Wrestling through your twenties in this day and age isn’t a foreign topic of discussion. In fact, I see lots of blogs, articles and newly published books capitalizing on this new “phenomenon.” One conclusion, I gather, is that many people -whether living in this stage of life or not- can say that life as a young adult these days isn’t how it used to be.
Whatever THAT means.
My childhood could be written out like a story and compete with the likes of Little House on the Prairie. I spent the majority of those years romping around on 40 acres of pure adventure with every need satisfied and my heart full and secure. I’d run around barefoot or in my jelly sandals during summertime with my fishing pole attached to my arm, my chocolate Lab named Dillon and no worries. But some of my favorite memories include climbing to the top of my tree-house almost every evening to watch the sun set. And to dream.
While most kids in junior high probably weren’t thinking about college yet, I was. College was a symbol of the time in my life when all would be perfect. I was convinced that by then I would be the sophisticated young lady I imagined I could be, with my career chosen and planned out, a wedding soon after graduation, and a near perfect relationship with God. When you’re 13 and the thought of waiting three years to get your driver’s license seems like an impossibility, getting to 20 seems like an eternity drenched with all possibility.
And any dream seems to light up in a sunset.
Fast forward past the moments of stressful high school report cards, scholarship applications and the momentous signing of my commitment to Westmont College’s running team. Past the anxiety of my first college midterms and papers, my semester abroad in Thailand and the declaration of my major. And we land on graduation day. The day I was supposed to have everything in order.
Walking 25 meters across that stage to get my personal handshake with the college president and my diploma was simultaneously the most liberating and discouraging experience. Both my relief to be finished with endless assignments and the panic that I was far from my tree-house dream, fought for prominence. I was a freshly-minted grad at the age of 21, with just enough energy to have finished my last semester of commitments. Nothing more.
It’s been two and a half years since graduation. Two and a half years late from becoming the young woman I’d see in those childhood sunsets. Lots of pressure and time have been forming me into the woman I am now in this moment. I’m raw. I’m 24. And my twenties aren’t roaring exactly like I thought they would. Yet instead of feeling like a failure, I can see and embrace the ways God has been carving out my life. I choose the word carving, because these last couple years have not felt great. And carving is not a gentle or painless means to create something.
Yet in the midst of failure feelings and intense remorse of inadequacy, I’ve found a well of hope. It’s the strangest thing.
But I’ll get to that in another post.