When I was an uncomfortable, awkward teenager, I used to wish that I could sort of konk out until all the big unknowns of my life were known: what I would be doing, with whom I would be spending my time, who I would be…
At the time, I imagined it would all be shored up by the time I was 40. Yeah.
Wednesday is my 39th birthday, kicking off my 40th trip around the sun. I guess I don’t have to tell you that though there’s all sorts of great stuff going on in my life these days, my teenage self would have been mighty disappointed to wake up in this person who has few (if any) solid answers and an ever-increasing pile of questions.
What my teenage self couldn’t have anticipated, though, was the comfort I would come to find in uncertainty, even an excitement, a sense of possibility. My teenage self couldn’t have wrapped her head around the idea that what is compelling about this life, for me at least, is the process of exploring, discovering, learning; that certainty is no longer a comfort for me but a red flag suggesting that I’ve gotten too narrow in my perspective of what is and could be.
When my paternal grandmother passed back in 2002, she wasn’t ready to go. At the time, I thought it was tragic, the idea of her struggling against that greatest of transitions. Now, what strikes me as vastly more tragic is finishing the work of becoming before that final breath.
What else would be compelling enough to fill these precious, complex days than to continue to discover ourselves and the potential of our lives?