Confession of a 30-something: life isn’t what you think it will be.
Aren’t the first few decades of life funny? You spend so much time and energy dreaming and striving for your future, your goals, your career, your romances, your friendships. All this time defining who you are and what your life is gonna be about. And you just keep waking up day in day out, getting ready for life to start until you realize one day that it DID start somewhere back there. And this is it. THIS is who you are. THIS is life. It’s no longer somewhere out THERE. It’s right here, happening all the while. And it isn’t what you thought.
You thought somehow you’d feel more accomplished. You thought maybe you’d have traveled more. You’d thought you’d be in your dream house by now or that you’d finally feel/think/dress like an adult. But, for better or worse, here you are. Especially in an age of putting our “best selves” out for the world, it seems that disillusionment with our realities can easily creep in.
My life isn’t what I thought, but it IS beautiful.
I wake up every day next to this guy that I know inside and out, but still sometimes feels like a stranger to me. Someone who is complicated and passionate. Every bit of him wants to get swept away into a story, an adventure, something bigger than himself. So he plays games, and gets sucked into books and movies, and is always the one to come up with the plans for our next blanket fort. Next to him I’m actually quite dull. He feels so much more and so much deeper than he lets on. He loves Jesus, but not in a stamp-a-verse-on-my-coffee-mug-and-say-a-prayer-before-meals kinda way. No, his love for God is complicated and passionate just like him. Sometimes they don’t talk for awhile. Sometimes his quiet and steady faith blows me out of the water. Sometimes the curtain drops and he talks about the Kingdom of God in the most mystical and intimate way that it fills my eyes with tears and my heart with hope. And then of course, we argue. And we are GOOD at it. Feelings and words fly at each other. He is usually the one to apologize first. I’ve learned I’m TERRIBLE at apologies, but he’s teaching me. He humbles me. I love him. God knew I needed him.
In my house the windows are always open. They let in breeze and sunshine, smoke from the old man’s pipe and rooster crows. My floors are covered in little muddy paw prints during the rainy season and a constant layer of dust in the dry season. My mop gets lots of use (though not as much as it should). Every Friday night, we make a mess in the kitchen and run around trying to make the house presentable for friends who come and join us for a meal. The water turns off by 7pm on Fridays, so that means that dishes get piled up and left to be dealt with in the morning.
And then there is my job, my mission. It’s not what I thought either. Most days it is equal parts fulfilling and frustrating. Meaningful and mundane. Some days I see my purpose so clearly. Other days, well, we all have those “other” days, don’t we?
So life isn’t what I thought. It is better than that. It is real. My brokeness connects me to people. My marriage speaks to grace. My mundane moments make the others that much more meaningful. My pile of dirty dishes mean I was present with people. I’m settling in and embracing it now. My “dreams” have come out of the clouds and landed right here in front of me, today.