A week ago, on May 26, I turned 30. As this milestone birthday approached, I was initially a little frightened of it. I didn’t want to have to say I was thirty…and later thirty-something. I watched as many of my friends turned 30, and I was inspired by many who pledged to rock their thirties. Then, I decided to do the same. In fact, I realized after much introspection that I am 100% happy to have my twenties behind me.
I have taken some time to reflect on that decade of my life.
For starters, turning 20 was just “eh.” I was beyond my teen years, but still not of a “respectable” age. Meh. Indifference. Basically still a teen in college.
My 21st birthday was one of my more memorable ones. My parents took me to Vegas, where I gambled and we saw shows. I also went to Red Rock Canyon for the first time, which I believe changed me forever. During this trip, even the last 20 minutes before going to the airport were memorable. Here’s a brief summary:
Mom: Help me get rid of some of these dollar tokens. (back in the day when they had tokens instead of tickets…I’m old, I know)
Me: No, I’m tired, just cash them out.
[Mom shoves the tokens into my hand and says “play” with that “mom” look in her eyes.]
I didn’t play dollar slot machines. Pennies and nickles were my speed. I was just learning. Walked over to a machine and sunk in three coins (max bet). clunk, clunk, clunk I hit for $7 and thought that was pretty good…so I cashed out. Still ready to go I looked over at my mom who signaled me to just play. To the next machine. I sunk in another max bet, and played for awhile actually hoping to just lose the money I had. I sat there in a dumbfounded stupor (which isn’t hard to do after 10 days in Vegas) pressing the Max Bet button repeatedly. The good news is the machine was letting me play…which is good.
The next thing I knew, the Max Bet button stopped working. I banged on it some more and nothing. My mom looked over at me gasping.
Me: I broke it!! Malfunction voids all play! I lost all that money! [as my mother approaches my machine, I thought she was going to be upset]
Mom: No, hunny, you WON!!! [as she laughs in excitement, shaking me]
We examined the payout thing at the top. Yep, I won $2000 just before our cab pulled up. All of the attendants and many of the staff came over to congratulate me, as they had become familiar with me during our stay.
It’s an experience I’ll never forget.
At 22, I had a quarter-life crisis. I’m not sure many folks know, but I had a near breakdown and a full on crisis. I had too much going on, and learned in this year of my life that I truly, most certainly, cannot control everything. I was working two jobs, graduating college, trying to get into grad school (what was I to do with a BS in Psychology), and going through a major breakup after four years, dealing with a PSYCHOTIC roommate who threatened to kill me resulting in anxiety attacks and charges filed for assault. To top it off, my Nana died. That crushed me. In a nutshell, things were exactly opposite of how I had envisioned they would be at that age. I thought I would be getting married…starting a life…and certainly believed my Nana would be there to see my college graduation AND my wedding. I am what I call a recovering control freak since this year of my life. Still wishing I could control things, but content in knowing some things are just beyond me.
At 25, I struggled with knowing I was a whole quarter-century old. That was mind blowing to me. Seems silly now…but it freaked me out.
After 25, things seemed to turn around. I just let go and decided to “just do me.” I didn’t need anyone. Family was my foundation and that was all I needed. I became independent, perhaps to a fault, as I worked to pay bills and make something of myself…and for no one but me. I dated around. I met lots of people, and learned many lessons.
At 27, I met the man who would become my husband. He is the calm in my storm and I have no idea where I would be without him. My family loves him and, despite saying he didn’t like cats, my cat has taken to him as the alpha male. Yes, he stole my heart and my cat! No worries – we got another one who is my shadow…an annoyance. 🙂 I asked for it.
Since then, wedding planning and buying a house have been our major milestones together. Two levels of hell I wish to never experience again. =) I also made some conscious decisions to eliminate a few people from my life. I determined that they were cancerous to me and that my friendships with them were very one-sided (meaning I was the only one putting in any effort and I was the one who could be relied on through thick and thin). That’s ok. It had to be done.
So…I’m actually really looking forward to my thirties and I am happy to see my twenties in my rear-view mirror.
Here’s to rockin’ my thirties!