This weekend, I broke from routine and met with some of my closest girlfriends for a fun night in Austin. We stopped by a really cool local cosmetic store. Then, we had Thai (red curry for me) and grabbed coffee on the way to see The Head and The Heart in concert. It was quality girl time, including conversations about our lives and really good food and wonderful music, and a little glam time on the side. I really enjoyed myself. 

And yet, throughout the evening, I had the nagging (yet alternating) feelings of "you're too old for this" and "you're too young for this."

I'm twenty-six, and life is stable and enjoyable right now. I'm married, living in an apartment, in a good community of friends and people we love/trust, and at a job I enjoy. But my twenty-six looks different than many other people's twenty-six. I have friends from college who are pregnant with their second babies, and I have friends who are single, with very active social lives. I have friends who are still in school, or going back to school, and friends living abroad, doing missions. I know people who own their own homes and friends who rent or stay with roommates. If I compare too closely or too blindly, I'm left feeling out-of-sorts in that I'm not in any of the "right" life phases. When friends talk about pregnancy or babies, I feel a bit behind. And when they talk about concerts and traveling and nights out and staying up late, I feel, well, old. The reality? I'm neither. But I'm right where I should be, I think.

I had such a fun night. I felt joyful and danced along with the music and ate good food and felt friendships grow, as they do, with shared experiences. My friend Molly and I switched vests halfway through the concert, just for fun. We took a lot of four-person selfies, because concert pictures can be awkward, and a lot of grainy photos, because despite summer temperatures, the sun does set earlier. I'm so happy I went to the concert, and also, I'm glad I have a lot of quiet nights at home. It's okay for me to desire one as "my normal" and cherish the other as a fun experience. I'm okay with living in an apartment right now and that our family means just Nicholas and I right now. And I'll be okay (and try to seek contentment) when whatever is next, comes next.

That said, discontent and uncertainty lurk around the corner in every life stage. No one is immune to it, although I might be more susceptible as a chronic over-thinker. But we can anticipate it and counter it with the truth that we all have different timelines and God created each of us very differently. His work in our lives didn't stop the day we were born. As for "normal"? Well, its a bit blurry right now, but life feels good, and we're okay. And I don't want to spend all my days wondering if I'm early, on-time, or late, rather than simply living my days for God's glory, and trusting that we have brains and hearts with which He equipped us. And we know that there is never a life stage that we will navigate without His guidance. 

P.S.—for anyone who's curious about w3ll people, you can read more about their products on their website, but as I use up my "regular" cosmetics, I'm gradually replacing them with less toxic variants (interpret that as you will, since the term "toxic" is vague, but this company has much better ingredient standards). I bought the narcissist foundation stick in 1, and the universalist multi stick in the bright berry (13), and a few of the eyeshadows, since they were BOGO. :)