January 15, 2019

The cycles of dryers and time


Well, I’ve hit a milestone.

No, I’m not getting married, or having a kid, or any of that normal stuff. I haven’t hit the big 3-0 — I’m close enough and don’t really want to think of that right now.

It’s way more interesting than that. I’m now the owner of a brand-new dryer!
That’s right. It spins, and heats up, and dries…! OK, so maybe it’s not that interesting to any outsiders, but to me it’s pretty cool. I’m now the proud owner of not one, but three major appliances, and I feel this should mark some rite of passage into a certain stage of adulthood.

I feel like mile markers for adulthood are harder to define for an unmarried person who only has a cat (/cats), though it probably shouldn’t be this way.
What kind of things make you realize you’re “growing up”?

Is it when you look in the mirror and notice the teeniest, tiniest lines? (Forget it, you can’t see them, so don’t stare at me.) Is it when you’ve finally triumphed in the battle against acne? (If so, I’ll stay a teenager all my life. All those lines about it going away after your teenage years — lies, lies!)

For me, maybe it’s finally starting to get fewer comments about looking like I’m 12. I always took these in good humor, so it doesn’t really bother me either way.

Maybe it’s also finding the limits of what you can handle tested in new ways you didn’t think you’d have to go through.

But I think a lot of it is watching the other people around you. Plucking a gray hair from my boyfriend and hoping I take it in good humor when he does the same to me. Or the sudden realization that the next kids coming into my Sunday school class were born the year I started teaching. And more of the first kids I taught are now graduating — congrats, Julia, Dani and Micaiah!

Time is weird. Often I feel like I’m going full-speed ahead, but staying in one place. Sometimes your mind doesn’t fully comprehend drastic changes taking place until they’re a few years in the past. You don’t always realize the “last times” or sometimes the firsts.

This is actually one good thing about your late 20s, or any age beyond. You’re at a place where you can finally see a few glimpses of the “big picture” for past years of your life — the perfect timing of it all, God’s hand in it, that you couldn’t have possibly seen while it was happening.

Ten years into life after graduation, I’m going to attempt to leave a few words of advice to all our latest graduates:

Experience isn’t everything. You don’t have to try everything out. It’s way easier to learn from others’ mistakes than your own. Don’t let anyone put you down for this — they’re just jealous they weren’t smart enough to think of that.

Don’t worry about trying to be old, and later trying to be young. Work with what you are.

Realize you have your own timeline, and your own future. Things like where you live, if or when you go to college, get married and/or have kids, whether you have appliances — they only matter if that’s where you’re supposed to be at that time in your own life. You may have some unique mile markers nobody else has.

Look before you leap. Spontaneity can be fun, but some things require a little more thought.

And keep your sense of humor. You’ll need it.

Whatever happens to you in life, I think “growing up” can basically be summed up as a constant state of maturing and learning in mind and heart. You never do “arrive,” in this life anyway. If you’re not in that state, you’ve stopped growing — and where’s the fun in that?


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