Now, many of you (probably still in your twenties) are thinking "Big deal [old lady] so it's another birthday!" and many of you (already in your thirties or beyond) are thinking "It's wonderful, you'll love it!" Indeed, I waver myself. I mean, it's not like I haven't known this was coming! Some days I think "THIRTY! That's exciting! People might start taking me more seriously or asking my advice! People will look at me and think - 'Hey, she's got a good man, a good job, and a cute kid - what a life!' so I MUST have it all! I am living the dream!" and some days I think "Is it just me, or is that Oil of Olay ad STARING at me and shouting obscenities like 'Retinol!' and 'Age Defying!'?" (It's true, with each new decade the cosmetic aisle makes you take one big awkward step to the right, literally shoving you towards youthful pursuits down your very own crows-feet timeline.)
So here I am, right at the cusp. I'm about to embark in a whole new chapter of my life. But, until I do (let's remember I have one precious week left, and I thoroughly intend on flaunting it) allow me to take a glance back. Welcome to the twilight zone.
Welcome to Twentysomething.
One thing I will not miss in my thirties (and I'm counting on this, Lord, are you listening?) is drama. D-R-A-M-A, drama. Somehow it has found me wherever I turned in my twenties (heck, sometimes I chased it down myself, punched it in the face, and bought it a drink afterwards) and that's exactly why my twenties reads something like the caption in the tv guide under the Lifetime network. See for yourself:
When I turned twenty, I had just gotten married. I was a newlywed living outside of Nashville, TN. He was in a band and I was in major need of a therapist. I had just moved across the country, abandoning all friends and career goals for - you guessed it - love. It was a highly dramatic time in my life, filled with passion and jealousy and every other emotion that a boy might write a song about for you. The depression was inevitable, yet shocking. We clung to Jesus and each other, but there were many nights that I stayed awake wondering what was wrong with me...and I made a shining effort to bring each option on my list of woes to the surface. A few years of prayer, counsel, some medication, and slowly-developed-friendships, and I was on the road to being healthy. I had done it! I had fought with the devil and won! I had pulled myself up by my bootstraps and changed for the better. My marriage was worse for wear, but our sights were set on healing and housing...signs of commitment! We bought a house, he got a dream job, and I was thumbing through paint swatches to distract myself from picking out baby names instead. I was ready to live life, having new perspective, feeling older and wiser. He was ready to live life too...but not alongside me. That was it for him. He was out. We never spent one night together in that big beautiful house.
The pain was excruciating. I immediately needed to sink my teeth into something productive, something just for me, something positive and persevering - so I enrolled at a local university to finish my degree. I also sought therapy from anywhere I could get it - professional, church, friends, family, my credit card at the nearby mall... I was in survival mode. My heart made it, but my marriage didn't. After months of living a nightmare, of crying myself to sleep every night, after being forced to sign papers I swore I would never even consider...it was over. I was 24, a Christian, and divorced.
I graduated late the next fall, and I needed change. Not just change...a fresh start. I got back in touch with some of my friends from my teenage years -my California college years - afterall, my ole roommate had just gotten married and she had that cute brother who grew up to be quite a looker. I always loved my time in California, it felt like home. I needed home...comfort...peace. I decided to move back to California and everyone around me was thoroughly supportive - confirming my belief in my plan and myself. Maybe this life could turn out to have some hope afterall - maybe even some fun? That ole brother of my college roommate was more than willing to show me around California if I'd like a personal tour...and the more we talked, the more I wanted that tour. By the time I flew out to see California, I'd found an apartment and a few weeks later I was moving. I packed my car with all my belongings (what little I had managed to keep through the devastation) and headed west. Forty long hours later, I was sitting in the middle of a barren apartment in California, waiting on my new boyfriend to meet me so he could assemble my tv and blow-up bed. This is when true signs of hope began to spring up, and the healing I had been working so hard to achieve finally started to show up. A therapist is wonderful - they can listen to you all day, they can show you a caring face and help you sort through all kinds of emotion...but there ain't nothin like a handsome boy kissin you on the lips to sweep you off your feet and spin your head around to make you realize to your core that THIS PERSON LOVES YOU. And Josh did love me. And I him.
We were married later that year, purposefully the day after Thanksgiving (what a glorious day! an entire day devoted to gratefulness!) and we pursued a healthy marriage as fervently as we had pursued each other - with purpose and Christ at the center.
It's true what they say, "a healthy marriage takes work" - its just that they don't always apply another famous saying "do what you love and you'll never work a day in your life". Totally true. I love that Josh Pardy, let me tell you. And as if my telling you wasn't evidence enough (forgive me), but as the story continues...a few happy years later we welcomed another Pardy into the family. Matilda Hazel Darling Pardy was born last November, and has only increased the joy of our home exponentially each day since.
And that pretty much sums it up.
That's my twenties. Ups and downs, indeed. There were times I'm pretty sure that I could've personally been sponsored by Kleenex, and I could've used the endorsement.
I know that there will be pain in my thirties. I know that there will be trials and unforeseen worries that await. But, I'm so thankful to be entering this next decade in a season of blissful hope and utter happiness. God has been so good to me and my family.
So long, twenties...it's been a ride.