My niece is turning 20 soon, that wonderful decade of exploring identity, building relationships, entering into the world of independence and adulthood. It can be a time of searching and experimentation; a time of solidifying who we are. My smart and hard-working niece has known since she was 10 that she wanted to pursue a career in medicine, but when I was in college, I was a bit lost about what I wanted to do with my life. I knew I like words and writing. And I had enjoyed my dad’s computing, when as kids he would bring home a console and plug it into the phone for it to speak to the mainframe at Pillsbury, where he worked.
So when I was wondering what to pursue at college, he encouraged me to be a technical writer. I signed up for some computer courses – Basic, Pascal, Fortran, and Cobol. I did okay at first, but when I got to Fortran I started to struggle. I went to see my professor when I was flailing around with the latest assignment. His words brought instant clarity: “You know Amy, I don’t think that writing code is something you really want to be doing in your free time.”
He was right, and I felt relief in dropping the computer-science minor. But I don’t regret the classes in Cobol or even my political-science major that I later embraced. I find it funny that I studied poli sci, for I’m not a news junky or a politico (as my husband, who has these proclivities, will fully attest). But God used and redeemed my choices of studies at college – my political-science major meant that I went to Washington, DC, for a semester, which turned into ten years of amazing, challenging, eye-opening experiences. My internship including working for a fabulous British Christian writer. Who knew I would later live in Britain, writing and working in Christian publishing?
So to those such as my niece who are moving into the next stage of life, I offer you blessings from a fellow pilgrim. Whether you have your path charted out or whether you aren’t sure which way to turn, may you feel freedom in taking the next step. May you feel the Father’s hand in yours, never constricting but always encouraging. May you experience joy in the journey.
If you’re well past your twenties, let me ask you this: How did your experiences of that decade shape your life?