When I was little, I looked to the future and my 20s with stars in my eyes. I just knew it would be the most exciting years of my life. Everyone seemed to have the best moments of their lives in their 20s.
So far, it hasn’t been anything like I thought. It wasn’t at all what I expected or what I hoped for myself. Instead, this time of life kind of feels like finding your way out of a maze while you run at a marathon-speed. In the dark. While juggling. Or something like that.
I’m learning that the young adult years are filled with so many different seasons. Unlike before, not everyone experiences the same things simultaneously. When you’re part of an education system that mostly classifies children and teens by their age and ability, you’re only ever surrounded by people who are almost exactly like yourself. You experience the same things. You struggle with the same obstacles. You look forward to a lot of the same milestones.
Then, one day, you find yourself making all sorts of decisions about your life and the answers are no longer clear like they were before. You can’t follow beside the footsteps of your peers, because for the first time in your life, the same age looks a little different on everyone you meet. Some are still pursuing education. Some are working their dream jobs. Some are on their way to getting married or starting families. And I’m a little lost in the midst of all of it. I’m not yet sure where the end of this awkward in between season will drop me.
But maybe that’s the problem. A lot of us only ever look at this part of our lives as a gateway to whatever is next. We keep waiting for something to happen.
Maybe the only thing that’s meant to happen at this moment is right in front of us. Perhaps this time is less about waiting and more about understanding what it means to be content in all circumstances, like Paul talks about in Philippians.
It takes a lot more effort to not compare myself to everyone else than it does to mentally highlight everything I’m not and everything I haven’t done. I’m excited for my friends when I see their lives rushing on to exciting things, but it also makes me wonder what I’m doing wrong. What have I missed? What are the magic words or steps to keep life moving forward and why hasn’t anyone kept me informed?
When I sat across a table from my friend a few months ago as we caught up with each other, it finally became clear. She shared stories from work. I talked about school. We may be in slightly different places at this time in our lives, but we are still on the same journey towards the ultimate goal. Pursuing Christ and sharing Him with others is the priority for both of us. We want to love and serve people wherever we are. Even though living that out doesn’t look exactly the same, we have each been given an opportunity to live out that calling in our individual and unique setting. In fact, we maximize our efforts by going out into the world and engaging new and different things rather than huddling together in our own little bubble with people only like ourselves. If we stay in our safe and familiar places, we’ll never be able to make a big impact.
Every season of life is beautiful; all we have to do is stop to notice the gifts and purpose we’ve been given. It may be awkward at times and it won’t always look the way we expect. It probably won’t look exactly like what’s happening in the lives of people around us. But we each have been called to this specific place for a reason. We have a job we can only do in this setting and these circumstances.
That sounds pretty exciting to me.
Editor’s Note: MaryLynn is a guest contributor to this blog, but isn’t the only writer whose words you may see here. To read more posts by MaryLynn or to see the other writers, visit the authors’ categories in the menu at the top right corner of the screen.