I have an apathetic view towards my birthday until the week before. All of a sudden, it consumes my mind — not for the sake of celebration but for that of reflection. What New Years is for most people, my birthday is for me.
Time is weird. People always tell you it speeds up as you get older (which is unhelpful for a six-year-old who just wants to go to the beach now instead of tomorrow), and my experience only confirms the obvious. So much has happened in the past 12 months. Just to name a few:
- I finished my second year of teaching some of the best kids in the world
- I quit my job and moved back home
- I planned and prepared for two weddings with a community of wonderful people
- I moved continents
- I hosted family and friends in a just-moved-into-home with my just-became-husband
- I started a completely new career
- Husband and I visited Capetown
- We got a puppy
Kind of a lot. I remember being nervous or stressed about each of these — and now they’re a blur of wonderful memories and character-carving lessons. It’s been a great year. My mind automatically reaches forward, to the plans being laid for both the near and far-flung future. But in this week of transition, from one year to the next, I force myself to pause.
It’s weird no longer being surprisingly young. I’m still young, but my age no longer causes people to doubt me. When I was running international service projects at 19 — that was a time people called me Mrs. over email because they assumed I was at least mid-30s, had a husband and probably a few kids. The way I used to ask people nearing 30 for life advice, relationship advice, Jesus advice…people are now asking me those questions.
Still, I’m enjoying my late 20s. A lot less self-conscious. I have a growing understanding of what works well for me and what doesn’t. I feel myself growing in wisdom while simultaneously more aware of all that I have no idea about. Kindness is a lot more valuable than accomplishment. Investing in eternal things, far more meaningful than gadgets or vacations. These are things I’ve been told, but I’m starting to feel the truthfulness instead of just know it.
I’ve learned a lot about God’s grace, salvation, freedom, and peace in this past year. I can’t ever remember feeling more comfortable in Christ than I do at this moment. It’s largely due to conversations with loved ones, books read, prayers prayed. My anxiety and depression has never been this low for so long either. I can’t remember the last time I’ve had a panic attack. I still get overwhelmed when I don’t get enough rest or avoid exercise or meaningful prayer for too long, but it feels more like a reminder to return to healthy habits rather than a sensation of drowning.
I love being married. It has somehow exceeded even my whimsical expectations. David and I joke that we’re best friends with many, many benefits. That’s how it feels. Living with my favorite person in the whole world, making decisions, discussing our goals and fears and plans as we take Everest for a walk around the block every evening at 5:30. Him ordering me sushi even though I said I didn’t want any because he knew I’d want some as soon as I saw his (he was right!). Thanking each other for doing chores, for lending our time to the project goals of the other — him reading my articles, me recording podcasts with him. Even the worst moments are overshadowed by the joy.
I’m finally feeling settled in my new career choice. I’m still learning, still a solid half year away from getting any kind of paid work, but I finally don’t feel like a fraud with my new tagline: “I’m Callie, and I’m studying software engineering.” I love it only more, obsessively so. I get twinges of nerves at the idea of interviewing; but I take the same position as I always have: I’ll do my absolute best, and if Jesus wants me there, I’ll be there. I love when loved ones ask me how it’s going, even though details of my current learning of Network Applications would probably bore them. The question is still kind and encouraging. Every waking moment, it’s all I want to work on, focus on, and learn. Thankful for a career trajectory that is such a joy.
There’s more — my health journey, exercising more consistently and eating better; plans for next year; the podcast coming up; my returned love for reading. I wonder how many pages of journalling it will all take up. I choose to take this time to reflect, to be grateful, and to let these lessons run deep.
I’m thankful for this life. I’m deliriously blessed and fortunate. Thank You for this life, kind Lord. And thank you for sharing it with me, dear reader.