Selah: to pause and reflect.
It feels wonderful to be writing in my own voice again. This last month has changed me in ways I could never have predicted. My opinions were challenged, the faulty lenses through which I viewed life were shattered, and my equilibrium was restored. I am a new woman.
At the beginning of April, I believed in “the one.” I believed that decisions were life or death, make it or break it. I believed that there was one right way to do things, a right way to be. I thought I was just like every other 20-something when it came to career goals. But I realized, somewhere between those twelve interviews, that I’ve lived my life shackled to the ground by fear. My imagination runs wild yet my feet remain unmoved. I’ve been so afraid of doing the wrong thing that I never did anything at all. I operated under the false assumption that if I didn’t make the right decision, if I didn’t pick the right person, if I didn’t say the right thing, the entire world would collapse. I thought the world needed me in order to stay in orbit.
I’ve been far too obsessed with being the perfect version of myself – the one who’s wise beyond her years and always says and does the right thing. I’ve attempted to woo perfection all my life and failed miserably. So I turned my attention to fixing – fixing things and situations and people around me as a way to avoid my own brokenness. But I’m still broken. And you know, this person I am today loves the brokenness. The minute I accepted my imperfection and brokenness – at 3am on a quiet, insomnia-inspired night of journaling – I felt freer than I’ve ever felt in my entire life.
I’m broken. I’m imperfect. I make terrible decisions and say hurtful things. And so does everyone else in this broken world. If I could scream that to the universe without waking my sleeping roommate up right now, I would. I. FEEL. FREE.
And the most beautiful thing I’m learning? I’ve always viewed my life as various destination points. Primary school. Secondary school. Moving across continents. College. Graduation. Real life, whatever that means. Grad school. Moving to a new city. Meeting “the one”. Getting married. Being a mom. These were all destination points for me. As if each segment of my journey was necessary only to lead me to these destinations. I made these destinations a huge deal, subconsciously thinking of them as multiple reset buttons. But I’m learning that those aren’t actually destinations. And life isn’t about those time points. The act of moving halfway across the world didn’t change me. Walking across the stage at my graduation didn’t change me. What continues to change me is today. The present. The process.
Today, I choose to find contentment and peace in where I am and what I’ve been given. Today, I choose to live in the present instead of analyzing the future that’s not even promised in the first place. Today, I choose to treasure the quiet moments, and pause to offer up thanks when I find something beautiful inside myself and in the world around me. It’s these little choices, day after day, that make me who I am. And who I am is far greater than what career choice I make, or where I’ll be in September. I could be working for the organization of my dreams and be dissatisfied. I could remain in Fort Collins and be dissatisfied. I could be dating an awesome man and be restless, or I could be single and restless. It’s not about the external time markers, the big celebrations, the time points. It’s the day-to-day choice to love the journey because it is forever. At the end of my life, I want to be the kind of woman in whose presence you feel at rest, inspired, valued. I don’t want to be just the one with the most accolades.
What a beautiful thought that I’m free to just be in this moment. Life lasts forever and is seemingly short all at the same time. I believed, in theory, that we were made for pleasure – to drink our fill of Love and Divine Presence and Beauty. In reality, I lived like I was made for practicality – to make good decisions and be the most moral, perfectionist version of myself possible. Now, I’m trying to live like I believe I was made for pleasure. I refuse to waste any more days being somewhere other than the place I’m in. I’m embracing joy and sorrow, laughter and tears, goodbyes and hellos, the mistakes and successes.
How did I get all of this from conducting twelve interviews? I’m not sure either. But I’m basking in the joy of my newly discovered outlook on life. I won’t soon forget these many words that have been exchanged over the last month. I began the 20-Somethings Series wanting to garner advice and thoughts from the people I know so that, when faced with my own decisions, I’d make the right ones. I wanted to collect enough good advice to keep up my charade of perfection. And here I am, completely wrecked by the realization that my preoccupation with the right decisions was simply based on fear. Fear that I am now ridding myself of. How magnificent.
I asked everyone for the best advice they’ve been given on love. Here’s mine. Stay curious; we become disinterested in the other person when we believe we know all there is to know. People are endless oceans of intricacies; there’s always more to discover. And (adopted from one of the interviewees who chooses to remain anonymous), fight naked; see how long you can stay mad at each other when you’re both naked.
Thank you all for reading and blowing up my traffic stats in one month. Cheers to you, and the rest of this journey together.