Revelations: The final countdown
By Jennifer Preyss
I'm a little uncomfortable letting the cat out of the bag, but here it goes. Today, I'm 29-years-old. As many of you might do around their birthdays, I use this time of year to take inventory of my life; reflecting on where I've been, and examine where I'm going. So, for nearly a decade now, as I inch ever-closer to the big 3-0, I've felt generally satisfied with the direction of my life.
But this year is a weighty one for me. This year, is the last year of my 20s. It seems odd to think about, but since graduating high school, I've had this idea about what 30 would be like. Would I be married, have children, own a home, own a dog? Would I be happy?
Those were the things I thought once upon time, would define my happiness. I know now, they're only one small piece of a much larger life-filled pie.
A few weeks after my 23rd birthday, I met a striking Romanian named John. He stole my heart almost immediately, and it seemed for a while, marriage and family were indeed, on the horizon.
After only a few months together, he bought me a diamond ring and we soon started making life plans together - a lot of them. A few years later, Dad started putting money aside for our wedding, and John's parents were helping him search for real estate deals, so we'd have a nice home to live in after we married.
But several years together with John forced a lot of self-examination, and eventually a lot of prayer. God finally told me John wasn't supposed to be my forever. And that realization broke me ... for a very long time.
It didn't just break my heart, it changed me as a woman. I moved to North Carolina in a brash attempt to start fresh, without my love by my side. The tolls of living John-free stayed with me for a while, and it was difficult knowing I was even closer to 30 years old and starting over, alone. There were many nights of this; however, I remember thinking, "This pain is what God must go through every time we break up with Him," and that comforted me somehow.
As I look back on it now, I know I made the right decision about John.
It took many months of crying over John, but I slowly picked up the pieces and got over him. After my heart healed, I decided to make a list of goals I wanted to accomplish before I turned 30, whether or not I was in a relationship.
I penned about 25 must-see, must-do things, and at the top of the list were three essential goals: Finish my first novel, enroll in graduate school and learn another language fluently.
I'm behind on the bilingual thing, but the first two are on the horizon. I can almost touch them. But you see, the promise I made to myself that day wasn't to almost accomplish those goals before I turned 30. The plan was to accomplish them before March 26, 2012. I've made excellent headway on most of the list.
Last night I prayed about the little list I made three years ago. First, I prayed my life plans would never conflict with the plans God has for me. And secondly, I prayed that if my goals were still reasonable and pleasing to God, He'd allow me to spend the final year of my 20s making good on the essential three goals.
I'm not even one step closer to marriage or children. I trust that will come in God's timing. But, while I'm waiting for big love No. 2, I'm pressing forward with my pre-30 list. God willing, I'll make deadline.
Jennifer Preyss is a re porter for the Victoria Advocate. You can reach her at 361-580-6535 or firstname.lastname@example.org.