I’m 30-something and single. Since most people my age (at least below the Mason-Dixon) are coupled up and procreating by their 30’s, my life looks more like the 20-somethings around me. I spend the majority of my social time with fantastic people, whose company I enjoy immensely, but who are walking a road I traversed a few years ago. As I listen to them work out the issues concerning their generation, I think back on myself at that age. I wish I could take my younger self out for a latte and impart the knowledge bestowed on me by time, experience, and a few mistakes.
As I careen towards my 36th birthday, I offer a list of 25 things I want my 25-year-old girls to know. Ladies, grab a latte and read on.
- Your credit score: Know it. Care about it. You may want to move out of your parents’ house at some point, and you’ll need good credit to get your own place. Don’t wait until you need a good score to care about it.
- Be on time. It’s the first way you express respect and care for the person you’re meeting.
- Have the courage to go to the dark places where the deep wounds happened. Take the Lord there and let Him speak over your heart. The longer you avoid facing them, the longer you live from the pain and lies that were planted, instead of a place of love and freedom He has for you. You survived the event that caused the pain, you’ll survive the memory. YOU ARE BRAVE ENOUGH. Along those lines…sometimes the strongest thing you can do is allow yourself to completely fall apart.
- Dance. In private. In public.
- You’ll spend your 20’s learning how to be cool (wine tastings, underground music, the new gastro pub…). Let me save you some time. Drink/eat/listen to what you like. If Franzia and Mylie Cyrus work for you, go for it. Unapologetically.
- When you meet someone of the opposite sex, fight the natural impulse to instantly categorize them as someone you’d date or not date. It’s objectifying, dehumanizing, and reinforces the lie that people exist to fill our needs. And more often than not, those judgments are made from trivial things that don’t matter. Engage people for who they are in that moment, not what they could be for you.
- There will be seasons when you’re hurting. You’ll pray for God to take the pain away, but often He won’t. Don’t equate this with abandonment. Some things are just painful. Nobody is exempt from grief. But He won’t abandon you in the pain. He will sit (often silently) with you as you grieve. And He WILL redeem it.
- Your heart, mind, time, and affections are priceless treasures because they carry the essence of who you are. Don’t offer them to someone who isn’t pursuing them.
- Forgiveness is for YOU. Holding onto anger only keeps you tied to the person who hurt you. Forgiveness demonstrates gratitude and worship to a Savior who forgives you and faithfully takes care of you. The freedom and strength that comes with forgiving someone is far more powerful than the feeling of holding onto the offense.
- Support and advocate for the women around you. We are on the same team. Enough with the girl-on-girl hate.
- Have fresh flowers in your house. Buy them, grow them, pick them off the side of the road.
- Try not to assign meaning to things people do. Ask questions. Otherwise, you’ll just spend a lot of time dealing with drama that only exists in your head.
- Stop apologizing for being smart/talented/clever/pretty/et.al. Don’t hide your magnificence because someone told you you’re “intimidating.” The gifts God gave you are yours to bring life, not to shy away from because of someone else’s insecurities.
- You’re emotions are an important part of who you are. Don’t ignore them. But don’t make decisions from them. Emotions are inconsistent. Truth is unchanging. Be anchored there.
- If all of your close friends are advising you in the same way, LISTEN. One of the greatest gift you can give yourself is the protection of wise, objective, emotionally uninvolved counsel from people who love you.
- No church will give you everything. But if your church isn’t your family first and foremost, make the necessary adjustments.
- When the news says there’s going to be a meteor shower, don’t miss it. The best viewing time is between 3 and 5am, but missing sleep is a small price to pay for an experience that leaves you in speechless awe of the power and creativity of God. Practical side note: Make sure the weather calls for clear skies before waking up at 3am and trekking out to the middle of nowhere to watch the big show.
- You won’t always understand God. You won’t always get all of your questions answered. Neither is required for a deep, faithful, and passionate life with Him.
- Don’t process personal matters with vague posts on social media. It’s like wearing an emotional miniskirt – the person it’s intended for might get the point, but you’re exposing yourself to a lot of random people at the same time. More importantly, it’s passive aggressive and immature.
- Desiring marriage and kids is normal and legitimate. Don’t ever be ashamed of it. Not desiring marriage and kids is normal and legitimate. Don’t ever be ashamed of it. Your life isn’t validated by the details of your story, but by the One who is writing it.
- Every person with whom you engage in a meaningful relationship will eventually disappoint you. And that’s ok. Budget for it. Forgive quickly.
- If the invite doesn’t read “And Guest”, leave Guest at home.
- Gossip is cancer to healthy relationships and usually flows from incorrect judgments. If it’s not your story, it’s gossip – even if you call it a prayer request. Let your words bring life.
- Always have a makes-you-feel-gorgeous LDB in your closet.
More than anything I want you to know this. The world, and all too often the Church, tells you to be something different than what you are – be prettier, smarter, more compliant, more spiritual…the list goes on. You need to know you are completely loved and delighted in, exactly as you are, by the One who created you. And there is nothing more satisfying, joyful, difficult, frustrating, passionate, and enduing than walking everyday with Him.