Someone once told me that she was glad to be done with her 20s.
I was 20 at the time and she looked at me with soft pity and said, “Oh man, twenties are the hardest. Just wait until your thirties, they are way better. You know yourself, you don’t care as much what other people think, it’s just better.”
I could have hugged her.
Or gotten her flowers.
Or introduced her to a puppy to cuddle.
Because at the time my husband was on month 9 out of 15 in Afghanistan and I had moved home to escape ghosts. I was acutely aware that I had no idea who I was.
My knowledge was in a state of flux, my heart was heavy with the nagging that comes with weak conviction, my soul weighed down by its own imagination. Early 20s? Those were hard.
I think everybody has growing pains.
The kind that feel like they will go on forever. The kind that make you wonder what the point of life is anyway.
Maybe my situation was exaggerated – maybe I dealt with some demons in a more extreme way than most because of how things happened (teen marriage, military orders, complete isolation within a year – my transition from kid to adult was neither smooth nor gradual). Maybe my analytical nature brought me to the scary places. Does God love me? Does He love anyone? Is He real? Am I normal? Am I sick? Is there something fundamentally wrong with me? Does everyone think these things? Can I die of anxiety? I think I’m dying.
Maybe that is not everyone’s experience, but it was mine and I know I’m not alone. And I know that there are many labels for many things, but you don’t need a diagnosis to know you’re suffering.
So to Past Krysann (and present you if you find yourself relating): It does get better.
The world is very big. It is very big and it is very loud and it seems so very dark. And you will have to find a straight line sometimes. And you will have to use your wings before they are ready sometimes. And you will have to flex muscles you didn’t know you had sometimes. And there will be pain, there will be discomfort, there will be fears realized.
But fears realized are a lot less scary than fears imagined.
Because there will also be light like lavender – less than subtle, sensed before seen. There will also be a sneaking feeling that gives birth to glorious, marvelous, breathtaking life. There will be a kindred soul that reaches out and finds you – you’ll find each other – and the dark will seem less black. There will be flashes and glimpses and flickers of hope that will catch your side eye while you wander. Then you’ll chase them – you’ll run into things, you’ll stumble, you’ll think you’ve lost it altogether and you’ll realize you are holding the Hope like a firefly. You’ll open your hands and it will ignite your world.
Because Hope is best when it’s discovered, not taught.
So hang on. Keep wandering. When the dark closes in and your chest feels tight, your palms get sweaty, remember this: Light is on its way. And it’s coming to find you so that you can find it.