[Almost] Birthday Reflections

I’d been a college graduate for one month now, and I just received my diploma in the mail. So it’s officially official now.

I jokingly said to one of my college classmates who just got the interim youth pastor position at a local church for the summer, “Do you know who would really be good at being an interim youth pastor? Someone with a Youth and Family ministry degree.” I was obviously implying I would be a better fit for what he was about to do.

What I feel like no one tells you about post-grad life is that there will come a point where all your friends are getting jobs in their field, getting engaged, and finding places to live. Maybe someone was honest enough to tell you, but you didn’t hear them because you were too busying thinking, “That won’t be me.”

Then you realize how overwhelming it feels because you’re working a temporary job, still single, and making plans to move home.

Or maybe that’s just me.

So I can’t say this from experience because I’ve never had a permanent job, been married, or had my own home, but I am going out on a limb and saying none of those things would complete me. Sure, they would probably offer me some happiness, but happiness is not found solely in those things.

It’s just that everyone else’s life seems so glamorous when I’m sitting on my couch.

From their Instagram, they look like they have it all together. They look cute and somehow their hair never frizzes like mine, no matter the humidity. (Is there a filter to cover up frizzy hair?) But once even the most fashionable people wash their makeup off; they get zits just like me.

It sounds silly to confess this, but I would like to be married someday. I would like to have a job I actually enjoy waking up for. Crazy, right? I have expectations that someday I will have my life together and it will all be great. I think it is normal to carry around unrealistic expectations, but it’s definitely not healthy.

There’s no perfect job, no perfect spouse, no perfect house.

I turn twenty-two in less than week, so I know I am still young. I’ve still got eight years before I am thirty. But if the past four years of college have taught me anything, it’s that time goes by quickly. I not only need to think about where I want to be in five or eight or ten years, but I need to think about who I want to be.

Yes, that’s cliché.

Yes, it’s even cliché to point out how it is cliché. Get off my case.

But it is the habits I am forming now that will continue to affect me throughout my life. People keep talking about kale, so I keep thinking: maybe I should be eating kale. I think kale sounds disgusting, and, honestly I can’t really handle being in Whole Foods for too long. But even I know I cannot sustain my usual diet of mac and cheese and fries for every meal for my whole life.

So I don’t have it all figured out (I barely have anything figured out), but I have found a few things to true.

Take every chance to celebrate accomplishments. Celebrate life.464875_pink_balloons

It mentioned it was my birthday. I’ve had a longstanding love/hate relationship with my birthday. I think it has something to do with the fact that I feel disappointed in myself. I always thought by the time I reached a certain age (sixteen, eighteen, twenty-one), that I would have my life more together and more figured out.

But there’s so much to celebrate. I am alive; I am turning twenty-two. I’ve got air in my lungs, a God who saved me, a family who loves me, and friends who make me laugh. I am so blessed. I get caught up in so many other things that sometimes I overlook how blessed I really am.

Last night, I got together with my college roommate and we went to dinner. It was just right. I’m a pretty low-key person, so give me good food (a pulled pork sandwich, potato salad, followed by ice cream) and time with one of my best friends, and I am happy.

Don’t be so hard on yourself.

You’ll make mistakes. Everyone does. I could continue to beat myself up for not having my life together, or I can enjoy the process and the journey. I am learning through my mistakes. I am experiencing life.

I am too hard on myself when it comes to just about everything. But what do I gain by beating myself up? Usually nothing. It’s not like it inspires me to work harder to become better; I already want to work harder to become better.

So I didn’t wake up to my alarm this morning and had to put my hair in a gross ponytail? It’s alright. Don’t sweat the small stuff and all that, you know.

Stop comparing your life to other people’s internet lives.

Though it’s undoubtedly collecting more cobwebs than before, I don’t want to delete my Facebook altogether. However, I do need to watch what makes me slip into a pit of self-pity. Life is so much better when I am genuinely happy for others rather than comparing myself to others. And I really am happy for those who are happy. I love hearing about engagements and new jobs and seeing pictures of weddings and babies.

I like how Shauna Niequist says it in her book Bittersweet:

“When you compare yourself to another person, you always lose, and at the same time the other person always loses, too. Each of us has been created by the hands of a holy God, and our stories and the twists and turns of our lives, the things that are hard for us, and the things that come naturally, are as unique to us as our own fingerprints. One way to ensure a miserable life is to constantly measure your own life to the lives of the people around you.”

I know none of this hasn’t been said before, but I am always reminded how fragile life is. I’ve been blessed with great friendships, which often takes me to looking up flight prices in my free time.

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