I began my twenty-second year of life by drinking margaritas and eating tacos in a restaurant by the beach. I’d just returned from college, and I had no idea what I was doing with my life and career.
Yesterday, I began my twenty-third year of life feeling seasick and queasy on a boat to Catalina Island. My stomach tumbled and my brain felt like it was bouncing around in my head. Though the sickness resided and the rest of the day was wonderful, the beginning felt an apt descriptor for the status of my life right now: tumultuous.
As my birth date crept up on me over the past month, I spent some time musing about the things I’ve learned and the ways my life has changed over this past year. I thought I’d share them here.
I’m not in control
This one has been drilled into my brain over and over again. I’ve made plans, with the understanding that things might not go according to my plan. But I still expected them to. Almost none of my plans have worked out this past year.
I have two part-time jobs that help me pay for my expenses, but no immediate prospects for where I’ll go next. My friends and family want to know what my plans are. I recognize that my small universe could shift at any moment.
And that’s ok.
It’s been a slow realization, but I finally recognize there is no climax to this story: this is my life. I don’t know when I’ll settle down, or what the next chapter will be. I’ve struggled to come to terms with it, but I’m working to embrace it.
To realize weakness is to become strong
When I moved to Vegas, I felt strong and confident in my faith in God and my beliefs. As I went through relationship changes, I strayed from these beliefs. I struggled to feel close to God, searching for him everywhere except for in His Word. I’ve recently begun to accept my shortcomings and failures, and work to grow stronger.
“The grass withers, the flowers fade, but the word of our God remains forever.” ~ Isaiah 40:8
I’m doing this by reading my Bible daily and spending time praying. I’m seeking after God’s will for my life. I’m not doing everything perfectly, not even close. Yet once again, through seeking Him, I feel His presence in my life. Nothing could be more important.
Trust and have faith
Once again, I find myself applying for jobs and waiting with bated breath. Many times, I’ve second-guessed myself. Maybe I should be applying to other jobs than just writing ones. Maybe I should take the LSAT and go to law school. Maybe I should give up on journalism for now and try something different. But I feel, deep in my heart, that this is career I am meant to be in. I can’t imagine any other field replicating the passion and urgency I felt writing news stories.
The driving desire throughout my life has been to seek out the truth. I believe this is a seed that’s been planted by God, meant to grow and bear fruit in my life and in the lives of others. I have complete faith in it. So while I seek out opportunities in my field, I’m trusting that God will show me where exactly He wants me to be and what He wants me to be doing.
This is something I actively began working on in January of 2016 (It was a New Year’s resolution). Throughout the stages of my life, practicing gratitude has always improved my mindset. When I’m feeling bitter or angry at my circumstances, I remind myself of all the things I have to be thankful for. I have more supportive, thoughtful and true friends than I could have imagined years ago. I have a place to live, money to buy food and for (limited) travel, a comfortable bed to sleep in, and endless love from my parents. I have everything I need and more.
One night a few weeks ago, I was talking to my boss.
“Isn’t life good?” he said.
“Maybe for you,” I said quickly, thinking how much greater his financial resources were than mine. Money that allows him the freedom to do almost anything he wants.
Then I sat back and thought: for many people, money means freedom. I don’t have the freedom to travel anywhere I want because I don’t have enough money.
But I have the freedom to make my own decisions. To make my own life. The freedom to choose happiness and joy instead of bitterness. What an incredible gift, worth more than all the money in the world.
“You’re right,” I said. “Life is good.”