I had a quick chat with a perfect stranger today. She is 20 years my junior and has the great privilege of sharing my birthday month 😌. Though we didn’t talk long, the conversation was still significant. I told her not to rush turning 18, even though I felt really old saying it. “Once you’re grown, you’re grown,” I advised, in my now late 30-somethings’ voice. She laughed and nodded, then said, “I just hope it’s not as horrible as everyone says it is.”
Hmmm…interesting. I interpreted her to mean that “growing up” was horrible. That “being an adult” was horrible. Speedily, memories raced in my mind of my own experience, and in the little time we had to chat at the Walgreens register, I shared, “I definitely don’t think it’s horrible, but there is responsibility. You will, however, have opportunities that you wouldn’t as a kid, and hopefully you’ll grow and mature.
We went our separate ways shortly after; me, to my 2017 Ford Escape, her to her register as a cashier at Walgreens. Still, her statement lingered with me. I reflected back on the last 20 years, which were far from horrible. I felt that most of my greatest experiences were actually happening now, in my 30s. I realized that, though life has been far from easy, the experiences and opportunities I’ve had are probably very unique from many outside of my community, and academic acquaintances.
Even during the pandemic, I went whitewater rafting with the guy I was dating, spent Thanksgiving cooking a full course meal for him and another loved one, decorated my home and Xmas tree with the same guests, in addition to my new kitten, and even last month, hosted my dear friend of 18 years, along with her lovely family. For a single living alone, it’s been pretty action-packed, (even if there were ample lonely nights and grief stricken days woven in between the action.) And, let’s not forget I have written over 900 pages within the last year! Yes, life has not been stagnant, even if it hasn’t been what I imagined.
So, what would I tell my 18-year-old self who was engaged to a man she thought was the man of her dreams, but who ended up being just short of a nightmare? Well, probably that things do get better. God has a way of answering prayers in His own way. Life will be filled with people, and love, and really good experiences. There will be more heartbreak, more pain, more laying down of her desires, but she would grow, and evolve into a classy, sweet, compassionate individual who somehow, someway, was still walking with Him. And really, He was still walking with her.
I would tell her that she was still his.
No matter what.