Friday, July 24, 2015

"Real Life"

Recently, a good friend of mine from high school asked me "is real life everything you thought it would be?"

I found this question to be a little confusing, so I answered her by saying (among other things) "just because my life is relatively straight and static doesn't make it more real than yours".

To understand this exchange, you have to understand where this friend and I both are in our lives. I have recently graduated a master's degree program, have a 9-5 desk job (that I love, but it's a "standard" job), and a husband (of-three-weeks). A year from now, I will (most likely) be in the same job, in the same house - "static". My friend is currently living in France, taking whatever cool opportunities come her way, and has no idea where she will be a year from now.

But that doesn't make my post-college life "more real" than hers. There's this false perception among college students that "this isn't my real life, this is school". And yes, it is different to be a summer intern and to know that at the end of August, if your job is boring, you'll be leaving. But at the same time, your summer internship is a real taste of what your full-time career will probably look like - if you don't like it, then you should change your major, or something.

Besides my adventurous friend in France, I have other friends doing other non-traditional things - running their own photography buisnesses, teaching in Texas when we grew up in Maryland, and working for a Maryland state delegate. All of those jobs don't follow the "traditional" time table, but we're all still living real life. We've all been grown up and out of our parents houses for a while.

In all honesty, my life is changing and will change just as much as theirs. Real Life is happening to everyone - to my little sister, who I just realized is starting in our church middle school youth group in the fall, or my other sister who just turned "sweet sixteen", and maybe most importantly to yet another sister headed off to college in the fall. Growing up as a child was not fake life. You'll keep growing up, and growing up, and facing new things. Even my mom and dad are still "growing up" as they learn how to handle my Dad's ever more complicated cancer.

If you have the attitude that "this is not real life" and "I'm just waiting until X", then you will look back with regret on that time you "wasted" thinking that it didn't count. Like the lyrics to the Chris Rice song, "Tick Tock", you gotta learn to live today.

And for those of you who are still wondering - yes, my "real life", from 1992 when I was born up until now - has been just as fulfilling and interesting as I would have wanted it to be. :)

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