This whole “growing up” thing is nothing like I had imagined as a kid. Most of the problems lie with the illusion that I was a princess, and thus my life would turn out great. Obviously, when I found out I was closer to a pauper than a princess, I was sorely disappointed.
My young self imagined that I would go to high school, because at that age, high school seemed like the biggest deal in the world. There, I would meet my high school sweetheart, also known as the captain of the football team, because that’s what happened in the movies. And of course, he would love me above all the other girls and would marry me at 18. We would live happily ever after, after, of course, traveling the world and making millions of dollars. Fast forward 17 years later, and I am 24, not married, nor close to it, struggling to stand up on my own two feet, and fighting the urge to be in a constant state of frustration with my anti-nomadic lifestyle.
My realization that my life isn’t what I had hoped it would be came very shortly after I graduated college. Before going to school, I was content with my life because it was limited to what I could see around me. I hadn’t traveled abroad to Spain yet, my education was limited and I haven’t had any important relationships. All I knew was my family, Colorado, high school friends and that’s really about it. My goals in high school included me going to medical school, settling down and getting married, and never really leaving Colorado. However, my freshman year at CU, I lived in the same dorm as a ton of international students, and saw a different desire start to unfold within me. I had the potential to go see the world and study abroad, and it excited me like nothing had ever excited me before. I had wanted to go to medical school, but that was mostly because my mom told me that’s what a good daughter should do, and same with the marriage and the settling down thing.
My sophomore year of school, mostly thanks to my constant begging and my mother’s final approval, I studied abroad in Alicante, Spain. This opened the world for me. I had tasted the apple, and it became my demise. I met like-minded people, experienced art and culture in a whole new way, and was allowed to socialize to my heart’s content. I literally had nobody holding me back. Europe was such a growing experience and I learned so much about myself. Especially how I was meant to do great things and travel the world.
Unfortunately, that was short lived. I came back to Colorado, after 6 wonderful months – confused and depressed. I had contemplated just not coming back, and figuring out how to permanently live in Spain, but I knew I could not do that to my family, not to mention my education. It may have been the biggest mistake of my life – not to follow my heart. Because what awaited me here was 3 more years of brutal schoolwork, my sanity spiraling downwards, and the free-bird inside me struggling to stay alive.
Now that I am done with college, I stand a little baffled with my life. I thought my university education would open so many doors for me, but in a world that is over-saturated with college degrees, I am nothing but yet another application. No travel, no dream job. Am I doomed to live a life in the suburbs of Colorado, living with my parents and aspiring to nothing more?
That, my friends, is a trap that is really easy to fall into. A trap, that I have been in so many times before. However, at church this weekend, our pastor was discussing a topic that pertains exactly to this sentiment. This isn’t a condition of my life being a total failure. It’s a testament to the state of my heart. My heart is not content with me. It wants great things from me, but I wrongly interpret what it means to have “great things”. I want a lucrative career, exotic adventures, and a plethora of gorgeous men just fighting over me to take me home as a wife. But what I NEED to focus on is my relationship with Christ, my health, and finding joy in what is already around me. Instead of wanting to run away to the furthest parts of the earth, God has me here, in this moment, to love on my ailing grandmother. Instead of having a lucrative career, I am supposed to be learning the most important trait of all: humility. And instead of being married, I should be learning how to be content with my singleness, and how to develop myself as a woman. The condition my life and heart is in right now would doom a marriage anyway. If I can’t be content with my circumstances in this moment, I will never learn how to be content with an imperfect husband.
So this is me starting over. I am free. I have no hindrances, no baggage. Just a broad horizon in front of me, so I can learn what it means to live a life I’m proud of, and what it means to grow up.