Ronne Rock’s been that 20-something, filled with potential and fire. She has been that 30-something, pressed in on all sides by a society that drums its fingers and asks, “Shouldn’t you be (fill in the blank) by now?” She’s been that 40-something, embracing grace and seeing beauty in both success and failure. And Ronne’s now that 50-something, focusing on significance and depth and allowing herself to not only pursue dreams, but also dream the first dreams that she will pass to someone else to bring to life. Yes, there are more –somethings to come. She’s pursued position and she’s pursued passion, and now Ronne is sharing the 25 things she wishes she had known at 25 – from the personal to the practical. There’s a lot of road to walk in this life, and Ronne hopes to help you make every mile a valuable one!
When we’re young, it’s where we long to be. When we are old, it’s what we love to remember. There’s something so powerful about being in our 20s, isn’t there? It’s a season infused with opportunity upon opportunity. We move tassels and toss mortarboards, grab resumes, and set the world ablaze with ideas and dreams. We’re told we’re the generation who will make change happen in the world around us. And for a while, we believe we are invincible.
Until we don’t.
I remember being 25, so full of hope – and fear. I longed to make an impact, to be successful, to make my career count. I was told by every professor and mentor that I was indeed a winner, that God had a great plan for my life. But that life looked far differently than I had imagined. I had lived enough life to get to this glorious place, but not enough life to be taken seriously. I had earned a degree, but still had to earn credibility.
For most of us, the 20s are about adulthood. We struggle to pay our own bills and set alarm clocks that jar us into the reality of responsibilities that mock our age and ability. For some of us, the 20s find us reciting vows and rocking babies. For others, the 20s find us picking up pieces of dreams shattered far too quickly. We feel the pressure of life-long decisions made by brains that are still homesick for spring breaks. We see every break in the destiny handed to us by the generations that have come before – and we want to mix the mortar to repair them all.
And if I could sit down with my 25-year old self, I would say, “Even though you can’t see it – you are slaying the 20s. And they won’t last.” Yes, the 20s are a flash, a moment, a stretch of patchwork asphalt on a highway that cuts through horizon after horizon.
Now, in case you’re wondering if this is some “just wait until you’re older” diatribe, know that it’s not. Rather, it’s an honest look at how the tug-and-push of our lives is our legacy in the making. And it’s a reminder to breathe and enjoy the journey.
The 20s do not last, and that’s a good thing. Because there is something better.
We awaken in the 30s – a jarring awakening to the “tick-tick-tick” of the seconds racing on the clock. We feel the pressure to increase speed as we stumble and rise and stumble again. But we rise. We continue to rise. And we hear the voice whisper, “run again,” as the 30s drum their fingers on the counter and look at us with slight contempt.?” They are full of “Shouldn’t you be _________ by now?” expectations, and we run. We run to success. We run to make a name. We run to be the best, because we believe there is a best. There must be a best. There has to be a best. We learn to persist. And we rise again.
But the 30s do not last, and that’s a good thing. Because there is something better.
The 40s await. They greet us with a grace we’ve not yet encountered. Like the first breeze of spring on cheeks glistening with tears, the 40s invite us to sit and rest because it knows we arrive weary. We are given a glass of cool water and asked to share our day. And there have been so many days by then. We have surely tasted loss. We have surely tasted pain. We have surely been afraid. And yet we are here. We carry the fire from our 20s and the persistence of our 30s, and we bring it here. Our vision changes in the 40s, and though those who follow in our steps may say it’s not as clear, we discover a softness tucked away in a world where best is not as demanding as we thought it to be. Yes, grace makes her appearance in the 40s. She holds our hand as we extend it to others. She stands by us as we look in the mirror. She says to us, “There is best to be found right here.”
But the 40s do not last, and that’s a good thing. Because there is something better.
The 50s quietly find their way into tender places in our soul – and give us new ways to breathe and live. We turn a corner to see that the tick-tick-tick is not a clock at all, but rather a metronome, carefully offering cadence for the days that have passed and the days yet to come. If we lean in and listen, we hear a new whisper that says, “Life is beginning upon beginning and story upon story. Savor them all and let them sink deep within you.”
The grace that took our hand becomes the grace that holds us close and talks to us about our 20s and 30s and 40s – about the passion still there within us. The fire is stoked to illuminate more dreams and ideas. Yes, if I could talk to my 25-year old self, I would say,
“The 20s don’t last, but you do. It’s true, God does have a plan for your life – that you live it fully. That’s your legacy.”
And the legacy is this – that this life is not wasted, that the days of invincibility, the days stumbling and rising and running, the days of grace, the days of beginnings and the days of the unknown are all part of the change we are making in the world around us.
And that’s a good thing. Yes, that is indeed something better.