Oh younger self, what if I had to do it all over again? What would I change? What advice could I give that would have made those early “Adulting” years better–smoother–holier?
The truth is that I’m completely happy with how my life has turned out.
I am married to a practicing Catholic. We have beautiful children to whom we are teaching our faith. And, we have so many good friends who are faithful Christians and Catholics. Over a couple of decades of “Adulting,” we have learned to intentionally surrounded ourselves with people who will hold us accountable and people who will challenge us on our faith journey and teach us along the way. I won’t say that I wish things were different or had turned out differently because I’m incredibly happy with my life–both in the valleys and mountain tops!
Buuuuut, this series is on “Catholic Adulting,” and no matter how I have come to realize God’s kindness and mercy to me today, there are things I wish I had known sooner or done better.
The one thing I craved as a young adult was Catholic community. As a young married couple, we searched for and joined ministries, formed supper clubs, forged our way through parish picnics and countless “Young Adult” activities over the years in an effort to form a community.
So much work, y’all!! Definitely worth it, but whew!
What if we had not done that? What if we had not sought after like minded friends?
I wish our Church, as an institution, helped young adults form community better.
I wish that there was an active and vibrant college ministry when I was in school.
I wish I’d have had hamburgers before football games with my fellow Jesus-loving peers, had Bible studies at the Newman Center, and had a mentor I could call and talk to during some of those confusing college and post-graduate days.
I know these things exist in some areas of the country (and world!) and probably existed on a smaller scale at my university, but what if it were more widespread…like, it’s just a thing that we do in the Catholic Church? A thing that is exciting, widely attended, well funded, and fun to be a part of!
Newly graduated college kids are a tough demographic! What if we acknowledge that work to make it better?
Where do these Young Adults fit? Normally, they aren’t young families and they also don’t tend to fit into a true “adult” category either (sorry new graduates). What if there was a neighborhood community group for new graduates to fellowship?
I would love to have had a group to pray novenas with or celebrate special feast days with or share prayer intentions with. This is often a confusing time for young adults-new jobs, relationships, juggling finances, living alone for the first time. I would have really enjoyed a built-in network of Church friends that watched sporting events together or met for catfish on Fridays or had a standing Sunday supper and rosary group.
These things that I wish I had been able to experience are things I want for my girls. In a world that is becoming more secular by the nanosecond, I want my daughters to have mentors, and friends, and accessible priests and deacons, and social groups to lean on–like the flying buttresses of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris! They survived so many centuries and an unimaginable fire as such beautiful symbols of what can be accomplished if we lean into each other.
I don’t know if ministries like I mentioned in this blog will be widespread in the Catholic Church in my lifetime. I hope they are, but in the meantime, my biggest piece of advice for Young Adults who are trying to “adult” in a Catholic sense would be:
Find your community!
Or, form it. Step outside of your comfort zone and meet new friends. Get to know your neighbors in the pews at Mass. Form a community that will become a foundation of prayer, mentorship, encouragement and celebration! So much work, but so worth it in the end.
Please join us for this next week as we explore perspectives on “Catholic Adulting.”