I attended a wedding of two old friends, and it was strange–for other reasons than the few dozen stuffed animal squirrels hidden throughout the foyer.
I felt nothing but peace and joy for the couple, and it continued into the reception. People I’d known for years talked to my mom and me, asking her about teaching and me about graduation. I wasn’t aggravated by this repetition; instead, the excitement and encouragement they shared comforted me. Everything felt like it was finally settling. It felt right.
I ran into an old college friend of mine after tossing cups of birdseed at the departing couple, and we chatted for a bit. He had moved to Houston after graduating and was dating a neonatal nurse; I was finishing the last classes of my undergrad and dating a religion major. I looked at him and thought of my post-academia life, finding a job in my career, and possibly moving to Dallas in the spring, and I couldn’t help uttering,
“Don’t you feel so old?”
When I said this, I didn’t mean that I was growing grey hairs or developing wrinkles. I meant that for the first time in my life, I felt my age. I finally felt the culmination of my childhood and student life coming to a close, with adulthood looming before me. I was responsible for my own decisions. No one else could live my life for me. Here I was, with all the preparation I could muster, taking my first steps into the rest of my life. Was I ready? Well, I’d have to be.
For a long time, I was terrified of this moment. I thought I would never be ready, and I would perpetually have to live at home with everyone disappointed in me. I was afraid of being out on my own as an adult and of being alone in the vast, unforgiving world.
But the thing is, I’m not alone.
I have the support of my close friends going through the same changes. I have countless resources from writers all around the world. I have a significant other who won’t let me fail–or at least, not alone. And, best of all, whenever I trip and fall flat on my face, I have a God who will lift me up and dust me off every time. What more could I need?
Adulthood is testing the ground before I walk, listening to the advice of friends and family, but foremost, making my own choices. If I mess up, there is a way out. I don’t need to psych myself out; I only need to take safe steps forward.
So, the future isn’t as scary as it used to be. I think I’m ready for it. Ask me again next week.