In Between The Milestones

It’s not often that as a year begins, I can already name the major milestones the coming months will hold. This spring, I will be moving so my landlords can sell their property. Not too long after that, I’ll transition from course work in my graduate degree to writing my graduate thesis. My boyfriend and I will reach our first anniversary in a couple of months (a relational first for me). And to top it all off, I am turning 30 this year.


Even as I type that, a smile plays at my lips. I can imagine as readers you fall across a wide spectrum in how you hold 30. For those of us in our 20s, 30 typically feels like a significant number, signaling maturity and settling into life a little more. And yet, as I speak with those a couple of decades ahead of me, I hear a lot of stories about how little they knew themselves at 30; I hear about how many surprises were still in store for them. Mostly those stories are spoken with joy and a playful glint in their eyes. It’s a glint I look forward to gaining.

As I write this post from the perspective of 2019’s still sleepy January, flocked with bitter cold and snow, I feel a little overwhelmed in all of the year’s possibilities. There are just enough unknowns that I find myself struggling with how to make decisions. Normally, I attempt to make my choices based on all of the surrounding factors, but for this season, most of the surrounding factors feel in-flux, growing and evolving as I grow and evolve.

I am left asking some version of, “What do I want?” in just about every area of my life.

It’s a question I am grateful for, but one that feels a bit heavy as I sift through the desires of my heart and look to what’s ahead.

Where do I want to live next?

What do I want to do with my degree?

Am I fulfilled in the ways I spend my time?

What do I want this year to hold? How do I want to enjoy it?

What change do I hope to bring to the world? Am I on the right path to do so?

What does it mean to love well this year?

Questions. Questions. Questions.

The questions all point to a yearning I have to hold what’s now with gratitude and to bring an open heart to whatever lies ahead.

I’m turning 30, and I have to keep reminding myself: there’s room for the unknowns.

Sometimes, we talk about losing the forest for the trees. But I wonder how often I spend my time mapping the forest without ever placing my hand against the sacred bark of an actual bough. I don’t know where this year’s milestones will lead, but I do know the contours of the daily life I want to live. I know the people who bring joy to my world. I know the practices that keep me grounded. I know the foods and pastimes that bring me joy. I know the causes I feel passionate about furthering. And I know that God typically likes to work slow and calls me to cherish the beauty of the ordinary.

What if this year, I am faithful and hopeful one day at a time?

What if this year, you are too?

Katy Johnson lives, dreams, writes, and edits in a messy, watercolored world.  She’s a 29 year old, discovering her hope, her longings, and the wild spaces in her own heart.  Her favorite creative project right now is called Will I Break?, and someday, that manuscript may see the light of day.  For now, she shares her thoughts here.