Tomorrow I’ll be 31 years old. 31 sounds like a real, legit adult; someone who has their stuff together and has responsibilities and accomplishes things. But I’m unemployed, homeless, and sleeping in a camper in a different Walmart almost every night.
If I’d looked in a crystal ball five or ten years ago and saw that’s where I’d be on my 31st birthday I think I would have lost it. By now, I thought I’d have a successful career, two kids, and a nice house with a white picket fence. I also wanted to be making six figures and driving a Hummer or a Beemer by now (I actually don’t have a car of my own, and I’m making ZERO figures).
But it’s been my choice not to have those things right now. And it’s okay. Sometimes I start to stress about how far behind I am in life compared to everyone else my age and that my biological clock must be ticking. When I start to think about what I don’t have and what I haven’t accomplished by 31, I remind myself that I’m doing something I never expected to be doing – I’m seeing the world. Since my last birthday, I’ve visited 44 countries, a dozen U.S. states, and 4 Canadian provinces. I’ve jumped the highest bungee jump in the world and cheers’d at Oktoberfest. I’ve had countless face-to-face encounters with exotic animals in Africa. I’ve seen the ancient Egyptian pyramids, Victoria Falls and other World Wonders. I’ve met new friends from around the globe and learned more in a year about the places and people of the world than I did in all my years of former schooling.
We still have another year or so of this crazy adventure. I’m excited to see what 31 has in-store and where we’ll end up at the end. So maybe I don’t have what I wanted to have at this point in my life. I guess I have none of the things I wanted. But then again, maybe I have so much more than I’d ever dreamed. Because for the first time in my life, I’m living every day to its fullest and taking each moment and day for what they offer. God has taken care of all my needs and kept me safe and well-cared for on this journey. Maybe I’ll have that white picket fence one day. But for the time being, I’m enjoying the World and the Walmart parking lot. I guess the point of this somewhat cheesy “Birthday Reflection Blog” is to say that we shouldn’t be afraid to take detours in life. There are no blueprints or checklists with the years of our lives. Don’t let society tell you what you should be doing with your life. We should make the most of it and not be afraid to stop and enjoy it. As the decal on our Ford Expedition says, “Don’t get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.” Last year on my 30th birthday, the twins I nannied for told me that 30 is the new 20. So that makes me 21, and that’s exactly how I feel right now (thanks to my morning coffee). 🙂