Three 20-something women trying to figure out what it means to be lay, Catholic, and modern all at once.

December 21, 2009

The Feminine Countdown

I am a sucker for end-of-the-year countdowns. Seriously, give me any list of things in countdown from the previous year, and I'm content. A major guilty pleasure!

This year, many people are not only thinking back over the year but over the past decade. Can you believe the first ten years of the 2000's are behind us? I thought it might be fun to think back over these years and to think about how my experience of my own femininity has changed.

When the decade began, I was halfway through my high school years. Ah, those were interesting times. I was really driven and putting a whole lot of pressure on myself. Beauty consisted in watching everything I ate so that I was rail thin, and I would have given anything for my crushes to think of me as more than the nice girl or the smart girl. Miraculously, I emerged from those years as a poised 18-year-old, confident that the next four years of my life would be life-changing. And were they ever.

My college experience is something that I will be thanking the Lord for for years to come. It was there that I first treasured my filial relationship with God as my Father, where I encountered lifelong friends who were also aware of their faith journeys, where I met several men who formed my heart, where I studied the deep truths of history and of my faith, and where I was surrounded by nurturing professors and peers. I entered a teenager and emerged a young woman. Before I entered college, my mother told me that the years between 18-22 are extremely formative for a woman's heart. She was right. But while her college experience ended with a marriage to my father, my heart was to be formed in many more ways in the years that followed.

In the next four years to round out the decade, I have learned vital lessons and been formed as a single twentysomething out in the "real world." The first two years after college I spent in graduate school. These years I met some of my favorite friends, including Agatha, but they were actually very lonely years. I went from an environment where I was thriving socially to an environment in which I was studying nearly all of the time. My best friends lived far away, my mother couldn't really understand what it was like for a woman to leave college and to be single, and my dearest friends of this time were all married. I think I went on a total of 3 or 4 dates in 2 years. It was me and God, all of the time, and boy, did I wrestle with Him. Oh man, it was a tough, although certainly rewarding and formative time.

And now, I'm learning what it means to be feminine as a teacher and a "spiritual mother" to teenagers in an all-girls high school. I am learning through dating escapades what it means to be treated like a woman. I'm continually developing an interest in feminine fashion. I'm embracing providing for myself financially and having to take responsibility for my present and my future. It's a good time in my life, a difficult time. But I'm really, for the first time in the whole decade, embracing my own particular femininity. And for that, I'm grateful for all of the experiences that have led me here.

Here's to the next ten years, God willing. I can't wait!


Mary said...

What a great post and what a great decade:)

tk said...

it sounds like a decade for the ages, elise. i am happy to have been a part of it :)

continued Christmas peace,

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