I’m the slowest learner ever. Ever.
Because literally—down to the same exact Friends references!—I just started writing the 2017 variation of this post I wrote three and a half years ago.
In it, my younger self concluded:
I desire to live a big, adventurous, meaningful life and capture all of it’s beauty in words and pictures. Not for a magazine or a corporation. Not on the side while I pursue “real jobs.” But to live life full-time and write it all down in the hope of encouraging someone else along the way. My dream is now, and always has been, to live a life that honors the Lord and makes the most of who He created in me. And I know for sure – without an ounce of waffling! – that he created me to do that through writing. There are other dreams and desires in my heart for other parts of life, but as far as a career goes? That’s it.
I want to write about living a life worth living.
It’s like my younger self knew a thing or two…
The good news is that I wrote the above in a post draft and abandoned it four months ago. The even better news is that I had forgotten about all of it and sat down to write a similar post again today.
You said it, Michael. Except when it comes to this particular conversation, I’ve had about 80 million chances.
As we all know far too well, the subject of career/general life purpose has always been my own personal Groundhog Day. No matter how many times I arrive at approximately the same conclusion (“I love life! I want to write about it!”), I will inevitably forget and start from scratch again… probably within 24 hours.
I haven’t done that for awhile, though, because for the past several years my life has been full of so many good things, including my job. I was comfortable. (We’ll discuss this more another time because that very small sentence is a little bit terrifying.)
My life right now is still full of so many good things, but now, I’m asking questions again. Perhaps part of it comes with the surprising truth that I’m actually 31, which means I’m legitimately in my 30s now, which makes me feel like I’ve been sneak-attacked.
And because apparently published blog posts are my cure for amnesia, I remembered that I also wrote a post about turning 31 in which I arrived at this conclusion:
If I could put all of my hopes and dreams for 31 in a nutshell, I think it would be that one: to know instead of wonder.
It’s not a perfect analogy, because like anything, it can be applied in lots of different ways and some of those ways would probably create a conflict. But I think I’ll know when it applies in the way it’s intended, and I’ll use it then.
And when I think about a year full of knowing instead of wondering, it feels a whole lot like freedom.
It’s been a few months since writing that post, and there are a lot of things I’m wondering about now.
Who do I want to be in my 30s?
What kind of writing am I pursuing?
Am I avoiding making big life decisions until I get married?
Am I making excuses instead of decisions?
Do I want to live in Harrisburg for the foreseeable future?
Do I want to buy a house?
Do I want to build a house?
Will I ever learn how to make bread that doesn’t double as a hockey puck?
Why am I not trying new recipes?
Why am I not running anymore?
What happened to my formerly active lifestyle that currently resides in air quotes?
Am I making the most of everything I’ve been given?
Do I look and think and act like Jesus?
Am I missing the point entirely?
This is the cycle of thoughts that currently consumes most of my brain space.
And that’s the thing—it really is consuming. Wondering feels like constant evaluation, like not being able to fully enjoy the moment you are actually living in because half of your brain is tied up in knots made of question marks.
Wondering feels like the opposite of freedom.
And so maybe Independence Day is the perfect day to write these questions down, and others like them, all without concrete answers, and start working towards knowing.
And maybe you all can remind me we had this conversation when I forget it tomorrow.