Work Hard and Be Nice to People

It’s been six months since I laid out plans for my twenty-third year. 182 days have brought me closer to a place of peace than I thought possible when I discussed waking up early, learning to cook and indulging in as much trashy television as my heart desired.

In this almost-but-not-yet space between 23 and 24, I am finding rest in my own skin. I am learning to be both silly and scholarly, Midwestern and Northeastern. Put more concretely, I am finding the me that was lost in transition last year.

In the Old Testament, God gives the Israelites rest after periods of conquest. Judges were sent to free the people from oppression, and with obedience and faith came a return to the comforts of everyday life. The Judges were rewarded for outlasting what had unsettled them, for overcoming what had made them question their purpose as God’s people.

While I do not deserve the grandiose descriptors of an Old Testament judge, I feel similarly gifted with a sense of calm after months of unrest. Though I have no fewer questions and only a few more answers, uncertainty has ceased to seem like a threat in the face of all the many reasons I have to be thankful.

Several times in the course of creating entries for this blog, I have highlighted my overwhelming desire to be successful, to be someone that others would point to and say, “Geez. She really seems to have it figured out.” It’s a redirection of that self-absorbed energy that I celebrate most about these past six months. What once was an all-consuming need to be known best for my accomplishments has become a newfound inner quietness, an attitude adjustment that was 23.5 years in arriving.

Instead of anxiously eyeing the world around me, certain that it’s ready to tear me down from an unearned pedestal, I look with a renewed and more grateful gaze at all that I have been given to enjoy, not to defend. I’ve learned not to seek compliments about performance or success, but to listen for observations like, “Wow. That is one exceptionally nice human being.”

Mostly I am proud of the way I’ve come to sing the song of myself, and to celebrate the idiosyncrasies that mark my own place in the world.

And so I’ve got six more months to work with, but it’s with a hopeful heart that I heads towards my twenty-fourth year.

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