“You’re twenty-four? WOW! I thought you were older than that.” is a line I hear about once month. I never really thought twice about it until recently. My mom did a great job teaching me how to be a mature young adult and I have to give her credit for that, but there’s more to it. There’s an action behind “maturity” in your twenties and in my opinion, I think I have found the answer.
About a month ago, I celebrated my 24th birthday and it was very different than any birthday in the past. It was my first birthday married, working, away from family, and away from college friends. It was my first real, grown-up birthday. As my birthday was approaching, conversations with some of my friends in town went like this…”Oh yay for your birthday coming up! How old will you be?” “Oh, I’ll be 24.” “Are you serious! I didn’t realize how young you were!” … I guess I didn’t realize how “young” I really was either. I guess that is what happens when all of your close friends are 10 to 15+ years older than you. I took a closer look into my life and who I considered to be my close friends and 8 out of 10 were over the age of 40. Crazy huh? That’s the age of my mother, but the funny thing is my mother is one of those 10 women.
I am an old soul. I enjoy surrounding myself with women who are older, they have already been through the stages of life that I am entering, they have stories or mistakes they have made and show me how to do better than they did, they have their priorities in order, and have family responsibilities just like I do. As I look back on my younger years, I remember spending time with a 98year old woman I met in the retirement home and something about her kept me coming back for more. When I came to college, I will be the first to admit that I was not looking for a group of older women to be surrounded by. I was looking at my education, new friends, freedom, and of course, boys. Thankfully, God is a good father and he knew just what I needed for that season of my life and the ones to come. I joined a church called The Orchard and was placed in a community group. Community groups happen in the home of the leader each week. It has couples, singles, college students, males, females, senior citizens, widows, and the diversity could go on and on. My boyfriend (now husband) and I braved the first meeting together and that was the start of the “secret” I quickly learned and realized I couldn’t live my life without.
When you gather a handful of women in a home, around some yummy treats, of all ages.. you have a special ingredient to life. Sure, there is a time and place for “college girl’s bible studies”, or “singles only studies,” but the transformation you can have from surrounding yourself with women of all ages in beyond words. Its a feeling of comfort, acceptance, honesty, and vulnerability. The times I get to be around women that are older than me I feel good enough, because they show me that I don’t need to strive to be more than God created me to be, they let me in on their mistakes so I can learn and also see that even they don’t have it all together. I have a group of women that have already been through their newlywed stage, had a child or children, suffered a miscarriage, lost a spouse, been angry at God, and struggled financially. I can face the challenges of everyday life because I see how these women have successfully gotten to the other side of the mountain. Or maybe they are still climbing the mountain and letting me in on the journey. Both are life changing and a beautiful way to do life.
If you don’t have true, close friends of all ages.. you are missing out on the secret that could transform all of your days. Don’t be scared to cross over generations. Women that are older than you NEED you and you NEED them. Yes, you may have to be a little more patient as times, but the reward is priceless. This isn’t something tangible. It is a feeling of warmth, of comfort, or support that you will not find anywhere else.
I want to encourage you to make a New Years Resolution to find more friends that are older and younger. Intentionally spend time with them as often as you can. Start praying now that God guides you to the new friends He wants to place in your life. And then HANG ON… because you’re life is about to get even more exciting!