Saturday, July 14, 2012

Growing Pains

I'm lying in my bed, alternately staring at my phone screen and my black ceiling. Everyone is asleep, and finally, I can be okay.

I turned 29 years old today. I guess technically (if you want to be technical), you could say I turned 29 at around 6pm. I had thought about posting pictures of me from various birthdays through the years, but besides my hospital photo, in which I have a pretty sick rooster (what we now call a "faux hawk") all I could find was a picture from my 15th birthday, when I was wearing some hideous purple and green flannel man pants paired with a Veggie Tales t-shirt. Not really feeling like posting that on the world wide web.

Yesterday morning I woke up crying. I cried ceaselessly on the way to work. I cried intermittently while cleaning someone else's toilet. I straight up ugly cried to James Taylor's You've Got A Friend.

I cried because I realized yesterday, with a horrible shock, that this is my last year in the 20s demographic. Which is a trifling thing. I know this. But I also realized that, looking back, my 20s were almost nothing. And everything. Nothing and everything, jumbled together in my memory. I made the most definitive decisions of my life in my 20s. I got married. I had kids one after the other, for 5 years. I changed diapers everyday from the ages of 20 to 28. I moved into a house that we all too swiftly outgrew. I got some tattoos. I got my nose pierced. I got my tubes tied (now THAT was a good decision). I worked 4 jobs somewhere between 20 and 29. I got burned a lot. Acquired quite a few scars.

But what did I DO? Not much. Not much to write about, lying here, on the first day of my last year in my 20s. I accomplished nothing great. I didn't "dent" the world with my existence. I did only that: existed. Scraped through, day after day, until I looked back and realized it had actually been years.

I'm aware I'm being melodramatic. I'm not old. I'm not at death's door. I'm not even at death's neighborhood. I'm just overwhelmed by all the seemingly pointless paving stones I've laid out around me, only to find out that I've been building in circles.

I suppose I could say my 20s have merely been the groundwork for the rest of my life. The choices I made, the new paths I forged, the bridges I burned, are the foundations that the rest of my life will be built on. I have a lot to build onto. A lot of roots to cultivate as I grow up and out. I have a lot of work before me. But I'd rather be pruned painfully than to be wild and weedy.

In one of the first blogs I wrote for What If I Said, I talked about when I felt like I was truly a grown up. I compared myself to Wendy from Peter Pan, saying how I hadn't wanted to grow up, and if I could have fled then, I would have. But Peter Pan's childishness has been romanticized. Most people don't know that Peter, in his perpetual childhood, forgot everyone he was close to. He forgot Tinkerbell, the Lost Boys, Wendy herself. I never want to be so stuck on staying young that I forget- forget to grow. Forget to learn wisdom. Forget the people who have had a hand in making me who I am, for better or for worse.

So now, with only 45 minutes left in this birthday, and almost two solid days of crying, I can be objective. I can be positive. I can look at my groundwork that has felt so meaningless and see a pattern emerging, a blueprint for the next 10 years. I can see how far I've come, painful though it's been. I can see I've grown.



  1. Find comfort in the fact that you are married and have kids. I turned 29 in May and am childless. In my mind, I'm freaking out because my time is slowly ticking down. At 35 and over, medical coders code a pregnancy as "elderly"! Most days I can handle it; other days, I mentally flip out and cry at everything. (Have you seen the latest ASPCA commercials? OMG) Anyway, just wanted you to know you're not alone. There are other 80's babies freaking out!

    1. Thanks for helping me put things a little more in perspective, Mary. I need to focus more on what I've got and less on what I'm overwhelmed by. I pray you too can find contentment where you are, and that your deepest desires are fulfilled. We Mary's gotta stick together!

      - Mary