We’re in day what feels like 50 million of 2020. I turn 35 next week. 35. When I was 18 I figured by 35 I’d have it all figured out. I would be a “real” adult by then, with a career, a family, a size six figure.

 

Only one of those things is true. The best of all. I have a family.

 

I do not have it all figured out. Far from it. I do not feel like a “real” adult, and a career…well I have my writing. If your definition of career involves making a sizeable income where one could conduct a living, then no, I don’t have a career.

 

If your term of career is loose and crosses over with hobby, then yes, I have a career.

 

And a size six figure I, also, do not have, but after 33 years of my life (yes, I just discovered this two years ago), I realized that something on my body was a size 6…my feet. Actually, just one of them because one is a 6 and one is a 6.3. I’m not even normal enough to have the same size feet. When the man at the shoe store said, “You have wide feet, I’ve bet you’ve never been told that before,” in gest, I looked at him like a deer in headlights, and said “No, actually I haven’t.”

 

By his facial expression, he thought I was a moron. That’s cool. Isn’t the first time someone has looked at me that way. Won’t be the last.

 

Needless to say, for most of my life, I never knew I had size 6 and 6.3 triple wide feet. I wore a size 8 regular. Always had. Never questioned it because it was what it was. In reality, I wore a size 8 because my mother could not find such sizes as 6 and 6.3 triple wide at the local Walmart. No wonder my shoes always popped up in the back.

 

But, naturally because my brain is weird, the above statement opens a new pathway to an important reality, the phrase: Never questioned it because it was what it was. Isn’t that the way we are most of the time? However, this year, I have questioned many things in my life. I bet you have too.

 

I’ve questioned my role in this world, boundaries, what they are and how to establish them, how can I be the best me, how can I be a disciple of God when I still enjoy (and probably always will) cussing, the occasional drink, and crude jokes.

 

I’ve questioned why I write books, what kinds of books do I really want to write, and does it even matter anyway? I write romance (some fluffy and some not so fluffy aka TANK and STEELE) and many people like it. Some don’t. That’s cool. I’m not for everyone.

 

I’ve questioned will I ever make it in this career, or am I wasting my time and precious memories with my children chasing rainbows that aren’t meant for me? Is what I’m doing, bringing any glory to God whatsoever, because if you haven’t gathered by now, even though I am a very imperfect being, God is important to me.

 

I’ve questioned why books have to be in boxes? Not physical boxes but categorical boxes. Why can’t I have a secular book that deals with Christianity?  Why does it have to be labelled a Christian Romance or a Contemporary Romance or a Sweet Romance? Why can’t I have a book that has premarital sex and a Christian message in the same book? Guess what, I did it anyway. It’s called Love Comes in The Mourning and it’s my favorite book I’ve ever written because it’s real. It deals with people being people, warts and all. But people have a hard time figuring out what box it goes in.

 

People have a hard time figuring out what box I go in.

 

That’s okay, I do too, sometimes. But maybe we don’t belong in a box.

 

In the terms of Cherylanne Skolnicki, because, yes, I am a firm believer in life coaching, I have been suffering an identity crisis this year. Not to be confused with a midlife crisis. I still have about five more years before that joy hits me. Yay!

 

Identity Crisis.

 

It all makes sense really. By this age, I was supposed to understand who I was and truthfully, I’m just scratching the service. I feel like my life has been a life of roles. Daughter, Christian, Wife, Mother, Author, and while in a perfect world all of those should intertwine easily, in the real world they don’t always. I’ve been told my whole life what I’m supposed to do, how I’m supposed to act, and even how I’m supposed to write by an editor or an outsider.

 

Write to market, they say, so if I write something an editor or publisher doesn’t like, no problem. Hit the delete button and it’s gone. But what if I liked it? What if you might have liked it? We’ll never know. It was deleted. It wasn’t to market.

 

Throughout all of these roles I’ve been itching, clawing, and scratching to my purpose. Who am I? Why am I here?

 

Ever feel this way?

 

I hope so. I hope it’s not just me.

 

But here is a fact that I just discovered: You don’t have to have life all figured out in your early twenties. We are made to grow, evolve, change, explore, discover, love, learn and be vulnerable.  

 

In fact, in the past when I have let myself be vulnerable and tell the truths of me, I was often met with backlash and told to stifle those thoughts or emotions. “You’ll get ate alive if you post that. Don’t do it!”

 

Those voices of reason are probably and were probably right. Sometimes in written word our thoughts don’t always get conveyed properly. Trust me. I deal with words a lot. They fail us at times.

 

But what if those trusted advisors that we listen to are wrong sometimes? What if we are supposed to tell our truths-misuse of language and all- because that’s who we are? What if we are stifling the goodness that God made us to be to please a social media world? A world that doesn’t always agree with our views, and  doesn’t always care about us? Since when did we all have to agree? Whatever happened to respecting one another, loving one another despite our differences?

 

When did we ALL become a bunch of snowflakes?

 

I’m reading a beautiful book right now titled Jesus Over Everything. Chapter 3 is dedicated to loving one another and accepting the beautiful creatures God made us to be, us all to be, whether that’s quiet or loud, artistic or scientific or both or none of that.

 

So, I’m raising my glass filled with vodka and cranberry and saying a prayer of thanks to God for being alive today and having the chance to live out my truths. I’m a wife, a mom, a daughter, a sister, a friend, an author who writes sex scenes and loves Jesus. I love to cuss, and complain, drink coffee, exercise my ass off then follow up my workout with a chocolate chip cookie.

 

Here’s to 35.

 

Here is to braving new adventures, trying new things, and above all else, being completely 100 percent me. Whether that’s what others want me to be or not. Being the person God put me on this earth to be, warts and all, truths and all. Some of it will be good, some of it will be really bad, but at least it will be truthful, and I pray in the end, whatever comes out of my mouth or my fingers will bring some honor and glory to Him.

 

I dare you to do the same. Love others, be true to yourself, and be who God made you to be. You’ll be able to look yourself in the mirror so much better if you do these things, and people will love you more for it.

 

XOXO,

Erin

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