Thirty…Not so Flirty…Definitely Thriving

Do you trade places? Can you read each other’s minds? Do you feel each other’s pain? Are you sure you weren’t switched at birth? Yep, we’ve heard it all. It’s the cross you bear as a
twin-sharing your identity with another person. Growing up, we were absolutely inseparable. If you saw one of us, you saw both of us. It didn’t matter that one liked chocolate and the other liked vanilla. It didn’t matter that one would talk your ear off while the other quietly observed the chaos. We were together. That’s all that mattered. Until college. We grew up and got whisked away by our dreams. Two very different dreams. Two very different single women. Both living life to it’s absolute fullest.

As a graduate of a Christian School I did what all “good Christian girls” do… I went away to a
Christian College. But to be completely honest, the only degree I was interested in was my “Mrs. Degree”. So assuming I would fall in love and get married before graduation, I became an Elementary Education major thinking I would have that degree to fall back on if I ever needed it.

Three years into college I did fall in love, but not in the way I had anticipated. It was during this year that I taught my first real lesson in a real classroom to real students. I vividly remember the moment I was teaching and caught myself smiling. Smiling because I was in love. I had fallen in love with teaching. That day was a turning point for me. I realized I didn’t just want to have teaching to fall back on, I actually wanted to BE a teacher! I had never planned to actually use my degree, but now I could not wait to have a classroom of my own.

With the exception of my Golden Retriever, my life is almost nothing like how I imagined. God clearly had different plans for me than I had for myself. Not only did I end up getting and using that teaching degree, I went to grad school and got another degree in education! And now, a few weeks after turning thirty, I am beginning my eighth year of teaching. And I am still completely in love.

Life is tricky, ya know? I grew up in a world where little Christian girls married little Christian
boys and started little Christian families. No plot twists. Don’t go off script. That’s the plan. Stick to it. Well, life tricked me…and my script looked different than I imagined. I found myself back at home, super single, and super defeated. With nothing except student loans and an ex-fiancé, I decided I had failed at life. Somewhere along the way, while trying to stay on the right path, I made a wrong turn. Now, I’m back where I started. I threw myself a private pity party (my poor family, thank God they still love me) until I realized there is no “script.” Not all good Christian girls grow up and marry good Christian boys and have good Christian families right away. There are multiple paths to the same destination-success and happiness. My success is not defined by who I’m with, but in who I am. Who I am is someone who is blessed far beyond what she deserves. Happiness is a choice. If I don’t choose it now, in these circumstances, I never will.

Nothing will ever be good enough. So I decided to live and thrive in that grace. Embrace the life I’ve been blessed with, write my own script. Fast forward a few months, I fell in love with medical missions. I got the opportunity to travel with Medical Missions Outreach to El Salvador in 2014.

My life was forever changed. When I got home and retold the tales of my adventures, I cried when I told people, “For the first time in my life, I’m thankful to be single.” Six years, six
countries, and four continents later, I’m still thankful. I found passion and purpose. The people I’ve met, the places I’ve been, the food I’ve eaten 😉, have changed me forever. I told my mom the night before my first trip, all the way back in 2014, “If ten years from now I’m married with kids, I’m gonna be glad I traveled in my twenties. And if ten years from now I’m still single and traveling the world, I’m gonna be really glad I started in my twenties.” The choice to abandon the idea of the stereotypical, picture perfect life I thought I was missing out on, and embrace this crazy, amazing life I’ve been given, was the best decision I’ve ever made. I’m successful. I’m happy. I’m satisfied. I’m thriving. I’m complete. I’m enough. I’m living in the grace that Christ died for, and I’m loving every minute of it.

Further down this winding road of single life, time together is harder to come by, but more
special than ever. Those two inseparable girls grew up (against their better judgment 😉) and became distinct, independent, successful, passionate women. This year, our whole family came together to celebrate our dreaded thirtieth birthday. As terrifying as it was, we made it through together, just like we always do. We’ll continue to do just that. Grow, change, adapt and thrive.

Together, even while we’re five hundred miles apart.

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