Wednesday, October 2, 2013

My Take on Being 26, Unmarried, and Childless

I don't share articles/stories/videos often, so when I do, it's saying something.  This article was circling on Facebook a few weeks ago and as soon as I read it I thought "This is great!" and shared it.  I also knew immediately that I wanted to post about it here on the blog.

I've read it a few time times since and realized that I don't feel the same way as the author about everything.  If I just posted the article and said, "This is great, you should read it!" people might be afraid that I'm having an identity crisis; which I'm not.

So, I'd love for you to first read the article 26, unmarried, and childless, and then come back here and read my takes on it.

Things I didn't relate to:

No one means anything by it, it’s just time for me to be heading in the same direction as my peers. It makes sense. I get it.

It took me some time to come to this realization, but I'm here now.  Just because all my peers are heading in one direction doesn't mean it's time for me to.  It makes so much sense to me now why my life has been going in a different direction all these years.

So when you...remind me that I’m far behind where one would expect to be at my age, it makes me feel broken. I feel like I’ve done something wrong. I feel like I’m letting you down or making some horrible mistake.

...but when people question my marital status, I think I’m messing up my chances to do anything worthwhile with my life.

Ok, maybe 5% of the time I feel like I've done something wrong, like I've missed the boat.  But 95% of time I don't agree with these statements.  I know I haven't made a mistake.  And I definitely don't think I'm messing up chances to do something worthwhile with my life, because I've been doing worthwhile things in my life.

Things I really related to:

Believe me, I am fully aware that I am unmarried and childless. Heck, I don’t even have a real job at this point in time. I’m aware that I’m getting older. I’m aware that I’m not following the same patterns as my parents or my brothers or many of my peers. I’m aware that my biological clock is ticking. OH MY GOSH I AM SO AWARE.

It was her all-caps last sentence that made me chuckle.  When I continue to be the third wheel, or fifth wheel, or receive yet another bridal or baby shower invite, how can I not be aware?

What if my aim was to love people well, and to fully embrace the gifts I’ve been given? Would that be enough? What if my life goal was to simply run the race, to be called a good and faithful servant at the end of it all? 

For those not in a relationship with Jesus, those who aren't running the race, I obviously can see how these things wouldn't matter.  But my fear is that even within the church, these things aren't enough anymore.  As a people whose purpose in life is to bring glory to God, and whose longing should be for a heavenly home, we're just as consumed with the white picket fence and 2.5 kids as the rest of the culture.

I would like to suggest one thing, though: instead of asking me what’s next, ask me what’s now. Ask me what God is teaching me, ask me what I’m struggling with, or what brings me joy. I am learning, I am growing, and I am happy. I would love to tell you all about it.
I am 26 years old. I don’t have a husband. I don’t have children. I don’t have a career. I don’t have what people expect I should have, but I am abundantly blessed with absurd, exhilarating, and fantastic things I would have never dreamed up on my own.
I resignate with everything she said here, and especially with the first sentence.  I've had many people ask me what I'm going to do when I get back from England and I'm just thinking, "I haven't even left yet, how in the world do you expect me to know what I'm going to do when I get back?  Just let me get there first!"  Why do we as a culture rush so much to what's next?  Why can't we live and enjoy where we are?  I also really liked the last line just because it's exactly how I feel!

So those are just my thoughts on an article that really struck me a few weeks ago and has since had over 1million views; take them for what they're worth.

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