This week I turn 29 years old. I’m 29 this week. If you’re older than me you’ll probably scoff at me even writing about this new year of life because well, you’ve been there, done that, and are much wiser since you were 29. And gosh am I a jealous nut right now.
I still remember when I turned 24. I was celebrating in the “Hawaii” of Korea that is Jeju Island with friends and that night we went to the “monkey bar”. I’m not sure if that is the actual name, all I remember was that there were games like a ball pit and a stripper pole with a bell on top where Diana jumped to ring the bell for a free bucket of alcohol and sprained her ankle. That sprain came and went for the next two years that I was with her in Korea. Oh, and birthday people were getting a free bottle of whiskey. I hate Whiskey, but I was so excited to receive my free bottle, and we sure as hell enjoyed the heck out of that bottle too. We had such a good time that we went the next night to the same bar, but it wasn’t the same. Very few nights can top off that night. Blame it on the Whiskey. *wink*
But now, 19 countries later, pounds lost and gained, new grey hairs, a teaching license, a home residence in yet another new country, a nearly finished master’s degree, a part-time job, volunteer work, lots of reading and writing, antique obsessions, heartbreak, love and loss, therapy, 2 fewer companion animals, a few passed family members, and the harsh reality that what I had planned by 30 is not going to be possible to achieve within this next year and well……I can’t help but feel hopelessly hopeful. Or hopefully hopeless?
It’s the former, for sure,
You know, I was going to write that even though I’m 29 I still feel lost and blah blah blah but actually I don’t. And that’s surprisingly so because, given the state of my financial stability, relationship status, new tuition debt, and finally cleaning myself up after years of social and personal destruction, I should be pretty banged up. And I am, don’t get me wrong. But for some reason, amidst all the chaos and flying bits of life I haven’t yet been able to grasp onto, I feel at peace with me.
I’ve learned that no matter what, life is going to turn out okay. I know this because I realize (which I’ve “known” all along but let’s face it age helps you just chill the fuck out and listen to life speak) that I control a lot of what comes in and out of my life. I can’t control what others do to me but I can control how I treat others and how I react to others’ treatment toward me, which paves way for a good interaction/relationship or a bad one. I can’t control not getting that job I really wanted but I can control applying for the next one or taking up a part-time job in an unrelated field until I land a good one. Or finding solace in creative endeavors that only open up more possibilities. If I allow it to. If I want it to. I may get hurt by those I love but I can learn to forgive and move on. I can be scarred or traumatized by others’ behavior or big life-altering events but I can choose to allow myself to feel, be down, and then eventually get tired of being sad and do the work to lift myself up. I can choose to do this alone, only stretching out the gruesome process, or choose to invite others in to help with the heavy lifting. I don’t have to do it alone. Community.
That was a big one to learn. I don’t have to do it alone. And asking for help is more than okay. It’s expected. Not easy, but acceptable and even appreciated. It’s nice to let others in. Real nice.
Yes, I’m 29 this week. And yes my life is a chaotic, uncertain mess. But it’s mine.
It’s all mine. And with all its flaws, I’m learning to love it even better than I did when I was 24 years old. And that was a damn good year.