All Grown Up

 Image: Flickr user  David Goehring , "Graduation Cake Guy";  Creative Commons

Image: Flickr user David Goehring, "Graduation Cake Guy"; Creative Commons

In anticipation of our forthcoming issue on the theme of Transitions, the Ink & Letters blog is pleased to share this personal reflection on the theme by Lane Castleberry.

“What am I doing with my life?”

“Where do I want to be in five years?”

“Am I doing the 'right' thing?”

Contrasted with “normal” people who have made decisions in accordance with what seems to be a set societal, pre-determined order of operations, you all of a sudden feel plagued with a lack of definition at the ripe age of twenty-two.

College is over. Recess is history.

You search your thoughts for answers these days. They rarely come, but you can't shake the innate feeling that you are meant for something more, destined with a purpose beyond settling for “normal.”

Your faith is tested. Your faith is growing.

Somewhere in between the mess and bliss of life, you've shifted from thoughts of panic-driven, existentialist questions to a stasis full of excitement and wonder of what's to come.

Your reasoning now hinges upon this realization: there is no set bar to reach adulthood, and “growing up” never stops.

---

I've heard people tell me how college is THE place where kids transition to adulthood. As students, they find their "calling" in life, get married, and move on to a really nice job at Bob Blahblah Law—all near simultaneously.

The reality for me was none of the above following graduation. The pressure of mismatched expectations took its toll, and frankly, I was a little bit (okay, a lot) scared, that maybe, I missed my “calling,” wasn't social or daring enough with the ladies to find a wife, and wouldn't find a good job.

I have a new proposal for THE place where growing up occurs. It's in the thick of life. The great unknown. It’s the place where you are forced to explore the unfamiliar, make decisions on your own, and accept the results—good or bad.

I was asking myself who, what, when, where, why, and how quite a lot in the six months following college. I was forced to deconstruct, then reconstruct ideas and relationships; to evaluate doubts and replace them with certainties; and to differentiate truth from fallacy.

When I think of transitions in life, whether joyous or tragic, I’m often afraid of the unknown. I’m tempted to stay within the comfortable realm of what I already know.

As we all face the inevitability of change, a byproduct of time, I hope we greatly consider our processes for transitioning.

To my brothers and sisters in Christ, “be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

And to everyone, I hope you seek and discover truth each day. I hope you make decisions that shape who you are without fear. I hope you grow up well.

Lane Castleberry is a writer, musician, and social media expert from Shawnee, Oklahoma. By day, Castleberry works for Oklahoma Baptist University as their Web Communications and Social Media Coordinator. By night, he sings and plays guitar for Syntax Club, a beach pop music group. He can also be found exploring the outdoors, leading worship at University Baptist Church in Shawnee, or playing board games for far too long with friends and family.