Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Grown and Sexy
By Tia

I am officially grown and sexy. I turned 26 yesterday. I am now closer to 30 than I am to 20. Oddly enough, it feels better. I thought I was going to have one of those panicky moments when I realize that I’m quickly approaching middle age. But I love where I am. I’m not where I thought I would be but I guess that’s part of the appeal. Instead of being married, with a kid, working on my 4th year of medical school, I’m single, childless, with roommates, doing clinical research. (Which now that I think about it is kinda close to the medical field.) I’m finally comfortable where I am.

It took me a while though. I remember sitting on the floor in my dorm room crying after my Physics final b/c I knew that I didn’t want to go to medical school anymore. It was all I ever wanted to do. I didn’t have a back-up plan. So you can imagine, how this new revelation rocked my paradigm. I pretty much spent the next 6 years trying to “find myself.” Man, I looked everywhere. I figured if I dated the right guy, found the right major, drove the right car, weighed the right amount, the person that I was supposed to be we make herself known. The frustration that ensued from my exhaustive, unfruitful efforts was immense. No matter who I dated, what I wore, what I studied, I still couldn’t find the peace that I was looking for. I finally just had to let go. I figured out that God was shaping into the woman he wanted me to be not the woman I thought I was supposed to be. Remember when you were in pre-school and your teacher said you could make something out of the Play-do? It didn’t take long to make a snake. All you had to do was flatten it and then roll it into a long string. But if you wanted to make a bird or an alligator, you had to work with it. You had to mold it and shape it. You had to break off pieces, reshape and re-attach them in other places. Shape the side and mold the top. It took time. But when you were finished you had a deeper sense of satisfaction than that nose miner beside you with the dumb snake. That’s how I had to start looking at my life. I realized that I was a work in progress. I hate to reference this but it seems relevant here. There’s this lame-anus bumper sticker that says, “Be patient, God is still working on me.” It’s as lame as a three-legged dog, but it’s true. God is molding me and there are times when I don’t think he’ll ever be done with certain stages of my life. But I know that I have to be patient. God is not on my timetable. Few things worth having come quickly or easily.

So while I’m waiting for the next stage, I’m getting busy in the current one. It’s easy to lose your way when you don’t have a focal point. And it’s also easy to lose your perspective when you’re focus is always on you. I had to make a conscious decision to not only take care of me but to take care of others. As I set goals, I try to help others reach theirs. It takes no effort to say, “I’m going to buy a house next year/lose 20lbs/buy a new car/go to London/learn a new language.” It’s really easy to lose sight of everyone else and make it all about me, me, me. (Which is what I did yesterday, but I’ll tell you about that later.) But as I spend time with the girls that I mentor and as I get to know the women in my small group I realize that we’re all individuals but we’re all connected. There are individual destinies and there are corporate destinies. You can’t have one without the other. The more I time I spend looking at others, the more I learn about myself. (WARNING: Cheese Alert) As we break out of our self-centered bubbles, we can help other along the way on this journey called life. (Electric word: Life. It means forever, and that’s a mighty long time. Name that song.)

So if you’re going through the traditional quarter-life crisis, I have a simple 3-step plan that will help you through it.
1.Don’t Panic – It’s going to be okay. You are not a loser b/c you don’t have a career/husband/wife/new house and/or car. Odds are you’re probably right where you’re supposed to be.
2.Take some time to see where you want to go. Then take some time to see where those around you want to go. You may find that you can help them. Or you may find that you need to make some new friends.
3.Do something – Don’t just sit there pining away for what shoulda/coulda/woulda been. Find something to do. Join a book club, become a big brother/sister, learn a trade/hobby/skill, go (back) to school. Just don’t do NOTHING. (I know that that sentence is grammatically incorrect but you know what I’m saying.)
I leave you with this: People with idle minds are people who have body parts in the freezer. Don’t be that person.

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