Part 4 of my series on life-after-college comes with a bit of a title change. Instead of “The Good, The Bad, The Funny,” I decided to title this entry, “The Good, The Bad, The Unexpected.” The title change comes because several big life events have transpired since my last entry, many of them unexpected! This past month, I have found that a “roll-with-the-punches” attitude is becoming my norm, and for this “I-like-plans”-person, that is a very good thing. So, here we go again! Today marks 3 MONTHS since I graduated from college. To celebrate, let’s talk about Coldplay concerts,  the perils of a white car, and the decision to resign from a job.

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The Bad

  • White cars in the city=not the best idea: Much to my delight and gratitude, my grandparents decided to pass on their 2010 white Honda Civic to me upon my graduation from college. It was a fantastic upgrade from the 2001 Honda Civic I had been driving around (though a trusty steed) that lacked air conditioning and when it got cold, was known to make a sound like what I would say would be similar to a middle earth creature being birthed/giving birth from a pool of molten lava. It was an unpleasant, embarrassing noise, so the new car is AMAZING! But the downside: the city is so dirty, and my poor white car is bearing the burden of the Steel City’s love of dust and dirt and weird sticky pollen that mysteriously falls onto your car from random nearby bushes. My car is a mess! RIP, pristine, gleaming white car. RIP.
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Gleaming car? LIES I TELL YOU, LIES!!!!

The Good 

  • Coldplay concert: An elderly man at my church gave me $100 for my graduation from college, and told me “do somefin’ fun datcha norm-yally wouldn’t do.” He then proceeded to tell me that someone once gave him $50 and told him to do the same thing as he told me, and he bought a radio. So, I followed George’s advice and on a whim (1 day before) bought a ticket to see Coldplay live in Pittsburgh.  IT WAS AMAZING. I AM SO GLAD I BOUGHT A TICKET. It was seriously one of the top 10 moments of my life. I had so much fun, the show was so well done, and all the so lights and colors and sounds made for a spectacular sensory experience. I went by myself (side note: I could do a whole post about doing things by yourself: a big fan, really important, had a great convo with a friend about it, 10/10 would recommend), and I just LOVED LIFE THE WHOLE TIME. I danced like crazy and I just cannot even capture in words how amazing it was. It was like a glimpse of heaven. It was just so inspiring to be with all those people singing along, united in the joy of music. There was this one moment where they did this interlude between songs with all these lasers and techno music and it was so amazing that I cried because I was laughing so hard and was so filled with joy. I love attending concerts, and will always recommend that people go ahead and spend money on shows they want to see. I’ve never once regretted money spent on a concert, but I have regretted missing out on shows before. (Photo below)

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  • FRIENDS COMING TO PITTSBURGH: Last weekend, I got to see not 1, not 2, not 3, but 4 college friends! I love having people over for food and fun, and am enjoying the ability to navigate the city already and show people the sites. I’m grateful that I’ve had these opportunities these summer to see friends, as it’s made this time of transition much easier and more fun.
  • PRESENT OVER PERFECT: One of my favorite authors, Shauna Niequist, came out with a new book this week. AND YA BETTER BELIEVE I PRE-ORDERED IT!!! It came last Tuesday, and I have LOVED diving in to Shauna’s message about a life that says no to hustle and busyness and yes to simplicity and peace and hope and love. It’s a message so many of us need, myself included! So far, the essays have focused on such important topics, like learning to say no and how it’s okay to disappoint people. I am so thankful for Shauna’s wisdom, and can’t wait to dive in more to these essays. I also dove in to her blueberry crisp recipe last Tuesday when the book came, and that was a delicious choice and highly recommended as well.

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The Unexpected  

  • Leaving my job after 3 months. 

A little less than four months ago, I sat on my bed on the night of my 22nd birthday and wrote these words:

This year I will start a new job, move to a new place, meet new people, make new mistakes. I have no idea how things will unfold from here, what stories like ahead. But as I’ve said before, what I do know is that is I don’t want my life story to be a set of blank pages about all the things I could have done, but never did. So with that in mind, I begin. I  begin with a mindfulness about the past, an appreciation for the present, and a hope for the future. Ahead are all kinds of ups and downs. Ahead are stories set in kitchens, told in car rides to the grocery story, set in my own postage stamp of native soil. Ahead are stories that will make me laugh, to the stories that will make my cry. Somehow at the end of it, I will be so utterly changed. So here’s to you, Twenty-Two. 

When I wrote this words, I’m not sure I quite understood how much change was actually ahead. I’m the kind of person that makes a plan and sticks to it. But life after college already hasn’t taken the path I anticipated. In two weeks, I’ll be having my last day at Urban Impact and will a new job with my old team at UPMC where I interned last summer. This was an incredibly challenging decision to make to switch jobs, and one that was not made lightly…and one I, again, was not expecting. But as this season comes to an end, I am so grateful for those who have been part of my journey at UIF. It was a short time, but a purposeful time.

I am also excited for what is ahead. God has once again shown me he has a way of opening doors at incredibly interesting times. I can’t say I always understand or appreciate his timing, but life up to this point has taught me that his plan is best, that the story he is writing for my life is better than the one I picture(d) in my head, or told people about on graduation day, or wrote an essay about just a few months ago.

Sometimes this storyline has been stressful, scary, not what I wanted. I’m not living a perfect story, nor traveling a straight path. Not everyday is sunshine and rainbows and perfectly ripe avocados, but every day is just how it’s supposed to be. In this time of change, I just need to keep showing up, willing to live the story, willing to let the pages be filled with His narrative in His timing, not the one I prefer or think is best. And while everything around me seems to be changing, I know the one whose presence is steady, who never changes, who is always good, whose plans are always right. He lives inside of me. And that changes things.

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3 months later…

We’re 3 months separated from college, from the identities that were so familiar on a campus we could navigate across with our eyes closed. I feel free, happy, excited, but I also know that with change comes a sense of loss, and with loss comes some challenges, too.

The life I’m living right now is full of purpose and groundwork, REAL substance. But most of the time, right now all I really feel is the wind, an invisible force; I can’t see what’s happening, can’t hold it in my hand, but I can feel it on my skin. The wind is a refreshing thing, a powerful thing, an unpredictable thing. That’s a lot what these beginning days of adulthood have felt like: refreshing, uplifting, empowering, confusing. So right now, as the wind is blowing wherever it pleases, I just am going to keep holding on, trusting in the unseen. I know where the wind comes from. Someone is on the move.

The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.  John 3:8

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Posted by:Grace Leuenberger

"I want to make beautiful things, even if nobody cares.”

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