Friday, June 6, 2014

Holy Shiznit I'm About to Turn 30!

As I type this, I have about 12 days left in my twenties. Embarking on a new decade has never felt so daunting, terrifying, and yet, incredibly freeing at the same time. I don’t think a ten-year span has brought quite so many life changes while shaping who I am and affirming who I want to be as a person.
Since turning 20 I have:
-received my bachelor’s from JMU (Go Dukes!)
-relocated to a city only that was only two hours north of my hometown but seemed like light years away in terms of cultural differences
-accepted my first full time/big girl job, complete with health benefits and a 401K package (and actually learned what the hell things like an IRA meant)
-moved into an apartment that didn’t have beer stains all over the carpet, a balcony that could potentially cave in, a sketchy landlord, and hoards of college students surrounding me (okay, maybe some of those things were still present)
-got laid off from a job I loved
-bought, well…financed a car and paid it off
-had my heart broken, and broke a few myself
-recognized that no matter how well you think you know a person, sometimes it turns out you never really knew them at all
-lost touch with some friends I thought I’d always be close with, but at the same time gained new friends who I couldn’t imagine life without
-mourned the loss of two grandfathers, who I think about everyday
-discovered that what I studied for four years in undergrad did not have an abundance of job opportunities, and decided to completely switch career paths
-realized how much I love my hometown, and moved back after spending six years in D.C.
-started graduate school
-watched countless loved ones get married and start families and began to increasingly wonder not only if that will ever be me, but also if that’s something I even want
-gained confidence and more assurance in who I am
I’m sure this list could span at least 10 more pages, but I think those are the some of the most important. I feel like my 20s could be more aptly titled the decade of fucking up and falling on my ass…and then brushing myself off and facing the next year a bit wiser and more prepared.
I guess I thought by 30 I’d have achieved some monumental milestone. I’m not quite sure what I envisioned, but maybe that I’d be a writer at some hip magazine, or have a book published, or maybe even just a passport full of kick-ass trips around the world. What I know for sure is no part of me imagined I’d be single, living with my parents, working two part-time jobs, plucking gray hairs that have just started to surface, and fighting dark, baggy circles under my eyes from spending countless all-nighters in the library.
Sometimes I feel like I’ve just been a spectator to everyone else’s successes, cheering on my friends while they accept promotions, buy their first house, get married, and start families. While I am truly happy for each and every one of them and honored that I could share in the celebration of such monumental events, I sometimes selfishly (and self-pityingly) feel stuck on the sidelines.
Recently, I’ve had to ask myself if I really want all those things, or if I want them because I think I’m supposed to want them. Here’s what I do know:
-I want to finish graduate school and focus on establishing a career. I want to continue writing, even if I never get published.
-I want to get my own apartment in downtown Richmond.
-I want to buy a piano and start taking lessons again.
-I want to travel. All over the world. I want to meet new people and learn about different cultures and soak up everything I can about a place when I visit, so that I feel that I’m leaving with a part of it.
-I want to hike every fall, ski every winter, start running regularly every spring, and go to the beach every summer.
-I want to help people, and volunteer more often.
-I want to care less about what people think of me, and become reliant on my own sense of self.
-I want someone to share this crazy life with, but I also know it’s not the end of the world if that never happens. If I’ve learned one thing from my 20s, it’s that it’s toxic to force anything, especially relationships.   
As much as I’m dreading leaving my twenties behind, I definitely feel a greater sense of peace and clarity as I think back on the last ten years, and a sense of excitement for what lies ahead. It sure as hell won’t be all rainbows and sunshine, but isn’t it more fun that way anyway??

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