I’m turning 30. This picture here describes what my 20’s have been like… A beautiful market full of texture, color, choices, twists and turns. Some will cost you more than others, but at the end of the day, you`ll probably come out with something you like.
I think a whole book could be written on the things I’ve experienced and done in my 20’s. And not in a gloating way, but as I reflect on how much I have changed as a person, and how many opportunities I’ve had, I feel so blessed. So please, bare with me while I look back…
The book of my 20’s could be called The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. Oh wait, taken. Or maybe it could be called Sexless in the City and Waiting for Mr. Right-For-Me. Pretty sure that one isn’t taken! Or maybe I’ll Always Have Paris or I Left My Heart in London and…Saskatchewan. Whatever that tale would be titled, it’d be a lengthy script.
I’m hovering on the eve of a new decade, and it’s feeling really surreal. 30. My “prime”. Adulthood. Where business clothes suddenly take on a new look and, per many standards, I’d have a baby on my hip by now.
But what has my 20’s really held….?
Beauty. Confusion. Love. Hurt. Joy. Risk. Embarrassment. Blushing. Faith. Dreams. Wonder.
When I turned 20 I was quite shy, insecure, still recovering from acne, and had permed blonde hair. I completed my first year of Bible College and was convinced I never wanted to marry a Pastor or be in the ministry. Hmmm, not sure that’s the goal of Bible College…is it?! But then again it was my first year away from home and I was working at a $6 hour job and sharing a bachelor suite.
Ages 18-23 were, well, hard. Laughable now really! At work I doled out fruit cocktail on the kids placemats, forgoing the bowls (That one has been retold many times!). I tried so desperately not to blush at ALL the cute boys (I came from a town of 250 people, remember). And I burnt everything I cooked (plastic strainer included). If I knew then, what I know now, I’d have told myself, with a big sister tone, “Look at your learning curves as an adventure and don’t feel like you have to run perfectly right out of the chute. Find your own gait. Trust God always.”
I was supervisor of an after school program. Worked at a greenhouse. I was a waitress, youth pastor, telemarketer, banquet server, and Wal-mart cashier. I was an Air Cadet Chaplain for three summers in a row, and after finally getting more education, the last five years I have spent in post-secondary Marketing and Public Relations.
I’ve shared food with hungry kids in garbage dumps in Mexico and the Dominican Republic. I’ve dared the Greyhound bus across Canada. Enjoyed the thrill of Broadway in New York. Celebrated a friend’s wedding in Jamaica. Dreamed in England for three months. I’ve wished atop the Eiffel Tower in Paris. I’ve taken a ride with seniors across the English Channel to Belgium. Listened to the Scots in Edinburg while I drank my ___th latte. Met family and history in Ireland. And delighted in a family vacation in Hawaii. My Passport has smiled back at me.
I’ve been set up, blinded, and dared the online world (does 5 days count?). I’ve looked at friends thinking “Do you even know me AT ALL?” I’ve dressed up, dressed down, stayed in pj’s and curled the hair to perfection, all to woo and one day win. I’ve learned who I am because I opened my heart to another human being. And, I’ve loved and lost. And am still hopeful.
I’ve been whisked across a dance floor and felt the freedom of just letting go. I’ve sat atop roommates’ beds late at night talking about life, love and why none of it can really be figured out. I`ve cried out to God on a country road on a summer night begging for answers.
I’ve published. Photographed. Risked. And tried.
I’ve delighted in friends’ babies, weddings and dreams. I’ve seen my parents take on new joys in life. My siblings venture out in business. And realized at the end of day, we’re all just people – wanting to be loved and to give something back.
For those of you just entering your 20’s, or still early in, I would say this: Be brave, but don’t pressure yourself to be perfect. Embrace the good and the tough. Read God’s Word lots because sometimes it really is the air you breathe. Follow your heart and don’t let anyone tell you you’re not good enough for what you really want.
And now, as I am leaving this decade, all I can say, amongst tears of thankfulness is, 20’s you’ve been so good to me. God, you have sustained me when nothing else would. What a gift it’s been. If they say your 30’s are even better, wow. Bring. It. On