“Oh, to be your age again” my mother commented to me the other day. I’m positive she’s not the first mother to look at their 21 year-old daughter and yearn to experience that youth once more.
When my mother looks at me she sees a young woman doesn’t know what it’s like to have crow’s feet, stretch marks or a wedding ring. She sees “fresh starts”. Despite Jennifer Garner’s prayers to be “thirty, flirty and thriving”, I imagine that most people would like to relive their twenties. I mean the store is called Forever 21 right?
That’s just the thing. I have my whole life ahead of me; that’s just as scary as it is exciting. I’m going into my senior year of college this year. A lot can happen in one year, but as of right now I’m not sure where I’m going to be after graduation. There’s no job offers on the table, but graduate school is not looking too appealing at this moment. Moving back home might be the most financially-sound option available; however I’ll be the first to admit that it is definitely not the most desirable alternative to a college graduate seeking to “spread her wings.”
My mother doesn’t remember what the “not-knowing” feels like. I probably won’t remember when I’m her age either; I’ll find myself uttering that same phrase to my daughter as I’m sure has gone on for generations. If everyone is dying to be this age again, I should relish every moment of this coveted stage of life. After all, you’re only young once (unless you’re Dorian Gray;).)
I know we shouldn’t care about the way people view us, but I must confess that it does cross my mind occasionally. As I approach my senior year of college, I think back to what the seniors looked like when I was a freshman; they seemed so “together”. I would listen to them nonchalantly mention student teaching and working, and I just sat there, dreaming about the days when I would be a senior and my life would miraculously fall into place; I would get to speak about these scary, daunting feats in a confident “been there-done that” tone.
Now I am that senior. I look in the mirror and wonder why this wisdom and confidence hasn’t arrived yet. The thought of standing up in front high-schoolers and teaching them anything makes my legs tremble just like it did my freshman year. I’m twenty-one years old, and I have yet to pass my driver’s test; I mean most sixteen year-olds in America have me beat with that one. “There is no way any freshman looks at me and thinks ‘oh man, she’s a senior; she’s got it all figured out’” I think to myself as I still stand in front of the mirror. Maybe there is. I don’t know what people think after all.
“What do people think of me?” I wonder again. As I mentioned earlier I’m aware that what people think of me shouldn’t matter. I know we live in a society that thrives on the “I-don’t-care-what-anyone-thinks-of-me” mentality, but you can’t deny human nature. Approval is a basic human need. I mean I just want to live in such a way that when my name comes up in conversation people don’t have a disgusted look on their face. Haha. Then I found the answer.
“Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart; so shalt thou find favor with God and man.” Proverbs 3:3 &4
“And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” Luke 2:52
“When a man’s ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.” Proverbs 16:7
The reference were a little vague and random, but they spoke to me. This whole time I was looking in the wrong place. It’s not wrong to want approval; it’s wrong to make your decisions based on the approval of others and how they will view you. I should be seeking the approval of God. If in the future there is a girl that looks at me and thinks I have it all together; I will have to tell her my secret: it’s God holding me together by a seam.