Life Changing

4:15 PM

"I'm 17. I'm 17!"

Back when I was in middle school, Aaliyah suggested that Age Ain't Nothin' but a Number -- but respectfully Aaliyah, I have to disagree. If you've ever seen my favorite movie, Never Been Kissed, you'll remember and appreciate the reference I made above. How old am I?! My girl, Josie Grossy struggles hard as she switches from her real age, somewhere in her twenties, to her reporter-under-cover-age, 17. And that's because age is significantly more than just a number. It's an identifier. It's who I am.

I realized just about a month ago, when I received a random survey in the mail, that I was readjusting. I guess I knew that already, but it was the survey that cruelly inquired about my age bracket, that rattled me. "I'm in a new age bracket," I said aloud. 18-24 is who I used to be. 25-30 is who I am now. And who the eff is that? I'm not ready for this! I am changing. My life is changing.

It was just yesterday, during a mundane ride in his car, that Ryan and I had a brief conversation about life changing events. Things that change you forever and make the sky fall. People who enter your life, people who leave your life, people who make you different for always. Relationships -- rocksteady and broken. And maybe even aging. It was such a small conversation, it was largely forgettable, but it was jarring.

I'm struggling right now -- the sky has fallen hard. I'm struggling predominantly with my own self-identification, but I'm also struggling with relationships. I've always struggled with forgiveness and I can sense a long battle in front of me. And what's more,  I already feel the weight of silence. Somewhere along the way, I've managed to learn the ability to differentiate when and where my voice is needed. I know that, in this scenario, not only is my voice unnecessary, it's inappropriate. But that doesn't eliminate the power struggle I feel, which will beg me to speak. Some transgressions are not our own to forgive, which is tough because sometimes people hurt you the most, when they harm not you, but the person you love.

Life changing. It is hard to accept that there are things that I cannot change or alter. I cannot change my age, only my perception of who I am because of it. I cannot change relationships that are out of my control because I can't make people love each other the right way.  What I can do is acknowledge that when relationships come along that change you forever, sometimes the bad ones change you as much as the good, and sometimes the change is equally as positive.

Change is inevitable. My Oma owned it last week when she reminded me, "time never stands still, Jennifer. Not in good times and not in bad." That's frightening and comforting, all at the same time, but the implication is this: nothing will  last forever. Not betrayal, not happiness, not hurt and anger, not joy and not bliss. No matter what, thanks to life and time and change, these things fade one into another, over and over again. And what a blessing. Dressed in Sherlock-evading disguise, even the bad life changers are a blessing. Thinking about the things that have happened to me, the bad life changers that have held me in deep distress, always a valuable lesson at the end to make it worth the journey.

So yes, life changes. Again and again and again. I am looking towards struggling through the next several weeks, coming to terms with the life changers that have come at me recently, and knowing that there are always more lurking around the corner. And who knows, maybe there is a good one thrown in there somewhere.

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"If we can't....stop the aging process, then we're obligated to make the most of what we have, and the best way to do that is to expand the depth of our experiences. Do we want to spend the next 30 years on the couch, waiting to see who wins America's Next Top Model Cycle 45, or do we want to fill our lives with a million new experiences, even if sometimes they're unpredictable or scary or take effort?" - Jen Lancaster, My Fair Lazy

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