When Things Turn Around
Seven days ago I got a phone call that sparked a change in my life. That was nine months since graduation. Nine months since the clock struck midnight and life gave me another year to look ahead to. Nine months since all I could see in front of me was a massive pit of fog and millions of question marks. Nine months of searching for jobs, but really searching for purpose. Nine months of letting people go and saying goodbye to places I could find my way around without a map. I went on interviews, I came home discouraged. I went on dates, I found ways to leave them early. I cried to my mom, and to my friends, and to God. I read books and wrote in journals and came up with plan after plan after plan. I gave up, and I went all in. But one thing was certain—I was lost, and I let it become part of my identity.
Identity is a word I struggle with. I sometimes feel like it has power, and I sometimes feel like the only power it has is the power I give it. I sometimes want an identity, and I sometimes think identity is something we can never really have. I identify as a Christian. I identify as a woman. I identify as a pizza addict and as a writer and as a desperate 20-something working her way into different nooks of the world trying to find what other people haven’t. And until seven days ago, I identified as someone who is unemployed. And as someone who is single. And as someone living in a town she would kick her way out of if she could only find a way.
But seven days later my identity is starting to change. Things are turning around. And I think I feel even more lost than before but maybe it’s because I haven’t processed all this change or maybe it’s because I have more changing to do.
But seven days ago I was offered a job with a company I obsess over. And six days ago I started planning my move to a city I’ve been dreaming of living in. And five days ago I met a boy with blue eyes and calloused hands.
Things are turning around. But I don’t think I was prepared for them to do that.
The thing about being lost is, there is nothing better to do with your time than try to make yourself strong. And that’s exactly what I’ve spent the past nine months doing. I signed up for a half marathon. I started a blog. I worked tirelessly freelancing for anybody that would let me. I read my Bible more. I compared myself to Instagram models less. I bought books that taught me about life, and beauty, and struggle, and love. I read them all before I started telling people that I bought them. I spent my days in coffee shops trying to make my dreams come true. I spent more time than ever loving on my best friends. I’ve grown more and more comfortable pushing myself to be uncomfortable.
But I also failed, and failed, and failed some more. I made to-do lists that got ignored for Law and Order SVU. I lied in a job interview. I pushed away a friend I never dreamed of hurting. I took on jobs I didn’t dedicate my whole heart to. I started and gave up on three different novel ideas. But every single time, I took another step to getting where I was seven days ago, on the phone with an HR person as she asked me, “Will you accept our offer?” and my whole body started shaking. I kept thinking, “Things are turning around,” and I didn’t even realize to what extent yet.
I don’t want to complain about holding in my hands things I couldn’t even touch nine months ago. But let me be honest with you. Since I got that call, and planned that move, and met that boy, I’ve forgotten a little bit of all that I spent nine months building up. I missed a deadline for an article I was supposed to write. I skipped a day of training for my marathon. I haven’t cracked open my Bible and I haven’t thanked God for handing me the things I’ve been begging for. I momentarily replaced my mantra of, “You are worth it,” with, “Look at these people who have it better.” And I feel like I’ve already failed at being the person I really, fiercely, unfalteringly have wanted and tried and failed and tried even harder to become.
Circumstances in my life are changing. I’m finding happiness in the world instead of just in my own heart. I’m being given things, and yet I’m finding out why it was such a good thing that they’d been kept from me for so long. When things turn around, sometimes I forget that I still need to work on turning around with them. My new job is not me living my ultimate dream. The blue-eyed boy could stop calling me next week. I still haven’t even found an apartment to live in when I move to my dream city. There is so much left to do. Things are turning around. Things are not perfect yet.
Things never will be perfect yet.
I will never be perfect yet.
But I’ve had nine months of getting strong, and only seven days of things turning around. I am so far from seeing the end of the road.