Twenty-Four in Short

By Monday, November 30, 2015 ,

I turned 24 last week and was thereby asked several times whether I felt older, wiser, or more mature. Maybe it’s sad at this point, but birthdays can now just kind of happen since I’ve passed all the major milestone ones. I mean, next year I’ll be able to rent a car, but I don’t think that’s particularly groundbreaking. It was a lovely day though. People I love showed up, and that means a lot in a world of busy schedules, hurried lives, and limited time. 

Another thing I like to do as birthdays approach is to reflect on what I’ve learned or grown in during the previous age. Every year is different and at every new age, I think I’m learning more and more that I’m a work in progress and will continue to be so. No one will ever “arrive” or have nothing left to figure out. And that’s a mercy, for what would we be here for if there was nothing else to learn? So, here are a few things that I think I’ve learned or been reminded of strongly as I’ve approached 24. 

Life can be difficult
I’ve shared before that I watched a close friend and her dad simultaneously battle cancer this year. It was hard and long and painful. I’ve been reminded up close that this life and this world are difficult and unpredictable. There are no guarantees and circumstances can change in an instant. I never would have wanted to go through that, but I can honestly say that I am now closer to this friend and her family, that they are closer to one another, and that they are more confident than ever in the grace and steadfast love of God. And I, along with their other friends and family, praise Him now for His healing power and sovereignty in their lives. They are living testimonies of His mercy and faithfulness. 

Life can be uncertain and slow and that’s okay 
Perhaps the greatest challenge for me since graduating from college has been the lack of an expected next step or defined path. This culture is overwhelmed with more information and options than we can process, and wading into that has been very difficult for my type A, planner-loving self. Once I started working full-time, a routine developed quickly, but all sorts of questions still whirl – will I ever get to do X, Y, or Z that I really want to do but can’t right now? How long should I ever live in one place? What should my goals be right now? What should I be pursuing in 5 years? And plenty of others. But as I kind of already mentioned, life is a work in progress and I am a work in progress that will continue. It’s okay to not have everything figured out right now, and now does not necessarily determine what has to be next. Slow days are to be expected and even prized. Life does not have to be constantly exciting or full of mountaintop, enviable experiences to be valuable. I’m learning every day to see the grace and beauty in the small moments too. Normal is good and no less holy than the bigger moments. 

Don’t go solo, even if it takes time 
I’m an introvert. I like being alone. I handle large amounts of solitude very well. And it’s been easy for me this year to retreat into alone-ness more often since working all day every day dominates a schedule and leaves room for little else if you’re not strategic. But no one is meant to do this life alone. I have to work at it more than others, especially if I’m tired at the end of a work day or am still just getting to know people in a group I’m doing something with. But I know it’ll be worth it because ultimately, I need other people. We all do. 

Thanks for all you taught me, 23. Here’s to 24 and all it will bring. I have no idea what all that is, but I’m trusting it will be good. And the first day was a pretty great start – thank you to these precious friends for making it so!

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