Thursday, August 26, 2010

First Year

Today is a special sort of post for me. It's not only my 200th post, but it's almost my 1st anniversary of this blog. I was 26 when it started and now I'm 27, ever closer to 30.

I've told people about this blog and its title and they scoff that at 27, I'm hardly close to 30. But that's not really the point. The point is that five years ago, the age of 30 was a distant time still, and not relevant to my new post-college life. Now it is relevant and more so with each passing year.

I used to think I was a grownup, like when I was 20. Sometimes things force you to grow up faster than you were meant to. I know my teen years pushed me ahead, due to my mother dying and being faced with suddenly having to worry about making sure I had somewhere to stay when I was kicked out of my dad's home, or worrying about getting food when he stopped buying groceries, and the burden of performing all the household tasks. But even if you have to mature early, you're still not really a grownup without aging.

Experience means a lot, but sometimes it takes time to let it settle so you can reflect on it. Having adult concerns before you are an adult doesn't make you one. It makes you a stressed out youth who no longer has as much time to focus on age-appropriate lesser concerns. Basically, it gives you a broader perspective about what a real problem actually looks like, which makes you look and appear more worldly and mature. But without age, time, it's nothing.

I think most people are capable of rising to challenges they're not prepared for. There often is no other alternative. You get with the program or you... get with the program a little later.

Since my teen years I've often felt pushed ahead of what's supposed to be happening. Sometimes I did it to myself, possibly feeling like I was all grownup now, so why not? Beyond the teenage years, I moved in with a boyfriend when I was 20, who I'd been with for three years. Serious business for a 20-year-old. I kind of skipped over college experience stuff in general. After so much drama at home, I just wanted some peace and quiet. When college ended I got my job at 22, with a salary and benefits. I was pretty young to settle into that sort of thing. I was the youngest person in the department for years.

And now? Looking around, things around here are pretty age-appropriate for me. Almost 28, living with my long-term boyfriend with my cat, owning decent furniture, planning a vacation. Life has changed so slowly these past few years. Other people are now moving ahead, getting married, having kids, buying homes. And I feel at both times stagnant, and grateful, grateful that after the drama and fear of my teens and the speedy push through my early 20s that life has calmed to a dull roar and slowed into an extended pause so I can enjoy my late 20s.

Sometimes I'm bored. Sometimes I want to throw myself on the floor like a child and stamp my feet. But being bored is a luxury, in a way. It gives me time to really think about what I want to be doing and what kind of life I really want, rather than just reacting to things zooming past me. Right now? I've signed up for a cake class, the first step in learning how to decorate cakes. I'm making plans to enjoy my summer and to vacation. The Dude and I are making our life together here more comfortable and planning our future.

I'm not really feeling WTF over the age of 30 approaching in a bad way, mostly. It's kind of more of a shock that it's arriving so fast. I kind of want this time in my life to really count, before even more adulthood rears its demanding and unavoidable head. I want to reflect, I want to plan, I want to enjoy. I don't want to look back as I do on my teen years with all kinds of regret for missed opportunities, bad choices, and of course a figure I'll never have again but completely didn't appreciate at the time.

I think now's a time to take stock. I think this blog has been helpful for me to navigate my thoughts and goals for my future. This first year has been a good one.


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