Monday, January 13, 2014

"This is the year you turn 30" and other horror stories

I had a realization the other day while driving.
I had just dropped the pup off at the groomers (his first time!), stopped off at Target to pick up some essentials for a sick boyfriend, and was on the freeway headed home.
I was going over various mundane things in my brain, none of which included actually paying attention to the road, when it hit me "this is the year you turn 30". I actually had to stop myself, and repeat the sentence I muttered off in such a  blasé manner. "This. is. the. year. you. turn. 30."
Now I've said to myself (and others... I do talk to other people, sometimes), "my 30th birthday" and "I'll be 30 this year" but those never struck me the way that sentence did. 
"This is the year you turn 30" 

That sentence holds SO much power, it is like a brick hitting me in the gut, or rather, an entire sack of bricks. I was trying to explain later in the evening to J the impact of this sentence and what it actually means. I likened it to every year you get older, there is a door that shuts out the past, what used to be, what can never happen now. Turning 30 is not just a door, it is the enormous iron (steel? metal? whatever it is) gate of a castle that slams down and locks out anyone on the other side, regardless of their status or amount of armor. It is, quite literally, the end of an era. No longer will I be able to make the claim "I'm in my 20's". Anything that happens from that point on will be referred to as happening "in my 30's". 

I'm not even sure why this rattled me so much. It is not that I am dreading my 30's, I've actually heard they're pretty great years; you still have some of the energy you had in your 20's for adventures but you're a little bit wiser about which adventures your partake in. So what is it about "this is the year you turn 30" that shook my core? 

I think it really gets down to, not so much what the 30's hold, but all that my 20's could have held, but did not. So many women my age have children, are married, buying houses, putting down roots, and are working (and by working I mean getting PAID!) in their career. Here I am, on the brink of the big 3-0 with no children, not married, renting, and working for free as a forever-student, far away from home. 

I guess I need to realize that all those things other women did in their 20's, I will likely be doing in my 30's. My 30's will not include being established in my career, they will be just beginning my career. My 30's will not be raising teenagers and preparing my kids for college, they will be giving birth for the first time (and hopefully 2nd and/or 3rd). My 30's will not be tending my roots, they will be planting them. 

When I really think about it, it feels like I'm so far behind everyone else. J says I'm being selfish when I view it that way and to look at everything I have done because I didn't choose the other path. The places I've lived, traveled, the things I've experienced and really, he is right. I want to have all of that, plus everything other women got to have in their 20's too and that is completely selfish. I want my cake; to have it out for show and have a bottomless bowl full of it. 

I am struggling with being grateful. With all that I've been able to accomplish... I'm focusing on the rest of it.Maybe my 30's will be a time to be grateful? To appreciate things a little more? 
This all reminds me of that Tim McGraw song... my next 30 years ;)

Saturday, January 4, 2014

New Years Resolution... only 4 days later

It is 2014. That is... crazy. I mean, it is not actually insane, time moves along just as it always has; although, it seems to be moving more quicker as you age... I'm sure there's some science behind that, right? ;)

2013 was BIG year for me:
  • I passed my competency exams
  • I obtained my M.S. degree
  • I traveled to Yosemite, Vegas, Reno, Disneyland, Hawaii and some other places here and there
  • I presented at APA 
  • My best friend got engaged and married and I was able to be a part of both
  • J and I became "parents" of sorts when we got a puppy
  • Completed my training at the methadone clinic
  • Began my training at a residential facility for women in recovery with children 
  • I let go of the Jetta after 11 years
  • I successfully defended my dissertation proposal
  • I applied to internships

I am sure there are things I'm forgetting, but those are the highlights for the year. So much accomplished in 1 year, I can't help but take a moment to be a little bit proud of how far I've come. So many things this year that in 2010 I began to  work toward, dread, worry, lose sleep over, and/or hope for and in 2013 they became a reality. Despite the evidence, I still feel like an imposter that will soon be "found out" that I really don't have what it takes to be in a Ph.D. program, they some how made a mistake in admissions and soon they're realize the error. I wonder how many degrees on the wall or letters after my name it'll take for that to disappear?

Hmm... I'm getting sidetracked (and negative). I am supposed to be discussing New Years and my resolutions.

My resolution last year:
My new year's resolution for 2013 is to do 5 things to benefit myself each week and document these 5 things.

I accomplished my resolution for 2013 and I have 52 posts to prove it. I must say, it was a difficult task to take on. It required constant commitment and follow up. I had to hold myself accountable 365 days. Well, isn't that the point of a resolution? It shouldn't just be something you come up with on January 1st only to forget it a month later, or revisit come July. It should be something you are constantly working toward. Otherwise, how will you ever progress? evolve?

This year, I decided that since I have always been painfully afraid of change and stuck in my ways, that I would challenge myself to do things differently.

My new year's resolution for 2014 is to try at least 1 new thing every week. 

This can be anything from trying a new recipe, or a new shade of lipstick, to trying out a new restaurant, exercise, craft, hobby, or a new approach to tackling tasks; anything that I have not tried before. Not every one of them has to be something monumental, but I have to learn to let go of "my way" of doing everything, because that may not be the best way and it certainly is not the only way.

To my fear of change, I challenge you to a year of 52 different ways of living.