Last Friday at the Influence Conference, I spoke about young adulthood. My session was called: “If It’s Not a Messy, Winding Road, You’re Doing It Wrong. (Or, Making the Most of Your 20- and 30-Something Years.)”
I explained in my session why these decades were “messy” and “winding.”
When I say “messy,” I don’t mean that you’re a mess and your life’s a wreck. I mean that these years are complex.
I’m not a big fan of drama, but the 20s (and to a lesser extent the 30s) are pretty dramatic years. It’s because they’re full of change. During these years, we change our work, our relationships, our location, our worldview…the list goes on and on. And change is always stressful, even good changes like landing a dream job or getting your first apartment.
These years are “winding” because personal growth during these decades isn’t linear. We don’t walk neatly down the path to adulthood; we meander. We backtrack. We have different personal timetables, and that’s okay. Sometimes we might look like we’re floundering. But real growth sometimes looks a lot like being lost.
Getting comfortable with messy and winding.
You all know I’m a bookworm. Reading helps me enter others’ worlds and understand their lives. Reading helps me grasp concepts beyond my understanding and visit places I’ll likely never see. Reading is both an adventure, and a welcome introverted escape.
If you’re trying to get a handle on what it means to walk through years that are messy and winding, these books will show you what that might look like. They not only accept the mess; they embrace it. And these authors grow, but not in a straight line.
A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, Donald Miller
Don Miller’s book is about how to live a good story. And the key element of good stories that we all try to forget is that they have low points. They have conflict. They start off really, really messy. For a story to be really good, really bad stuff has to happen to the protagonist.
But if the protagonist channels that bad stuff towards change and growth, an amazing story can unfold. Miller unpacks what this means for the big screen–and what it means for your life, and mine. (Also? Only $4.99 on Kindle right now. So worth it!)
Bloom: Finding Beauty in the Unexpected, Kelle Hampton
I somehow stumbled upon Kelle’s blog one late summer night, and soon found myself doing the ugly cry at my computer as I read the story of how her second daughter, Nella, was born with Down Syndrome. But Kelle soon found–with the help of her amazing, envy-inspiring friends–that this unexpected diagnosis was also a profound gift.
Kelle’s story is messy, and winding, and–beautiful. I loved (okay, hoovered) this beautiful memoir. Read it.
These are only 2 books about the messy and winding road–I could have shared 200! What books have helped you make peace with life, when it’s not going as planned?