Full disclosure: I was going to write a sappy, year-in-review, focusing-on-the-good post to sum up 2016 but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. What a weird year. That’s all I’m going to say about that – on with the new.
My birthday is in six days.
I’m not the type of person who gets freaked out by age. My husband is almost 11 years older than me and I have never once let that bother me. My dearest friends are all at least three years younger than me – most of them significantly more than that. I grew up doing theater with a close-knit group that was varying ages, so I learned very early on that age is just an arbitrary number (also, time is a man-made construct that’s dumb but that’s another post for another day).
THAT BEING SAID!!! I turn 29 in six days and I have been doing nothing but dwelling on it?
I remember, so clearly, when I turned 19. For some reason, the -9 birthdays hit me harder than the ones that end in zero. Maybe because they represent more of an ending than the start of a new decade. Whatever the reason, I’ve been trying to quiet the voice in my head that keeps saying “Your 20s are almost over!” on repeat, since the holidays ended.
When I turned 19, I was in the most volatile stage of my life. My dad had just robbed a fucking bank and I was juggling my adjustment to being the second adult in my house with getting through – much less, enjoying – college. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my future, either. I was on the cusp of changing my major the first of FOUR times … the first time, from what I expected to do from the time I was a kid. I GUESS you could call it an early mid-life crisis?
Whatever it was, 19 was a sincere mess.
And now, I’m sitting here, on the verge of 29, and I’m realizing just how much my entire life has changed.
I’m not a mess anymore. I’m riddled with the mental and emotional scars of those first THREE decades… but I’m actually, profoundly okay.
There’s an almost comical amount of beauty in that realization. It’s like my brain wants me to be not okay. Anyone who has struggled with depression can attest to that. When you’re suddenly not chronically depressed anymore, but something comes along to knock you down, your brain goes, “Oh, I remember this feeling! It’s so cozy here, doing nothing, feeling nothing, hoping for nothing…” and so on and so forth, until you’re right back where you started.
Because of that cycle, it’s been a Very Big Thing for me to realize that I am finally, truly at a place where I am okay. Flashback to high school, learning about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs – now that I finally have a home life I love, a stable income, and those boring basic needs met, I can begin to focus on the more fun, exciting things! What better timing for this realization than the beginning of the year, and the end of a decade in my life?
It’s not at all lost on me that my birthday falls close to when people are making their new year’s resolutions. I’m all about self-improvement – in attainable doses. That’s the Capricorn in me, keeping me grounded (even when I’m full of dreams). I don’t make resolutions for myself just because it’s the thing to do. I make them because I WANT to mark something off on my proverbial list.
This year, this almost-30 year, I am taking a few steps to make myself a better me.
First, I am learning to play the bass. I wrote about this in my previous post, and I am excited for work to settle down (curse my working on a college campus), so I can get an amp and teach myself juuust enough chords to fumble my way through some Foo Fighters songs. I’ll get my Nate Mendel head bobbing down next year 🙂 Seriously, though, I have been searching for a new creative outlet since I stopped doing theater, and I know this will be something good for me.
Second, I am done unnecessarily cyber-stalking. I’m not talking about Instagram spirals. I love journeying through photography. I AM done seeking out the Twitter and Facebook accounts of former friends, solely to see what their lives are like without me in them. It’s not something I’ve ever done out of anger, just pure curiosity, but I’ve known for a while that I’m not gaining a single thing in seeing what now-strangers are doing with their lives.
Third, I am going to stop apologizing for myself. Obviously, if I unintentionally hurt someone, I will apologize to them. That’s not what this is about. This comes from two places. One, I recently read a post about thanking others in place of apologizing for yourself. For example, instead of saying, “I’m sorry I was anxious and short with you,” I’ll instead say, “Thank you for being patient with me.” Two, Carrie Fisher didn’t apologize for who she was. I wrote about what her life meant to me on my Instagram; those thoughts haven’t left my mind.
Fourth, I am going to blog more. See that? I bolded it. That means it has to happen. I paid for this domain. My name is tied to it. Blah blah blah, accountability, y’all are reading my saying this. Hold me to it.
I’ve always felt lucky that my birthday is so close to New Year’s – I honestly forget that most other people probably don’t make resolutions in conjunction with each age. That being said, I’ve known since I was pretty young that I’m not like most people. I hyper-analyze everything, beyond the extent that most people say they do. I think about my plans, my words, my experiences more than I’m actually saying or doing anything. I’m excited to take on this new year, and to end my roaring 20s doing exactly that – roaring in the face of the shit I have been through. Living unapologetically, in the present, documenting every moment.
Here’s to 2017, dear readers!