It’s interesting watching people post about their decade- the ups and the downs, the accomplishments and the disappointments. This was the first decade for me that really couldn’t be measured by semesters, significant life events, moves, etc. I moved back to my hometown, and have been here for more than a decade. This makes it all sort of a blur honestly. The last 10 years feel like they were 2 to 3 years in some ways. Every event was “just a couple of years ago” in my mind.
It was good, and it was difficult. It was fun except for when it wasn’t. There were times I was sad I hadn’t accomplished the things the world told me I should have. There were other times where I felt wholly myself doing the things I felt mattered.
I didn’t get married, but I watched others do so and saw how right it was for them. I saw others find out the opposite. I didn’t have kids but watched my friends become parents. One of my best friends became a stepmom, and added 2 babies to the mix, and allowed me along for the journey for the last 10 years. Watching these babies grow up from the day they were born, and being an honorary Aunt has been such a gift.
Their existence redeemed some difficult years from the decade we’d just left – that has been the gift. Watching her kids learn new things, and seeing them genuinely enjoy life has brought me joy in the simplest moments.
When I let go of the idea that there were things I was supposed accomplish, and really started asking myself what I wanted, it got a little simpler. I figured out how to make travel part of my life- because I had time to do so, but limited funds. I spent time with my family, and with friends who became family. I learned about myself, and how little I actually know about anything.
I began unlearning some things I’d learned about God, and began trying to figure out what parts were true. What parts to keep. It’s so hard to know what parts to keep. Rachel Held Evans wrote the things I needed to read in this decade. She also passed away in this decade. A devastating loss for those who are searching, and are disillusioned by the last several years of Evangelicalism, but she offered so much hope in her time here.
Many years ago a friend casually mentioned not really wanting to travel, and saving that for when they were married. It made sense given our upbringing, where marriage is the goal- the thing that completes you. Where you live in that constant place of “one year from now I’ll likely be married or on my way to marriage”. I remember that conversation because it changed how I approached life. I started traveling, and trying to experience the things that made me feel joy.
Sometimes it was a meal at a local restaurant with good friends, or stopping in at my parents while running errands around town. Sometimes it was watching dolphins in Hawaii, or standing behind a waterfall in Iceland, or sitting on a boat in Switzerland with my best friend from childhood, talking about how much our faith had changed.
If the travel went away today, I would be ok, but I’d be so glad I had done it. If I’m single another 10 years, I’ll be ok, because I know I’m enough either way. Regardless, I’m excited to see what’s to come.
I want to to seek out the moments that make me feel wonder, because these sustain me during the moments where everything is upside down. I want to be a little braver, and less concerned about what others might think of me. I’ll go into the next decade knowing full well that I know nothing about anything, and I’m really, really ok with that.