Friday, February 13, 2015

Last Day of 27

For the past two years, before my birthday, I've written a post on what I've learned in the previous year.  I have to say these are some of my favorite things to write.  So here goes another one. Enjoy, and, as always, thanks for reading!

Welcome back to this year's "The More You Know" post.  I call it that because the older I get, the more know about the world and myself.  Before I start these posts, I always like to read what I've written the year before.  Before turning 26 I felt the need to offer up an explanation about why I thought Ben and I were still together. This was important to me then because I remember getting a lot of questions about how we managed to work out after all we've been through.  Reading it back now, I'm not sure if I did a good job explaining why. And before I turned 27, I'd gone through a little "multiple personality" crisis. I'm not saying I had multiple personalities but I was essentially trying to figure out how to become more likeable.  

So, pre-28, what do I know now?

A little pre-28 picture of me, at work, because this is real life. And in real life, sometimes you have to take pictures at work and not at...the beach. 

I'm an adult.  I know this sounds silly, considering we become legal adults on our 18th birthday, get the pass for drinking on our 21st, and are finally able to rent a car without crazy fees on our 25th birthday.  But I didn't feel like a full-fledged adult (not the same as some these man-children millennials that the press likes to harp on) until last summer.  I was sitting in the hospital. And I'd just finished talking to my sister about some new Buzzfeed slideshow that tells you whether or not you were a teenager during the "00s."  I, in fact, was a teenager during the 00s.  I hung up the phone with her, looked around the hospital waiting room and realized that I was there by myself. I was there for a simple ultrasound procedure.  Nothing major. But I realized that when the receptionist called my name, I was going to have to get up, acknowledge that it was me and then go into the procedure by myself.  Or, I could have run away, pretended I was never there and completely disregard the state of my health. That's when it REALLY hit me that I am responsible for myself.  I am responsible for me, and no one else is, not even my husband.  Aside from the times that we make decisions together, I make them on my own.  No one else is accountable for me anymore.

I’ve learned to say NO.  Almost 18 months ago I was going through a transition in my life. Many of my best friends moved away and I was left to kind of rebuild my own social network.  It was challenging at first because I'm not incredibly outgoing, I'm mostly introverted, and, at the time, I was a young-ish married person.  I don't want to go out every single day to get to know people because I kind of like my husband...a lot. Plus, both our families live in the area so my weekends aren't always completely free.  But because I really wanted to put myself out there and get to know the people who actually live in my neighborhood, I said YES to almost everything.  It was fun for a while, but as time wore on I began to realize and accept that "social butterfly" is not in my personality make up.  So at almost 28, I think I've finally found a balance between my alone time, my "husband time" and my social and family time that works incredibly well for me.  So yeah, sometimes I say no to people, even when I have absolutely no plans other than lay on my couch and read for five hours.  But that is kind of a plan, right?

Two things I've learned about spirituality:

Being a Christian isn't always easy.  One thing that happened in my 27th year--I was FINALLY baptized!! It was on Good Friday. It was awesome, and I'm so glad I finally "took the plunge." (hehe).  But in reality, my baptism, even though I had already accepted Christ years before, was just the beginning.  A lot of people at my church are C.S. Lewis fans, and they reference a famous passage of his that talks about what happens with your heart when you open it up to Christ. How God just goes in and cleans out all the junk, knocks down the walls of your "heart house" so that he can build up something better.  That's how I've been feeling all this year.  I'm definitely being worked on. And it's hard. And it's not really that fun. It's actually quite painful.  But I'm starting to see the areas that He's been renovating and how beautiful and more sturdy things are becoming. I guess that's the exciting part.

The second thing--my relationship with Christ is not the same as another person's.  God knows that I struggle with comparison and jealousy and He's been working on that with me.  But even the Christian, churchy world isn't free of comparison.  It can come down to "Why doesn't God talk to me like that?" or "Why am I not experiencing X in Z way like ABC..."  It comes up. Over the past couple years, I've been trying to live out this simple, easier-said-than-done, truth: never compare myself to others because I don't know their journey. 

I'm ready for an exciting change.  Sometimes it's nice for things to stay the same.  There are a few things I know for sure that I don't want to change. I want my relationship with my family to continue being close. I want to continue investing in relationships and experiences, and not in material things.  And all in all, I'm happy with my life right now. I have a great community of friends around me.  I have A job.  Ben and I love where we live, not just the apartment, but the area that we live in, just four miles outside of the nation's capital.  But last year we started thinking that we wouldn't mind changing things up.  We were already thinking this would be our last year in our current living space, so we've been entertaining the idea of buying a house or a condo.  But with all the opportunities provided by Ben's new job, we've also been thinking about moving to Europe for a couple of years! Which just sounds like the BEST idea to me right now. My family lived in Germany when I was younger. I'd love for our future kids to have that same experience. 

Peace.  It's "not the absence of trouble, but the presence of God." 

And to keep you all posted on my journey to become a "morning person," nothing's stuck yet.  I'm still trying and failing most days. But one thing I did realize over the past year, early mornings start with early nights.  And this is extremely hard for me because I'm a night owl. I looove night time and never want to go to sleep, even if I've been up all day.