It’s not often that I feel self-reflective enough to carve out time in my busy schedule to sit down and vomit my thoughts into a blog post, but the end of another year can have that effect.
So here goes—In 2018, I learned a lot about patience.
Graduating from college in 2017 was one of those big, bittersweet milestones that mark both an end and a beginning. I started a new job in marketing and began trying to figure out what being an adult actually looked like. (Fake it ’til ya make it.)
By 2018, I was still in Kansas City in year two of my 8-5 corporate office job. Post-grad was no longer shiny and new—it was routine, it was expensive. My life wasn’t exactly what I envisioned it would be out of college.
The day I returned home from studying abroad my junior year of college, I promised myself that I would return to live and travel overseas.
Though I was eager to chase my dreams right out of the gate, and postpone the harsh realities of post-grad adulthood just a liiiittle longer, God had a bigger and better plan in mind for me…
…and it definitely involved saving some money first.
Fast forward to 2018 to a life of merely existing in a very average and routine “in-between” space—clinging to the glory of college years past, while fixing my eyes on the excitement my future travel endeavors would hold.
While not everyone’s hopes and dreams for the future look like mine, I know many post-grad students with temporary work or living situations who feel unfulfilled because they’re not quite yet where they want to be.
Once I came to terms with the fact that I was going to be in this in-between season for longer than I hoped, I realized that I didn’t want one more second of my life to slip away without making the most of it.
I made the decision to take to lean into my in-between; Here’s what I learned. »
Give Yourself a Little Grace
This part is challenging. It’s easy to be hard on ourselves when we compare our life and the path we’ve chosen to others’. Giving yourself grace means freeing yourself from the pressures and expectations placed on young adults to perform and exceed by society’s standards. It means recognizing that doing the best you can with the cards you’ve been dealt is okay. Claiming your in-between means accepting where you’re at and focusing on making the most of your life—and your life alone.
Choose A New Perspective (& Say Yes!)
One of my favorite Spanish words is “aprovechar” because it means to make the most of or to take advantage of. I’ve had to come to terms with the disappointing fact that the majority of life is not made up of big milestones and accomplishments, but of the in-between moments. Each day I’m given a choice: “aprovechar” them or let them pass me by. Turns out, the in-between is where life truly happens…if you let it.
There is so much power in the ability to appreciate little things and small moments. It doesn’t come naturally or easily; In fact, it’s a learned mindset that requires patience and intentionality. Practice slowing down to look for new opportunities, or blessings, you might’ve otherwise missed, choose to say “yes” to new experiences and try to find silver linings amidst life’s challenges.
Once I made the decision to stop viewing this season as a stepping stone to get me where I need to go, and start opening my eyes to what this season has to offer me right where I’m at, I began to thrive.
Throughout my in-between season, I…
- Found new ways to excel at my job and soak up all the experience and challenges it had to offer
- Fell in love with the man of my dreams
- Let go of FOMO (fear of missing out) and learned to be okay with saying “no” in the name of self-care
- Satisfied my itch to travel with smaller trips to places like Puerto Rico, Austin, Dallas and Seattle
- Moved out of my parent’s house (!!!)
- Celebrated the people I love becoming wives and husbands and new moms and dads
- Invested in my church and joined a life group full of awesome people that I get to do life with every week
- Made priceless memories at the lake with family
- Joined indoor soccer and beach volleyball teams
- Explored new parts of my city
- Attended all the sporting events
(Go K-State Wildcats, Royals, Sporting KC & Chiefs!)
- Cooked dinners and hosted parties with my roommates
- Said yes to happy hours and brunches with friends
- Petted a lot of doggos…
…and tried to be as present as possible through all of it.
None of it Matters Without Gratitude
In the end, I found that gratitude is the most powerful catalyst for a change of heart. Giving yourself grace and choosing a new perspective, alone, don’t have the power to melt away your resentment and readjust your expectations for what makes you happy.
Regularly set aside time to practice gratitude through self-reflection by asking yourself the following questions:
- What have my experiences taught me?
- What have I gained as a result of my experiences?
- How have I grown as a result of my experiences?
- What are 3 things I am thankful for in this moment?
As for me, a lot can happen in a year. Looking back on 2018, although I aimed to live fully in order to make the most of my year, it wasn’t the places I went to or the events I attended that made it so rich. *Cliche moment*—It was the people.
It was the trend of loved ones who consistently showed up, reached out and were present for high, low and mundane moments, alike, that fills my heart with gratitude for this in-between space I previously resented. I am so lucky to have so many incredible people in my life who love me, who pour into me and who point me back to Jesus.
I hope to end 2018 on a note of gratitude and to carry it with me throughout 2019. I learned that whatever lemons life gives you—there is always something to be grateful for. By living in this simple truth, you just might find that the Lord has been answering prayers you didn’t know to pray and blessing your life in ways you didn’t know you needed all along.
Faithfully Following Jesus in the In-Between is HARD
Lastly, as I reflect on the good, I think it’s equally important to be honest about my struggles and where I fall short. This year, I learned that Satan preys on the in-betweeners. Between life’s joyful milestone moments of praise and failures that bring you to your knees in prayer, walking in faith requires a lot of diligence and it’s in these seasons that my faith struggles the most.
I don’t have the answer or solution for this, yet, but I do know that giving myself grace, changing my perspective and practicing gratitude are all things that come easier when I allow myself to fully trust in the Lord and His plan for my life. Resting in the grace we’ve been given is a great reminder that our identity is found in Him alone and not in a: job promotion, number of passport stamps, relationship status, etc.—and that makes us enough just as we are, right where we are.