with most anythings, this one prompted a great deal of intropection

But it wasn’t sitting in commencement with over 1700 other graduates listening to the speaker inspire us that did it for me. It wasn’t listening to my fellow graduates wish me luck. It wasn’t walking across the stage as they read “Emmilie Buchanan, Communication.” It wasn’t being surrounded by my family with their praise and well wishes.

It was taking the final sweeping look at my empty apartment, closing the door behind me and locking the deadbolt.

Suddenly, there was a great, uncomfortable lump in my throat. My eyes were unnaturally moist.

It was the ending of a great chapter in my life.


I had finished the days of early mornings, late nights and a never-ending supply of Diet Coke to get me through. Done was the anxiety of how the 54 percent on my psych exam would ruin my life. Finished were the moments of amusement as I watched yet another awkward first date transpire at Kiwi Loco. I was done with due dates, mandatory clean check meetings and the testing center.

And my heart began to sink.

My life since September of 2007 began to replay in my head. My parents dropped me off at Kerr Dorms for Young Women. It was official. I had entered into the realm of adulthood.

I felt inadequate. I worried. I overcame my own self doubt. I struggled. I succeeded. I tried. I failed. I lived my life.

I took each challenge one day at a time.

The transformation of the soul is very similar to gaining weight. You don’t notice from one day to the next. Then suddenly, in the middle of a bite of a delicious chocolate chip cookie, you have the shocking realization that you’re fat.

That’s what happened to my soul.

Over the next few years, it expanded. It grew. I learned hard lessons. I had great laughter. I passed classes. I barely passed others. I took internships, made new friends, chose the hard decision, got my heart broken, learned to write in inverted pyramid style. I took jobs, dropped classes, served a mission, dated losers, met my fiance (a winner), got in fights with my roommates, stayed up cleaning until 3 a.m., had dance parties in my living room, ate my body weight in frozen yogurt, and single handedly kept the Diet Coke industry thriving.

And just a few days ago, half way through the proverbial bite of life, I realized my soul had become fat. Fat with love. Fat with gratitude. Fat with experience. Fat with living.

And there is still room to grow.

Eric Whitlock and I with part of my family. #happygraduation

Eric Whitlock and I with part of my family. #happygraduation

I wouldn’t trade my experience in college for anything. It helped me become who I am today.

I drove out of Rexburg different than the girl who drove into it those five years ago. And thank goodness.

You will have big experiences that will change you. Let them. Parts of it will be terrifying. Parts of it will be incredible. But it’s the parts that make up the whole, and consequently, make us whole.

I have great things lying ahead. We all do. And we must face them with faith. But let’s remember where we came from. Let’s revel in who we are. We are children of God. He has a plan for us. Let’s live it.

This post is not about missionary work. This post is about change.

If you’re worried about your life changing, let it. It was designed to.


5 thoughts on “The weight of experience

  1. Wow! Nicely written. I need my son who is anticipating his mission call right after high school to read this. I can tell he is afraid of what’s next. This is a great reminder of how change and growing really is a good thing.

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