A student worker, Nicole, in my department recently asked me to be part of a survey about age and I thought her questions were so interesting and thought provoking I decided to share my answers:
Current Age: 24
At your current age, what is most meaningful to you? What do you think about most often, and where are you focusing your time and energy?
Relationships are the most meaningful to me and figuring out my self. I have spent a couple years making sure that I understand who I am and what I am about and how to overcome my struggles to be the best person I can be. I think a lot about my future and how to create my life (meaning my job, future family, what city I want to settle down in). I spend a lot of time focusing on friendships and spending time with my family (my parents and sister). I also am pursuing education and trying to constantly improve and grow in my job.
At your current age, how has what means most to you changed in the last 10 years? How do you feel this might change in the next 10?
Well, in the last ten years I was 14-24, but I would say since about 16 I have focused on my life's meaning. Within the last ten years, I have stopped believing that college always has to equal success. I have learned that experience is also important. I have also learned that not all dreams come true, and that is okay. Life rarely turns out as we expected, but I have learned the value of creating a meaningful life within the daily activities of your life. I guess you could say that in the last ten years I have learned to value taking responsibility for your own actions and growth, which I really didn't understood even in college.
In the next ten years (24-34) I hope family begins to be my next focus of meaning. I hope that in ten years I have kids and a husband, so I'd like to think family would be my top priority and spending time with them my daily goal. I also think I will place more meaning on having a flexible job that allows me to both work and raise my kids.
Up until your current age, what has been your favorite time of life and why?
I loved high school (mainly the second half from 16-18). It was a time in life full of quality friendships, most of whom I still consider my best friends today. It was also a time of excitement, of learning who I was and what I wanted and believing it was all possible. But mostly, I think it was my favorite time of life because I was surrounded by a large support system. I had such a great, loving, and supportive group of friends, family, mentors, and teachers around me and I thrived, learned, grew and laughed a ton. I also was very involved in things, like church (worship team and leading a bible study) and school and had a very busy social life.
Considering your current age and moving forward, what decade of life do you most look forward to? Why?
I really look forward to my thirties. It is not too far away, but I think thirties represent settling or putting down roots. To me, I hope my thirties are a time of having my own family, being in a job that fits my purpose, and settling in a house where I "plan" to live for the next decade or so. I view thirties as a time of stability, security, and family. I also look forward to my sixties when I can look around me and see the fruits of my family.
What are your biggest life dreams and ambitions? Do you feel you have accomplished any or all of them?
This question is constantly changing for me. Actually, I'd say that in the last ten years this question has come to mean everything and nothing to me. My dreams have changed, mostly since graduating undergrad. My ambitions have stayed pretty much the same. My ambitions are to pursue education and do well in my job in a way that leads to more opportunities and stability. I have always had this ambition, and I have accomplished it, or am in the process of doing so. I am almost done with my masters degree and have a permanent job at a place I love with a future I can see. My dreams change by the day. Some days it is to live closer to my parents, some days to be a mom, some days to start an organization that helps women, and some days to teach. Maybe all of those are my dreams. I don't think I have accomplished any of them, but I do think I am on my way.
What is the most enjoyable and fun part of your current age?
Freedom. I love being able to make my own decisions and do what I want whenever I want. I love becoming more independent and sure of myself every day. This all happened once I got to college, but even more once I graduated and started working fulltime. I love the discovery of being in your twenties. Everything is so new and can be stressful, but also full of possibility. At the same time, the twenties are a time of being young enough to go out and have fun whenever. The twenties are a time of learning for me and I love to learn, even though it makes life that much harder and more complicated.