My roommate, Melissa, and I joke a lot that nobody warns you that being in your 20s can be really hard. A few weeks back, our friend Stacie half jokingly said: nobody tells you that when you get your nine to five, everyone will be mad if you don't actually get there until nine and leave at five.
And, even though we laughed, there's some truth to it. No one can explain to you just how much your life will change, because life looks so different for everyone. Some people ease into the change with grad school, while others jump right in with marriage and babies and a job. And most of us are in between - half balancing adulthood and half not quite there.
I know that what I'm about to say sounds dramatic, but sometimes the 20s reminds me of A Tale of Two Cities:
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us...
Sometimes, it feels like I'm learning so much (becoming wise?) and other times I feel so foolish. Some days, I feel like it's a season of light and excitement and energy and change and passion and other times, it feels darker - like I can't quite see what's in front of me; like I'd kill for a flashlight and some foresight.
But, I maintain my belief that I wouldn't skip it if I could - that this time is beautiful in its own right.
Something I've been wrestling with a lot lately is how to maintain relationships in a changing landscape. I was talking with friends a few weeks back about the way getting into a serious relationship can change friendships. One friend said: It's sad, isn't it? That things will never be the same once someone starts dating their husband. And our other friend countered: But is it? Isn't that the way it's supposed to be? That your husband becomes your best friend? Isn't that what is supposed to happen?
And it's not just dating someone. It's the fact that some of us move across the country to pursue a dream, or start grad school and make a whole new group of friends, or get a job that requires international travel. We take on things that change our lives, and therefore, change the amount of time and energy we can pour into relationships.
No one is doing anything wrong, but I've found that there can be some casualties. Some friendships that don't make it, some feelings that are hurt, some emotions running high.
But how do you avoid it? Is it even possible?
I was talking with my friends in Chicago this weekend and told them that it reminds me of in high school, when my mom stopped making my lunch. She'd always made my lunch in elementary and middle school - even writing me a love note on my napkin. But then I got to high school and she suggested hat it was time I start making my own lunches.
I was baffled. Me? Prepare my own food?
It wasn't wrong of her to suggest I make my own lunch at all, but, it was an adjustment for me. I needed to find my new normal.
And that's what this season of life is about. Finding our new normals. Over and over again because, oftentimes, once we find normal, things change again. But that's what makes it beautiful - it's a matter of balancing life with a mix of effort and grace. It's about creating our own stability and learning what it is we need. It's about believing that this season of life is the spring of hope, because we really do have everything before us.