Sometime after your 35th birthday, when you find a moment to actually take a break from the hamster wheel you seem to be perpetually stuck on, you reflect on how mid-life looks on you.
You’ve hit some major milestones and celebrated accordingly. You’re educated, and that education is important to you. Thoughtfulness, reflection, and intelligent discussion are your love language. Not in a pretentious way, however. If a friend engages you in thoughtful conversation with articulate points and a moderate perspective, your brain lights up and your mind feels invigorated.
Milestones and Musings of Adulthood
With these milestones, however, have come transitions, setbacks, and even disappointments. You’re starting to second-guess some major life decisions. The novelty of young adulthood is starting to wear off. You appreciate the maturation of wisdom that advanced from your 20’s to your 30’s, but life is starting to seem, well, more mundane, more complex, and overall more tiring.
Recently you’ve experienced a major transition: a new baby, a career change, a big move… and your lack of flexibility troubles you. Whereas, when you got your first job, you felt like you could take on the world and rid it of its injustices, now you feel a little lost, and unsure if you will regain that same confident step you once had.
The bad habits you tried to fix as a child and young adult (shyness, procrastination, avoidance) seem to be magnified now as you try to figure out where you fit in this world. You still seem to be deciding what you want to be when you grow up.
You’re beginning to notice physical signs of your age. While there is still a clear youthful beauty in your eyes, crow’s feet appear at your temples. Between stress eating, pregnancy, and lack of an exercise routine, you’ve gained a stubborn fifteen pounds that have forced you to change your wardrobe style into something less chic.
You’ve Lived Some Life
You know you’re not alone in your quiet struggles of everyday life; you have friends who have suffered some major blows. The excitement of weddings and new babies has given way to stories of infertility or divorce. Maybe these hardships are part of of your own story.
Social media, while providing a quick shot of addictive dopamine, leaves you with confusing and contradicting messages.
Your feed is full of mommy blogs showcasing their messy homes and parenting misadventures, providing chuckles and affirmation that you’re not the only hot-mess-mom out there.
Then there are the longer essay-style articles about the mental load of mothers, which also affirm your levels of exhaustion, but never really provide easy answers to solve the problem.
All the calls for self-care, decluttering, slowing down, eating right, and exercise overwhelm you as simply more categories of incompetence and failure.
This is the thick of adulthood.
Is This All There Is?
You ask yourself, “Is this really all there is?”
In a way, yes.
The exhaustion, the sadness, the mundane drudgery….we live in a fallen world and perhaps all this isolation, loneliness, and overwhelm is what the curse of Original Sin looks like. As the line of the Hail, Holy Queen prayer reminds us…
…this is our exile.
But deep down, you also know better.
The One Constant
The one constant in your life has been your Faith. Even if you’ve church-hopped in the past, or experienced a bitter hiatus from the Church altogether, you are never quite able to deny your title as Daughter of God. You know that it’s a permanent mark of your identity, even on the days when you don’t feel it.
No matter how much you question what God is doing (or is He even listening?), you keep returning to your little prayer corner in your home, you keep reaching for your Bible, you keep arriving to the pew in the back of the church just as the opening hymn is starting.
It is in the silent prayer of your broken heart that you rest in this truth: You are known and loved. Radically loved.
What You Can Do Today
There will always be tension between our purpose in this life and our longing for the next. As much as we desire to be with our Creator for all eternity, we also know that we have to fulfill our mission in this life: to love God and to love others.
For today, you can love. And when tomorrow comes, you can love. And that is enough.
And once you remind yourself of this greater purpose…beneath the piles of laundry, above the noise of the kids whining, beyond the worry of limited funds in the checking account, you begin to see some slices of Heaven:
- The baby watching you with adoring eyes, clapping his chubby hands.
- The most magnificent sunset on the horizon as you race home from your little soccer player’s practice to start dinner.
- The warmth of a sleepy preschooler as he snuggles up, listening to you read his favorite book (again).
- The fresh breeze on your face and the sound of a whippoorwill from your back porch after the kids have finally fallen asleep.
These are reasons for joy.
His joy is your strength, and His love is infinite. And that is enough for today.
The Spiritual Life in the Thick of Adulthood #BISblog // Click To Tweet
Kimberly Lynch is a wife and mother, incessant over-thinker, language geek, coffee junkie, and writer. She and her husband raise their large-ish brood in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. You can find out more about her here.