This is my last week of my 20s.
I know I’m still super young, but this is my first “milestone birthday” since I was 21. (Well, 25 but I’ve never rented a car so that one was pretty irrelevant.) I’m having a tiny bit of an existential crisis.
I feel like 30 is that age in which you really start adulting.
It’s so weird. When I was in college, I thought that 25 was super “adult.” I would have been out of school for a couple years, and definitely would have gotten my life together.
And then I hit 25 when I was in grad school and was still eating Ben and Jerry’s with my face buried into the container with no spoon while driving home from grad school at midnight and I realized that I was far from it.
Upon discussions with friends, it seems like 26 was the year a lot of them noticed some sort of physical change. The onset of some sort of maturity, marked by a general feeling of “getting older,” the beginnings of some aches and inflexibilities and the sprouting of strange chin hairs (it’s not just me, I swear I’ve heard this from other women too.)
But at 26, I was still light years away from any sort of real maturity. It was my first year out of grad school, and I felt like a young kid, finally out on my own in the world. I was learning about the freelance hustle, and headed into a serious relationship that resulted in my marriage (and then divorce.)
Let’s backtrack a bit.
When I was a freshman in college, we were all asked to write ourselves a letter that would be sent to us upon our graduation. In it, we outlined where we saw ourselves then, and discussed our goals over the next ten years. I don’t know where the actual letter is nowadays, and I would love to read it again. But, in it, I laid out a general timeline for myself. As an 18 year old, this is how I saw my life’s progress:
Age 22 Expectations: graduate college with a degree in Musical Theatre Performance and a focus on education, with perhaps an English minor
Age 22 Reality: graduated college with a BA in Theatre with a focus in costume design and a Studio Art minor.
Age 24-25 Expectations: By now, you have become a musical theatre teacher for high schoolers, perhaps in the homeschooling community. You have found your soulmate and have married this man.
Age 24-25 Reality: “Accidentally” giving my phone number to a Turkish man at the bus stop in my grad school town, dating the bartender at the campus town pub, and submitting a Craigslist Missed Connection for the cute boy on the bus with the punk rock buttons on his messenger bag. (His girlfriend found the listing and told him about it.)
Age 26-27 Expectations: By now, you should have given birth to your first of 2-3 children.
Age 26-27 Reality: Racking up credit card debt during my first couple years of freelancing in Chicago, in a serious relationship with a woman, and incapable of even considering the responsibility of owning a cat. Even though my eventual wife and I were living as life partners, I still felt like I was “playing house.”
Age 29 Expectations: Settling into the family life with all the kids I planned on having either already birthed or soon on the way. My husband would be the main breadwinner and I would spend most of my time home with the kids.
Age 29 Reality: Only finally beginning to reach my professional stride. Recently married to a woman. Then divorced. Got my first ever job with a salary and benefits. Am responsible for a very important kitty life, and even remember that he needs to eat and drink water most of the time. And feeling more and more like kids would only impede my life’s goals and rather detest the idea of having any.
But I think I’m finally on the cusp of Adulting.
I’m making dentist appointments and realizing the supreme importance of flossing. And trying to remember to do it.
I’m forming/reforming valuable relationships with friends who are there for me because we like to have one another in our lives, not just out of convenience because we attend the same school.
I’m being a pretty awesome CatMom.
I’m finally getting to a point professionally in which I respect myself and my accomplishments.
I’ve got an awesome credit score.
I have $200 in my savings, which is $200 more than I’ve had in the past 10 years.
I live in an apartment (even if it’s only 230 square feet) by myself.
I’ve begun to cook and bake healthy recipes and am actually beginning to care about what I put in my body.
I’m 85-90% pescatarian.
I’m becoming more conscious of the world both in a globally social sense, as well as supporting sustainable products and practices.
I am learning so much about myself, benefitting from introspection, deep discussions, and writing.
I’m embracing my confidence and sexuality, feeling like I can take on the world. Most of the time.
I’ve got my anxiety and depression under control (right now, anyway.)
I’ve begun to notice the finest of lines on my forehead and don’t care. I think they’re kinda cute. I’ve had sprinklings of white hairs for years, and welcome more. Quite honestly, I wish I had completely white hair like my dad, so I could dye it crazy colors without having to bleach it first.
People still assume I’m in my early 20s, including the students and professors I work with.
I weigh less than I have in 7 years, and I’m probably fitter than I have ever been. I’m sure living a healthier lifestyle than ever before.
Yeah. I’m doing pretty okay.
I guess this is adulting.
It’s amazing how things can be when I get my shit together.
And I guess this means that my 30s are going to be awesome.