A little while back, I was asked to show my hands to a sweet, but rather inquisitive man at work. When he looked them over, wrinkled from sanitation water and stained from someone’s cottage cheese and apple butter, he said, “You’re not married.” I couldn’t tell if he was asking or exclaiming, but regardless I replied with, “No, sir!” He looked me over and asked, “No kids either?” to which I replied again, “No, sir,” but this time added, “I’m nineteen.”
He continued to stare until a big goofy grin crept across his face and he replied, “So? What does it matter how old you are? You could be married at nineteen. You could be a lot of things at nineteen.”
Later, during the same evening, a gentleman and his wife grilled me with questions about my life outside of work: Do you go to school? Is that a far drive? What are you going for?
After waiting tables for some time, I’ve gotten used to these questions. Actually, I have it down. “I commute to Lock Haven; it’s not a bad drive but it can be tiring after a long day, and well, I wanted to be a PA but now I’m majoring in English; no, I don’t want to teach, and no, I have no idea what I’m going to do for the rest of my life.”
Conversations don’t always go quite like that, but you get the idea. Sometimes I’ll get the, “Oh wow, that’s a big switch!” response, and other times they’ll smile and warmly say, “I wish you the best of luck.” This time though, the gentleman said, “So? You’re young. That’s okay if you don’t have it figured out yet. Ya got time.”
I smiled back, filled his glass and replied, “Absolutely.”
Loads of pressure is placed on young adults today. If you don’t have your life figured out, well, how typical of you, you irresponsible, underage-drinking, college goober.
I’ve been mentally and emotionally beating myself up a lot these days. I’ve lost many “friendships” and cut many more ties with a lot of people who once meant something to me.
I changed my major and went from having a cookie-cutter image of my future to accepting the (usually) sad looks people give when I can admit that I’m an English major with a concentration in writing, yet I still have absolutely zero idea of where I’ll be in two years after I take off my silly black cap and gown.
I am not financially set to move out and start living on my own, and I cringe at having to man up and pay $60 for a synthetic-oil change when I equally cringe at spending $.90 for a donut. All the stress and anxiety that’s caused me to do nothing but break out has left me with one important realization: I am growing, and that’s okay.
Life is a game of trial and error. In the end, whenever that may be, my trials and errors will form a picture far more beautiful than I could have ever imagined at 9 and 19. Here I am, with just as much potential as anyone else, concerned about my future because I don’t have the answers. If only I knew what God has planned.
The man in the dish room and the man making friendly dinner conversation opened my eyes to something I already know, but often forget: I have all the time in the world to get it together and I can do or be whatever it is that will fulfill my soul, speak to my heart and enrich my mind.
Some day, my relationships, both casual and intimate, career, finances and everything else under the sun, will somehow intertwine with each other when I least expect it. God will look down on me laughing and think, “That silly girl. She should’ve let me take control sooner.”
Until then, I choose to let go and let God while I embrace my beautifully chaotic life, one day at a time.