More Than White Picket Fences

(Photo by Selma Komisky)

More Than White Picket Fences

By Michelle Ochen

If only we could have the knowledge of our 80s but the body of our 20s right? Imagine how different we would live our lives if we had the wisdom that comes from living life and could look back with hindsight view. Unfortunately that is not reality, we must navigate through this life, but there are tricks we learn along the way that we can look back on wishing we knew earlier. If I were to write to my younger self, I would let the young me know a few things…

“The picture you have in your mind of how your life will look by 30 probably will not be what your life looks like at 30, and that is OKAY.” I had it all figured out, the wedding planned, the children named, the house with the picket fence that we would be able to afford by our 30s and the career that would bring fulfillment. I bet many of us have a picture in our mind of where we would like to be by our 30th birthday. All the while, 30 is just around the corner for me and I have none of those things figured out apart from a man I’m committed to and a baby boy that surprised us soon after marriage. I’ve held onto that picture in my head of how I thought things would look and found that holding on causes you to miss out on holding onto what is reality. Letting go of the picture in our head means letting go of control, a hard thing, but when we stop trying to paint the picture of how we think things should look, God is then able to paint the masterpiece that He has seen all along.

“Failures are never the end, although they feel like it in the moment”. Ever made a big mistake and felt that you ruined everything? That your whole life is now going to take a different course and you are the cause of it all? Oh the drama we can create in our heads! I would remind the younger me that every failure I have come across has become a opportunity for new lessons, growth, and humility when committed into God’s hands. Humbling experiences can raise you up when you come under them and receive the lessons they offer. Failures are never the end, but usually the beginning of something new.

“Stop taking yourself so seriously, remember to laugh.” Sometimes we get stuck in a mindset of trying to be mature and proving to those around us that we can handle it all. We take ourselves so seriously that we forget to have fun. I spent much of my 20s trying to prove to people that I was older than I was, never wanting to hear the phrase, “you are so young” or “you will understand when you are older.” I wanted to be the older with the understanding and wanted people to consider me mature. Not a bad aspiration, but many things and lessons in life simply come with time and age, they come from living, and when we are so focused on acting mature we can forget to be our own age and laugh a little at our own mistakes. I would remind the younger me to enjoy the age I am at, and know that the clock is always ticking and one day I will be older, but for today, enjoy where you are and have some fun.