Friday, April 28, 2006

My Birthday

Well, my birthday is tomorrow. I'll be 29. I don't know whether to be depressed or not. Birthdays always depress me, but this one is different. It's my last year in my 20's. The end of an era, so to speak. Definitely the end of a decade. Next year I'll be 30. It's a little sad. I'm a little sad. OK, a lot sad. But that can't be helped.

As I look back on my 20's I can't really say whether I've changed a lot as a person or not. It's hard to be objective when you're talking about yourself. Sure I'm grateful I'm alive. I could be dead. I have a roof over my head. I have an OK paying job. I have an education.

But I'll be the first one to admit my life is not what I want it to be. I'm not who I want to be. I'm not where I want to be. And I don't know how to get to who or where I want to be. Oh, I know some things I need to do to change what I want to change, but I have no clear goal in mind. I have no direct plan. I just know that I want or need to be different. Inside I am a very different person than who I portray on the outside. I just need to figure out how to bring the inner person out. I need to learn to say screw everything and everybody and just be me. I shouldn't have to be the one to be nice and be who I'm expected to be. It's everyone else's job to adjust to who I am. That sounds mean, I guess, but oh well. It is what it is.

As I look back over the past decade, good things have happened, bad things have happened, and I've started to sit back and look at myself and discover some things that I wasn't aware of. I think I like who I could be - enough to realize that who I could be is who I should be. I should be me. Me makes me happy. And the more I fight that the unhappier I will be.

Just ten years ago I was a second semester sophomore in college. I hadn't really come into myself yet. Or at least that version of myself. The me then was a student. Struggling through Honors Organic Chemistry and discovering, surprisingly, that I liked it and I could do it and I had been selling myself short because I'd always assumed I couldn't do chemistry. Lesson learned - you never know unless you try - and if you really try, you may do something unexpected. Later that year I met the man who would be my first "adult" boyfriend. That was the year of my very first date (I know - late bloomer...very).

The next year? More of the same. And I changed physically for the first time - actually doing something I wanted to do - cut my hair into an actual style and switched out my glasses for contacts. That was my so-called "sexy" year. What a laugh that was. The following year was just TIRING. My senior year. Lots of different experiences - I mostly remember that year with a fondness. But things happened so fast. The boyfriend left (he felt "crowded") unexpectedly and that threw me for a loop. Fortunatley, I had to concentrate on school. I turned 21. Three weeks after that, I graduated. Three weeks after that, I moved across the state and got my own apartment and started this job (where I'd been interning before).

And that's pretty much how it has been since then. I fell into the "adult" rut. Living, eating, working. Recovering from my break-up. And got into another relationship. This time I was the adult, the teacher. And then that ended. Man mistakes here and there, but nothing serious. The old boyfriend came back, but I keep him at arm's length. He's there, but only because I have nothing better to do. And work continues. I

had some scary moments in the last couple of years, my first mugging (joy) and my first experience with my apartment building catching on fire (note to self: renters insurance is your friend). I also survived a tornado.

Something great also happened in the last couple of years. Call it quarter-life crisis, if you must, but I finally started blossoming. I discovered that I like being single. I like being by myself. I'm not conservative. I'm not normal. I never have been. But I figured out that that's OK. And I figured out that I like that in myself. I think I'm interesting, even if no one else does. And that's OK too.

And I discovered a love for Vegas. So much so, that I know that's where I want to be. I've been other places before. And they were nice. But they were just that - nice places. This place is different. Something happened to me there and continues to happen. And it's started a ball rolling that I don't want to stop and that I have to do everything in my power to keep rolling. I'm stronger than I think and I'm as strong as I portray but I'm also weaker. Much, much weaker. But that makes And in the end, that's the only way I can be.

I might not always like where I am, who I am, what I am - but it's all leading somewhere. It's all helping me grow. And it's all helping me learn. All I can do is hang on and go along for the ride. And I plan to do so. Screaming and laughing and fighting the whole way.

And so I've decided - Happy 29th Birthday to me - 2006 is going to be my year. It has to be - it has no choice - this is my life, and it's up to me to welcome it and make it what it is.