For the better part of this past year I struggled with the number I knew my next birthday would reach. I realized I had this concept of “success” ingrained in my brain that looked very different from what my life looks like right now. Success is getting married and being able to take care of a pet, or having multiple children running around your legs, and living in a house and staying at the same job for 10 years (and then 20 years and then 30 years). The majority of my childhood and college friends got married before turning 23. Because success is getting married right? I remember as a teenager growing up in church noticing the “older” females around me turning 29 or 30, still single, and I felt sorry for them. I even remember thinking, I hope that’s not me.
And now, it is me. In fact, if my before mentioned definition of success is the only kind of success there is, my life has been as unsuccessful as it could possible be.
Now this is the point in the blog post where I turn that all back on it’s head and explain how I am successful, and there isn’t only one definition of success. And I will explain, only let me take one more minute. I loved growing up in the countryside in the midwest of the USA where the culture naturally lends to everyone getting married young. I encouraged and stood by every friend making their life-long promises and I am happy for them. My life just turned out differently, and that isn’t better or worse— it’s just different.
I have had family and friends feel sorry for me over the years, just as I felt sorry for those woman at church as a younger girl. I had a friend explain to me once that she is the happiest when she is in a relationship and so naturally, she assumes that I must not be as happy as I could be, if I am happy at all.
I was able to tell her the truth immediately. I am happy. I love my life. I am constantly surrounded by people who love me and edify me in my faith and I have the absolute best job. Like ever.
That is not to say that I don’t want to be married. I do! I also want to travel to every continent, but I don’t cry myself to sleep because I haven’t been to South America, Australia, or Antarctica. I also want to move to the Philippines and bring education to the remote villages, but before I get there I am doing life in South Korea and I am not miserable. I don’t want to sit around waiting, I want to be doing.
Last year a friend of mine wrote a blog post titled: “30 Things I did before I turned 30”
It inspired me to make my own list and to remind myself of what a blessed (there is my Christianese coming out, but really it’s the best word to describe my past 30 years) life I have lived, not waiting around— but doing.
So, tomorrow (on my 30th birthday! eek!) I will share my list of 30 things I did before turning 30. And let me tell you, I feel pretty successful.
Don’t wait. Do.