All Groan Up (Or, Why I Read)

One of the many reasons I read is to find myself.

It sounds counterintuitive, to read about other people in other places doing other things, to learn about me. But it’s one of the things I find most powerful about writing. I can be reading a blog post by a mother of small children, or a fiction book set in 1743, or a memoir-esque book by a guy and say, “Me too.”

It’s one of the reasons I write here: I believe in the power of the “Me too” moments. All Groan UP

Recently, I received an advance copy of the latest book by Paul Angone, whose book 101 Secrets for Your Twenties I also reviewed. As I read All Groan Up: Searching for Self, Faith, and a Freaking Job, I felt like I was being given permission to feel all of the things I feel about being in my twenties. While the level of uncertainty in my life is not nearly what it was soon after I graduated from college, I still wrestle with feeling like I don’t have everything figured out, with wanting to figure out what I’m really doing with my life, and with trying to make peace with where I am instead of continually longing for where I’m not.

Paul’s specific experiences of being a twentysomething vary from mine, but even those I can learn from. All Groan Up is a refreshing reminder that being a twentysomething doesn’t have to be quite so lonely or quite so scary.

All of this fits in so well with the thread behind this blog: The Art of Becoming. As Paul writes in All Groan Up:

  Yet becoming an adult is not a onetime thing. You grow into growing up, each season bringing with it things you’re going to have to secretly Google to figure out how to do.

I know we have this yearning to “arrive.” To make it. We want to unpack our bags. Paint the house the color we want. Tear down a few needless walls and build a huge custom desk that will never leave the room.

However, every time we think we’ve made it, we look out the window to see a U-Haul truck waiting to take us to the next town.

But maybe not making it is a gift. If you’ve arrived, why bother still exploring?

There are things I still don’t love about the idea of never truly arriving, but I think there’s truth in it. And when I let myself, I can see there’s goodness there as well. All Groan Up was a great reminder of that, and a great reminder of why I keep reading–and keep writing.

Til next time…


p.s. What have you read that’s made you say, “Me too?”


102 Secrets For Your Twenties

A little over a year ago, I graduated from college. At the time, I was incredibly uncertain, nervous, and kind of sad to be leaving a stage of life I wasn’t quite ready to be done with. On top of that, I was frustrated at what seemed like silence about the turmoil I was entering. Though in my conversations with friends we agreed that we were apprehensive about the future, there didn’t seem to be many people talking about it.

Turns out, there were, and are, a lot of people talking about the chaos of being a twenty-something–I just hadn’t found them yet. When I first discovered All Groan Up, I think I breathed an audible sigh of relief. There are people who get this, and they’re writing about it! I’m not on an island of confusion and uncertainty by myself–there’s actually a LOT of people on this island! The founder, Paul Angone, wrote a book called 101 Secrets For Your Twenties that released this week. I’m glad he wrote it when he did–since I’m only 23, I still have several years of being able to appreciate and apply the wisdom. Secret 35

Honestly, there are some secrets in here I don’t like. It’s not because they’re not intelligent, but because I don’t like to think of how they’ll look in my own life. Failure, on some scale, is a reality of being human, and certainly of being a twenty-something. But I’d really prefer not to have to experience it myself. Change is something I’ve already done some of in my twenties, but I can only imagine I’ll be facing a lot more of it, and probably not liking it very much. And Obsessive Comparison Disorder? Some days I feel like I might have majored in it in college.

If I could add one more secret, one more for myself than anyone else, it would be this: Different is okay.

When I compare myself to others, as I do far too often, I have to continually remind myself–our lives are different and that is okay. The goodness and trouble in their life is their own, and the goodness and trouble in my own life is mine alone. Different things are good for different people.

Different is okay extends beyond my tendency for comparison as well. I’m learning to appreciate differences of opinion and belief, for the ways that it challenges and enforces my own, for what it teaches me, and for the beauty in saying, “We’re not the same, and I respect you.” Different might mean disagreement, but it doesn’t have to be ugly. Different is not a bad word.

Different is okay is for me, too. When I feel different for any number of reasons–for being young, for being the single person at a table full of married people, for having nothing to say about mortgages–for a time, I may feel different, but  different does not mean bad.

It’s not easy. There’s not really much about growing up that’s easy, despite how some people make it seem. So it’s good to know we’re not alone, that there are others feeling uncertain and frustrated and confused…and that different is okay.

Til next time…


p.s. What is one of your secrets for twenty-somethings?