Saturday, April 14, 2012

In My 20's, I Didn't Know I'd Feel Discontent With My Dreams

When I entered my 20's, no one ever really told me that you don’t have to take the typical route! Fortunately, I have parents who have always been super supportive of me, allowing me to try five gazillion different activities as a kid until I found my niche. Turns out I am still doing that through my 20’s. I am 27 now and so far, the 20’s for me has been one crazy roller coaster. 

In high school, everybody tells you, “Reach for the Stars!” “You can do whatever you put your mind to.” You know, the usual inspirational comments teachers give their students. But, I couldn’t help but notice I was no more a student then I was a cow being corralled along with my peers into the “College” meadow. So I followed. I even declared a major and played intramural sports, but halfway through my freshman year I realized this was so not me. 

Some of my professors tried to talk me out of it, but I had my mind set. I applied to do a missions school in Brisbane, Australia the following Fall. My parents supported me under the condition I pay off my college debt before I went (GOD BLESS THEIR SOULS! I am so thankful for that condition!). About six months later I was on the start of my counter-culture education track. I traveled as a missionary. 

I started a local music festival. I volunteered A LOT, whether at a TV station or as an event manager for dance crews, artists or musicians. I took courses of interest, like Leadership or Organization Resource development, at schools that were field focused. I did this for about four years and all while being single. 

Then came the haze. In walked this adorable guy and after almost a year as friends, we were totally hooked! I spent another year abroad, dating via Skype and letter writing. Nearing marriage, I decided to move back to the states, living in Pennsylvania and then finally moving out west to be in the same town as Dustin. In the three years I lived there, I married Dustin, volunteered two of my summers to train and take college students overseas on missions and worked as a youth coach as well as working at a non-profit organization, Light Gives Heat. 

Then, this past October, my husband got a career opportunity in Nashville and so it once again became time to move, this being move #9 since graduating high school

This leads me to my second thing that nobody told me about my twenties: You have to choose to live with contentment in any route you take. I chose the unconventional road of schooling. Instead of sitting in a classroom, the world became my classroom. I learned soo much during those years and so much beyond just education. I loved learning this way. 

But as I lived my dreams, I became envious of others. With every move, my “dream route” was getting super tiring. You know that John Mayer song, “All we ever do is say Goodbye”? That song could be about my life! My "home" was spread around the world and I didn’t have access to it as often as I liked. My friends were now scattered all over and I missed them dearly. But you're not supposed to have discontentment in your dream life, right? Wrong. My biggest lesson in my 20's is learning how to be content right where I am.
There are going to be sacrifices either way you go. The grass is not always greener on the other side. I remember talking to someone, who had gone the college to marriage route, about how they thought my life was so exciting. I remember distinctly thinking that, to me, their life actually seemed way more appealing as they had stability. They had friends and family around them all the time. They had a consistent paycheck and could afford little luxuries. 

I wouldn’t trade the route I chose to take, but I have learned that what seems glamorous at first isn’t always the case. No matter what path you choose to take in your 20’s, you can’t escape hardships.

So allow me to be be someone who told you that the 20’s can be super exciting! 
You can achieve things that don’t seem possible as a teen, but you also have to be prepared to sacrifice. If you want to work at a non-profit, be prepared to work harder then you are compensated for. If you want to have a job that travels all around the world, it will be incredible but don’t be surprised when you miss your friends and family and eating out loses its luster. 

As pessimistic as this sounds, I actually say this so that you can prepare to be optimistic when these hardships come your way, because they will! Optimism is part of what has gotten me this far with no signs of stopping! Move #9 has been dream turned reality, but not without it’s own set of struggles to overcome! 

Stay positive, be humble, work hard and go for it!

-MK, From the Guest Room
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