Je ne sais quoi

Holy fuck, people! It’s less than three weeks until my birthday. I cannot even fathom this. I imagine that what I find myself in is, yet another, tri-life crisis. My first happened at my true’tri’-25 years (I have no dilusion of being guarenteed anymore than 75 years.). Sadly, 25 was years ago. YEARS! And where exactly have the years gone?

I am struck dumb by my age. Seriously, the other night I fell asleep on the couch at 8 p.m. 8 o’clock in the fucking evening! What the hell is that if not a rude awakening?! This is aging (hashtag?!). I am in a constant battle against time. I feel time is blowing by and the amount I want to complete in a day is never sufficient. Pesky sleep gets in the way of the few hours I would have to myself that are not consumed by getting ready, getting the family up and ready, work, exercise and the myriad mundane tasks that consume me until I look up and the clock somehow says 10 p.m.

I have never really felt old, never felt young. Until I turned 25, I was always comfortable in my current age. 25 was that pivotal moment where I realize one-third of my life was gone, and when compared to the dreams and hopes and aspirations I had for myself, I had accomplished very little in this span of time.

I will give myself a little credit. It isn’t as if I haven’t accomplished some in my lifetime. I did the usual: school, college, learned a couple instruments,  created a strong work and exercise ethic, all things that have kept me healthy, happy, and very likely and most important, have kept me out of trouble. Not that I ever really anticipated myself getting into serious trouble. However, I am passionate, opinionated and curious-all things that can create trouble if left with nothing to do.

Growing up my days had always been consumed with so many activities and events that getting into trouble wasn’t really an issue. This same lack of free time followed me into college as well. I was so busy with work, theatre and the multitude of college work that I didn’t have time to consider trouble.

I always had a very clear picture of myself with little care for what others thought of me. The only thing that drove me day in and day out was myself. I didn’t work hard in life for my family, my parents, for recognition or any other reason. I did it because I decided I had to. Don’t ask how or why I decided this. Perhaps my headstrong stubbornness did me well. But I left myself with no free time. Every waking hour I was committed to something, whether that was class, homework, work, theatre, dance, or the few moment I had to hang with my friends. Sleep became optional I was so busy. I lived off six shot peppermint mochas, caramel lattes, and in the evening I would eventually remember to eat. Life flew by and I loved every moment. I learned, I experienced, I experimented.

Then graduation hit and for the first time, that motion and momentum I had been building my entire life completely and utterly ceased. I don’t know if I proved Newton’s first law to be false in this moment or if the moment was me slamming into an unseen force. But the motion stopped in its tracks. I hadn’t anticipated careers, jobs, what I wanted to be when I grew up. I still had no idea and no real interest in figuring it out immediately. I had not been thinking “what job opportunities do these open up?”. I was simply focused on learning. I have always loved learning for learning’s sake, never anything more.

And I honestly think every college student at 18-21 years old has every right to just go to college to learn and enjoy. Careers and the entirety of your future does not need to be clear or planned in this moment. Some know and that’s fucking great, but for the rest of us, who the fuck cares?! When you have just reached adulthood, cherish it and take every opportunity to try things, make mistakes. I did not make enough mistakes. I’m not saying I didn’t make any. I made plenty, but I didn’t have time to make as many as I should have.

When I look back at the amount I did accomplish in my young life, I feel everything I achieved was an expectation I had for myself and the general expectation I would assume on any other person my age. Try some sports, learn a language, finish high school, go to college… I didn’t even consider that there was a different option at the time. Perhaps, for others (I understand college isn’t for everyone or necessary in certain circumstances) but not for myself. The idea of not completing college didn’t ever cross my brain. But you know what also didn’t really cross my brain? I didn’t think about after college. I didn’t think about what all of the last nearly 22 years had been building towards.

For the first time, I didn’t have a plan, I didn’t have a goal, and I didn’t have a huge drive to accomplish anything. And for me, a mouthy, headstrong, opinionated, quickwitted  almost 22 year old, this was possibly the worst combo. I had no idea how to proceed and what to do with myself. I also decided I needed a break to just breath and relax. I hadn’t ever taken a moment to just live without pushing myself to accomplish.

Thought I think I made the correct decision in this moment, the momentum never rebuilt. It was supposed to be temporary. But some personal choices and mistakes put me in a very different place than I would have ever anticipated.

At 25, I realized I hadn’t accomplished anything new. I hadn’t really travelled, I had no money, no savings, and I hadn’t really been pushing myself to accomplish more. I was still reading and learning. I had a beautiful amazing toddler that I was pouring my life and my heart into. But as a single parent, this left me at home a great deal with little to no money, doing nothing but hanging out with my daughter during the day or stuck at home while my daughter slept. I refused to be a parent that was out constantly as my daughter slept. I wasn’t going to have people over constantly. I promised to create a healthy, stable environmentfocused on intelligence and creativity.

I kept busy, one year I even read 110 books. But for a person that’s entire life had always been moving forward without a moment to even consider anything, who when I had a moment to make a decision was flying off to a concert in some state or party. Being stuck at home was the death of me.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my daughter and everything I have done has been necessary for her. But your life truly stops being yours the moment you become a parent. Everything becomes about the child. So I sacrified and stayed at home, and I watched tv and movies, and most importantly, I read. And when I was 25, I had a tri-life crisis. And I started picking up the pieces and bit by bit getting myself where I should have years before.

It took more time, more work to push myself 3 years after college than I would’ve needed had I pushed after college. And it took a good two years to be in a relatively stable place where I could consider balancing paying off debt with travelling and fun. Part of that is thanks to my amazing man who despite being five years younger (okay, nearly six) has been this constant source of stability.

Now, I’m turning 30 and this dread has consumed me. I have had over a decade to learn to be an adult. At 30, I feel there is now this expectation that I am going to be an expert at adulting. And quite frankly, I feel no more prepared than I did immediately after college. I have experienced a great deal more and know that with that experience comes wisdom, knowledge and a wrinkle or two. On some things perhaps I am older, wiser, but in many I know very little. I will never consider myself an expert in anything. I have never and never will be satisfied in life or my accomplishments. There is always more. More to learn, more to experience, more to know.

There are so many things I should have experienced and accomplished in my twenties, but I was busy parenting and being poor, so shit just didn’t happen. And as I see 30 right in front of me, the only think I can think is the same thing I have always thought. There is never enough time. I am running a race against the clock and will never be satisfied.