At 5:52pm Pacific time, I officially leave my 20’s behind and transition into my 30’s. It’s a very strange feeling, knowing that I will never again have an experience where I say “when I was in my 20’s I…”.
This morning I was planning on indulging in sleeping in, but my body woke me at 6:30 with the sunrise. After I got over the annoyance that I couldn’t get back to sleep, I was so grateful for the opportunity to take advantage of the quiet moments before the world stirs, and used the time to reflect back on the last decade. At first I was a bit saddened; I mourned awhile for the loss of my blindly hopeful, “world is gonna be my oyster” years. And then the most extraordinary thing happened; the more I thought about everything I had done, all the places I’d seen, people I’d met, things I’d accomplished…the mourning turned to pure gratitude. Like fucking magic.
I wanted to preserve the moment of reflection; I was remembering things I hadn’t thought about in years. So I opened my journal and started to free-write a list of things I had done in my 20’s, not censoring myself or worrying about chronological order. An hour later I stirred and realized I had pages and pages of life experiences that I hadn’t really stopped to appreciate in full before this moment. A few broad examples:
As a 22-year-old college grad, I moved to New York City and was able to work and live there for 3 years. Ever since I was 12 years old, I dreamed of moving to the Big Apple. AND I FUCKING DID IT. I am so lucky- I actually lived my dream. I spent some of the best years of my life in New York making my childhood dreams a reality; getting my first apartment, working in my first “big girl” office, auditioning for countless shows, attending Broadway plays and musicals almost every week, squeezing every last drop of joy out of the City That Never Sleeps. I am so, SO grateful for all New York brought me.
I lost my father, and I grew up. For 11 years, from the day he was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, to the day he died, there had been a crushing fear surrounding what would happen after he was gone. And while it was more excruciating than I ever could have predicted, I got through it. And I came out the other side with an appreciation and an understanding of our time on earth that most people don’t get until much later in life. My father’s death gave me more gifts than any other life experience possibly could. And even though tears stream down my face as I write that, even though there are still days when the pain hits my heart like a hurricane, it doesn’t make it any less true.
I developed an unbreakable bond with my mother. Besides getting through my father’s death together, we have made so many memories between the two of us to last a hundred lifetimes. We have traveled to an absurd number of exciting, beautiful, historic, meaningful, magical places together. Travel brings us together unlike anything else and it’s something I will cherish in my relationship with her for the rest of my days, and it’s something I will pass on to my future children because of her.
I fought hard for three years and finally made Los Angeles my home. I moved to the City of Angels totally blind; I didn’t know a soul, and I had very few resources. I was a stranger in a strange city who was here because of extenuating circumstances and not by choice. It was a long, HARD road, but I mourned my old life, sowed seeds, and watched them grow into roots. And while the sheen of wide-eyed hope and wonder I had when I moved to New York is gone forever, I am proud to say I have actively worked and succeeded at making a happy home and life here in California.
I acknowledged and fought through my Depression. It was, and is, a shadow that follows me through my life. Some days are going to be darker than others, but at least now I know that I have tools and resources that will forever bring light into my life.
Coming out of my depression this year was the best birthday gift of all. And this blog has been a huge part of that. The internet is a fascinating thing; I will never fully understand it, but I completely ascribe to the fact that I feel better when I share this part of my soul with a faceless “other”. A dear writer friend of mine said that there is nothing more powerful than the feeling of “me too”. She is so right. “Me too” is important. It is healing. It is beautiful. It bridges gaps between race, gender, age, class, beliefs. “Me too” is love.
So, thank you life for a beautiful 30 years. I am so excited to move into the next stage of my life with the battle scars and laugh lines I’ve accumulated over the past three decades. I’m even more excited to add to them, maybe even with stretch marks and a suntan line on my ring finger. As I close the book on my 20’s and turn to the next chapter of my life, the thing I know the most is that I will try my hardest to spend each day learning, laughing, and loving as much as I possibly can. It’s a beautiful, crazy, life and I’m so excited to keep on living it.