My life is radically different now. I married Katlynne, my favorite woman in the whole world and my best friend, and I moved out of the residence halls into a one bedroom apartment at Pineview (the on-campus apartment complex), got my own car insurance and all that grown up stuff, and now we are settling down. Now- marrying and moving in is quite a blissful experience in many respects, but it does not come without its own set of challenges. If you have ever seen an episode of the show “Hoarders,” then perhaps you might have an idea of what our apartment looks like. It’s sometimes hard to get to the bathroom without tripping. You see, when you marry, you combine all of the belongings of both people into half of the space that either person originally had. (One thing that I have realized: we are going to have to get very, very good at space management. I mean making use of every single square inch of this place. Once we get down a good system, though, I think we can create a little more space. One thing that struck me is that once we have moved into a bigger house, we won’t know what to do with ourselves! We’ll be so used to micromanaging our space that there will be big, gaping holes of free room everywhere. But for right now, we’re living in close quarters. “Cozy” as I like to call it. And that’s ok.) ← I just like to put things in parentheses for fun. I know that it’s grammatically atrocious, I just simply don’t care.

I am really enjoying this new chapter of life. Suddenly I am a “grown-up,” as some like to call it. The scary thing is that I, along with most other “grown-ups,” am still clueless.

When we are young, our parents never do anything wrong. They have it all under control, because they are grown-ups, so they understand the grown-up world. We did not need to understand the grown-up world when we were young, it was understood that becoming a grown-up is what would enable us to function in grown-up society, like our parents. Unfortunately, I just “grew-up,” and I now know that isn’t the case. I also realize that our parents messed up, that they didn’t have it all under control, and that they didn’t understand the “grown-up” world, at least not fully. I don’t think anyone really does. In one sense, that’s scary. There was no initiation or training video or manual or anything. I was just cast into the deep end to see if I could swim.

In another sense, it’s quite liberating. There is no formula. There is no one way to conduct your life as an adult. It is wholly dependent on you. Sure, my parents and friends give me advice on what has and what hasn’t worked in their marriage, and what they could have or should have done better. That’s part of being a good friend, helping and reassuring those you love, and offering wisdom based on experience. However, it is only advice. It is up to me to heed it or not. In this sense, I am radically free to conduct my life as a grown-up in whatever fashion I wish. There is no manual, as I have just discovered. That’s such an exciting thing to find out! Life is a blank slate just waiting to be filled, and I am determined to fill it in the most beautiful way I know how. Love of God and love of neighbor as well as I can, relying on God’s grace through his son Jesus Christ, and yielding myself to his Spirit. That, ideally, is how I want to conduct my grown up life. But hey, like I said, there’s no manual.

Grace and Peace,

Jacob Given

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