Saturday, April 17, 2021

Reflections on My 30s (on the Last Weekend of my 30s!)

I started this blog when I was 26 and had just decided to enter a convent. 26 already seemed so late to be just starting my vocation as so many of my peers were getting engaged and starting families. When I realized quickly that religious life was not my vocation (even after having quit my job that I loved and selling many of my possessions) I had to start over at 27. I moved into a house with a couple of women I knew from college that were also still discerning where God was calling them. I started a new job (that I didn't love), started grad school (that was a lot of work), and put myself back in the dating pool (ugh). Things were starting to come together, but I still had no idea where I was going. 

At 29, while in grad school and still living with roommates, I started teaching. Looking back now, I have no idea how I was able to be a first year teacher in the chaos that was the last years of my 20s, but teaching has been one of the things that has been consistent throughout my 30s. As I reflect and write this on the last weekend in my 30s, I can say that my 30s were marked by their consistencies. Early on in my 30s, I finished grad school, moved into my own one-bedroom apartment, and became a department chair at the school I was teaching at. I discovered art and travel and by my mid-30s, I left the DC area that I had called home for so long and started to cultivate all of the things I had found in recent years for myself in Richmond.

I am not sure if this is the same for everyone, and my story is certainly my own and unique, but sometimes I don't realize how much I have accomplished in my 30s because it didn't have the same huge peaks and valleys that my 20s seemed to. In my 20s, I was throwing myself into "who am I?" and "what is my vocation?" in quite extreme and dramatic fashions. But in my 30s, I seemed to quietly, unceremoniously find it and just flow into it. Like I said, teaching was something I fell into as I turned 30 and it has been that consistent factor for me. I've also been consistently called to preach and evangelize in various ways whether that be through music ministry or blogging or giving presentations at schools and parishes or now Zoom meetings. My 30s have certainly been about laying the foundations of who I am and answering those questions I asked in my 20s without my even maybe realizing it. 

I have heard that the 40s are fabulous. I am grateful that we are starting to emerge from our "upper rooms" of the pandemic as I enter into 40 and can take my vaccinated self out into the world again. I'm also grateful for having been quarantined this last year because it has caused me to reflect and evaluate and re-connect with friends I had maybe lost touch with throughout this decade (and start a lot of projects! You can read more about them here). I get to emerge confident in who I am and (hopefully) ready for whatever God has next for me. 

I got to recently share my story on a podcast I became familiar with this last year, The Feminine Genius podcast, that seeks to present and highlight Catholic women and their own unique gifts. You can listen to the episode here. I'm proud of what I have accomplished in my 30s. I've established myself as a solid Religious Educator through achieving my degree and 10+ years of teaching, become a world traveler dabbling in art and media while continuing to share music and foster communities in the Church with friends. I did some of it consciously but most of it with God slowly, subtly guiding me towards things. I will carry with me all that I've accomplished and established into my 40s with a true sense of gratitude getting to do so after a year in quarantine and living in a pandemic. 

I hope that you all are also in a place of hope this Easter season even as we still grapple with this pandemic and racial injustice in our country. In the Easter Season, we journey with the apostles who also have just had their world rocked and are having to establish something new- the sometimes flawed but Holy Spirit driven Church. We are in good company as we navigate the unknown with the hope of good things to come. Thank you all for all that you have done and do to support me and help me to grow over the years! Happy Easter!



                                                    39 almost 40 doesn't seem so bad...

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