Time has been funny this month. I can hardly believe it's almost Labor Day and yet it feels like months ago that I posted my three new things for August. It's both flying before my eyes and standing still at the same time.
As I approach the last few weeks of my 26th year, I can't help but reflect on how much has changed. And, as with every year in my post-college twenties so far, I find myself a little more relaxed in this crazy decade - a little more sure of who I am and what I believe.
While I still don't know a lot, today, this is what I'd tell someone beginning this crazy season of life:
1. Take care of your body. It's so important and you really, really only get one. Build it to last. What you put into it is what it will produce. With food, with conversation, with relationships, with what you read. Give your body good things if you want it to give you good things in return. And listen to what it is telling you. That pain? The fact you can't sleep? The irritable bowels? They mean something.
2. Don't look around and compare. We have a tendency in our twenties to do this more than ever and it's so exhausting. What I've learned is that someone is always going to have more than me and it is so easy to be in a cycle of want. But you know what else? I will always have what someone else wants. I don't believe that life is inherently unfair, but I do believe it is uneven. Because we are not all the same and we have different needs. Trust that your needs will be fulfilled at the right time.
3. Let go of the wrong relationships. It pains me to see people I love date guys that aren't right for them. It terrifies me to see them inch toward marriage. Don't hold on to those relationships because you're afraid of starting over. Starting over is OK. In fact, as hard as it is, I am so grateful for all of the times I've done it. I've learned so much each time and I wouldn't trade the knowledge, freedom or peace I gained from the ends of those relationships for anything. There have been a few times when I've thought I was dating my husband and it hurt to find out he wasn't it, but I'm so grateful for the way that pain has helped me grow.
4. Hold on to the right relationships. The friendships. Your family. The right guy. Pursue the good relationships and make them a priority. They mean something; they will carry you.
5. Budget. I wish I'd learned it sooner. I wish I did it better. Money isn't everything (at all!), but it's good to be smart.
6. Believe in things. Care about things. Research causes. Pursue them. Make a difference. Passion is so attractive and learning about new things or growing our understanding of current interests makes us smarter and more interesting.
7. But don't be mad when other people don't care about the same things. I really, really care about Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. I love giving my time to it. But it's OK that some of my friends don't. In fact, it would be a little crowded if we all cared about the same things. It's good to spread the love.
8. Sort through your issues. I firmly believe that after the age of 25, things start to stick a little bit. Negative comments, bad breakups, family issues - they're really real. We've lived long enough to know the depth of pain we can feel, and it's OK. Don't be afraid to admit it when you need help sorting through your gunk. Reach out to friends; read books; talk to a therapist. Do whatever you need to do make yourself feel better.
9. Relax. Everything is going to be OK. Really. You will get a job. You will meet your husband. You will make valuable post-college friendships. You will begin to understand this crazy season of life. You will. I promise. Rest in the knowledge that God's timing is everything. He has a plan for you. He didn't create you to simply forget about you - there is a plan in place. A really, really beautiful plan.
10. Remember that we're all in this together. Do good. Give to the world. Be a good listener. Help whenever you can. We're all one body and, as far as I've learned, the best way to feel good is to do good.
I know that I have a lot, lot, lot more to learn. But for now, that's what I know. And that, my friends, is Wednesday.