I’ve been wondering about writing something like this for a little while. I feel like there’s a growing amount of content being pushed out there into the world about living life as a twenty-something. So, I’m throwing my hat into the ring. I’m not sure if my words really add much depth or breadth to the thoughts of others but here we are.
Today I’m writing about staying rooted and the challenges that come with that.
Before I begin though I want to caveat with a few notices about myself. These are things that inform my words, providing a bit of context for where I’m at in the world:
- I’m 24 years-young. I’ve got a whole load of learning to do which I’m becoming acutely aware of (in a good way lol).
- I went to Glasgow University and graduated over two years’ ago. So much of the life I live is still considerably informed by that time.
- I’m a Christian and a lot of how I understand the world is through my stumbling, ever-evolving faith. (Yet, a lot of what I say might still resonate with you, even if you’re not coming from the same faith perspective.)
- Finally, I want to say that I am predominantly very content with my life. I don’t want the things I write or say to be misunderstood. I feel so blessed by: family, friends, my health, my job, the outdoors, the arts and much, much more.
But enough notices. On to the topic of today: staying rooted.
To give some context, when I graduated, I knew I wanted to stay in Glasgow. It’s a place where I’ve done a lot of growing up, made incredible pals and is full to the brim with creativity, activism and friendly people. So that’s what I’ve done. I’ve stayed.
And in the years since graduating many close pals have left, moving to other cities (and countries), sometimes out of choice, sometimes not. For many of these friends, it’s not been easy. Settling in to new (or old) routines, rhythms and social circles is hard and I massively respect them for it!
In the middle of these changes, I’ve done a whole lot of praying, asking God for direction. Questions like: where should I be? What should I be pouring my energy into? What opportunities should I be searching for? And in the noisiness of these questions, I’ve so far not felt any sort of nudge to leave Glasgow. (But I did recently feel strongly led to move to the east end and get involved in the community here. I’m honestly not sure how long I’ll live here for but it won’t be forever I’m pretty sure.)
Right now, I feel called to stay put and this has its benefits. I know others and am known at a deep level. Places are familiar and you grow into new spaces too (I’ve loved learning more about the public transport system in Glasgow haha). There are roots here. All of these things are significant and life-giving.
But staying rooted also brings challenges. It’s only recently that I’ve found ways of clarifying and articulating what these are:
- Firstly, gaps appear in your life from where people used to occupy them. I imagine it like a boat that gets a few holes in it. It can feel like you’re sinking a little, as though you need to put stoppers in them all.
- Differences develop between those that you know who are left in the same city – people move in with their other halves, buy properties, get pets, make new circles of friends. (While I was at uni, the field felt fairly level but now it sometimes feels bumpy.)
- You can feel like you’re missing out on some exciting new life you could be living somewhere else – the grass seems consistently greener. (This is especially hard when I travel a lot and get to see cool places or visit pals in their new cities.)
I suppose what I’m trying to say is that I feel called to stay rooted to where I am and who I am surrounded by. This, at times, feels hard. Rootedness requires commitment. Commitment requires obedience. Obedience requires discipline and patience.
I think we are called to stay rooted and present, even if we’re unsure about how long we might stay in a place. (This can feel particularly hard being a twenty-something when everything can feel unmoored or shifting.) But I’m willing to give it a go. I’m willing to commit, to obey, to be patient with myself.
My hope is that I can match this rootedness with openness. I want both to work in tandem with one another. For, ultimately, I want to be open to living, being and changing wherever God leads me.