Co-worker: “How old is she?”
Me: “She is probably around my age, like mid-twenties.”
Co-worker: “Uh …”
Me: “Oh no. I’m definitely late twenties. 27. I’m almost dead.”
I felt twenty-five for a long time. I was confident I had most everything figured out, and the things I didn’t just yet—well, I had plenty of time. Thirty is when I would have EVERYTHING squared away plus a cute mom haircut. And well, 30 is official—officially old and wise … eh, maybe just old. Yes, I was a bit removed from collegiate life, but a world away from 30.
Today, I actually like telling people I am 30, flirty and thriving. Okay, I only say the “flirty and thriving” in my head with a chuckle, but I really am digging this decade so far. My twenty-five-year-old self would be pleased to know I do feel officially older, but I think that’s just the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles that have joined my adult acne. Wiser, though—that is a horse of a different color. A gray color, really. I wrote on my blog the day I turned 30 about life in my 20’s, “… filled with major changes geographically, spiritually and physically. I learned so much about what made me who I was and who I had the potential to be. I explored life away from home, wrestled with my own convictions, the ideals of the world and the absolute truths of Scripture. Navigating the world as a quasi-adult can be confusing and foggy with lots of gray area.” And you know what? The gray is okay. (More on that in a future post.) But as I was having a conversation just the other day with a friend who is right in the middle of her 20’s, it made me think about some truth I have learned since, and what I wish I had known and believed then:
29 is not the last chapter. In fact, it’s just getting good, friends. Do not dread it like it’s a death sentence or even think that it somehow means you have to resign yourself to the fact that you must be boring. Life is what you make it. Make it one to love.
You really don’t NEED that new handbag. You will, in fact, survive without it. Go in your mother’s closet and dig through till you find that old purse she has not carried in years. It will be more hipster and on trend than anything you covet from Nordstrom.
Exercise is much better therapy than wine. Your boyfriend broke up with you? You didn’t land that job? And to top it all off, you had a terrible, I’m talking epic-throwback-to-teenage-years kind of altercation with your mother. You are a big girl now, and you can choose to uncork that wine, but don’t use alcohol for therapy. Remind yourself of the caloric count and certain hangover while you lace up your sneakers. Hit the pavement, talk to God and forgive. Forgive others and forgive yourself. Move on.
Get up early. In college, I took great care in perfecting my schedule to be free from any 8am classes. Adult world does not work this way, and most of us are at work early. I have learned that some of my most precious times are the mornings when I get up early enough to not rush my mornings before work. It really does make a difference, friends, and the difference is much better than pressing snooze three times. I think our God is really into mornings too. Pray. Meditate. Exercise. And drink your coffee from a mug, not a thermos at a red light.
Your parents are real people too. They are not just those people who made sure you had your immunizations and acted as an ATM when you needed money. They are walking this same path, and you know what? They are much farther down the road. Respect them. Love them. Pray for them. They are just as broken and in need of a Savior. Don’t hold them to an impossible standard. Practice grace. Jesus does it every day with you. Honor them.
Don’t be afraid to change your mind. Seek wisdom. Evolve. Just because you have always believed one thing does not mean that always has to be the case. The Lord wants to mold us, shape us and grow us. For Him to do that, we have to be moldable clay. Listen to others who think differently than you; they might be able to teach you more than you think.
And when in doubt, take your eyes and heart to Scripture. ”Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2 ESV). It’s better than any guidebook you can buy at Barnes & Noble for navigating your 20’s.