Living +19 hours from ‘home’ makes for a very long birthday – more than 36 hours from the first well wishes yesterday until well now, these last few minutes before the clock ticks over and it’s just a regular Wednesday. It’s been so long I feel almost guilty for receiving so much love and attention. But it’s also been a joyous 36 hours being reminded of all the love and support I have around me.
As I enter my final year in my 20s, I look back with positive memories proud of all I’ve experienced and achieved – all by God’s grace. I didn’t write a year or a decade in retrospect for 2019, but having lived most of 20s in the recent decade my birthday has once again reason to pause, take stock and be thankful. Some fear their 30s, and although I have an extra day this year to plan for my 30th birthday celebrations (thanks to a leap year :-p), I’m totally fulfilled by this decade that has been. I’m happy to be kicking off my 29th year, albeit a few more wrinkles.
My 20s have been coming of age, transitioning from student to graduate to worker, from free-loader to housemate to solo living, from earning a couple hundred bucks per month to now paying bills totalling more than those early pay checks, from eating however much of whatever I wanted to consciously considering where the food I’m consuming comes from and how much energy it gives. I transitioned from an expectant uni student into a fresh faced graduate and now hopefully a slightly more balanced colleague and team member. I’ve been rewarded from working with and for some talented, bold and patient women across 4 different organisations. I moved homes too many times. I’ve set up life alone in new cities, twice. I travelled and explored some beautiful places. I’ve made an encouraging, inspiring and amusing community of friends. I challenged myself physically. I patiently waited for my body to heal. I pleaded with the Lord when things were tough. I praised him for his blessings and favour. I wouldn’t be even close to where I am without Christ as my foundation.
Sometime during the last 9 years I stopped the mind games of “when I grow up I want to be…” and started making intentional choices because I am a grown up. I am an adult now. Most of the time I’m confident in who I’ve become and how I’ll continue through life. I’ve become a crazy lady with meal / weekly / seasonal plans because knocking out decisions early creates space and freedom in the future. I’ve learnt the power of saying no and declining invitations for time to recharge (even when I quickly end up down a rabbit hole of faux loneliness). I’m reliant on the Lord and Christian community and the wonderful churches I’ve been part of. I know anxiety manifests from too much time inside and a lack of exercise. I surround myself with people who motivate and challenge me.
But there is also a little sadness for the milestones missed. I remain under the curse of comparison. I earn a decent salary, why I am still renting? Why do I still have student debt? Why can’t I travel as much as them? I’m not socially awkward, why am I still single? A recent date asked me how many children I’d like to have. I replied I was more concerned with finding someone I’d like to have them with than the number. The conversation deteriorated and my coping mechanism of humor took over. Such is life. Although I joke (often), I wait not for a knight in shining armour to look to the future and set direction for my life. It’s likely I’d challenge the poor man on his navigation skills anyway. Adulting is fighting the floodwaters and swimming furiously across the stream.
Each year, and particularly this one, i’m reminded by God’s blessings, his favour toward me as people reach out and send their well wishes. Thank you. I’m reminded of your impact on my life, at whichever stage, however recent. I’m thankful for you all – the people met, the places I’ve been and prayers answered. I am where I am today because of you. And for that and the snowcapped mountains I gaze at longingly each morning, I’m so so thankful.
29, eh? Let’s go.