l o v e . l i v e . t r a v e l. e a t. p r a i s e.
As the sun begins to set on my 27th year, I am starting to become quite reflective and nostalgic. Twenty seven has been a year of change and of grieving. It has been a transition between feeling like a young adult and feeling like I suddenly have to be an actual adult, with my life completely together before I get to the dreaded three-oh. I have been grieving the young, carefree, crows feet and chin hair free me. I’ve never had a great metabolism, but let’s face it, it’s only getting worse – I definitely regret those late night cheeseburgers a lot more than I used to. I have been grieving the person I was, looking so fresh-faced in those old Myspace selfies, and always donning a genuine smile in those dreaded, daily Facebook memories. More than that, I have been grieving friendships. As I’ve come to a point in my life where my circle of friends has grown in quality, but shrunk in quantity, I’ve been struggling to understand why it can’t be the same. Why don’t we stay close with those people we used to not be able to live without? Why does being in completely different life stages put a strain on our friendships with some of the people we’ve been through so much with? Well I don’t have the answer to that, except that it does, and that it is what I’ve been grieving.
I’ve been grieving the husband and children I still don’t have. I know turning 28 still seems so young to my 90 year old Grandma and my 70-something year old dad, but it’s not that young anymore. In fact it’s the oldest I’ve ever been (lol). We feel under pressure to have this all sorted before we hit our thirties, otherwise known as real adulthood. When everyone around me-most younger than me too-is settling down and getting engaged, getting married, buying houses, having their first baby, having their second baby, and I am still over here in my rental, struggling to remember to eat breakfast and unable to kill a spider on my own, I start to wonder who even qualified me to be an adult? When did I get a license for this? Who let me wander out this far on my own and stopped checking in on me? I honestly am the one constantly initiating contact with my parents to ask them the most random questions about how to do life.
Whether people mean to do it or not, I am constantly made to feel selfish because I don’t have a family of my own, and have never even had a significant other to think about. Because of this, it apparently means I don’t know what it is to have responsibilities. People seem to be under the impression that I can get up and travel whenever I please. There is some truth to this in that I can do some of this stuff which people with a partner and children can’t always just do, but I still have to ‘adult’ and be a normal person without those things too. I didn’t choose this. If I had the choice to live out my completely misguided, 13 year old dream, I would have been married with a baby by 20 years old, in my brand new, freshly built two-storey house, situated in a new housing development specifically created for cute, happy families. Little did I know that as age 20 came around, I would care less about that and more about heading off to America to live and study for 6 months.
While I realised that I didn’t necessarily want those things at that time, the older I became the more I started to worry that maybe I wouldn’t even get those things at all. Sweet and innocent, total dreamer, 13 year old me had never thought that maybe I wouldn’t have a choice about how my life would turn out. I certainly never would have anticipated being a chubby, 28 year old lonely girl in a dead-end job, having been single my entire life with not even any prospects waiting on the horizon. I didn’t expect to be sad and bitter. I didn’t expect to be hurt and tired. I didn’t expect to be done with life before I was even 30. I didn’t expect to be so exhausted by having to do everything on my own, all the time.
It’s not that I can’t or don’t know how to do things on my own. I do. I have had to most of my life, because if I didn’t do them by myself, I would miss out. I can do things on my own, and I do. But I’m tired of it. For once I just want someone to hold me and say, “You know what? You are doing a great job and I love you.” For once I want someone to plan something nice for me instead of me making the plans for myself all the time. For once I want someone to drive me to my doctors appointments, and wait for me, and help me when I am in pain. For once I want someone in this world to be thinking about me. I sound selfish again I know, but we are made to be loved and it’s hard to not have a longing for that.
So I am grieving. I am grieving who I used to be and the life I have known, as I enter into even more unknown, the older I get. I think it’s okay to grieve and to allow myself time to do that. However I know that I also have to choose hope. As hard as it is sometimes when I just want to stay in my bed all day and cry, I know I have to choose hope instead. I have to choose hope and look ahead to the future. I have to do all I can to love the people I do have in my life and love those who are feeling hurt and lonely, and don’t even have family or friends they can turn to. I am allowed to have bad days where I feel like life sucks, but I need to learn not to live in that mindset. Grieving is a process, but I know hope comes soon.
PSALM 30:5 “…weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.”