Tuesday, March 02, 2010

How Can a 25-Year-Old?

How can a 25-year-old act so much like a teenager?

Well, why do we make such a distinction between teenagers and people in their twenties? Why should we expect significant changes?

Perhaps what changes people into the typical 25-year-olds is experience, not time.

The social norm is for 25-year-olds to have graduated college. They’ve spent time among their peers even freer from elder supervision than high school. They have met ideas different from those by which they were raised. Sometimes students move out. Finances tend to be handled by the collegian, including the huge monetary investment or loan of a college tuition. After college, a 25-year-old has the pressure to make good use of that degree, especially regarding earning.

Most 25-year-olds have dated. Whatever you think of that custom, it has an undeniable effect, socially and mentally. Someone who has been in even one relationship has learned to interact with a person of the opposite sex on a level that is different from any other relationship. They have also learned to analyze their future in light of that relationship.

Many 25-year-olds are married. That interaction and analysis begun in dating (or courtship or engagement or whatever) has been made permanent. They have taken up marital responsibilities towards their spouse, established a home and family of their own. Commitment is not foreign to the married; they have given the biggest gift they ever can: all of themselves for the rest of their lives.

A lot of 25-year-olds have kids. Kids are a challenge. Parenting takes effort and patience and wisdom and sacrifice, right from the beginning. And it is a guaranteed job for years to come. Parents have less time to devote to wondering about their relationships with others, to play, to dream about the future.

As a 25-year-old, I have learned a lot and changed significantly since I was a teenager. My knowledge of the world and of other people’s ideas has grown. I know myself better. God is more precious and big to me than ever. I drive a car, and manage my finances. Experiences have led me to make friends my parents have never met. PG-13 movies are no longer off-limits. School is done. Institutional church is in my past. I own a business. My friends are mostly older than 18.

But I crave commitment. I worry about the future. My social skills around (and about) men are not what they could be if I was settled in as someone’s wife, if I had built up the experience of choosing a mate and being chosen. Kids are great, but I have no idea what it is like to have the burden of raising them or the joy of being the first person on earth to meet them. I don’t know how to grocery shop or cook every day. Play is still a large part of my schedule, and it can be at ridiculous hours like 2 AM.

To God be all glory.


MInTheGap said...

Life is more a series of plateaus than a a chronological game. At each stage of the journey there are a new set of experiences that are to be weathered and responsibilities to adjust to.

It's almost impossible to behave at the level of a different plateau from the one that you're on-- and yet there's many advantages at each plateau.

As a married father of 4, I know that much of my strength and energy must be invested in those children and my wife. However, I also now realize that the time that you're in is the time for making that business, for pouring my time into service of Christ, because once you cross into the realm of a wife and mother, it'll be a long time before you'll have the time to do it-- and you probably won't have the energy you have today.

Take stock of where you are in life, and maximize it to the glory of God! (as you appear to be, just take this as encouragement!)

Lisa of Longbourn said...

Thank you, MInTheGap.

I agree with you, of course. And I think it is interesting that I have learned things, considered myself done with the lesson, then a few years later find myself back in the same theme/lesson, but deeper. Your plateau analogy made me think of that.

I do want to make it clear, however, that I do not consider serving God as an activity exclusively belonging to singles. Being a father, husband, wife, or mother IS ministry, IS serving God. And God seems to be fond of that kind of ministry.

To God be all glory,
Lisa of Longbourn

MInTheGap said...

Certainly-- God gave my wife and I 4 little "pagans" to bring up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. And if I'm not demonstrating serving God to them, why should they want to serve Him? So there's actually even more responsibility.

I'm just not able to do all the things I think I could do, and I have to be more selective into what I put my energies! Whew!