I was going to be really important and famous and rich by 30. In fact, I had an age corresponding to each and every goal on my mental list.
I was going to be a force to be reckoned with, you know? The person by which my high school classmates would measure their own successes. But I was going to be totally humble about it. There would be no need to rub my inevitable early success in anyone else’s face.
Oh, the plans I had. My twenty seventh birthday hit me like a load of bricks to the gut. WAIT. Things weren’t where they were supposed to be yet. I’d been climbing uphill on my career aspirations for only a few short years by then, but they felt like an eternity. I supported my dreams with a creative job, but somehow it felt dead-end and smothering. Wasn’t I supposed to have achieved world domination by then?
About six months later I started this blog. And I lost that job. And I started growing a person in the pit of my churning stomach (not necessarily in that order). That was five years ago this week. If you’ve been reading for a while then you kind of know the gist of everything in between. But basically life kept happening and somewhere along the way I stopped feeling like a petulant teenager who wasn’t getting her way and started feeling like something resembling a grown up with entirely different priorities altogether.
The thing is, if life were a competition, by my own younger self’s standards, I’d be losing.
But I’m not. My life isn’t the picture I painted at ten years old, but what the hell does a ten year old know about life? What I’ve learned on my often shockingly painful journey in to adulthood is that there’s no road map and there’s certainly no finish line. I didn’t accomplish what I wanted to accomplish by thirty, but I did accomplish so many other things that I’d never even imagined doing at all. And now that I’ve soared past my mental success expiration date and survived? I’m free.
I’ve removed the ticking clock from the back of my mind and the result is a life that’s much more peaceful, much more optimistic, and a lot less hostile towards hope. I have no idea where I’ll be on my fortieth birthday. I know that now. And I kind of like it that way.
[also, I’m blond now. New year, same me, different hair.]