Birthdays are funny things. In a few hours from when I’m typing this, I will officially be 24.
Just because the calendar says I’m 24 doesn’t mean I feel it though. Some days I do–some days I feel much older than that, as though the sheer magnitude of what I’m thinking about and dealing with has certainly added years to my calendar. Other days, I feel as though I have so much to learn, so much to experience, that I must certainly be years younger. But everyone gets the same number of days by the time they reach 24, we just spend them differently.
Lately I’ve been realizing how little I have figured out. It seems so foolish of me, but the truth is that I thought very little about what life after college would look like. In school I could see to graduation, and maybe a ways past that to a job, but after that it was blank. Or, to be more accurate, I had thought of it, but it looked different than my reality. In many ways, I’m still learning to give up the white dress.
Now, having been at my job for a year, I’m facing the blank, asking why I didn’t consider it much before, and looking at this upcoming year and wondering what I’m going to do with it. There’s so much I have to learn, so many places I have to go, so many different ways I could fill this year.
And the gift I really need, the one that should follow and cover and surround me through all of it, is grace.
Because I’m only 24.
I don’t even begin to have this “life” thing figured out. I don’t even begin to have this faith and Christianity thing figured out. I don’t begin to have this family and friends and loving people well thing figured out.
It doesn’t help anyone when I pretend like I do. Instead, I need to give myself the grace and the space to say, “I don’t know” and be okay with it. I want to free myself from needing to have things planned out or to know it all, because I can’t. Certainly not at this age, or any age for that matter.
24 feels old in some ways, but in a lot of ways, it doesn’t and it isn’t. There is so much of my story to be written, and I can’t fast forward or find an answer key to get me to some elusive state of “arrival.” I just need to live.
So for my birthday, I’m giving myself the grace to be what I am.
Til next time…
p.s. What do you need to give yourself this year?