Our church small group is having a themed gathering for our normal meeting this week. We are doing a “college theme” in which we bring food that is typical of what we ate during college. While this will no doubt be a fun gathering (not to mention lacking in nutrition), this got my wife Stephanie thinking about all the times she’s heard something along the lines of, “enjoy college, because it’s the best time of your life.” I think I told myself that and I’ve probably heard that from adults too.
College was great, don’t get me wrong, but what does that say about the rest of our lives? Steph noted that perhaps this popular conception about college has contributed to the epidemic of man-boys and extended adolescence. If teens and early 20-something are drilled with this idea that high school and/or college are the best times of their lives, then what kind of adults will that form? Either college grads will attempt to continue their college lifestyle, or they will go on to have jobs and families with the understanding that it will never be as fulfilling as “the good old days.”
This blog is written by a group of post-college age adults. Most of us bonded during the same college experience (mostly during one semester), but have now gone down very different paths. But this is one thing I love about The Corner Booth- we’re all here to converse as the people we are now, in our current stages of life. There is plenty of reminiscing that can be done (and probably will be done at times), but that is not what we’re characterized by. We can appreciate each others unique circumstance without having to rely on speaking in anecdotes and inside jokes….mostly.
The Bible says that “Godliness with contentment is great gain.” The context there is about materialism, but I think this applies to stages of life too. I have found that contentment is like a meta-skill that can often be universally applied throughout life. A “grass is always greener” or rather “grass was greener” mentality only leads to misery and a lifetime of bitterness as we age farther and farther away from what was supposedly the “best” times of our lives.
Our culture highly values youth, but God ordained that we should age for a reason. If God is for our good, can’t we appreciate every stage of our lives until death? I refuse to buy into this idea that there is one time frame of my existence that should outshine all others. I believe that college was great, but being a husband and father is great too. Having a family with teenagers will be awesome and there will be many great things beyond that. I have known people who had trouble getting pregnant, have not had the opportunity to marry yet, or have been frustrated at their lack of success in their career. These can be frustrating times, but we should make the most of them while we can. Time spent being discontent about your station in life is time wasted.