A few days ago, a friend and I played a game on Facebook, where she gave me an age, and I had to describe different things about my life at that time (agae 19). I had to keep it short since it was on facebook. Now, as my birthday approaches I’m feeling a bit contemplative and wanted to try the numbers game again with a different age.
At age 27, I was scared of change – any kind of change. My relationship status? LOL: non-existent! I was convinced I would die old and alone or pehaps living with my GBF (gay best friend) forever. We would have a house with 8 cats, 2 dogs (one of which was allergic to acts) and own that creepy house at the end of the street. You know the one: on Halloween, kids stick turds in the mailbox because we gave away apples and raisins instead of candy. I was pretty irreverent about my old maid future, although sometimes the thought of never finding a partner kept me awake at night.
At age 27, I was working as a promotions coordinator at a theme park with an average 60 hour work week. It felt like I had the best job on earth, even though I was exhibiting symptoms of physical and emotional stress. I drank at least one venti caramel machiato a day, and only got 5-6 hours of sleep because of long hours, sleep apnea, stress and insomnia. I occasionally drank nyquil to go to bed.
At age 27, I got a wild hair up my ass and did the thing I thought I’d NEVER do: decided to make a life change and move to Orlando, Florida, a place where I had only three (3) friends and barely knew my way around. Three weeks afer the job offer I packed up my apartment and moved away from Atlanta for the first time (college does not count). Exactly two weeks after my move I started regretting my decision.
At age 27, I had to put on my big girl panties for the first time and be a real grownup: I signed up for health insurance on my own.
At age 27, I fell in love for the first time: with my new company. I had my first “real” job that wasn’t seasonal; it was regular, fulltime employment in a huge hotel. I had to wear pantyhose to work EVERY DAY which totally sucked. I had to learn to smile even when I didn’t feel like it, do things I didn’t want to do and be nice to people that hated me. I loved every minute of it. I thought it loved me back, I really did. At age 27, I had no idea what it would be like to get laid off from that same company 3 years later. I also had no idea what it would be like to really fall in love with what you do. Or to fall in love with a person.
At age 27, I learned to make new friends and to discern real friends from “just for now” friends. I had never done that before – I’d always just naturally gravitated to people and never really made an effort. At age 27, I realized that not everyone IS your friend, and not all friends are “friends forever”. And that’s ok. I’m still learning that lesson every day.
At age 27, I cried because I was spending my first birthday alone, turning 27 in another state away from my closest family and friends. Casey the roomie took me to Chipotle (then my favorite casual restaurant) to cheer me up :). It was the very best part of my birthday that year, and I’ve never forgotten it.
At age 27 I smoked hookah for the first time and was later pulled over and pulled out of my friend’s car by a policeman who accused my friend and I of drug use. (!?!?!?) We sat on the curb while he searched the car. It was scary and unbelievable that the people in charge (i.e. authorities, government, etc.) would treat us like crimminals even though we hadn’t done anything wrong, and not be held accountable for their actions. That situation has stuck with me ever since.
At age 27 I was still a closeted country music fan (now not so closeted) just like I was at age 19. I was still the girl who worried about whether “being myself” was enough to make the cool kids want to hang out with me, just like I did at age 19(funny how that sticks with you).
At age 27, I realized that living in another place could be more of an adventure than I was making it out to be. I began to make it my mission to explore my new home, and enjoy the different atmosphere, the tempo, the lifestyle of Orlando. It slowly grew on me… althought I still cried when I first realized I couldn’t go home for Christmas that year. At age 27, I began to truly appreciate my family and friends in a way I never had before. Family and friends both new and old 🙂
Every once in a while it’s important to stop and see where you came from and where you’re headed. At 33, I’m still at the beginning of my great adventure, andit’s crazy to see things so differently just over the span of a few years.
As I get close to the end of my annual trip around the sun, I reflect back on how my priorities have shifted. Things that were once sooooo important don’t matter anymore, and people that I never knew existed until 6 months ago mean the world to me. Is this what it’s like to grow old?
I want your thoughts on this!!