Thoughts on Life at 23

You know that feeling when you haven't seen someone (a friend, a significant other, etc.) in a long time and you finally reunite? The butterflies, the surge of nervous energy, the anticipation? When I finally sat down to write something for my little abandoned corner of the internet that's the feeling that came over me. I'm honestly a little nervous about this for some reason. I find it kind of strange that I spent the past few years writing and sharing things here on a consistent basis. (Sidenote: this is going to be more than a little ramble-y, you've been warned).

It's been 3 months since I last wrote a post here. A lot has happened since then- working, traveling to Atlanta/ North Carolina/Clemson/my hometown/St. Louis, going to concerts (James Taylor + Ed Sheeran <3), attending a Braves game, an art show, two weddings, hip hop dance classes, playing in a glow in the dark Bocce Ball league (lol), hanging out with friends new and old. I find myself itching for a change, but not knowing what that change should/could be. Part of me wonders if it's the fact that my brain is sill programmed to work in 9 month increments at a time since that's the way my life was structured from ages 6 to 22. Or it could be that I'm ready for something different because that's the stage of life I'm in. I could choose to really put down roots or I could shift directions completely and go somewhere/do something brand new.

The scary (somewhat annoying) thing about shifting into life as an "adult" (whatever that means) is that there's no right answer or pre-determined path to take. I'm halfway through my 23rd year and I almost feel like I'm unlearning everything I knew to be "true" for the first half of my life and relearning how to exist in the world every day. Growing up has been a cycle of breaking down and re-forming my core ideas, views on the world, and way I live my life. Everything used to seem so black and white, but things are increasingly blurry and confusing as the days pass.

I read an article from Elite Daily dissecting why being 23 feels so weird that said "Science shows that your brain is on the tail-end of its mental peak, taken differently, it's at the beginning of mental decline. Your prefrontal cortex, the part that controls emotional responses, is at its height of formation -- making us crazy with feelings. The rest of your brain, however, is retaining information it thinks it'll use and clearing out the rest." I can definitely relate- my brain/emotions feels spazzy and shifty a lot of the time.

I'm happy knowing I'm not the only one going through this. My friends and I constantly talk about how this stage of life is so weird/unsettling 85% of the time. With the shiny highlight-reel that is social media constantly playing out snippets of "perfect" lives in front of our faces 24/7, our instincts tell us to join the masses and act like we're totally killing it- that we have gorgeous apartments, happy relationships, passion-filled careers, busy social lives, etc. But when we're really honest with each other we admit that everything isn't great all the time. It's so refreshing to read an article or Instagram post that admits life isn't all avocado toast and fun vacations- sometimes it's hard and dark and twisty and makes zero sense.

Sometimes I'm not sure that I'll ever feel settled, satisfied, or "adult". I laugh at my 18 year old self who thought mid-twenties Lanie would be "grown up" and have it all together. But you know what? I'm realizing more and more that it's okay that I don't. I've been learning (the hard way) to give myself, and others, grace. Grace to be young and to not have it all together. Grace to change and shift and grow every day. Grace to screw up and make the wrong choices. Grace to actually sit with sad, confused, or contemplative feelings instead of pushing them away. Grace to know that life is a marathon, not a sprint, and that I don't have to constantly strive for some unattainable cultural expectation of adulthood - I can just live. Why? Because Jesus. He's already done the work. We're loved and saved and safe in Him without having to do anything other than trust Him and profess Him as our Lord. *Cue the world's biggest relieved exhale* - I truly couldn't do life without my relationship with Him. I'm realizing more and more that my neediness in this stage of life is probably there to teach me to trust in and rely on Him rather than my own "strength" or "life plan". And even though it's harder than those stretches of life where I've felt strong and in control I wouldn't change it, because I'm closer to Him now than ever before. I'm getting first hand experience that when we are weak, He is strong. And that's sweeter than anything I could imagine.

I'm type-A. I like working towards a goal, I like a list, I like checking things off and hitting milestones in a certain timetable. Letting go, holding my plans loosely, and trusting that His path for me is better than anything I cold possibly dream up is hard, but it's so worth it. I'm learning that more and more each day. Growing pains aren't easy, but life isn't supposed to be easy. It's supposed to be a journey that leads us closed to Him. Praise God for that. If this season of life is leading me to Him then I accept all the changes and weirdness with open arms. I don't/won't understand everything, but I'm not supposed to and, best of all, I'm not expected to. I'm so thankful that my worth isn't pinned on what I do, but what He has already done for me.

So, that's a small peek at where I'm at and where I've been. I truly want to start writing here on a consistent basis. Sharing my thoughts through writing is so important to my heart and soul. Other than dancing, it's my favorite way to find release- it makes me feel like me. My hope is to start posting at least once a week - so stay tuned. xoxo

-Lanie W.