Sometimes, as Friday grows near, I ask my friends what I should blog about next. A few times now, one friend has suggested that I write about my latest birthday.
You see, I turned 30 in March, and they say it’s a milestone.
I’ve hesititated to write about it because in most ways, it felt like any other birthday.
But I admit, in one way, it felt like a milestone. I wasn’t feeling old or anxious about it in the slightest until the day before my birthday, when it suddenly felt like I was aging the entirety of my 20s in one day. From 20-29, I felt exactly the same. Then, the eve of my 30th birthday, I watched my young adulthood zoom past, and I caught up with myself.
It was rather disconcerting.
The good news for me is that I never pictured myself much past college, so I didn’t have many unrealistic ideals to grapple with as I crossed into a new decade. I have many friends who expected to be married by a certain age, and have had to come to terms with singleness in unexpected ways. As my dating history suggests, I would like to get married but I’m not entirely committed to making it happen. I would love to own a house someday, but it’s not tied to a particular life stage. I don’t make much money, but adulthood didn’t necessarily bring prosperity in my young dreams. I am mostly free from broken expectations of that kind.
The bad news is that I fully expected myself to have more things figured out by now. I did not expect that life would still be so challenging, so…unexpected.
I thought I would know what I was doing.
Don’t we all expect that, to a certain extent? Don’t we expect to somehow finally figure out how to deal with things, or finally learn a lesson that we don’t have to relearn? I know life is a process, enjoy the journey, yada yada, blah blah blah. I’m all for smelling the roses and embracing the process. But wouldn’t it be nice to, just once, in one area of life, actually arrive?
These thoughts brought me around to the serenity prayer, to words embraced by those who are willing to take that first step: admitting and accepting they are in process.
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
forever in the next.
Honestly, I had forgotten the second paragraph of that prayer even existed. I had grasped tighter and tighter in my 20s to what I could change, believing that my reach would widen, that eventually, somehow, I could control most things about my life.
Which, of course, makes me think of Dumbledore.
“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”
I am, and always will be, in process. But I can choose destinations along the way. I think that’s what I didn’t realize as a kid, dreaming about having things figured out, having my life under control. I’m not going to arrive at adulthood. But I can celebrate ten years of paying my own bills. Why not? Get a cake, invite some friends. A decade of financial independence! So what if I don’t have my financial plan figured out? I’m doing it. I’m living it. I can create my own stops on this journey.
I don’t know what I’m doing. But I’ve been successfully living in a world of total uncertainty for 30 years now, and that is worth celebrating.
What about you? What stops have you reached on this journey that you can celebrate?