Adulthood: Where You Keep Learning More About Yourself, Even When You Don’t Always Want To

Post Grad Duck #14
It’s no wonder that when we’re driving there are speed limit signs placed every few yards, or that commercials repeat the name of their product more than once while they’re airing, or the command to love and rejoice is found in so many books of the Bible—we’re a forgetful people and need to be reminded of things often. It’s not exactly our fault, it’s a part of our human condition; however, since we are aware of this condition we are responsible for how we react to it.
I’m learning this lesson more and more. For some reason, I thought that when I left Boone and moved to State College I would suddenly achieve this certain sense of knowing. I thought that I learned enough about myself during my last two years of college that I would be able to just coast for a while. Even though I have found that my train of thought was 100% wrong, there is still a part of me that is waiting for the learning to stop. It’s not that I don’t want to learn, the end result is usually great, but it’s the getting there part that’s really hard.

If we’ve had the pleasure of meeting and talking for a few minutes, you probably noticed that I 1) typically have a lot of energy, 2) like to talk, 3) say what’s on my mind (sometimes without thinking through it), because I’m a verbal processor. Unfortunately, if we’ve had the pleasure of meeting within the past 2 months, you may not have picked up on these traits about me. It’s okay, it’s not your fault. No, you’re not unobservant and no, you’re not a bad listener. I just haven’t really been sharing all of my personality with people lately. So, really, how could you have any idea about what I’m like or how I typically interact with those around me, or the way that I think about things? You couldn’t. I haven’t given you any type of signal. No hints, no clues, not very much at all.

Earlier today, I was meeting with my campus minister (boss), like we do every Monday. We met at a local Starbucks, sat at our usual table, and sipped on our coffee. Right on cue he asked, “So, how are you?” In today’s culture, this question is typically a formality, but because of the nature of the relationship I have with my boss, he wasn’t just asking to be polite—he was asking because he wanted an answer, an honest answer, my answer. But truth be told, I didn’t really want to answer the question. I wanted to say, “Great! How are you?” but that would have been a lie. This past week was a rough one for me. Actually, being in Pennsylvania has been rough for me. I’ve mentioned that in blog posts before, but I think that I’ve tried to sugar coat it. No one wants to read about how miserable someone is (and I’m not going to write about how miserable I am, because that would also be a lie. I’m not miserable). Life is just…hard, and I’m just…learning.

I started to tell my boss about how I was doing. And of course, because I started talking, I couldn’t stop. I started babbling and expressing how I was feeling and giving life to what I was thinking because I was finally saying those thoughts out loud. In a word, I’m lonely. But the funny thing is, I really don’t need to be. Some of it is completely legitimate, but some of it is my own doing. Like I said before, I haven’t been signaling anyone. Mostly because I haven’t been really hanging out with anyone. Every now and again I’ll see friends, but not in a manner where I would say that the people around me actually know me. But again, it’s not their fault—I haven’t let them in; I haven’t really given them a chance to know me. And my campus minister totally called me out on that. In frustration, I was explaining to him about an activity I did on Saturday because I knew that it was good for me, but I followed with “but no one knows why it was good for me.” Ding, ding, ding! Of course no one knows, because I haven’t given anyone a reason/ chance to know.

My boss started to tell me things that I didn’t want to hear but was secretly hoping and praying he’d say. Did his words sting? Yes, but only because they were true. “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, profuse are the kisses of an enemy.” (Proverbs 27:6). There was a pause. I took a sip of my drink because I knew that if I were to say anything, I would probably start to cry. I could feel the tears forming behind my eyes and I noticed the tension welling in my throat. In reality, I probably did need to release a few tears, but I guess I’ve reserved them for another time. As the pause in our conversation came to a close, my boss began to tell me a story. He started explaining how he used get frustrated with drivers on the road that wouldn’t let him over. You know those moments when you’re on the highway and you really need to change lanes so you don’t miss your exit, but the guy in the Honda Civic next to you just won’t move? I was confused as to how this story had any relevance to what we had been talking about for the past hour or so, but then he said this: “I didn’t want to put on my blinkers.” He wasn’t giving any type of signal or notice to the drivers around him indicating that he wanted to change lanes. Humans aren’t mind readers. How would Mr. Honda Civic, or Ms. Mini Van, know to make room for my boss to get over if he didn’t let them know? They wouldn’t. And the same goes for relationships. “People aren’t going to know you, or what you need, if you don’t give them a signal,” he said.

He’s right. I have to allow people to know I’m here. It probably won’t be as easy as I want, and it may require more patience than I’d like to extend, but I think it’s more worth it than I can even realize. Deep down, I’ve known this, but it was good to be reminded.

[Dear Jesus, Thank You for the place I’m in, the people around me, and the words you allow me to hear.]

<3Amen

~ F I R E ~

Duck #49

Oh, fellow readers. It’s been so long since I’ve written. It’s most unfortunate because of how much I love writing…sometimes I have to be reminded of that. It’s hard to write for fun sometimes, ya know? I’ve been so busy writing papers upon papers for school. I’m graduating in 19 days, so there is so much that I need to finish. For example, the capstone I should be working on right now. But tonight I’m going to write for myself and then maybe write a little for my professor, but I’m putting myself first. *Insert the “desk worker” emoji that I named Tanya over a year ago.*

Tonight’s theme: I’m not sure, yet. We’ll see what happens as I write. I had a them and typed about 200 words and then decided I didn’t want to talk about that topic anymore. So here we are.

Life is weird, y’all. I think that when I was a little girl, I assumed that by the time I was 21 I would know all the things. Well, here I am at 21 and I don’t know as much as I once thought I would. Let me give you an example:
Earlier today, I decided to go for a run because that’s what adults do to take care of themselves. After my run I resolved to cook dinner because that’s also what adults do to take care of themselves. They exercise and they cook, I’m sure it’s in a handbook on adulthood somewhere. Well…as I was preparing my meal, as any mature 21 year old should be able to due, a piece of food fell under the burner and it started to smoke. I turned down the heat of the burner and turned on the fan above the stove. Naturally, that didn’t work because the piece of food caught on fire and a flame began to grow. In a state of panic, I started to yell “Fire! Fire! There’s a fire! I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to do! I ACTUALLY don’t know what to do!”

I just stood there. Literally. My mind went blank and I watched the flame blaze. I’m sure I looked pretty stupid just gazing at the fiery stove as if it were an art exhibit at a museum. Fortunately, 2 of my roommates were in the living room and they came to my rescue. Actually, one of my roommates turned off the burner and the other took a picture of me in all my frantic glory. We all laughed after everything calmed down and the burning smell dissipated. *Oh, I know what direction this post is going to go in now!* As the kitchen began to clear I kept saying, “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry.” I did this for two reasons: 1) Because I’m an ENFP & I can’t help but to apologize for things extensively. 2) I felt like I should’ve known what to do. I’m 21, I’m a senior in college, I know my way around the kitchen well enough. It’s not ridiculous to assume that I would know how to handle that situation. But I didn’t know…I needed help.
I wish that I could say that this post is really just a lesson on what to do if you catch your stove on fire, but it’s not. As I continue to type, I realize it’s deeper than that. It’s deeper because tonight’s little event has made me realize that there are a lot of things that I don’t know and that scares me. It scares me because I want to know them. I want to know them because I want to prove that I’m okay and capable. I want to prove that I’m good at x and therefore can do y.
They say that comparison kills, expectations crush, and I say that they’re right. But I also say that there’s nothing wrong with ignorance if you’re willing to learn. I don’t use ignorance in a negative way, but rather in the form of it’s true definition: a lack of knowledge or information. There are several things that I am ignorant of. Even as a 21 year old senior in college, there is so much I don’t know. There’s also so much that I think that I know, but actually don’t. I learned that this past week.

I’m really good at overthinking and overanalyzing just about everything. I do this because I allow my ignorance to guide me. With that comes a false sense of reality–I’m really good at creating monstrous situations in my head, when they’re actually small teddy bears that might have a ripped seam. But instead of being patient and trying to learn the information I lack, I make up what I think to be true and then act rashly on that. And that’s exhausting. So incredibly exhausting. And quite frankly, I don’t have time to be exhausted so often, ya know?

Altering ignorance doesn’t happen over night.
Altering ignorance requires patience.
Altering ignorance is a sign of maturity.

Y’all, I don’t know a lot of things. But I do know that I can’t keep acting out of ignorance. I’m about to be done with school forever and I’m scared and I really don’t know all the details of what’s going to happen after I walk across the stage. So, I’m talking to myself when I say this, but feel free to listen in:
It’s okay to not have all of the answers. It’s okay to take time to learn them.
It’s okay to be scared, but you can’t let that fear control you.
It’s okay to want to be competent, but that competence does not make up you’re identity as a worthy human.
God is not angry with you for being ignorant.
He wants you to seek Him first and glean His wisdom.
He begs you to look toward Him when you’re scared.
He yearns for you to be defined by His perfect attributes.

So, I don’t know, but Lord, I want to learn.

[Jesus, will You teach me?]
❤ Amen