On October 31st of this year I will turn 29.
At 18, with my un-damaged blonde hair, tight body and general sense of unawareness, I would have never imagined that I would be where I am at currently as I sit here typing to an unknown audience as an almost-29-year-old. I am un-married, childless, and I unfortunately now know what my mom was talking about when she groaned about “bat wings”. (Gravity is a real bitch)
At 18 we all just assume it will work out, right? We can see the end goal but have no idea the amount of LIFE that happens before we get there. Why does no one tell us?
I am unmarried, childless, and mildly saggy, but guess what? THIS IS LIFE.
I live in Naples, Florida. Beautiful, but also where people go to die if we’re being honest. I pay an EXHORBENENT amount in rent each month for the luxury of constantly worrying that my dog will abruptly keel over from licking a non-native invasive frog. (This invasive frog colony has decided to set up shop in my backyard just to spite me, I swear.)
Because South Florida is what it is, I sweat for 90% of my waking hours on average, and my legs are consistently three different shades of mosquito bite. I work seven days a week at a some-what “well-paying” job, that I sometimes enjoy, to pay rent so our poisonous frog colony is comfortable in their swampy oasis that is my backyard. It’s okay though, because the ocean is a mile away from my money-pit, so in the very rare chance that I am not working, I can check out a sunset once every 6 months. POSITIVITY, PEOPLE! *Rolls eyes*
I have crippling anxiety on occasion and over-extend myself to the point of rage on a weekly basis. I don’t drink anymore, because anything that feels good has the potential to become a problem for me. I LIKE TO FEEL GOOD, OK? SUE ME. The problem is, I will ring every drop of good out of anything that will squeeze. Moderation is not something I have exceled at in my life. (Consult the pizza place down the street from my house if you are skeptical about my truth-telling.)
I am tired. I am also frustrated at the fact that I have had to channel my inner Steve Irwin and learn how to hunt frogs just to protect my oblivious dog.
But you know what else I am? Happy.
I am a firm believer that us as humans can feel two things at once. I also believe that if we all threw our problems into a hat, we would ask for ours back.
The human condition is a messy thing, but one that we all are forced to experience. Why not embrace the chaos?
If you had told my naïve, 18-year-old self that this would be the reality that I am SO DAMN grateful for, I would have looked at you like you had three heads. I was going to MAKE IT, BABY, and this was not the picture that I had in my mind. I just didn’t realize at the time that THIS is what “MAKING IT” looks like.
I’ve realized that if you’re waiting for that proverbial “finish-line”, you’re just waiting for death.
What is “THE” finish line, anyway? College degree? Marriage? Children? Dream Car? From what I can tell, A LOT happens after you cross those lines, so why do we continue to look at them in that way?
I don’t know about y’all, but I can drive myself Bat-Shit-Crazy doing the compare-and-contrast exercise that Facebook has taught us all so well. If no one else has told you today, that exercise is BULL SHIT. Stop doing it.
These days, I lovingly call Facebook the “highlight reel”, because that is exactly what it is. How often do you see people get honest about their failures, their darkness, and their struggle? I don’t see it often, but when I do, I am incredibly moved.
In a world where we are so “connected” and have access to so much, I find myself still searching for access to authenticity and connection in its true form. I am aching and searching for the humanness that if noticed, is so incredibly beautiful.
I know damn well that I am not the only one struggling with gravity, and dangerous yard pests. I know that I am not the only one who questions if they are in the right profession or wonders how they are going to buy Christmas presents and pay their rent IN THE SAME MONTH. (Santa, you’re really asking a lot, man.)
Happiness is about a shift in perspective.
Ok. So, I am without a husband, child, and home that I own.
But I am WITH, an amazing boyfriend, beautiful dog, and safe place to lay my head down at night. I am without worry that I am loved. I am without worry that I am safe. I have mastered the frog hunt in an impressive way, and I’ve even learned how to keep Bromeliads alive for more than a month. ADAPTING TO MY ENVIROMENT, Y’ALL. Add that to the damn highlight reel!
I am balancing on the edge of 29, and I am doing just fine.