When I was 23 or 24, I found this quote on the then-new Pinterest, "You only get ten years to be in your twenties." At first, I loved this graphic...so much so that I made it my desktop background for awhiiile. After all, my time as a twenty-something was fleeting and those words served as a reminder that I should take advantage of every moment and every opportunity afforded to a young, non-wrinkly, zero gray-haired, but completely in debt, young woman! Carpe Diem and all that jazz! But as the months and years went on - these words began to haunt me. Ominous, intimidating, and flat-out scary - these words might as well have been followed by a "DUN, DUN, DUNNNN." This quote led to anxiety-laden thoughts: "What if I'm not maximizing my time in this decade?! What if I don't travel as much/get in as good of shape/accomplish as much/have as much/become as much like..." -- the list goes on and on. And so I felt defeated by the very words meant to keep me inspired. Eventually, off the desktop the quote went (praise hands) - but they remained etched in the back of my mind.
Today, as I spent my last day in my twenties, I couldn't help but feel a little off. Between Tim McGraw's "My Next Thirty Years" blaring in my mind's ear (is that a thing?) and that freaky quote from 2012 -- I was feeling a tad introspective. After all, I didn't quite accomplish all the things I thought I would when I started this decade: I am not the editor-in-chief for Lucky or Elle magazines (shocker, right?), I don't own a house (much less a vacation home), I don't live near my family OR in New York City, I don't have lots of designer clothes in my closet, I don't have a million stamps in my passport, I'm n in the best shape of my life *she says while eating warm chocolate chip cookies and a glass of cold milk*, I haven't written a book (in fact, I can barely blog consistently), I don't have as many kids as I thought I would by now, and I am very, very tired. Virtually nothing in my life looks quite like I thought it would when I turned 20! Allow me to first say: thank goodness. Clearly, my 20-year-old self was slightly consumed with the wrong things in life! And although I'm extremely grateful that some of those expectations didn't come to pass (ahem most of them), there was a piece of me that felt a little worried that I didn't live my last 10 years to their fullest potential. Like what if I didn't live my best, most exciting, 20-something-year-old-life?! Please tell me I'm not the only one who has had this kind of existential age crisis?!
But as I read through Ecclesiastes today (nothing says quarter/mid/whatever-life crisis quite like Ecclesiastes, am I right), I was reminded that my life and my 20s aren't measured by my accomplishments. The quality of these years is not measured by my achievements, workplace accolades, possessions, dress size, followers on Instagram, cool trips or experiences, bank account balance, or even -- gasp -- my relationships. My years are measured by one thing and one thing only - my Maker. And according to him, well, if I'm still making every effort to become like his Son, I'm doing alright! I can't even begin to tell you how liberating that thought is for me!
- Ecclesiastes 11:8-12:1 NLT
Meaningless, meaningless. Without God, it's all meaningless - gotta love the bluntest book of the Bible :) So ultimately, I'm positive that my thirties will be different than what I expect and probably filled with a lot more spit-up and a lot less "glamour" than my twenties...and that I'll probably stay tired for the foreseeable future (update: Rosie was teething all night so yeah - sleep and glamour are officially out. the. window. But sweet baby snuggles are IN!). Cheers to a decade of letting go, remembering the Creator first, sleeping the exact-same-not-nearly-enough amount, and attempting to eat more salads and a few less french fries.
It's time to check on my sweet, sleeping daughter and convince J to watch that episode of Friends where Rachel turns 30 with me. Thanks for joining me as I've attempted to make sense of my twenties. Can't wait to keep keeping it uncomfortably real with you all in my thirties. Is there any other way?! Stay young, y'all!