I don’t know where I thought I’d be at 35. I couldn’t have foreseen I’d be here—living in a ski town in Montana, housed with a family of five in a room above their garage, working a job that gives more freedom than I could have ever hoped for, not to mention a sufficient income. The mountains are in my backyard. I have ample time to be outside and do what I love, not to mention for creativity, quiet, solitude. I can’t even say I asked for this. But I made a choice six and a half years ago that led me here. And here I’ve remained. I’ve discovered a whole new way of living, of being—one that “fits,” if you know what I mean. A place, a lifestyle, a community, a home, that fits.

Certainly, it’s not perfect. I also couldn’t have known I’d be 35 and single. Marriage, a potential family, owning a home, a traditional career, these were never necessarily at the forefront. But yes, it can be lonely at times, even though I’m good at being alone, and sometimes prefer it. And there are days I feel disoriented, wondering if I’m where I should be, doing what I should be doing, or if somehow I’ve missed it. (And then I remember the words of Brennan Manning: “Don’t ‘should’ on yourself.”)

Most of us know what it’s like to have a romantic notion of what our lives should or could look like. If only we had certain additions, it would be complete and need nothing else. And at some point—sometimes painfully—we discover that this ideal is a myth. Perfection, a perfect life, they don’t exist. Which somehow makes what we do have all the more compelling. Though some of it—or let’s be honest and say much of it—is out of our control, it’s ours. We’ve been given something, something one-of-a-kind and magical, and we choose what to do with it, how to give it flesh and live it out. Incarnation, you could call it—the skin of a gift otherwise unseen.

It leads me to mention a lesson I learn as I grow older. A quiet, hidden life full of love for who and what we have is the antidote to a restless, relentless effort for “more,” or to be seen and known and successful and recognized. Most of us know better, but still we seek it. The ending is hollow. When we refocus our attention on stewarding what already is (instead of what could be, or what we deserve), our love of it spills over from an already full cup. Although it will not be witnessed most of the world, it—this simple love—will touch someone who needs it.

I tell myself, and anyone who’s listening: This is enough.

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