Monday, March 21, 2011

maybe this is what being a grown-up is.

{Tallahassee live oaks}

On Sunday afternoon, Jordan and I crashed onto our couch, looked at each other, and realized it was the first time we had been alone since Tuesday.

We’ve had houseguests traipsing in and out of our home all week and weekend, and we love it that way, love that our friends care enough about us to come see us, to check in on us, to eat our food and sleep on our floor.

There’s something special about friends who have known you a long time, friends you met right when you were in the middle of figuring out who you were and who you wanted to become. And it’s fun to see how we’ve all changed and how we’ve stayed the same, fun to meet new girlfriends or to hear about someone’s new job.

Most of our friends from college stayed close to our college town, living and working and earning advanced degrees, many getting married, some staying single. Jordan and I always seem to be the different ones, dating forever, graduating early, moving away from everyone else. Our lives have taken a different path than some of our friends, but that’s okay. Sunday afternoon, as I looked around my house and at our struggling little garden and our funny dog and basketball on the TV, I knew we’d made the right decisions for us.

The decision to first move to Tallahassee, then to stay here, was a painful one. And we’re not sure how long this will last, not sure about job security or graduate programs or what life will look like a year from now. But right now, it is good.

We walked and talked most of Sunday afternoon, traversing some of our favorite neighborhoods, enjoying a sunny spring day like only Tallahassee offers. We talked about whether or not it was right for me to quit graduate school, little insecurities creeping back into my soul as I listened to friends talk about their masters and doctorates, all the while wondering what would have happened if Jordan and I had not chosen to get married, had waited while each other finished school, him in Macon at law school, me in Tallahassee at graduate school. We talked about student loans and how much easier it might have been to live off loans, to go to school at the same time instead of waiting, working. We talked about choosing jobs versus choosing education, renting our home instead of buying one. We talked about Tallahassee, and our happiness here. (And, to be fair, we also talked about basketball brackets and going without sugar and Rob Bell and how that morning’s sermon was the best we’d ever heard.)

Mostly, I think we decided that we have done the right things, made the right choices for us. And the decisions that may have been flawed have been redeemed by a loving Savior who knows our hearts, who understands that we are giving this life the best we have to offer.

I don’t like the part of myself that is selfish and judgmental, the part that aches for a master’s degree simply because I feel like that’s what smart people do.

These past few months have been some of the happiest of our married lives together: long walks, homemade dinners, nights watching our favorite shows or catching up on our favorite books. I am learning that being smart doesn’t always equal an advanced degree, that life is too short to focus on decisions other people have made because, after all, other people aren’t you.

I love when our friends come to town, because they bring with them the part of us that really, only they know exists. They remind us of who we were at 18 and 20, and I hope I never tire of greeting that girl with a smile, of telling her that yes, life certainly was good then, but now? Now it is even better. And yes, Jordan and I chose Tallahassee. Yes, we chose to date for five years, chose to get married young and in the midst of law school finals, chose to work our way through his schooling, chose to rent instead of own, chose to quit a graduate program when it became too much for our marriage to bear. We chose those things, and I am glad we did.

Maybe being a grown-up means being content with the choices you’ve made, being able to discern between what is good for other people and what is good for you. And if that’s the case, maybe, at 25, I’m finally on my way.

6 comments:

Jessica said...

for what's it's worth, i think you are super smart and talented. for that matter--wise--it takes a wise person to make hard decisions like quitting graduate school to focus on your marriage. grad school will be there if you ever decide to go back. but seriously, you have a cool job, you can do graphic design stuff well, you have time to read and expand your mind, you're being purposeful with the way you treat your physical body. that all sounds pretty smart to me! so keep it up! i'm impressed;)

Kara Gehret said...

I seriously love reading your blog. Love it.

At 27 (so much older, I know!). I'd say learning this lesson is EXACTLY what growing up is. And furthermore, learning to be content where you are is exactly what sanctification is and it's the mark of God maturing your heart.

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Mikela Melakis said...

I'm only 17 but I seriously love reading your blog :)

jenna said...

Annie, thank you for sharing your life. You offer such great perspective for me that I know I will find very valuable as the seasons of my life continue to change and grow. Love you lots!

Kim Humes said...

Your posts are always so lovely - so insightful and articulate. You certainly seem like you're on your way! We all compare ourselves to others, it's natural, but you're totally right to stand behind the decisions that you have made. In the end, the other ppl you're worried about are not affected by your decisions, but you sure are so you'd better make the one that's right for you and not them. Everyone's idea of success looks different and that's how it should be. I really admire you for putting things like your marriage and quality of life ahead of putting "notches" in your proverbial belt. Good for you!