Yesterday afternoon was spent in what seemed like our own little realm of small tasks, running around the stereotyped college town we never expected to live.
As we made the walk from the library to our car, I felt almost betrayed by the rush of rigid air forced down my throat with every step. Autumn and I must be somewhat alike, we've never been about lengthy goodbyes. One moment you're enjoying a brisk Sunday afternoon with nothing but a light jacket, and the next we're holding our hoods against the harsh wind, running across Utah Valley University's parking lot to find our car. Raw, pink fingers, the sweet, sticky smell of Starbuck's white hot chocolate, murmuring voices creating the perfect white noise for an 11;59 assignment. One thing is for sure. The weather is changing, and I like it. It feels correct, parallel to the paramount change in my life as of late.
Anyway, yesterday afternoon was busy, but the happy, brisk, together kind of busy. Jackson will laugh when he reads that sentence, he knows (and often dreads) how much happiness I find in accomplishing tasks. At the end of the night we made a quick trip to the grocery store to pick up things for breakfast, and I found myself in the bread aisle. My mind must have been on other things besides bread, because as I was skimming through white, wheat, and 100% organic, I began to tune in on the girls conversation behind me. They were clearly college-aged, giggling quietly, discussing boys and Halloween plans. I don't know what it was about the situation that triggered me, but my heart squeezed for them. My heart squeezed for me.
I remembered seventeen, eighteen, nineteen. Don't get me wrong, college was far from perfect. My first car was a 1997 light blue Subaru Legacy, the kind of car that rumbled so aggressively at stop lights, it was almost easier to cut the engine than to deal with the sideways stares. I often felt small and home-sick, out of gas and out of money. In the beginning, I felt entitled and betrayed. Where was my billboard, bed-bath-and-beyond college experience for crying out loud? And then, things began to change. I began to embrace my new life and all of the sudden change hungrily, and happily. I remembered the girl with the unruly hair who spent the semester by my side. She taught me important things like, "staying cooped up in a bedroom and writing your missionary on the weekends is pathetic and silly and look at this beautiful city you live in with all of these beautiful people to meet." She taught me how to let go a little, and I think I taught her how to hold on a little. I remember a lot of cold cereal. I remembered Syd Hill and Madi Law. Beth from England, Matt from Seattle, the Elena girls. Natawni Burrell. I remember the boys I learned things from, boys that learned things from me, and the boys I probably should have avoided. I remember packing up everything I owned into a suitcase, and traveling to Susanville, California (population almost nothing) to work on 900 acres of land. I spent the summer in a pair of cut off levi's, watching licking flames,and mountain stars. I climbed trees, mastered bull-frog and lizard catching, hiking trails, and best of all? I watched kids learn how to be kids in our world full of technology...
After running through a million memories in my head (i'm still in the bread aisle, remember?) I turned over my shoulder and began talking with the two girls. They were happy,bright-eyed, and complimentary of my cute husband down the aisle. They told me about their Halloween plans, and their current dating situations. I listened and we laughed together as I said; "I know this sounds crazy,
but there is going to be a time in your life where you'll miss grocery shopping with your roommate. So before you go getting married, make sure you enjoy this first."They looked at each other and giggled, we talked a little longer, and just as I was about to leave one of the girls asked me; "Which kind of bread would you recommend buying?" I wanted to look around and point them in the direction of someone better at being a grown-up than me, someone more acquainted with bread types and detergent types and how exactly to place a band-aid, but then I realized that it was me they were asking. I made a stab at a little bit over-priced, not too heavy organic mix and smiled as I ran to catch up with my husband.
As I slid my fingers through his, I felt overwhelmed with a gratitude for him I couldn't really express. I realized my role in life was slowly beginning to change, and again, I was ready to take it in hungrily, and happily. We're twenty one. We're young, and the world will tell us that we aren't ready, that we are sacrificing too much, that it won't last.
But they're wrong. Oh, they are so wrong.
One of my very favorite speakers, Meg Jay, states the following; "So here's an idea worth spreading to every twenty-something you know.. Thirty is not the new 20, so claim your adulthood, get some identity capital, use your weak ties, pick your family. Don't be defined by what you did or didn't do. You're deciding your life right now." Jackson is the family I picked. Intentionally, not by convenience, because only heaven (and probably everyone else) knows how different Jack and I are. But those differences drew us together. He's brings out parts of me that nobody else ever has. We've chosen each other, and as difficult as it is sometimes to let go of my pride and say sorry, there is absolutely nowhere on earth I would rather be every night than in his arms in our teeny, tiny hole-in-the-wall apartment. You see, he's my home. And I wouldn't trade his freckles, the way he listens to Lem-Mis soundtrack on the way to school, the comfort of his chest, his booming laugh and sleepy voice in the mornings.... his kindness, hard-work, patience and occasional stubborn streak. All of that is my home, and there isn't a single late-night party or cut-off levi summer that I would trade for the way it feels to have him to lean on, to trust, to share my life and deepest secrets and desires with. I feel so beyond lucky to have been chosen by him and it is such a privilege to choose him every single day.
Just give me a few years, i'll be better at this whole bread-recommendation thing, but for now i'm still sticking with the slightly over-priced, but hearty 9 grain organic. I'll let you know if that changes. ;)