10 years ago I was 21

Hello April, wow I feel like I went to sleep and I woke up and it was April 1st. Ok maybe it just has been a really long time since I have written anything new. I blame…procrastination.

Well a little over two weeks ago I turned 31. Not as exciting as turning 30, but I come back to you a year older.

31 is somewhat of a weird age for me. I am not sure if I should start crying now, or if I should be excited that I am growing in wisdom. What happens at 31? In the last two weeks since my 31st birthday, well I can honestly say that I feel no different from when I was 29 or 30. I just know that on my 31st birthday my mother so nicely told me that I was falling behind and needed to get on the ball because when she was 31 she was already married with two kids. My brother was 6 and I was 3. Is that where my life should be at this point? Could I see myself married with two kids at this time in my life? Well a part of me wants to laugh loudly at that thought. I have a feeling that a husband and a set of kids would cramp my entire style of free spiritness.

Well that’s not totally true, there are those days when I do wish I had a husband to do everything for me (that is what husband’s do right?). I would like to have kids who bear my resemblance so I could look at how cute they are, and have them follow me around because I am so awesome. Ok, maybe it is not that simple, but a family sometimes is a nice thought, that will come with time.

It feels slightly strange at 31 to be 10 years removed from 21. When I was 21 I felt like time stood still, I never really thought of what life would be like at 31. At 21 I knew that age 31 was ancient, and it was a far off age that would not find a place in my reality.

Where was I at 21? Well I was a senior in college, I knew I would go to graduate school, so I guess I had envisioned a future    up to age 25. My birthday was during spring break, so I celebrated it as a college spring breaker in South Beach, Miami. Oh memories. The days of reckless behaviors and irresponsible drinking, oh wait I still do the irresponsible drinking at times, but I will admit that the frequency has significantly decreased.

At 21 I felt like a child. At 31 I am a full-fledged adult. I wish there was a manual on how to be an adult, because I frequently wonder if I am doing it right. I am human, I make mistakes, I wish there was a way to avoid those mistakes.

As an adult I have responsibilities. Responsibilities not only to myself, but to my employer, to my clients, and to my family. Sometimes I miss the days of being a care free college student, although some college students have responsibilities to others, I sure wasn’t one of them. At 21 I felt life was hard, it wasn’t. I thought I knew all the answers, well I didn’t. I thought I had a perfectly thought out plan of what my life would be like, it didn’t work out that way. Life happens, plans change, daily.

At 31 I am not the same person that I was when I was 21. I consider that a very good thing. I have grown, learned more about myself, and can’t wait to grow some more. However, some days at 31 I still feel uncertain about life. At times I am unsure about plans, I question myself more than ever, I am on overdrive most days, and I feel like my life map has been thrown out the window. Direction would be nice at 31. At 21 I hated direction, at 31 I am begging for a clear planned out map. I guess I will start working on that now.

Life moves fast at 31. At 21, years moved at a snail’s pace, and  time took forever to jump forward. At 31, well I blink my eyes and suddenly its April. Time moves fast, I need to make the most out of being 31 before it’s over, and suddenly I will be crying for real at 32.

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29 and counting…Its Over. My 20’s a decade in review

Welcome 30! Today I have officially made it out of my 20’s safely, and kleenex free. Luckily I have avoided the emotional meltdown that I was highly dreading.  Surprisingly I still feel good, actually I feel great.  I hope age 30 will be my best year ever! Let’s check in on that a year from now.

As I say goodbye to my twenties, I must say that I am really not too sad to see them go. I have made mistakes, learned how to get over those mistakes, made more mistakes, and again continued to grow. Life is a journey. One word to describe the last 10 years of my life: Transformation. A year ago I would have never been able to understand this transformation fully, but over time, I have been able to look back on events in my life and learn from them. I have been able to transform into the product of a collection of lessons learned from every phase of life over the past decade, for if I have not been able to learn from it then what was truly the point of living it.

My 20’s a decade in review: A decade that can safely be put to rest

Ages 20-22: I was really dumb. Seriously, I knew absolutely nothing at all about anything. During this phase of my life I graduated college, so I knew enough to get by in higher education.  I started graduate school, so I even knew just enough to get by in continued higher education. OK so maybe I was book smart. However I was still dumb. My weekends were spent partying at the club, and I think I tried about every type of alcohol that was in existence at the time. During the age of 20 I drank so much, that by the time I turned 21 I really didn’t have the desire to drink anymore. But I did. I kept drinking, I was having fun. That’s what you do when your young right you have fun and binge drink. During my early twenties I learned how to express love to another person, I thought was in love for the first time (or at least I really really  liked my boyfriend a whole lot), and I learned there are hundreds of ways to have the most amount of fun in Manhattan on a super cheap budget! Most important lesson learned: Stop being dumb and grow up!

Ages 23-25: Ahhhh my mid twenties! I was still dumb. Maybe not as dumb as my early twenties but still very much dumb. By this time I thought I had found love for the second time. Even had those crazy thoughts of having that nice shiny ring, with that whole wedding thing to match. Yeah I was a serial monogamist. But, I am also a romantic, so if I think it is love then I will run with it. The highlight of my mid twenties; graduating from graduate school. The low point of my mid twenties, actually having to go out and get a job! Adulthood came quick, I wasn’t even looking and it hit me on the head. No more living on grad school budget with two part time jobs, I had a real salary and real responsibilities. As a new psychotherapist I knew nothing, and I imagined all my clients hating me and walking out of my office because they would eventually realize that I knew absolutely nothing. Yeah that was me. Fresh out of school, student loans galore, and I still knew nothing. Lesson learned: Just because someone gives you a job, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you know how to do it.

Age 26: In basketball, during  a seven game playoff series, when both teams each have 2 wins in the series, they refer to game 5 as the pivotal game 5. Age 26 was my pivotal game 5. To be honest, age 26 was probably the darkest year of my life to date, and I never want to go back to that point again. It was my make or break year, and through much of the year I was broken. If I could describe myself at age 26 the word would be, uncertain. I was uncertain about everything, and just surviving to make it to the next day. Life was there, but I was no where near living.  My job was a daily form of torture. I was on a roller coaster ride of a relationship, so that was just more self-inflicted torture, and everything about New York City seemed to increase the daily torture meter. To describe my mood as unhappy would be the ultimate understatement. The age of 26 was pivotal because I knew something needed to change. I needed a big change and I needed it quick. If I had stayed in New York, I saw my life on a downward spiral towards the abyss of depression. If I left, well I figured it couldn’t be any worse than what I was already facing. And on that note, I left. Lessons learned: Stay away from douche bags, and self-inflicted torture is never a good idea. If you are not happy with something in life, It is fully your responsibility to change it.

Ages 27-29: The transformation years: These are the years that I will miss. I am happy and sad to see them go. During this period I was no longer the college drinking weekend alcoholic, or the unhappy, job hating New Yorker. I found a way to just be me, and I found a way to be me on the other side of the pacific. Who knew that would happen? No, everyday was not the best of days, I still very much struggled with days of unhappiness, and even lingering depressive thoughts. Lessons learned: How to take control of my own life. How to make it work for me. I learned how to combat negative thoughts, negative energy, and negative experiences, so I can the avoid the downward spiral. I learned to depend on myself. To not look for love from others, but to look for love within myself. I learned how to work at a job that I love. I have developed into a great therapist, and no longer worry what my clients think of me. I have learned to appreciate the life that was given to me, and over the past few years I have developed a stronger understanding of how I can make it better. I have no regrets. Most importantly, I learned that life involves taking risk, without my risk who knows where I would be today.

As I reflect on my twenties, I start to smile. Through the laughing, the crying, the love, the heartbreak, the pain, the isolation, and the starting over, I have really had an emotional, purpose driven last ten years of life. I am grateful for the lessons learned in life through each year of my twenties. I am also very happy that I am no longer dumb. I still do not know a lot, but at least now I recognize what is unknown, and as always I am ready to learn so much more.

So today at 30, bring it on. What do I want to do? Well to start expanding my career options, move back to the other side of the Pacific, possibly closer to the Atlantic, and if that love thing happens to come around again, I’ll be even more ready for it this time. I can’t help it, I will always be a hopeless romantic. 🙂

 

Positive thoughts, positive energy, positive experiences

29 and counting….Part 1

I once heard someone say what is the point of being 29 if all you do is think about turning 30. I agree!

Presently I am 7 months and 10 days away from my 30th birthday. I have decided to document my journey through the dark cloud that encompasses the last days of my twenties. This is Part 1.

I am starting to think that being 29 is probably the worst age ever. I used to think being 15 was bad. At 15 all the talk was about turning 16. I had envisioned my life magically changing at 16. It didn’t. It was the same. Same school, same friends, same life, same me.

Now, I think being 29 is worse. I know better since I am older. I know my life will not magically change on my 30th birthday. It will be the same life. Of course, I will be the same person. Yet, why does it feel so scary when I think about turning 30? I never imagined what my life would be like at 30, I always thought it was too far away to think about. Now it’s coming up, and coming up quick. Inside I want to just run away, but I have to face it in full force. Life at 30, no turning back.

When I first turned 29 it wasn’t so bad. Another year of life. I still felt like I was 22. Somedays I still think I am 22. But I’m not 22, I’m 29! When people ask me my age, I often forget that I am 29. I want to say 22 or 24 or 26, then it hits me, I am really 29. When the response is “wow, you don’t look 29!”,  implying that I must be much younger, unfortunately I am not flattered. I do feel that I have a youthful essence. However, I think I really must be old if the response sends someone into a state of shock. Though I know being 29 or 30 are not really “old” ages, these are ages that take on a lot of responsibility. Responsibilities that I don’t want some days. I can’t go socially embarrass myself in public, or on Facebook, or Twitter, and blame it on my young age. I can’t sleep all day and blow off work like they are classes in college. I hate to drink during the week because the hangover is miserable.  I have to think seriously about retirement, and have invested interest in the debt ceiling crisis, all because I realize that congressional decisions affect my livelihood. I am forced to be an adult every day I wake up. I am turning 30.

One of my best friend’s turned 30 a few weeks ago. In her true extroverted fashion she had a foam party. Why not? It’s fun and reminds us even at 30 we are still young. She asked me what we are going to do for my 30th birthday. My response, sit around and cry. I can’t help it, I am really not looking forward to this. Her response was, no I am not going to let that happen. And I know if she can help it, she won’t let me mope around with pity because I am a day older than I was the day before. I will have to take 30 like a true champion, with a smile.

At 29 I feel like I am going through a mid-life crisis. I feel the need to kick start my life into gear before I turn 30. It’s time to step up to life. It is my go hard, or go home moment. I have questions for my life. I question my choices in dating, which dates I should go on, and which ones I should just outwardly reject.  I question my career frequently. Is this something I want to do for the rest of my life? What if I want to do something else? A career where I can allow my true self and talents to shine. How would I go about doing that? I have invested a lot of time and money into my current career. Am I allowed to just throw that all away out of indecisiveness and moments of boredom? Have I set myself up for a successful life, or is there much more I need to work on?

To be continued….