By Hailey Joy Scandrette
The space for reflection and reorientation that comes with the new year and a holiday break from my ordinary rhythms has been both more welcome, and less comfortable this year than in previous seasons of my life. When I was younger my year-end reflections consisted of a list of my “lasts” and “firsts” of the old and new years. I’d write down the last thing I ate, the first person I hugged, the last thing I said, the first song I heard, and so on, in an attempt to capture the transition between the years.
As an adult, transitions have become far more complicated (and less fun to document). Usually the shifts in my life don’t line up neatly with the Gregorian calendar, but for whatever reason, this year the shifting from one year to another is loudly echoing a much greater shift that I can feel pulling me into a new and different chapter of my life.
I am not comfortable with change and I never have been. When I was 7, I once cried for an hour because my family decided to replace our worn-out couch with a new one. I would like to believe that I have learned to accept change somewhat more gracefully in the past 14 years, however, that doesn’t mean that transitions come naturally or that my first instinct isn’t to push back and pretend that I can grow without discomfort.
In the final weeks of 2015 I began to be acutely aware that I am on the edge of another large transition. This year I will finish college, thereby coming to the end of the well-organized, clearly laid out path that I’ve been on for the past three and a half years. The plan after that is fuzzy at best and filled with gaps and giant questions marks. While the larger vision for the kind of life I want to lead and the kind of person I want to be is clear and constant, the details of how that will look are a complete mystery. I feel lucky in that, thanks to how I was raised, I have a lot of faith that my material needs will be provided for, however, it is far more difficult for me to trust that I will find community and relational support in the midst of the upcoming transitions and adventures.
Not knowing where I want to live, who my friends will be, whether or not I’ll feel lonely or isolated, etc., is frustrating and incredibly uncomfortable. But at the same time I am somewhat comforted that through all of that I feel a clear call to growth. As much as I’d like to pretend otherwise, it seems obvious that learning to live with uncertainty and trust in God’s plan and provision, particularly provision for my emotional needs, will be a large part of the next chapter of my life. As I accept that this is what I am being called into, I am faced with the challenge of determining how to live with intention and focus in regards to my values, purpose and relationships even in a phase of intense transition and unplanned opportunities.
As I contemplate practical steps to support this growth, I am practicing sitting with uncertainty and consistently reminding myself of the simplest truths of my existence: that God has a plan for my life, that I will be given countless opportunities to use my skills and talents to love others, and that I am deeply beloved and cared for.
Author Bio: Hailey Joy Scandrette is a senior at San Francisco State University studying US History, and Counseling. When not ears deep in primary source analysis and note taking, she enjoys thrift shopping, writing, climbing trees, and going on long walks with her friends and family. She is passionate about social justice, living incarnationally, loving and serving others, and almost anything else that she has any opinion on.