Turning 30 abroad
I turned thirty last month. I don’t know how I feel about it. Actually, I do know how I feel about it, but I don’t like to admit how I feel about it.
Because how I feel about it reveals vanity and an inability to be grateful and the internalization of cultural messages that I spent a large part of my twenties renouncing. But, here I am, kinda sorta (a lot) buying into them.
So. There’s that.
But let’s put that aside and make some lists. (Lists are good! Lists apply order to the disordered! Lists are easy!) Forgive the self-indulgence involved here, will you? If anything, I’d like to look back on these lists for posterity.
5 things I wish I could have told my 20-year-old self
1. It doesn’t matter where you go to school, what degree you get or where you choose to live. What’s important is the meanings you ascribe to all those decisions – and the path you take to arrive at them – so start paying more attention to the process.
2. Acting like an entitled asshole isn’t cute. Quit with the hysterics.
3. For gods’ sakes, stop worrying about your boobs. All the exercises and wishes in the world aren’t going to make you sprout big breasts. You will have bigger worries (hehe – get it?). And you will find men who love you for your little boobs and for other more important things, like your mind and your imagination and your passion. So, get over your boobs and get on with it.
4. It’s okay to give a man a second chance. (And to give yourself a second chance as well.) But accept when a relationship is broken beyond repair, and move the fuck on. It’s nobody’s fault. There are lessons in the deep, dark corners: grab them.
5. Go easier on your parents. Ask your grandparents more questions. Listen. Write it all down.
10 things I learned in my twenties
1. Expectations kill the magic.
2. Independence is necessary but also overrated. Ask for help.
3. Painful, heart-busting failure – in work, in love, in friendship – is the surest path to growth.
4. Vulnerability is damn sexy.
5. Impermanence is a gift.
6. A spotless kitchen counter won’t love you back.
7. Fear and anxiety are just other words for opportunity and excitement.
8. When it comes down to it, most things are about sex, love, power and forgiveness.
9. Sometimes you don’t need to talk and talk and talk things to death. You just need a big ass hug.
10. Dancing is the best medicine. So is getting the giggles, making out like teenagers, speaking the truth and taking a nap in the sun.
5 things I’m still learning
1. The importance of meditation and yoga :: I feel wonderfully refreshed every time I practice either, but I continue to resist setting aside regular time to incorporate them into my life.
2. How to let go of ego :: To realize that my reactions to things tell me more about my emotional health than they do about whoever’s involved. Life ain’t a blame game or a scorecard.
3. How to forgive. Like, really forgive. :: Fuck, it’s not easy. (File this under: how to lead with love not fear.)
4. That the value of my career is not tied to how effectively I make or save money.
5. How to make time for my creative work. :: I tend to seek work and projects that pay the bills, rather than placing more importance on work that creatively sustains me. I realize it’s a fairly privileged idea that both are possible, but I’d like to work toward it nonetheless.
And, finally, 30 things I hope to do before turning 40
1. Have a vegetable garden.
2. Learn a foreign language well. (The Spanish is so slow going, but I’m still plugging away.)
3. Read 52 books in a year. (I fell short last year.)
4. Visit Cairo, Berlin, Penang and Cape Town.
5. Run a marathon.
6. Write a book. (I don’t even care if the damn thing is published. Just write it, you fucker.)
7. Stop referring to myself as you fucker. Self-love, baby.
8. Have a child.
9. Sleep on a sailboat.
10. Present something in front of a big audience.
11. Go a year without alcohol.
12. And a year without meat.
13. Maybe not the same year.
14. Adopt a child.
15. Make yoga a regular thing.
16. Throw a party for my parents.
17. Get over my fear of flying.
18. Go to a nude beach (and be, you know, nude).
19. Find a service project I’m really passionate about.
20. Climb Mt. Rainier.
21. Spend 3 more birthdays abroad. (Doesn’t have to be consecutive years.)
22. Read Pride and Prejudice and Anna Karenina. (I’m really embarrassed to admit I haven’t read either.)
23. Jump off a cliff into a pool of water. (Not no sissy cliff. Something like one of these.)
24. Know much more about my family tree.
25. Be able to do the splits.
26. Say I love you first. Say it freely, say it often.
27. Go heli-skiing.
28. Build a piece of furniture (that’s not from IKEA).
29. Pull off an epic surprise.
30. Do the rest of the things on the super secret list I’m too bashful to post here.
Thank you to my new friends in Barcelona for ringing in a new decade with me. I was surrounded by good energy and lots of hot pink wigs.
And big hugs and kisses to my friends in the states who I miss terribly. Can we celebrate when I return with IPA and fish tacos from Porque No and bocce ball in the park??
Tell me: Do you have a bucket list? What’s one thing you really want to do in the next year?