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How Old?

A friend asked me how old I was.  Age is such a strange thought to this fan of time (and time travel).  I don’t like talking about it: ashamed to be so old, timid for being so young.  Strangers sound surprised to find out how old I am – or that I’m older than the rest of my brothers and sisters.  Yet when someone asks, I can’t think of a good reason to avoid answering, so I brave their shock and say that I am twenty-four. 

Two dozen years old and my life is mostly the same as when I was sixteen.  though I am not the same.  When years don’t go as expected, measuring progress is hard.  Some friends matching my years have several children.  Many are married.  A few have stacks of degrees, houses, favorite places to travel.  There’s all this comparison. 

In my wiser moments, I see through the silliness.  My change has been in my forge, not in escaping it.  Transition has happened.  In the old days girls my age were growing up by saying good-bye to parents, brothers, sisters.  God has given me a different challenge: to say good-bye to friends, learning better than ever to build up the family in which I was raised – am still being raised.  I don’t regret my choices, believing I have walked by faith.

“Maybe by the time I’m your age, I’ll be grown up.”  So I used to think, a starry-eyed child imagining life with a locker and football games and a car of your own.  High school was not nearly as packaged and complete as I thought.  So college must be the time, those golden-days of figuring life out, knowing always the right step to take and words to say.  I skipped college, but from what I observed, just after high school is the time to nostalgically cling to a life more laid-out than any of the wild options parading now: ah! the good old days when I was on top of the world as a high school senior.  Well then, college must just be an excuse to stay young; surely after college age, by the age of 22 or so, everyone must be moving along their life-course, certain of their calling, seizing their days.  No, not true either.  I’m not blaming those I observed, being equally lost and struggling to have contentment and faith in the midst of abandoned expectations. 

I’m learning not to do life as Lisa being a twenty-four-year-old, but as Lisa, who is twenty-four.  There is no role for me to play, no definition that excludes me from being grown up when I do one thing, or initiates me into the club if I do another.  Life is not without its direction.  Maybe this was the message all along, that our plan of progression through aging is built on the wrong priorities.  I serve a rather radical and creative God, author of stories.  There is a clear purpose to Lisa as she is today.  Lisa laughs, loves, and serves.  I get to learn, and lean into challenges.  Friends mean so much to me, and I try to pour myself into them.  I believe God is able to speak and wants to speak, so I listen for Him, taking His dares though they hurt and are hard. 

Even if I had the life my “older” friends have, I don’t think I’d have everything figured out like I wish I would.  Some situations would leave me wishing I had more experience and education.  Time yields adventure to hearts open to grow, and I don’t ever want to be satisfied with who I am, this mortal creature.  So there is balance, between accepting that who I am today is reality, so I don’t have to “act my age;” and pressing on for the goal of being like my good Lord Jesus. 

“Remember your Creator in the days when you are young.”

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

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