Thursday, January 11, 2018

Everybody Wants To Rule The World

In this week's Hodgepodge we were asked to sum up our 20's in one sentence. I found it nearly impossible to sum up a decade filled with more change than perhaps any other in my life in one measly sentence, and decided instead I would need a whole blog post. So here we are.

I mentally scrolled through the years and took inventory of what all transpired in my life between the ages of 20 and 30, and while I remember it as chock-a-block full of fun, new experiences, and a mostly light heart some of the biggest decisions of my life were also made in this decade. Those decisions included who I would marry, what sort of career I would have, when should we start a family, and where do we want to be in ten years.

Actually that last bit we probably didn't think about as intentionally as we tell our 20-somethings now to do, but if you'd asked us back then our answer would have been simple and straight forward. We wanted to be moving forward. Always moving forward. Ahead of where we are now. That was our expectation and I think it's safe to say most of our friends had similar expectations.

We wanted a house, children, meaningful work, and a thriving marriage. The way to make that happen was nose to the grindstone, work-save-throw in some fun, but definitely keep your eye on the ball with the ball being your future.  Now that might sound predictably boring but I assure you it was not. It was a million happy-hard-hilarious-humbling moments that grew us into the people we are today.

Here's my 20's in a nutshell-

Met hubs
fell head over for his devilish charm and the way he made me laugh
graduated from university
working girl
married and moved-new city
moved and married-new city and state
bought first house-new city only
bought second house
moved-another new city and state
birthed a baby who today has a baby
and surprise! moved-still another new city and state

I was looking for some pictures to include and y'all we just have so many awful pictures from those years. The people are far away and teeny tiny or out of focus and their eyes are red or closed or rolled sideways. And there's a lot of junk in the pictures. Why didn't we ever neaten up the table beside us or the floor in front of us or wait until that random stranger exited the shot?

Because we just didn't. People who took the time to do that when I was in my 20's were called professional photographers.

I worked and had three different employers in my chosen profession in my 20's but I loved this assignment best-

I was a speech pathologist in a public school setting (a preschool) and it was rewarding on so many levels. It might have been three decades ago but I still remember nearly every child from that particular school placement.

On a lighter note I wore bows in my 20's. If your 20's were the same decade as my 20's you likely wore bows too. This particular bow was not attached to the blouse either. You could buy them separately kind of like we do now with scarves, and tie them on any old blouse or top. This picture also reminded me of my love for electric rollers which I used every morning before work way back when.

Also I miss my 20-something skin. Carry on.

1985-Washington D.C. on the 4th of July. A whole lot is going on with that group behind us but maybe you didn't notice because you were distracted by the size of my glasses? It was really hot this particular day which might explain why all those boys in the backdrop have their shirts off.

My girls have seen a picture of me in this outfit and ask if I still have it because rompers are once again a thing. For the record I do not. Hubs and I had been married one whole entire complete year in this picture. I loved being married. I was never that girl who wondered if she wanted to be married or not.

Hubs and I share a birthday month and I found these two pictures taken at my mom's house the year I turned 26 and hubs turned 27. Look how excited we are to be getting a STEAMER!!

And a BBQ GRILL!!  

We're not acting either. We were genuinely thrilled because we didn't go out and buy non-essentials for ourselves in our 20's. We asked for those things for birthdays and Christmas and our families generously obliged. Many meals were cooked on that Weber grill, and it lasted nearly 20 years.

I guess I don't need to point out that tanning was a thing in my 20's. Real sun, not sunbeds or salons but still my 50-something self wishes I'd slathered on a little more SPF back in the day. I'm also loving that stereo cabinet in the background of this picture. Technology didn't move at the speed of light like it does today so adding anything new to your home technology wise was kind of a big deal. I don't remember what year my parents bought that, but I can tell in this photo it's still pretty new.

And here I am 4 months pregnant-

I was working full time and when I wasn't working I'm pretty sure I was sleeping. Hubs would say some things never change-ha! That pup lying beside me is the first dog hubs and I had as a married couple because getting a dog is mandatory in your twenties. She was abandoned as a puppy, left behind our house, so she had a few 'issues'.

You maybe can't tell from the picture but she was still figuring out how to behave indoors. AHEM. She loooved to chew things...the carpet, the arm of the sofa, the linoleum in the laundry room... yeah. Wasn't sure we were going to survive her puppy years, but of course we did and she lived and was loved to the ripe old age of 16 so well beyond our 20's.

Now here's that baby I mentioned-

People sometimes see a picture and say wow that feels like only yesterday, but when I look at this it feels like a lifetime ago. Maybe that's because baby girl has a baby of her own now or maybe it's because it really was a lifetime ago. Let's see if this next sentence makes your head spin like it did mine-

My daughter is 8 months old in this picture and I'm the age she is now. Huh???

I look so happy in this picture and I'm pretty sure it's because I was. So happy. Motherhood was everything I imagined it would be and a thousand things more. The sweet soft essence of the baby girl in this photograph is still so real and present in the grown up woman she is today. God is good like that.

My 20s were a decade of enormous growth and change, but I'm not sure I ever acknowledged that while I was actually in my 20s. I was always just doing the next thing which I think is pretty good advice for anyone struggling in any season of life. Do the next thing. In my 20's that meant finishing college, graduating, getting married, having babies, raising babies.

There is one thing that rings true in every decade of my life and it's that God always makes me ready for the 'next thing' with the 'what's now'.

In my 20's the 'what's now' was a whole lot of change. Change has most often been the medium God uses (and continues to use) to accomplish His purposes in me. I'm always resisting a little or a lot, but in the end there's a very deep sense of gratitude for the roads He's led me down.

In my 20's those roads were filled with so much new. A husband and baby for sure, but other relationships too- friends, jobs, neighbors. My 20's found me navigating new places too, and figuring out how things are done in different parts of the country. I had to extend myself often when what I really wanted was to pull the covers over my head. As a result I grew in confidence, discipline, intention, and most of all faith, which as it happened were all things I would be needing in later decades.

While I didn't take note of everything I was learning in the moment one thing that was crystal clear to me before I hit 30 was this-whatever road I'm on I am never alone. There is grace for the day and strength to be had for the asking.


  1. Thank you for sharing your 20s with us, Joyce. I can see now how one sentence would not do it for you! Beautifully written and even more beautifully lived!

  2. Your 20th were quite different then mine and also I didn't move that much but from 25 on when I married it's nearly the same, except I had a boy (still have) and always cats instead of a dog.

  3. What a sweet walk down memory lane.

  4. We had very similar 20's - met at college, married, 3 moves to different states (Texas, Tennessee and Michigan),, 3 homes, 3 jobs (in advertising) and pregnant at 30. I wouldn't change a thing, especially the moving away from family. We were a team of two and it was a good start to marriage.

  5. Thank you, Joyce. We are of a similar age. Oversized glasses, bows on your blouse. I wore suits with enormous shoulder pads. We all wanted to look like a Joan Collins.

  6. I was in Washington DC on the 4th of July 1985 (lived in nearby Virginia suburbs). We probably saw each other in the crowds but nobody introduced us! (smile)

  7. I'm with you on all that happened in our 20's. It was quite a mind opening experience to go back and see all that took place. But by the grace of God...
    You experienced so much and survived well. So good to have God in your life for these times and all times!