I’m doing great!

Yes, still at the same job.

Well! It’s going well. Honduras, yeah. Um, it’s in Central America? Down south?

You’re right, the cold here is a bit of a shock!

 

I’m doing great!

No, uh, actually, we’re not together anymore. No, no, it’s okay, it’s for the best. We wanted different things, you know? And… yeah.

But you? I saw on Facebook… When’s the wedding??

 

(Tell the truth, but tell it slant, I guess—whichever slant doesn’t invite too many questions. Take copy from the Christmas card, from Facebook posts, because it’s not the time or the place to go any deeper.)

 

After a bear hug, we take off our coats, settle into the booth, get the formalities out of the way—it’s been a while!

The friends I find time for over the holidays are old friends, close enough that before the coffee cools, before the second beer, we’ve dropped our guard and find ourselves saying things like,

This was a hard year.

I’ve been struggling.

I don’t know what my next step is.

Sometimes I feel stuck.

We talk about our triumphs and our passions, but also about our times of confusion, disappointment, and loneliness; about rejection, about anxiety, about doubt.

We’re all in our twenties and we’re all afraid that we’re the only ones who haven’t totally figured life out.

The twenties is a weird decade. I have friends my age who are married with children, and friends who have never had a serious boyfriend. I have friends finishing their doctorates and friends who never went to college. Some friends own their own homes. Others live with their parents. As far as traditional life markers go, we’re all over the map.

It takes the longer conversations to go deeper. Some of us take amazing care of our bodies, and some of us still abuse ours. Some of us struggle with depression or anxiety, even behind outward displays of success; others have gone through counseling, or take medication, and are learning to be well.

Some were excited to become pregnant this year. Others lost a pregnancy. Others were terrified by a late period.

Some of us love our community; others of us feel isolated. For some of us home for the holidays is joyful time; for others, it’s a reminder of grief or unresolved conflict.

Some serve quietly and faithfully in their communities, give generously, act humbly. Others feel we should but we don’t. We’re busy, we’re distracted, we’re scared, we’re shy.

Some of us are single and content. Some of us are single and desperately looking for someone. Some of us are engaged and excited. Some of us are married, and it isn’t exactly what we thought it would be. It’s harder than people said it would be, but where do we go for help?

(None of this went on the Christmas card).

We’re all in our twenties and most of us feel like everyone else is ten steps ahead of us in a different direction. Others are more successful than I am, or more accomplished, or kinder, or more connected, or more loved. We can be afraid to be vulnerable, especially with friends we don’t see very often, because we think we’re the only ones who still feel a little bit lost.

(We’re all a little bit lost).

 

I’m doing great!

Applying to grad school, actually.

I’m terrified. Leaving behind a familiar place for a new city; leaving a good job, a job I like, for something uncertain… And what if I’m not accepted into the program at all? What if that means I was wrong and I’m not smart enough or prepared enough to do the work I thought I wanted to do? What will I tell people? What will people think?

 

I’m doing great!

I did lose weight, but it doesn’t really deserve a congratulations. I wasn’t eating enough, I wasn’t in a healthy place. I’m doing better now. I’m learning more about healthy life habits—say, don’t you do yoga? Tell me more about that.

 

If you’re reading this, you survived 2017 and everything in it.

You’re doing great. Or if you’re not doing great, you’re not alone.

Katerina Parsons

Katerina Parsons (’15) graduated with a double major in English writing and international development studies. She lives in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, where she works as the Director of English communications for the Association for a More Just Society, an organization that fights for peace, security, and anti-corruption in Honduras.

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