2012 marks the last year of my twenties.
Previously, saying that made me collapse into a fit of inconsolable defeat. Once, on the phone with my father about my car being paid off when I’m 30, I fell to the floor during the middle of the conversation. All it took was me saying, “Well, when I’m 30…” and my brain processed that as someone taking a bat to the back of my knees. My father heard heaving gasps on the other line and waited for my two minute bawl fest to conclude before daring to continue the topic at hand.
I never thought I’d make it past 29. Not because I have a craving for horse tranquilizers or a death wish obsession with Kurt Cobain, but because it seemed nearly impossible to imagine a life past that. My brain simply would shut down when thinking about my 30s. Or maybe, much like the Mayans, my internal calendar simply stops on 2012. Being an only child of divorce, I never planned out my future to include things like marriage and children, so a life after 30 seemed moot. I guess deep down I always thought I would stay a kid and my 20s have been a roller coaster of accepting that that is not the case.
Now that I’m getting closer to 30, I welcome it. If these past few years have been any indicator of things to come in terms of life balance, then I’m looking forward to the more stable mental well-being that my 30- and 40-something lady friends promise will come.
Entering your 20s is initially exciting. It’s like exiting the womb for a second time, but this time you’re all big and understand what the hell people are saying and you can say stuff back in return. At 20 I was about to start my life and I had no idea what amazing prospects the future held. I also had no idea that I would have many nights crying and drinking at home alone, screaming to no one, “WHY?!? WHY MUST I GO THROUGH THIS INSUFFERABLE AGE!”
Looking back, each year of my 20s felt like a mini lifetime. I was clearly a different girl each year as I got closer to understanding who I was. Even though it takes many years, if not forever, to finally understand who we are, the twenties in particular are a challenging exercise in bewilderment and questioning. My 20s lifeline has been a roller coaster of extreme ups and downs, bad and good decisions and amazing discoveries. I cringe thinking about some of the douchey dudes I dated, talking endlessly to my parents and friends about my trivial problems and episodes of extreme flakiness when I was in a state of perpetual Deer Caught in Headlights Syndrome. But I also see many milestones, milestones that seem more common the closer I get to 30. Because I never had very specific and large goals as a child, my twenties have been about small and achievable goals that have given me personal satisfaction the older I get.