Sunday, August 30, 2015

Things I Have Loved About My 20s

I made a decision as a teenager to just enjoy my age, no matter what it was. I never wanted to be someone who pretended she was younger or older than she was...who turned "39" at every birthday after 40. I want to just embrace whatever age I am.

And now I'm approaching 30. I've got roughly a week and a half left of being 29, and then it will be September 8th, and I'll be leaving my twenties behind forever. And I find I don't even really have to try to embrace my age. I really enjoyed my twenties. I think I'll enjoy my thirties, too.

Of course, there are things about my twenties that I think I'll miss. Everything was a lot more dramatic throughout my twenties, it seems. Every decision was life-altering! Every love was a great love! Every friendship was an eternal friendship! Life was a non-stop adventure! As a Latter-day Saint, my adventures were probably pretty "vanilla." But I still had some good times, some of which are probably somewhat universal. Things like:

Staying up all night talking to someone, sleeping for a few hours after the sun rises, and then going to work/class despite the fact that you're barely awake.

Making plans with friends to visit a natural hot springs and then ending up in a casino on an Indian Reservation, in your bathing suits, during a blizzard. (No? Just me? Oh...)

Streaking. Flashing. Skinny-dipping. Almost anything involving nudity. I feel like it becomes less acceptable as you get older. Maybe it becomes more fun, though. I'll keep you posted. (I am, after all, naked, but not stupid...)

Making out with someone and then thinking, "Wait. Maybe that was stupid." (And usually being right.)

Eating really poorly, and totally getting away with it. I'm now almost 15 pounds heavier than I was when Jacob and I got married. My 24-year-old metabolism was working a lot better than my current one is.

Making mixed CDs and listening to them while taking long walks alone at night. I did this ALL THE TIME when I was at BYU-Idaho. I miss it sometimes, but I don't live in as safe a neighborhood nowadays. And I don't have quite the same need to go on those long walks now...I have less I need to figure out and ruminate on.

Having roommates. Sharing the bathroom, berating each other for not doing the dishes, making blanket forts, watching movies. And sharing clothes! Man, I miss having like 3 additional closets worth of clothes to choose from.

Not behaving like a responsible adult in stores--toy stores, grocery stores. This could mean both running around and being loud and obnoxious in could also mean spending $40 on Nerf gun supplies. 

Being able to go out dancing, and having much more stamina than you will have later in life. 

Accepting bizarre circumstances without really questioning them. In my twenties, I made friends by wandering into their apartments at some point in the evening. I made friends by smearing chocolate on someone's face during a party.  

I feel like ages 20 - 29 is characterized by the thought, "Wait. How did I get here?" (Both literally and metaphorically.) I remember thinking that thought every now and then during college. It was rarely anything extraordinary, but it was sometimes odd enough that I'd think, "Wait. How did I end up at a grocery store at 11:57 at night with the saxophonist of this jazz combo, with a package of toilet paper and a bottle of sparkling cider in my arms?" Or, "Wait. How did I end up at a bonfire in the sand dunes with no shoes, along with this female drummer and some guy from Brazil named Luis?" Or, "Wait. How did I end up wandering through a graveyard after riding her on the back of this guy's motorcycle?" (All true stories, by the way.)

And there were also times when the question "How did I get here?" went a little deeper. Times when I thought, "How did I end up being kicked out of student housing and on academic probation?" Or "How did I get to be alone like this?" But they weren't all negative. There were times after Our Town rehearsals my freshman year, when I would sneak back into the theatre and stand on the empty stage, looking out at all the seats and thinking, "How did I get here? What wonderful thing could I have possibly done to be this lucky? That I get to do this?" Or when I would sit among laughing friends at the Dairy Queen after a Comic Frenzy show and think, "How did I get so many amazing people to be in my life? How could one person be so blessed, to be surrounded by such wonderful friends?"

And I still think those things now and then. As I move out of my twenties and into my thirties, I know there's still a lot of adventure, and a lot of good times, and a lot of bad times, and a lot of strange times ahead. But I feel like I've slowly been moving from turmoil to contentment.

So here's to my fourth decade on earth. I think it will be a good one.


Dava Tuttle said...

I really appreciated this post. I'm also heading into my thirties, still at BYU-Idaho, and coincidentally I just got home from a walk around campus at 1:10 am. I'm not handling it as well as you are and I am grateful that yours was the first thing I saw when I opened my laptop. It gives me a different perspective than my "the world is ending because I'm going to be thirty, single, and still getting my bachelor's degree." You've given me lots to think about "how did I get here." Thank you.

Todd said...

"Aging is mandatory, growing up is optional" Love this quote! I just want to stay active. At 53 I see so many my age and younger that can't do anything physical. Funny how these are the same people that laughed at me for exercising in my 20's. Keep moving! :-)