When I left my job a few years ago, I was walking away from almost 7 years worth of memories and comfort. On my last day they got me a cookie cake and on it was the quote:
“Beginnings are usually scary and endings are usually sad, but it’s the middle that counts. You have to remember this when you find yourself at the beginning.” Also cookie cake and quotes? #known
In a few days, I’m trading my twenties out for a new decade. For a lot of reasons, I’m actually really excited to step into my 30’s. As much as I enjoyed the last decade, I feel like I’m outgrowing it in a way. I think there’s a unspoken platform you receive just because of your age. You’re a little less timid and a little more confident that you have something to offer. There’s some bravery + apathy (the good kind) that’s happened over the past few years and I’ve heard your 30’s propel you even more towards that; finding your place and caring a little less of what others may think of you being there.
Also apparently your skin gets bad and your metabolism slows down significantly, but I choose not to dwell not those things (and I’m actively praying against them).
But before leave I should let you know, I really really loved my 20’s. I really learned what it was like be on my own, made some massive mistakes (the word massive is key, they were no small stumbles), learned strengths of mine that I never knew existed and learned weaknesses in a space that let me fail gracefully. I met countless people who shaped the way I think, and created a bit more empathy in my heart.
So to those of you at the Beginning, it gets So.Much.Better. Just wait. Real life, can be so much better than college. To all my almost graduates fearing graduation – The world tries to trick you by telling you you’re leaving the best four years of your life behind. But I can assure you, you’re stepping into some pretty good ones too. I can definitely tell you this at 29 with life feeling somewhat put together – but I would have told you the same thing at 24. Sure it's scary, but the good scary. There’s so many good things hidden behind the wall of the unexpected and unknown.
If you’re in the Middle, this is the good part. Or maybe it’s the hard part. Maybe it doesn’t feel like it right now, because you’re at job that you loathe or in an apartment you hate. Some days you feel ahead of everything, and some days you feel like everyone else is passing you. But where there are gaps, there’s a need for Jesus. The Lord will fill in the inadequate spaces in ways, that from the world’s perspective, doesn’t seem to work. I written about him meeting my needs for counseling and providing me with opportunities to serve in Brazil, all while I making very very little money. The Lord shows up in the places where we aren’t enough. It’s where the magic is.
And if you headed towards the End of the decade, I feel that transition with you. The one where you try to hold everything close before it slips through. But it doesn’t work like that. I tried to squeeze out all of Atlanta before I moved home, but you just can’t bottle it up and take it with you. Same with the years of summer nights in the North Georgia mountains — Moments just happen. You’ll miss them if your trying so hard to hang onto them. Don’t wish for how it was or how it will be; stay present in the now.
I’ve made a lot of mistakes (I know I had you fooled – I seem so flawless!) and this post isn’t to tell you how well I’ve lived the past few years. These lessons are from the bottom. And yours will be too. All the moments weren’t shiny. There were tears and struggles, ER visits and setbacks.
Those will be in your story too.
But overall, I’m actually really proud of the last decade - I stayed present, felt the falls, rejoiced on the mountain tops and created a community of people who sat with me at the top and at the bottom.
I hope I can say the same for the next decade.
Hello Thirty – I’m very excited for what you have in store.
Also on a totally unrelated note – if anyone has any face cream recommendation that would be greatly appreciated