And, geez, I feel all kinds of high-school-angsty just writing that out and linking to that show (but I love it anyway!), but that line has felt so true to me for years. No matter where I was or what I was doing, I always felt like nothing really ever changed. Sure, I left home and went to college and that was new! and fun! and exciting! and terrifying! and all the other things you feel moving away form home for the first time. But I never felt like my life really changed. And then I moved back home and got job after job, but it was all the same. I felt like I was on this path that was kind of set out for me from birth and I was just...me. The same old me with the same old hang-ups and the same old ideas and the same old life, not even heading in the direction I thought I would, but still in the same boring direction year after year.
Now, don't get me wrong, I was not unhappy with my life, per se. I was and am incredibly blessed and loved and there was nothing "wrong" with my life. I guess what I'm trying to say is that even at 25, I felt like I was still 15, waiting for my life to start. I was waiting for something extraordinary to happen, for there to be the epiphany or cataclysmic moment that I could point to when I'm old and say, "That's where everything changed. That's when my life really began. THAT'S when I became an adult." Which is, of course, ridiculous. Very few people have moments like that.
And I will admit, a lot of this feeling was wrapped up in my singleness. I felt (and still often do, despite my best efforts to trust my sovereign God) that my life wouldn't really begin until I met the person I would share my life with. I would never have said it in those terms because "I don't need a man to complete me/Jesus is all I need and the rest will come in the right time/some other odd mix of feminism and Christianity that basically says I am a whole person with a god-given purpose that does not REQUIRE and may not include a man or a family." But I still thought it (still think it) despite my best intentions.
So year after year would pass, and October would roll around again. And this song would float through my mind and I would very melodramatically, and yet completely honestly, nod my head and think, "Nothing ever changes." This was especially difficult when I left my job on October 3, 2011. I felt like I was running backwards, away from all of the things that I wanted for my life, straight toward the same-old-same that the song poked at. When October 3, 2012 rolled around and I was still unemployed, still single, still childless, still everything I did not want to be, I ran head-first into a wall. It's October again, and nothing's changed at all INDEED.
Now, before you click away or put on your pitying hats, I have a point. I think. October 2013 is almost over, but I was talking about this with Sister and it's time to share: for the first time in nearly ten years, the song doesn't apply. And it's not just that I live in Dallas now. Or that I have a job. Or that my job is in a vastly different field than I ever thought I'd pursue. Or even that I'm
flinging myself into running headlong toward excited to start tentatively dipping a single toe into the process of becoming a foster parent. All those things are true and, at first, I thought they were the reason I finally feel so different. But they're not. Because in a lot of ways, nothing has changed at all. This should be no different than moving to college or moving home. Nothing's changed, except for ME.
For the first time, I am trusting God with every. single. step. I am reaching toward the unknown, not with fear of bad things or even expectation of grand things, but armed only with the knowledge that I serve a mighty, loving, incredible God and that my life is not my own. I don't mean to get preachy. I'm not saying any of this to convince you to "join God's team" or anything (although I would be lying if I did not say that I pray that for each of you--because the grace He has shown me is something I would love for you to experience, too).
I'm saying this because this is HUGE for me. This is mind-blowing and freeing and LIFE-ALTERING. Which is the point. My life has been altered. Finally. Not by my circumstances, not by finding the love of my life (I have not), and not by my location, but by simply trusting that God is Who He says He is. And when your life is altered by something so good, you cannot help but share it with others. October is almost over. Another one is coming next year. It might not bring with it any of the things I think it will. It might. It doesn't matter, because it's not my story to write. It's just mine to live. And I can finally enjoy the sight of leaves falling down.