By Wednesday, December 10, 2014 ,

My birthday was a little over two weeks ago, but that’s theoretically still within blog post range. Twenty-three sounds a bit odd, to be honest. It’s definitely adulthood, but still not quite old enough to be taken as seriously as twenty-four or twenty-five. But as I enter age twenty-three, I’ve been thinking back on twenty-two and a few things I've been learning in it and that I’m hoping to take with me into the year ahead. 

1. Don’t stop learning (or reading)
I graduated from college this past year, so there’s been a welcome break from classes, studying, tests, and assigned reading. But in the absence of these things, learning can continue in different ways. This blog is my ever-present attempt to continue improving my writing, and I’ve had so much more time to read what I choose. Learning is a continual process and a privilege, and I need to remember that. It takes effort to do things that engage the mind instead of staring at social media or YouTube, but it’s always worth it. And since I mentioned reading, for no extra charge, my latest book recommendations are Seven Men by Eric Metaxas and A Praying Life by Paul Miller. Also anything by Julie Klassen…she’s my new favorite fiction writer, as all her books are set in Regency era England, which means complicated plots, frilly dresses, and witty dialogue to my heart’s content. The Silent Governess and The Girl in the Gatehouse are probably my favorites. You’re welcome. 

2. There is purpose in every season
I’ve been realizing that that’s what all times are: a season that will pass. The past few months after graduating have been a more challenging season. I was working random part-time jobs while searching for a full-time job, and there were so many days that felt pointless and without direction. But the time has also allowed me to step back and really think about who I am and what I’m passionate about. God has reminded me to trust Him and that my ultimate purpose is HIM, no matter what I’m doing. The next season – starting a full-time job! – will also have its challenges and I will in all likelihood wonder sometimes what I’m doing. But there will be purpose in that too, because I need only be confident in the One leading me. I’m more grateful all the time that I’m not the one in charge. 

3. There is value in hard work
This one is still a work in progress (pun not intended). I’ve always known this theoretically, but the neverending process of résumé perfecting, networking, and interviewing over the last few months has forced me to come to grips with it in ways I hadn’t before. I’ve had to grit my teeth, do things completely unfun, and realize that I’m not above work that may seem menial by today’s standards. God came up with work at creation, making it part of our dignity. So even if something’s not particularly enjoyable, I can do my best because of Who I’m ultimately serving in it. Realizing that my work, whatever it may be, is from God and meant for my good and His glory is always cause to do it with excellence and abiding joy. I’m sure this one will continue to unfold in the years ahead. 

4. Dreams will keep
This is one of the most recent things I’ve been realizing. At some point soon after graduation, I read in a job-finding type book about someone who said he felt like “a bunch of spare parts that don’t fit together.” I identified strongly with that and still do to some extent. There are lots of things I want to do and dream of doing. But I’m realizing that I don’t have to get them all done now. A calling or dream will not go away, so I don’t have to try to rush into it or treat every decision as if it has significant bearing on the rest of my life. The key is to just keep working at a dream or goal, even if it’s a little at a time. But I don’t have to have it all accomplished by next week, and that’s a relief.
Here’s to another year. Let’s do this, 23!

Many thanks to these lovely ladies for making the actual day special!

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