I’m thirty (not for much longer, actually). I’m not really flirty (read; no idea how-to-basic-flirt, don’t know who I would flirt with, I’m pretty awkward around men/in general…and what even is flirting?). And thriving? Well, it depends…how do you define thriving?
‘30 things you should accomplish before you’re 30…’
I just went and did a good old-fashioned Google search for things a 30-year-old should have accomplished in their lifetime. What a silly thing to Google, right?
As I hit the Enter key, I vaguely hoped nobody had the audacity to actually lay out where I should be at in life. But what do you know, the search page promptly presented me with a bus load of blog posts and articles on 30 things one should accomplish by the time you’re 30.
Well goodness me, whatever have I been doing with my life all these years?! IT’S ALL BEEN A WASTE!
Now sure, some of these articles held some palatable wisdom. But most of them were…how can I say this nicely…rubbish. Even one of the better articles had a tagline reading, . Wow! Who knew successful adulthood was as easy as 1,2,3?!
The road less travelled
My life choices have taken me down quite a winding and wandering path. It’s been rather unpredictable. Not only do others never quite know what I’ll do next – neither do I most of the time!
There’s never been any consistency or upward trajectory in terms of career or savings. It’s been listening to God’s leading, taking big risks, learning who I am, following my heart and investing in relationships. It’s been beautiful and wild and terrifying, and sometimes really lonely.
When I look around and see everyone with their houses and careers and families, it’s easy to feel like I’m all alone on my path, and tempting to want to hop on over to theirs. Yet still, the draw into the unknown remains strong.
I recently made a very intentional decision to pursue things which bring me joy and are in line with my natural giftings. So far this has resulted in registering 3 business names, doing a short floristry course, enrolling in a business course and starting an internship.
While beginning these new ventures has certainly added joy and fulfilment to my life, and my creativity is doing a happy dance, my finances have taken a spin around the metaphorical plug-hole. I think I can even hear that awful sucking sound as they disappear into oblivion.
Although I chuckle as I write, most days it doesn’t feel very fun. Many days I question the meaning of life. Send despairing text messages to a trusted friend. Lie on the floor. Cry. Sob. Complain. Ask, ‘Whyyy God?’. Lose sleep trying to come up with solutions. Feel like a mega failure.
Try my hardest to be thankful for my beaten-up old car but really just cringe with embarrassment when it painfully chugs up a hill, unsure whether it has the strength or will to carry its faithful driver to the top, dreaming of having a nice car one day that doesn’t leak water onto my feet when it rains.
That ‘ol imaginary timeline
It’s not just the lack of finances that’s uncomfortable. I think an almost greater battle I face comes from holding myself to an imaginary timeline and beating myself up for missing every milestone.
House? Nope, still living with my parents. Boyfriend/husband/children? Nope, just a collection of heart-breaking/maddening/frustrating/comically tragic relationship/dating stories. Money in the bank? Ha. Career? Double ha ha!
Whenever I do the imaginary timeline checklist game, it opens the door for insecurity to barge on in. Whenever I look around and see what everyone else is up to, in comparison with my own life, I question the direction I’m going in and the choices I’m making. Shame tells me I’m not doing enough, and that everybody knows it.
But when I stop, when I quiet my heart and mind, when I dig beneath the anxiety of working hard but living week-to-week not quite sure if money will stretch, I know…
I’m where I’m meant to be.
There’s no timeline I need to stick to. Society might expect certain things from me, but thankfully I’m not bound to people’s expectations.
I get to go on an adventure with God. I get to listen to and be guided by his voice, knowing he’ll lead me in his perfect way, in his perfect time. Knowing where he’s taking me is a tailor-made adventure full of purpose and destiny that only I can fulfil.
Through this wilderness, where it seems I could run out of provision at any moment, I’m learning to fully trust, to fully rely on God to sustain me. I have no other choice. I guess that’s why God so often seems to have us in such uncomfortable places…to teach us trust!
By society’s standards I don’t think anyone would say I’m thriving. Especially given my fairly regular and honest outbursts on how I’m REALLY doing.
But as a daughter of God? I reckon he thinks I’m doing okay. I think he’d say he’s proud of me.
So, I lean into Him. I lean into trust. I lean into the path God has me on, knowing he’ll get me where he wants me, knowing if I fail He’s still with me, knowing that as long as He’s close, I’ll thrive.
Bonnie loves travelling to experience and understand new cultures, beautiful things (especially flowers), coffee with friends and being with her family. She deeply values authenticity and is passionate about building meaningful community where people feel a sense of belonging and genuine love. Bonnie Dowie’s previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/bonnie-dowie.html