Saturday, June 1, 2013

I don't know about you, but I'm feeling 32.

Which makes me a decade older than Taylor Swift, but who is counting?  Bless it all, I am.  

Some pretty remarkable things have happened for me since 22.  College graduation.  A job.  Marriage.  Then the baby carriages.  So many breath-taking things in such a short time span. And too many mistakes, fumbles and learning curves to count.

One of the ways I responded to all these beautiful milestones was trying to be a grown up.  Or my version of a grown up.  Grown ups did the right thing.  Always.  Grown ups were strong and didn't ask for help.  Grown ups made meatballs from scratch, even when babies were crying and sleep was a distant memory.  They dusted their baseboards at ten pm when company was coming the next morning.  They wore sweatpants and took showers every third day.

And the kicker: grown ups didn't chase dreams.  They just didn't.  They needed to be fully invested in the reality of jobs, children, and keeping up on laundry.  There was no time for dreaming, unless it involved the American dream of picket fences and 3.2 kids.

There were parts of me that I kept stuffing down into my shoes every time they surfaced.   My creative person.  My spontaneous person.  My funny person.  They would well up, at times, and yell, "remember me?" I'd be like, "no habla ingles," and promptly drown out their sound with my vacuuming.  They were all too much for me in my twenties.  I was too overwhelmed with keeping it all together to let them come out and play.

But God.  My whole life story can be summarized in this magical phrase.  I am a wiener, but God.  I try to be perfect, but God.  Thank God for the but God's.  Jesus, in His originality, began to transform my ideas of what being a grown up looked like.  It was not running after the ideal grown up that I had frantically painted in my head.

It was allowing who He has made me to be to settle in.  All of me.

When God purposed my little life out,  He didn't include the long legs I have wished for.  He didn't make me as tall as I'd like.  He threw in a mind that races like a hamster in a wheel, a disposition that makes me slightly awkward in large group settings, and hair that will just not stay straight.  For the love.

And while I know the list of all the things I have not, He has opened my 32 year old heart to notice the things I am.  Work with what the good Lord gave you, and so forth.  I am realizing, more and more, that being a grown up is the greatest balancing act of all.  It's the act of reconciling all the parts of myself to one another and fitting them together in a way that says: I don't care.  I love it.  I love this.  I love me.  Thank you God.

It feels like, finally, I've gathered all the little versions of myself and have told them to get in my belly.  I'm no longer putting my pre-teen awkward self in a time out.  I'm calling the part of me that needs more sleep up out of the basement and back into my bed.  I need eight hours folks.  I just do.  The attention seeking part of me is okay too.  I've learned how to work with her.  Wow. So many parts and persons in this shell of a body. We'll need a special handshake or something.

I needed to walk through my twenties to get to this grand place of 32.  I feel settled into myself, finally at peace with who God has crafted me to be. I also know that it's not over.  I know that decade from now, I will feel even more resolved to live my one and only precious life with this stretch marked body, this quirky mind, and the genuine spirit God has given me.  

So, to all of my twenty something friends who are dreading the big 3-0:  Run towards the light that is your thirties.  You are getting older.  There is absolutely nothing on God's green/polluted earth you can do about it.  But, along with those fine wrinkles forming at the corners of your horrified eyes comes an understanding of yourself and your God that only time can bring.  Hug it.