Every year, leading up to my birthday, I tend to take stock of my life – the things I’ve learned, the ways that I’ve changed, the things I’ve never done but would like to do. This year in particular I have a lot to take stock of. There have been so many major events in the past couple of years, especially in the last twelve months. A year ago, I was planning a life that is very different from the life I’m living now. I was planning a wedding, planning on going back to school, planning to save up for an oboe. After all that planning, I’ve realized something very important: very little in life ever goes according to plan. And that is not always a bad thing.
I’m taking stock again as my birthday creeps closer and I’ve decided to not make plans for myself. At least for a while. Instead, I’ve made a list of the things I’ve realized during this annual, ever-daunting process:
1. I’m closer to thirty than to twenty-five. This fact is occasionally terrifying. But it’s also a little liberating. I’m almost thirty, but I feel more free to make decisions about my own life than I ever did when I was twenty. I always felt that there were things I was supposed to be doing, or planning, or looking forward to. I wouldn’t say my life is completely together, but I’m enjoying my time, I have a job that I enjoy and do well and the rest is just sort of taking care of itself.
2. While I no longer feel the pressure to live up to expectations (whether real or imagined) I’m quite surprised to have realized that I’ve never bought furniture. I’m almost thirty and I’ve never EVER bought a piece of furniture. I only realized this because I’m in the process of moving into an apartment all my own and I’m going to have nowhere to sit.
3. I’ve never lived on my own. I’ve always been slightly terrified by the idea. I mean, who do you wake up to help you investigate the creepy noise at 2AM? And who is going to answer the door when I don’t feel like digging out my keys? I’m still concerned about those things, but my excitement about doing something like this on my own – making a decision about where to live, putting the furniture (when I buy it) wherever I want, and being able to spend an entire day in my jammies guilt-free – is far outweighing the anxiety.
4. I used to care quite deeply about what people thought of me. But that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. Outside of how my actions affect my personal relationships, I don’t much care whether someone thinks I’m an asshole or an idiot or a weirdo. Sometimes, I’m all of those things, but I’m generally okay with myself and that’s good enough for me.
5. My ‘bucket list’ has been written and edited and rewritten so many times, I’m not even really sure what’s on it anymore. All I know is that there are some things that I want to do right now and I’m working on doing those things. If I decide that I don’t want to do those things anymore, I’ll find some other things to do. Bucket list: over.
6. A few months ago, I started working a sales job. When I applied, I expected that it would simply be a stop-gap, something to pay my bills while I looked for something better. I did not, in any way, expect that I would enjoy it, let alone be good at it. SURPRISE! I really enjoy my job. And even though I thought I would hate sales and be generally terrible at it, I’m doing splendidly. SPLENDIDLY! As it turns out, sometimes you actually have to try to be good at something to know if you’re actually good at it.
So, that’s my life-at-the-moment in a nutshell. I’m excited to see how it all pans out, but in the meantime, I’m just going to enjoy myself.