By the Numbers

Olympic Rings

In just over a month (35 days and 3 hours- not that I’m counting), I will turn 29. As best as I can tell there is no way around this. My days as a ‘20-something’ are numbered (400 days. Unless it’s a leap year, is it a leap year? Not that I’m counting…).

It seems that I have two choices when I reach this crossroads. I can become the kind of woman who despises aging, celebrates 29 several times over, becomes deeply offended by bouncers/bartenders/cashiers who do not card her, and begins scheduling appointments to have “a little work done.” Or, I can become the kind of woman who is unconcerned, who accepts the idea of aging with maturity and grace, reminds people that age is “only a number” or that “you’re only as old as you feel,” and begins making a conscientious effort to keep the sun off her face. I can take the high road, smiling, or the low road, pouting.
So last night, as I started decorating my “future face-lift fund” jar, I found myself thinking about how I came to be sitting in that spot. In this house. In this city. And thinking about where I expected to by this time. How many doors have closed for me? Are there really things I can’t do now?
If you, poor lost reader, could go back 20 years and talk to me as a precocious 8- (almost 9-) year old, I could have told you in excessive detail where I’d be now. However, getting me to focus on the conversation long enough to enlighten you may have been difficult, as I apparently spent most of third grade creating my own line of fashion paper dolls! Fortunately for us both, fashion was not my calling. And more fortunately, this time-travel won’t be necessary, because my mother saved any school-crafted item that could possibly have educational or sentimental value. So by using my own personal archives, I can tell you that Lindsey Age 8 planned to:

go to college
become an Olympic gymnast
possibly leave home.. but possibly not. Ever.
decide between my two careers- teacher, or author and illustrator of children’s books
be married by the age of 28
have my first child (of two) by 30
move back to Alaska
and have a sleepover birthday party!

Hmm.

Well.

I guess there are some distinct hits and misses there. On the one hand, I am proud to hold a Master of Arts in Teaching, and hopefully this year’s class of 4th graders are also happy with my career choice. I’ve worked some memorable jobs and lived in some great places. I’ve been in love, had my heart broken, broken someone else’s as well, and learned a lot.  The gymnastics thing didn’t pan out, but I think I could still manage a back handspring without paralyzing myself… probably. And my slumber party, in case you were wondering, was a crimped-hair, Disney-pajama-clad, sugar-fueled soiree that made my little heart deliriously happy. Then on the other hand (the nail-bitten one), I never write anymore and I rarely do art. I live too far away from my family, for no reason that I can clearly articulate, except that I like my job here. I am most definitely single- which means that whole ‘married at 28’ bit is probably out of the question, and sometimes I worry that I’m going to end up being the crazy old cat lady. Minus the cats. Which is maybe good. I don’t know. Crazy old dog lady, with only one dog, that’s like a small upgrade right?

Point being, what I decided is that there are some things on that list that I can control, and some that I really can’t. Some things that are still important, and some that aren’t. (2012 Olympics, here I come. I just have to believe!!) No, the thing I can do, just for myself, is to write. This blog is my present to myself, to take this next year and make sure that I really do know what I want to be when I grow up. I want to look back without regret, and hopefully with some humor. Being able to make fun of myself, nicely, is a skill I am still honing.

If only one person reads it, I’m okay with that. (Thanks Mom, and no, you can’t print it out and put it in the boxes with the other school projects). I’m planning to read a lot of other people’s work, and ideally I’ll get some good advice, constructive criticism, or affirmation that I can write coherently. If two, or three, or six people read it, maybe I’ll start getting that feedback.

Not that I’ll be counting.

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~ by Lindsey on October 6, 2010.

4 Responses to “By the Numbers”

  1. I laughed out loud.

  2. Dog ladies fo’ life.

  3. […] I celebrated the dreaded 30th Birthday with a beautiful […]

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