Stare Down the Future

My 29th birthday is upon me. This week, I will begin my last year of being a 20-something. And as I reflect on where I am in life, I’m shocked. Good shocked and bad shocked, if I’m being honest. As I stare down the last 365 days of being in my 20s, I also look back at where I’ve been and how far I’ve come, and I look forward to what my 30s will hold.
Let’s recap, shall we?
When people tell you your 20s are a time of massive change, they aren’t kidding. The year was 2006, and as I turned 20, I also was in the process of transferring to a new college, one that could truly give me the educational experience that I wanted and needed. The small liberal arts college life wasn’t for me. I needed to go home to Austin and to the university that had my heart from birth: the University of Texas. Hook ‘em!
For the first half of my 20s, I lived with my folks. And I really learned to appreciate my parents as adults, and as an adult myself. I found myself understanding the decisions they made on a whole new level. And my mom and I became the best of friends.
I also let my health slide. I had never been a small girl – I was almost a 10-pound baby, for goodness sake! And my weight ballooned during my last years in college and my first year or so out of college. At my heaviest, I was pushing 275 pounds. I was sad, and that didn’t help.
I was lost, too. I graduated in the winter of 2008, right around the time the economy truly tanked. It’s not excuse, sure. But finding a good job that actually utilized my education was nearly impossible. I decided right around graduation to try my hand at substitute teaching – a job I could easily obtain and that would allow me time to think. Lo and behold, I enjoyed myself! This shy girl who got sick to her stomach at the thought of even raising her hand in the classroom loved being in front of a class imparting knowledge!
In 2010, at 24, I got a job teaching middle school English. It required a move away from home, but I was ready. I landed in Rockport, where I met the sister that God always meant for me. I made many friends I know I’ll stay in touch with for a long time, too. And I taught. I taught my little heart out. It wasn’t easy, but those kids made nearly every single day worth it.
By the time 2011 rolled around, I had taken some control over my health and was trying to shed some weight. As that journey began, so did another. I met the Husband. Well, at the time, he was just a guy with an adorable smile and quirky passions on eHarmony.
Let me backtrack for a minute here. Prior to meeting the Husband, I was absolutely sure that I wasn’t going to find anyone to spend my life with. I had dated one person in high school, and only for a couple of months and mostly just because I felt left out of the whole dating thing. When this man came into my life in 2011, something clicked out there in the universe. I went back to my parents’ house, where I was staying for the summer, and told my mom I met a man I could marry.
Let’s fast forward now, just a few years. At 27, I married the Husband.

You remember that, readers. It was not long after my teaching career went south. So while my personal life was going great, I was again lost when it came to my professional life. We bought a house and moved in just days before my 28th birthday, and not a month later, my professional life was put through the wringer again with the closing of the business I worked for. Though I’ve found a new job, and one that involves writing, I’m still not sure what I’m supposed to be doing with my life. I still don’t feel like I have a career. And as a 29-year-old, that’s a hard pill to swallow.

The other hard pill is one you know well, readers. Fertility. We began trying to have a child when I was still 27. Here I am, a year and a half later, almost 29, and we’re moving into something I never imagined we would face: IVF. All other methods have failed us, God has decided to push us to our limits, and we now find ourselves preparing mentally and physically for in vitro fertilization. Our hearts are broken. Our spirits are broken. And it’s hard to approach this last year of my 20s with this brokenness.
On the personal side, I have a wonderful husband and partner in life. He means the world to me. But it tears me up that I can’t give him a child, especially knowing that he would make such a wonderful father. On the professional side, I haven’t been able to keep a job for more than a year since leaving my teaching job in Rockport.

Lest we forget, I also made this drastic transformation:

2007 to 2013. Holy wow!

During this time I also lost over 100 pounds on a journey to get healthy – for myself and for my future family. This is something I am insanely proud of, even if not everything has gone according to plan over the last nine years.

Part of me feels like I’ve failed myself because I’m not where I expected to be in life, especially professionally speaking. But another part of me is excited for what’s to come. With any luck, the schedule we’re on for having a baby now means that around this time next year, our family will grow. That’s a great way to start the next decade, wouldn’t you say? I’m not sure where I’m headed career-wise. I know I’m going to struggle for a while. Maybe I’ll find my place. Maybe I won’t. But looking back at where I’ve been, what I once thought my life would look like… Well, things are looking pretty great, and, as style (and life) guru Tim Gunn would say, I will make it work.
When next I see you, my friends, I will be another year older and wiser, and I will be continuing on my journey to find myself and my happiness.

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