Reflections on Turning 26
Today is my 26th birthday. Perhaps it would have been much more fitting to write a reflection when turning a nice, round number like 25…but this will have to do! Now that I’ve passed the quarter-century mark I feel like I have enough life in the rearview mirror to have something to reflect on. So, here are a few random thoughts I’m having at this point along my journey of life:
I love being a family man! If I were the average North American man, I would not be getting married for two more years. Instead, I am a couple of weeks away from celebrating my 4th wedding anniversary. I know it’s not always right or reasonable for some people, but I love being married young! I’m so thankful for my wonderful wife Sarah who has been nothing short of amazing to me ever since we started dating over 8 years ago. Certainly being married young has it’s challenges, and some people look at us like we’re a bit unusual, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
In addition to our marriage, Sarah and I have also had the privilege of having our daughter turn 2 last month, as well as having one child waiting for us in heaven and another on the way in a few months. Wow! It has been a crazy few years! All my kids bring me tons of joy while also bringing a ton of challenges. It is so worth it.
I want to make my life count. It seems that every year goes by faster than the one before it. This crazy pace constantly makes me stop and ask, am I making my life count? Am I focused on the right things? Am I making the most of every opportunity? It is so easy to let life go by without making a difference. Suddenly you wake up one day and realize you’ve wasted years of your life. I don’t want this to be me! I’m trying hard to make a conscious effort to prioritize correctly and ambitiously pursue to goals I have so that my life can have a maximum, lasting impact.
I think I understand my elders more and more. It is not easy to understand people if you have not travelled the roads they have travelled. I know that to many people I am still very young, but slowly I am starting to understand why people older than I think the way they do. They started out in life with certain ideas of how things are and through disappointments and surprises have come a better grasp of the way life actually works. I’ve started to have some of these experiences of my own, and as a result I think I’m starting to better understand people older than me with each passing year.
You never “just become” what you expect to be later in life. I remember being a little kid and thinking what I would be like all grown up. I always pictured myself as a husband and dad who seemed to have such a grip on things: always in control, always knowing the right answer, somehow being able to do it all. By then, somehow, I would simply just know what to do!
What I’ve come to realize is that I was imagining a different person than myself. It’s like in my mind I was skipping ahead 15 years and suddenly I’d be so different – which might be the case if that’s how life went. But because I have lived through those 15 years and not simply jumped them, the process of change has come slowly. It’s kind of hard to describe but anyone who thinks like I do probably knows what I’m talking about.
The one constant in life is change. Everything changes all the time, even things you wouldn’t expect to. Best friends change. Interests change. Opinions change. Societies change. Any person who wants to be able to handle life without stressing themselves out needs to be flexible and ready to adapt. People who fight change are fighting a losing battle.
Living for Jesus really is the abundant life. I can honestly say at this point in my life I am more excited about Jesus Christ than at any point before. It’s not something that I chose intentionally. Jesus simply got a hold of my life and won’t let me go! I have tried living the lukewarm Christian life, and there is a sense in which I see the appeal: get to heaven, but avoid unnecessary inconvenience along the way. Problem is this kind of life doesn’t work, doesn’t bring joy, and likely won’t result in eternal life. Not that our works determine our salvation, but if we truly understand the magnitude of Jesus willingly dying in our place, how can we not be willing to do anything to say “thank you”? I have to say that living for Jesus is often difficult and lonely, but it brings tons of joy and peace and satisfaction in ways I never knew. I just want to pray that I can keep it up for as long as I can.