In response to the news that I will be 29 years old on August 7th this year, it’s been met with surprise, and sometimes shock.
Nope, not because I don’t look 29. That usually gets a “Wow, you look 26″ response. But I’ve been getting, “Whoa…you’re 29?….” in the most shocked and insulting tone. The kind that says, “Whoa…you don’t have your shit together…”
Seeing how I idolize what people think of me, it had me thinking. It had me believing lies. I feel shame that I am surprising people with my age. I feel embarrassed that I “don’t have my shit together.” Then I stop feeling those things. God instantly reminds me what’s a lie and what isn’t. Why am I feeling shame? Because I care what these people think more than what God thinks of me. What does God think of me? Welp, He loves me. I cannot surprise him, I don’t embarrass him. He isn’t ashamed of me, and He’s perfect. The most perfect existence isn’t ashamed of me. That is all I need to care about.
Here’s my response to this cultural BS that we all fall into. To the lies that if we don’t have the things listed below, that we are incomplete – that we haven’t made it yet.
I am nowhere near marriage.
- I go on dates. I haven’t been on a date in about a year, mostly because I’m not doing anything to meet new people, and I’m intentionally not making myself “available” to guys. Lately the guys who’ve asked for my number are people I have nothing in common with. I also don’t tell anyone I go on dates when I do. Why? Because frankly, it’s just a date. I don’t need to shell out the details with anyone unless it’s interesting enough to. And I don’t need to answer questions like, “Do you think you could marry him?” when I literally went on one date. Yes, that’s happened. While I desire marriage, it’s not desired enough for me to focus on this and make it my priority. Jesus is my focus, and my priority. I don’t need to be married to know He’s my God.
I don’t have children.
- I have an insane amount of children in my life. I plan on adopting some of my own one day, whether I get married or not. I tend to have rescue-fever, as opposed to baby-fever. I want to adopt a zoo of kids, and have since before I was even Christian. I intend on doing that still. Yet, you’d never know. Because you don’t ask me.
I don’t have a classic career.
- I have a job and I love it. I work with amazing, intelligent, and creative people. I work in retail, but it’s the best retail job I’ve ever had. I’ve worked the 9-5 office jobs. Not my thing. I actually have plans on living overseas for mission, and this job actually gives me opportunity to do that. Outside of work, I work with my best friends in a non-profit we all started. I have also been accomplishing a dream of mine, to direct a documentary. I started a production company – another dream I’ve had since I was a kid. It’s real. I have to file taxes. So, I grant you permission to release the pity you feel for me. And I recommend you replace the question, “So, are you dating anyone?” with “So what’s new with you?” instead.
I didn’t finish college.
- Why does it still matter that I don’t have a degree? I can name 5 people at the top of my head right now that didn’t, and are loving their life. I didn’t just not go to college because I’m lazy or something. Let’s pretend that I’m not ADHD and I actually am really good at learning things I don’t care about. Let’s pretend for a second. If you think just because you’re a minority, that you get a free pass into school, you are dead wrong. I didn’t. It’s expensive and I was never in a financial position to keep it up. I don’t care if you or your friend worked 3 jobs to pay for school – that’s a life I can confidently say I don’t regret missing out on. I commend and praise your non-ADHD brain, and your ability to put off all life and surround it with school. I really do. You’re awesome. But you’re not better than everyone who didn’t finish/go to college. (Also…you’re not smarter)
I don’t live alone, I have roommates.
- I’ve lived alone 3 times. And I loathe it. I don’t like coming home to an empty house. I currently am in the best living situation I’ve ever been in. I live with 2 dear friends who are married and with a child. They love Jesus, and they’ve taught me so much. A lot of growing has happened here, and I know I’ll never live alone again. “Having my own place” isn’t attractive to me anymore. Yes, I enjoy decorating my own place, hosting people, etc. But, I’d rather be around other humans. I get nights alone a lot of the time, and I house-sit so often that I do get time by myself.
I don’t own a house.
- I don’t own a house, and I’m okay with that. There are a lot of reasons I’m okay with that.
I’m still paying off my damn car.
- Yes, I’m still paying off my damn car. I’ve always made the minimum payments, and this is something I intend on changing ASAP. I hate car payments (any kind of payments besides rent). You’re permitted to feel pity, and permitted to think “yikes.” I think it all the time.
Physically, I am not in shape.
- Jesus said not to worry. So, when you look at my body, and think “If only she’d….,” remember that the Lord doesn’t need you to worry about my body. I’m sorry it’s a feeling of discomfort for you. I release you from concerning yourself with this. If my dietary habits, workout routines are more concern for you than my spiritual being, I pray you’d realize this is a huge idol. I’m tired of having more conversations with people about how gluten is bad for you than about how Jesus is good for you. Or how sin is bad for you. We are wasting our time, a lot of the time.
We need new eyes. The longer I live, especially as a single person, the more I’m reminded that we aren’t changing. We still look at each other in this un-biblical lens that says, “That’s great you love Jesus, but you need all these other things before I can love/respect you.” I pray that we’d wake up soon.
If you read these things, I pray you’d be encouraged. I pray that you’d know, even if I just did, you don’t need to explain yourself to anyone. Your life was meant to glorify God. If you’re not considering that one thing in everything you do – that’s what you should examine. God can fix that. That’s easy. But marriage, children, and the American Dream cannot fix that. I pray that upon reading this, you’ll ask your fellow brothers and sisters better questions. That you’ll recognize your own sin, and be determined to stop believing lies and stop projecting them on others.