I am 32 years old.
I have no kids, no spouse, no graduate degree, no house, no car. I left an enviable job in Congress with a steady paycheck and dental insurance for the mangy work of building my own little business.
If people ask me about me – usually at weddings or parties, usually with drink in hand – I tell them. Their heads tilt and eyebrows wrinkle up. They drink their drink and they think. I fall outside what 32 looks like to them, and they’re not sure where to place me.
I want to touch their arm and say, Yeah, me too. I don’t know my place either. And then I want to say, And that’s okay.
Because who knows what 32 or any time in life looks like? And who gets to decide?
Outsourcing the decision to conventional wisdom is like throwing our freedom to the wolves. Which I’ve done. And what I got in return was knowing my place and the certainty that affords.
Insource that decision to our gut, our still, small voice, and life swings open to uncertainty, feeling like an outsider, wrinkled up eyebrows. But there’s grounding, too. Maybe some of the only real grounding in an ungrounded world: the grounding of knowing we’re living our own life.
Even if we have to decide anew each morning. Even if it doesn’t look like other 32-year-olds or 57-year-olds or any-year-olds. Even if people don’t know where to place us.
Despite all the world’s even if’s, we’ve decided to live our life. And the wolves won’t get our freedom.