So I'm 29 now. I live on an island, I'm engaged, I have two goofy pugs, and get to play music while looking out at the ocean. If you had told me at the beginning of my 20s that this is where I'd be at the end of my 20s, I would have laughed at you and patted you on the head. I guess it just goes to show that you never know where life may take you. I mean, I'm MORE than cool with it, but it's still surreal to me.
Does being in the last year of my 20s make me more of an adult? Or an "adultier" adult? I feel different, yet I don't. Should I? I don't feel old at all, but I'm very aware of the fact that I am no longer 23 -- that's for sure. Hangovers last longer, too much sodium makes me look like I've been punched in both eyes and adds about 5 pounds of water weight, and I've noticed the slightest little lines starting to appear around my eyes. (*sigh*) On the flip side, I still get carded at most bars, I'm at a much healthier weight now than I was for the middle part of my 20s, and I know that those fine lines around my eyes are both from age and laughter.
I came across an interesting quote the other day. It wasn't attributed to anyone in particular, but really spoke to me. "Nothing will ruin your twenties more than thinking you should have your life together already." I definitely spent several years thinking I should have my life completely together by now, and I now know that societal pressure (some of it self-imposed) was a big contributor to my weight gain in my mid 20s. I'm still working on it -- even now -- but I wish I had learned to love myself more earlier on. What's the point of beating yourself up about things that are beyond your control? There is none, but at the time I thought I had more control over certain aspects of my life......or at least I thought I was supposed to have more control. Silly Jamie.....
So even though there's a part of me that is admittedly scared of getting older, there's part of me that's actually looking forward to leaving my 20s. Not that other decades can't be difficult, but your 20s are basically where you learn how to survive and try to find yourself. Those are incredibly difficult things to learn, especially when you've been considered a kid for so long and then POOF.......good luck a-hole! I've survived and I really do believe that I've finally found myself.........and now I live on an island. So yeah........turns out that getting older is not so bad after all. Bring it on 29.
Oh hey guys. It's been awhile. How've you been???
My creative efforts have been focused on other things lately, so that's why I've been MIA. Plus, no one pays me to write my blog, so there's that.......
Lately I have found myself going back and forth between moments of what seems like total clarity and peace, and stress and uncertainty. The clarity and peace are fantastic, because I don't think I've felt much of that in my adult life so far. But the "mood swings" between the two mindsets have wreaked havoc on my body. Happy body to angry body, especially back and forth equals no bueno. One day I'm content and totally sure of what I'm doing with my life, and the next I'm like, "well, I'm here. Let's see how this goes I guess." But every time I question myself to see if I would've done anything differently, the answer is a firm no. So why the stress and uncertainty?
Well, I'm a musician, for one -- that line of work is about as firm as quicksand. No need to elaborate on that one.
Debt doesn't help either. The minute I think I've got it on a path to being paid off, I go in for an oil change (or some other routine thing in life) and they're like, "That'll be $800 please. Your car is not in as great a shape as you thought it was when you bought it. " Well that's just great. Thanks. (*Grumbles obscenities on the way out*)
One of the biggest contributors is that I have always been TERRIBLE about letting others' negativity affect me. I can be in a great place and one dumb comment from someone will drag me right back down. It's like an extra strength vacuum trying to suck me back in, while I'm clinging onto Will and Mozzie going, "don't let them take me!!!" It's annoying and I hate it. Plus, some people are just really crappy and they need to go away -- like far, FAR away. They can all go live on negativity island somewhere where they will eventually all kill each other with their negative negativeness..............
That got ridiculous. Oh well.
I also haven't been able to workout as regularly as I would like to lately, which generally helps with combatting the negativity -- so I'm definitely feeling the effects of that.
But oh those moments of clarity and peace...........where I don't let the stressors of life and the outside junk get to me...............where I am focused on what's truly important in life (and am truly grateful for it)...........where I don't let the negativity of others bring me back into a darker place.............where I just enjoy my good fortune and the love that is in my life..............and just happily exist. Those moments are incredible. I have found that they are becoming more frequent, and maybe it means I'm getting better at letting go of the negativity. I sure do hope so -- that stuff is toxic.
Maybe the clarity and peace is coming with age and the wisdom to finally realize what's important in life. That money and career aren't everything, and that maybe we should take a harder look at what's right in front of us and stop taking it for granted. That life is too short to dwell on things that don't matter, and that those negative people are just misguided and unhappy with themselves.
I can actually feel some of the negativity starting to float away as I write this. Maybe I needed a little writing therapy. Also, Mozzie is snuggled up to me as I write this, so that helps. Sometimes we just need to recalibrate and refocus. I'm going to go love on my people more.
When do you know that you're making the right decision? It's not like the heavens open up and some ethereal voice confirms that you are in deed making the right decision. So how do you know? In a way.............you don't.
I think the real test is to be able to look back at a decision you made...........and even if you could change it, you wouldn't. Not that I think I've done everything "perfectly" in my life so far (I certainly haven't), but as far as most big things go I really can't see myself having made different choices. I think this quote sums it up pretty well:
My choice in college
Sure I could've gone elsewhere and spent less money..................but the music instructors I worked closely with were amazing. They helped me find the things that truly speak to me as a person and a musician. Obviously there are incredible instructors elsewhere, but it seemed as though these particular people were tailored to me. We just fit.
I met my best friends during college. And to this day they still are. Some of us don't see each other as often as others, but I love them all dearly. They are some of the most amazing people I know and they have helped me through some incredibly tough times. And as my best friend and I have found out, our relationship transcends distance. We always pick up right where we left off -- every time -- even if that means a 6 hour phone call that goes until 5am.
Moving to Tennessee
Did I leave promptly after I finished my MBA? You bet your sweet patootie I did. But regardless of Nashville not being the right fit for me, I wouldn't change my decision to go there. The plan was never to move there permanently anyway. The sole purpose was always the MBA at that particular school, and then we'd see if we liked it and what opportunities arose. It just so happens that we didn't like it and there really wasn't anything to keep us there. So we moved back. But I met some awesome people throughout my MBA program.............I had new experiences in an unfamiliar place............and most importantly, I got to go to freakin' South Africa!!!!!
Okay, well actually the MOST important thing was that Will and I learned how to be each other's support system. It was definitely hard to be away from friends and family, but we figured out that if we have each other we can do anything. He's my person. That experience made us even stronger than we already were, and it turns out that we're pretty awesome together...........
Obviously there have been many other life decisions beyond those two, but those are the ones that always stick out to me. I think it's because they both are centered on bettering myself, new experiences, and connecting with people.
The moral of the story
It's so important to get outside of your bubble and live life, but in order to do that you have to GO do it. That can mean different things for different people. Some people will never move out of their hometown, and that's fine! If that's where your heart is and that's where your experiences are.....great! Some people will do the exact opposite -- live like nomads and never set down roots, because there's just too much to see and do. That's also awesome!
Whatever your definition of living life to the fullest is...............go do that, because life is too short not to. Our lives shouldn't be defined solely by our careers and our possessions -- that's an incredibly .limited view on what a "successful life" actually is. But it really depends on how you define success and how you let others define your success for you. Success can be finding real love in this crazy world full of distractions. Success can be living comfortably enough to afford your passions/hobbies. Success can be having a family. Success can be finding wonderful friends. Success can be SO many different things..............but no one should be allowed to define your success for you. So don't let them.
I'm getting to the point in my life where I'm realizing I'll never be able to please everyone. Normally that would drive me crazy, but I feel like I'm starting to let go of it.......slowly, but surely. So my life decisions are probably not the decisions you would have made -- we're different, we think differently, and we have different priorities in life. Of course we wouldn't make the same decisions! And that's okay. My definition of success may be drastically different than yours, but that doesn't matter. As long as you're happy, it really doesn't matter. So go be happy. I know I'm going to.
Well............I'm 28 now. It hasn't quite sunk in yet, but then again neither did 26 or 27. The last age that stuck for me was 25, and 23 before that. I'm not really sure why those ages were the ones that stuck, but for some reason they did.
I'm also just now realizing that 28 is closer to 30 than it is to 25. Oy.................Simple math dictates that -- sure -- but sometimes it takes awhile for these things to truly sink in.
28??? Seriously...............where have the last 6 years gone?
I don't consider myself a vain person.........or I'm at least less vain than your average person for sure.............so getting older in that regard doesn't really scare me at this point. I have no problem going out in public without makeup, and I wear minimal makeup to work -- just enough to attempt to cover my dark circles and make me look less anemic. My hair is crazy and does whatever the hell it wants, and I've accepted that. It's my inner hippie coming out. I aspire to "age like a fine wine," if you will............to be one of those older women that has aged gracefully, and is still beautiful and vibrant, but seemingly effortlessly so. So basically I want to be Helen Mirren. Who wouldn't? Wow.
Side note: I was tested for anemia twice when I was in high school...............by doctors in my own family. What do you expect when people from mostly German and Swedish descent breed? I am not anemic, by the way -- just pasty. Although I'm not nearly as pasty as Will. Irish wins every time when it comes to pastiness. Our poor future children..............they will have to bathe in sunscreen.
Getting older doesn't scare me as much as what getting older represents -- or at least what it represents to me. To me, getting older means that the clock is ticking as far as having children (among other things), which means that at some point in the near future I'll have tiny humans who are dependent on me. That is truly terrifying..........to me. I do want the little monsters at some point, but I've got what............maybe 5 years until I should probably get serious about that? And as I have recently discovered 5 years goes by pretty freaking fast..............
Lately I've noticed certain things about myself that affirm the fact that I'm older. Just to name a few..............
1) I preach to my younger sister about how "college is one of the best times in your life," and "enjoy it while you can -- don't waste it," and other various strings of word vomit. She's probably getting pretty tired of hearing that from me, but it's true! I loved college. You're an adult, but you don't have all of the responsibility yet. It's awesome. What is also true is that I've been out of college for 6 years, and that doesn't seem possible. She's just now starting, and I'm about to have my 10-year high school reunion. Ugh.
2) I complain about "kids and their terrible music these days." To be honest, this one I've done for a long time. But then again, I've always been an old soul and most music today really is terrible. Well, I use the term "music" loosely. It's not music if there are no instruments and you need auto-tune to sing!!!!
Grumble, grumble, grumble...............get off my lawn!!!
3) I clip coupons -- like religiously. I also get really excited if I save a lot of money with said coupons. Will is never more bored than when I attempt to regale him with tales of my expert thriftiness. I'm lame, but I am also very economical, dammit!
4) I used to be able to do shots of tequila and Jameson like a beast (separately, not together -- that's gross), but now after one (and sometimes on the first one) the old gag reflex kicks in. I'm fairly certain it's my body's way of screaming, "You are too old for this!!! Knock it off!!!"
5) I apparently react to salt differently now, and it's SUPER fun. And by fun I mean it totally blows. If I've had Chinese food, fast food, etc............anything that's loaded with sodium............my dark circles are even worse than normal (which is impressive) and I feel poofy. Oh, and sometimes my blood pressure spikes a little bit. It's awesome. And by awesome I mean the exact opposite of awesome. I even bought that weird "No Salt" stuff and use that in my cooking. So I was a 65-year-old man who smoked two packs a day in a past life, or some equivalent, and am now being punished at 28. Not cool.
That's definitely not the end of the list, but I'll stop there for now. Leave them wanting more, right? Yeah..........that's it.
I am definitely someone who has to learn from experience, so when people told me that some of those things would happen, I of course did not believe them. I'm invincible!!! Mostly I was just stupid and stubborn. I begrudgingly apologize to those of you who were right............and I'm going to begrudgingly apologize ahead of time for the other things you've told me that I am yet to learn the hard way. You bet your sweet patootie I will. That stubborn streak runs strong................
Those of you that know me well know that patootie is not my first choice of words, but I've been informed that my language is maybe a little too colorful. They're not wrong............but isn't swearing like a sailor part of my charm? (*bats eyelashes*)
Granted, not all of the changes that have come along with getting older are bad. In fact, there is more good than bad. At this point in my life I'm pretty comfortable in my own skin, which was definitely not the case when I was younger. I have more confidence in myself, which is huge for me, and I don't feel the need to seek approval from people who are a waste of my time anyway. I care much less about petty things and pointless distractions than I did when I was 23 or 25. I've come to appreciate my friends and family more and in new ways. I also feel like I'm getting better at focusing on the joys in life, as opposed to whining about every little thing that hasn't gone my way.
In general, I feel like I know myself much better at 28. For most of us, it takes awhile to become the "true versions" of ourselves, and I finally feel like I'm getting there. I guess it's just another part of adulting.
I'm an "adult," or so I've been told. I do "adult" things, I have an "adult" job, I pay bills, and I drink bourbon and wine. I have great friends and family, an amazing husband, and generally a pretty good life. I have achieved many things, yet so little at the same time. I'm in my 30s, yet I feel more clueless than when I graduated college. This is how I "adult."