Sunday, July 8, 2012

One More Year

15 years ago:
  I look at the party invite that my parents have received for Steve's 30th Birthday. One thought runs through my head- "30. Steve, I'm so sorry. Life is over for you now." As a very wise 14 year old, I could see that my life was full of possibility and clearly, at 30, Steve should just give up. What was there to live for after 30?

9 years ago:
  My twentieth birthday hits me like a ton of bricks. Living in the States with family, I have a near meltdown, sure that I'm light years away from where I should be in life. There are many tearful emails written to family and friends back home that all share a common theme- "I'm 20, shouldn't I have it figured out by now? I'm nowhere where I thought I'd be."

1 year ago:
  I turn 28. There's no denying it now. I'm in my late twenties. None of this forgiving "mid-twenties" stuff, I'm rolling to the finish line. I start to see 30 on the horizon, waiting to give me my Retirement From Life papers. A steady dread makes itself at home in my mind, occasionally singing "30's getting closer! 30's getting closer!", like a school yard bully.

  I turn 29. I have 365 days until I'm 30. You may think it's silly, hey, I think it's silly, but I'm kinda freakin' out. I have often said, "If my 20 year old self knew that I'd age almost a decade and still not really know what I'm doing, I would have really and truly lost my mind." I feel like I should know where I'm headed(or at least a general direction), that I should know what I'm about. I've got to be honest with you, most days, I don't. However, an experience last weekend had an unexpected influence on me. I went camping. You might say I had an epiphany. And by epiphany, I mean, I realized something that most people would find to be common sense. Let me explain.

  Camping has never been on my radar. I didn't hate it(although I did have a number of minor death-related fears about it), I didn't love it, I had no feelings towards it at all because I had never tried it. There are lots of things in life, trivial and otherwise, that I'm indifferent to, or more importantly set against, because of the unknown. I don't know what the outcome will be so I eliminate the possibility of the experience altogether. Here's the problem with that thinking-you miss out on so much! Well, I assume you do, I wouldn't know. :)

  One of the best ways to find some direction in life is to try different paths. "It doesn't hurt to knock on the door", as my mom would say. Try things you've never done or only considered. For the most part, you won't know if it's right or wrong by simply making a pro/con list. Listen, I'm not saying, "Hey! Try something new! Do something you know to be a colossal mistake! Stupid decision making leads to a great life!" I'm thinking more along the lines of, "You have a talent. Explore it. See where it might lead. Take it in a direction you didn't expect." Or something as simple as, "Hey! You've never gone camping-give it a shot! You might like it!" Turns out I did. So, as a brand new member of the 29 year old club, I'm making a decision to be a bit more intentional with my life. I'll do my best to accept the life that's brought me to this point and shake off the fear of my twenties. If I'm nowhere I thought I'd be(check!), I've decided that I'm going to use this year to get a bit closer. A year from now, I still may not know what my life will look like at 31, but I'm hoping that I'll have, at least, narrowed the path and maybe eliminated a few possibilities. Check out my post, What 29 Looks Like, to see what some of my goals are.

1 comment:

  1. Happy Birthday Jenn! With love from a friend who is also not where she expected to be.