I never expect to, but around my birthday season I always end up reflecting on my life. I burrow deep down into some existential spiral that’s a mix of “what am I doing with my life?!” and “what have I done with my life?!” This year, it snuck up on me.
About four years ago, around this time, I was in a bad way. I was heartbroken, flat-broke, living in half of a one bedroom basement with no job or prospects. Mom was really sick and dad was almost out of the picture. Every day had a weight of anxiety and uncertainty. I was definitely a sadroot.
I think if sad 2013 Sunroot could see me now, he would be really excited. Everything looks great. I’m dating a super cool babe who is good to me. I’m getting paid full-time to work on the kingdom of God. I’m in a great seminary through the generous support of my church. I’m living in a pretty dope pad above a bustling area. My finances are more in the black than the red and by way of some generous friends, I just recently acquired a beautiful Ford Mustang GT. I am reading, writing and boxing in my free-time and I’m in the best shape I’ve been since early on in college. Everything is awesome. Young SR would be stoked, but young SR would not have known how terrifying everything is.
I’ve done and accomplished more than I could have hoped from that basement in Brooklyn. I’ve driven all throughout the U.S. I’ve backpacked through Europe based on a dream I had. I’ve compiled and published my own writing. I’ve enjoyed the freedom and independence of a man in his twenties with limited responsibility and some disposable income. Many days, I’m tempted to complain, but by the grace of God, I’m in a good spot. There’s some stability for once in my life.
All that said, the weight of uncertainty is replaced with a weight to maintain everything that you do have. I’m afraid of messing things up with Stephy, especially as we get closer to making bigger, scarier and more permanent decisions. I’m afraid at work, there’s a great burden of responsibility that falls on my shoulders to provide a spiritually nurturing environment for these youth and every day has a sinking feeling that I’m messing it all up. I’m afraid when I drive, because I’m driving stick and 400 horsepower is a terrifying power to wield. I’m afraid when I box because apparently, I forgot how to defend and I’m getting punched hard in the face. I’m afraid of my writing, because I’m not that young—I don’t have any excuses for sucking anymore.
(Me when I drive)
In the Dark Knight, when Joker is talking to the half-exploded Harvey Dent, he calls himself a dog chasing a car, and he wouldn’t know what to do if he caught it. In many ways, I feel like I caught the car and it’s terrifying. I’m sitting in the seat that I hoped I would be sitting in at this point in my life and I’m finding out that nothing could be scarier. I have more to lose than I’ve ever had and I can’t help but be nervous because by past experience, I’ve always lost most everything I’ve wanted to keep.
I wrote the above passage a few weeks ago, a few days before my birthday. I didn’t know how to end it, so I just left it floating in the cloud of my google drive. The impetus behind it really was the car. I think the visceral tangible terror of driving the Mustang provided a very present metaphor for the weight that came with the gifts of my adulthood. That post captures how I felt then.
Today feels different. I think it’s because I’m 29 now. I’m clearly older and wiser. I’ve also grown pretty comfortable driving the car. I mean I still try to avoid driving it sometimes (partially because of gas), but we’re getting along better. We’ve come to an understanding. I mean, I still can’t play pokemon and drive or anything, but maybe thats a good thing. In this small aspect of my life too, I think there’s a lesson for me to learn, which is that I’m going to carry that weight. And that’s ok.
This season of my life is challenging me to trust God in a different way. For young Sadroot, it was trusting God to get me out of the muck. For me now, it’s trusting God to sustain and grow what is already there. And if He decides to let it fall into ruin, well that’s my comfort zone anyway. There are a lot of things I cannot control, and that get’s scary when you have even more to lose than you’ve ever had. But I enjoyed driving the GT today. I’m enjoying the life I have. I like who I’m spending it with. And I get the sneaking suspicion that the best, not the worst, is yet to come.