Today is my 30th birthday! As is my habit, I thought I’d share some reflections on the past and some hopes for my future.
This year, I find myself looking back not only on the past year, but on my twenties as a whole. I recall that, upon entering my twenties, I thought that my twenties were going to be far different than they were. I was convinced that, in short order, I’d be working full-time, and living my best life with a wife and kids. Needless to say, THAT was not how things turned out.
Much like my teen years, I am grateful for my twenties as I grew and learned so much–but I would not want to relive them. My twenties were a roller-coaster. I (slowly, and with much internal wrestling) became Christian; I graduated university, attended and graduated college with distinction; struggled to find employment and fulfilling work; moved houses several more times; and continued to experience increasing loneliness, and a distinct lack of romantic relationships that I so desperately craved. I was also diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, which became the “framework diagnosis”, started studying Chen style Tai Chi which soon became key to my identity; got baptised and became a full member of the United Church of Canada; and got my first car as a primary driver.
Overall, I developed the previously untapped leadership potential that had been identified as far back as elementary school; I became confident, comfortable, and at home in my own body; I found the confidence level I had so long sought, and I became comfortable with who I am. I now have a part-time job, doing fulfilling work; loving friends and family who support me through the good times and the bad; and a greater self-knowledge, self-control, and confidence than ever before.
As I go enter my thirties, my main hope is to find a romantic partner to journey through the rest of my life with; to create a house I can truly call home; and to have kids of my own and start the adventure of parenthood. There are significant challenges to this, in terms of economic resources, and my own unique character traits, skills, personalities, and weaknesses. Yet I remain hopeful that these challenges can be overcome.
Most of all, as I look to the days, weeks, months, and years, ahead, I know that there will be highs and lows, losses and grief, struggles and challenges right alongside the moments of joy, the reasons for hope, the practicing of love, compassion and faith. I also know, and am deeply grateful for the fact, that my twenties have prepared me for navigating through the full range of human experience, the good, the bad, and everything in between. For while I may not be able to find a sustained state of happiness and contentment, I have developed the skills and strengths in resiliency to navigate my way through the wild, wild forest that is life.
Thank you all, who have journeyed with me thus far, and who will continue to journey with me in the future!