2006. I turned 16 and got my driver’s license without taking a driving test. I drove my mom’s minivan around flower mound and hoped that magically no one would see the giant “CHEER – BAILEY” sticker on the back and know that it was me in the minivan. Occasionally my dad let me take the convertible. Those were the best days of my year. My life consisted of wasting time with my boyfriend and thinking the world was against me. All I wanted was to leave Texas and write books and smoke cigarettes. But not necessarily in that order.
2007. I turned 17 and no longer had a legal curfew. The boyfriend, books, and cigarettes remained. And the convertible was still the highlight.
2008. I was 18. I was graduating and I finally had my own car. I was the captain of the varsity cheerleading team. And I hated everything. I left Texas. I wrote no books.
2009. Freshman year of college. My roommate was weird and ate so much bacon that it took years before I could enjoy it again. I lived in Alabama and realized that classy girls didn’t smoke cigarettes or have belly button rings. I conformed. I also bought pearl earrings and met Jesus. Not necessarily in that order.
2010. I wanted to transfer colleges. Maybe to seminary. Maybe to Texas A&M. Maybe to England. I definitely did not want to be a business major. I still just wanted to write books. I lived in sorority housing and for the life of me could not figure out why. I dated a Christian boy for the first time and it went horribly. I loved Jesus but in a way still kind of hated everything.
2011. I broke my femur and almost died because of a tree. I chose to major in accounting for no real reason except that I was good at it and felt a little high when my assets equaled my liabilities plus equity. I dated another Christian boy and it also went horribly. I spent half the year bound to my bed and a pair of crutches and learned about the Lord’s sovereignty and grace.
2012. I spent a semester in Dallas auditing ExxonMobil’s financial statements. I accepted a position in the masters of accountancy program and a full-time job with PwC to follow. I walked a stage and turned a tassel and felt pretty weird doing it. I started a part-time job as an accountant for Auburn University. I still just want to write books. Most days I don’t, but some days I still hate everything.
Years keep trolling by in their muddled and finicky way. I feel like I’m 17 but am somehow a 22-year-old college graduate with a full-time job in public accounting waiting on me. I eat enough banana baby food to warrant my own Gerber commercial and yet use phrases like “fiduciary funds” and “when I was in undergrad.” I go to college bars and feel old. I go to work and feel like a toddler. And I keep waiting for the moment when it’s all finally real and normal and right – when being 22 and dating someone with a full-time job doesn’t feel like watching someone else’s life – when being an accountant and having a titanium rod in my leg isn’t such a ridiculous joke – but it’s not really happening. The other shoe isn’t dropping. And I kinda think this is it. And I kinda think when I’m 40 and, God willing, having a husband who actually wanted to for some reason spend his life with me and use my super jacked up genetics to make little people, I’m still going to feel like a 17-year-old wishing it was socially acceptable to wear converse as a mom.
Life is just happening. And it just keeps happening. And it doesn’t seem to wait for you to process it all or be okay with it.
That’s probably not news to anyone else but it’s really starting to resonate here and may I just say that I don’t like it very much?
Our God is a good God and my life is not about me so watching his will unfold should be something I rejoice in. And there are certainly moments in which I do. But, forgive my honesty in saying that there are also moments in which I am sans converse, sans published novel, calculator in hand, and slowing metabolism in clear sight and I would like a big fat do-over.
2007 Bailey would’ve been in Portland or Charlotte or Chicago eating toast and drinking black coffee and writing books and weighing 115 pounds. But 2012 Bailey is in small town Alabama making Excel spreadsheets for university rebates and taking classes called Tax Research and Governmental Accounting and carrying a 115 pound backpack around campus.
And there are blessings – so many of them – all along the way. But some days it’s hard to see them past the calculator.
I’m all about moving forward. But I guess what I’m trying to say is, if you see me donning a new pair of converse some time soon, chalk it up to my quarter life crisis. Because I might just be having one.