Monday, November 18, 2013
in the foothills of my 30's
There are things I really like about getting older. And maybe it not getting older in general, but my personal journey of aging. I do think there are some common experiences in aging though.
I say aging as though I'm in my 70's. I'm 31. Sometimes I still have to stop and marvel at it - I'm in my 30's. Thirties. Where did the time go? (they say). It's true that in some ways I still have the same mind of my 18 year old self. But in other ways, that's very, very not true.
My 30's (all 1-2 years of it, so far) feel solid. Not that anything in my life is fixed, constant, known, or planned. Rather, I'm solid. Grounded, sure. Sure of how unsure I am. Grounded in the knowledge that I have absolutely no idea what the next 10 years are going to bring. Or the next 10 minutes for that matter. It's what I do know that matters. The things that in the past seemed to not matter are now the things that bring me the most comfort.
Coffee will be hot, Houston will be humid, and dogs will bring me the most sheer, unadulterated joy. Getting in bed at the end of the day will feel amazing, hot showers will revive my heart, I will love washing my hair, and high church will always be my favorite kind.
And even if any of those things change? Something inside of me will not. My knowledge of goodness. The eye for beauty that I've learned to cultivate. To see anywhere and everywhere. An extreme gratefulness for kind people. True caring. Gently spoken words and grace. Laughter and warm greetings.
I work with college students and I see it in their faces and hear it in their conversation. The worry, the eagerness, the plans, and ideals. The fears and frustrations and impatience. The confidence that they don't know is paper thin. I want to hug them and feed them cookies and make them know that it be will okay. That always sounds so trite when people say it, but it's true. It will be okay. It will not all be good, wonderful, fun, or as planned/dreamed/hoped. But it will be okay.
That, if someone asked, is what I would say I have learned as a 31 year old. I can sum it all up in 4 words: It will be okay. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. And that rock is not some strict adherence to conservative evangelical church culture or religion of any kind.
It's faith - that the sun will rise, roses will have velvety petals, laughter is around the corner, and it really is all going to be okay. Which allows me to embrace the future, not because it's all going to be wonderful and just what I've always wanted, but because I have a solid, grounded understanding that goodness will prevail.
I remember the first time this seed was planted in my heart was September 12, 2001. The day after 9/11. I was a freshman for one semester at Texas State University and I was very shaken up by the national tragedy. I remember wondering how life could ever go back to "normal", when I went outside my dorm and noticed the trees full of happily chirping birds. Those birds and their blissful ignorance of September 11, 2001 gave me a novel feeling of comfort and hope in the face of devastation. That life does go on, all is not lost, and there is still goodness to be experienced. I view every quiet morning as a reminder of this truth.
So far, this is what I like about my 30's.