"Hey, how are you?"
"I'm great. I've got a full time job doing what I love, I've been dating a wonderful dude for over a year now, we've got an awesome vacation planned come September, and my cat isn't using my sofa for a scratching post anymore..."
...is what I should be saying.
But in actuality, I have a full time job doing something I don't love, I feel like my major talents and desires are being wasted, I fell in love with what could've been the right dude but at the wrong time, no vacation in sight, and Frosty is definitely shredding the shiz out of my sofa. (He also figures out how to destroy any gifts given to me, so please bring them in cat proof wrapping.)
Don't get it twisted, I'm not complaining, I'm actually super pumped to be alive, but I'm here to say, "God what the hell am I supposed to do with this?"
But let's get some background real quick.
Being a twenty-something is confusing and frustrating. And no matter what you're doing, there is so much pressure. Oh, you just got a degree? Find a job in your field immediately or else you're a FAILURE. You still haven't found a candidate for marriage? You'll probably be single for the rest of your life. Also, BABIESBABIESBABIESBABIESBABIES.
But where is this pressure even coming from? Friends, family, media, church, just trying not to be the dude that flips burgers for the rest of his life? Regardless, it's there and I know if you haven't "found your calling" you feel it.
But I want to speak to one thing I have found very important in the midst of all of this disappointment and turmoil in my life. It's what I think to be the greatest, but hardest calling that there is: Being yourself.
When you choose to be yourself, you're risking a lot of things. You're risking judgement. You're risking loving someone and not having those feelings reciprocated. You're risking being turned down for jobs or even being disowned by the majority of society.
Of course, we are meant for many purposes - loving people, creating meaningful things, making memories, etc. But I think God created us with the greatest intention of loving him and loving who he made us to be which prompts us to do all of the above things.
Which is why I feel so out of sorts. All the meaningful things I was pursuing - poof! Gone. Looking for a creative job. Pursuing marriage. The cosmic brakes/breaks (ha, get it?) were thrown on and I am 100% stopped where I am no matter how hard I'm trying to go places.
And what a terrible place that feels like it can be, because all you have to look at is yourself and your immediate scenery. But luckily, it doesn't have to be.
When you are knocked down by something bad happening, please do not immediately run the Conservative Christian thought gambit and immediately start looking for ways God is expecting you to grow or trying to make you grow.
When I come out of the sadness or anger, I find myself searching for the silver lining or at least an explanation, and most times that's just as exhausting as the emotional turmoil I just elbowed my way out of.
No one tells you how hard it is to just exist and try to live through grief or disappointment. I've had cancer, I've broken bones, and skinned my knees to the point where there's still gravel in one of them, and nothing is as painful as losing something or someone very, very important to you.
Right now, all I have is time, myself, and Jesus. Yes, I have friends and family that I am very thankful for and they help keep me hanging on, but they can't heal my wounds or make the things I want to happen happen for me.
So, the beautiful thing about being at a place where you're asking God what in the hell you're supposed to do with all this stuff that was dumped on you is that you don't really have to do anything, and that allows you time to discover another facet of who you are.
And I assure you, you are a 20,000 karat diamond. Or whatever stone you want to be, just lots of karats.
I miss and grieve my relationship, particularly the future I thought I had on lockdown. And I grieve for the job I don't have or may never have, but at the end of the day, who wants to just sit and grieve?
I want to live and discover and create and have fun and get to know myself better. The more self-aware I am, the greater grasp I've seemingly had on how to do life.
I feel like so many of the people I know are waiting on permission to live the way the want to and be the way the want to be but are stuck in a power struggle of finding themselves and living a formulaic life put in front of them by institutions or society.
All I'm saying, is that you've always had the permission to live the way you want to live. You don't have to follow in the footsteps of your parents, live up to expectations of your friends, or even succumb to the silly pressures I know we all put on ourselves.
It really bugs me that I have to put in a disclaimer here saying: I am not supporting being irresponsible or stupid and doing things to harm your fellow man. If you are even going to bring up the "murder can equate to this other piece of an argument" go ahead and shut up and sit down. We're adults here.
All I know is at the end of the day, all of us are of the same race and fighting battles both internally and externally. One of the greatest weapons to wage of all time is love and understanding for yourself, so give yourself time and care to sharpen that shit. You will need it later.