This is not a feel-good post. Probably. I haven’t decided yet.
I turn 27 this year, on October 27th. Ten years ago, I never thought I would look back today and say “ten years ago” and feel some semblance of time passing in a big way. Of course, time passes the same for everyone, but it’s our perspective and biased brains that like to give it some weight. Time is also relative in the sense that someone twice my age can look at this and say, “aw, how cute. You think time has flown by? Hah!”.
But I don’t think I’m alone in this feeling. When you reach adulthood, it’s not as though you flip some magical switch and enter the Real World. For most of us, it’s a gradual transition: going to college, moving out, getting a job, paying our own bills. In some order or fashion, we gain adult responsibilities, but usually not all at once. Even as we inherit these responsibilities, we don’t necessarily “feel” like some big, boring, stupid adult–the type of adult we saw our parents as when we were teenagers. We became the fun, free, “yay, look at me, I can make my own decisions!” adult.
As our twenties progress though, if we still cling to that viewpoint and embrace little to no change or advancement, we run the risk of having a “holy shit” moment. The “holy shit I’m an adult but I am still acting like a kid” moment. Similarly, or in some cases “also”, we may not be exactly where we want to be at our current age and realize just how much time has passed with such little to show for it. There are things yet to accomplish, dreams still to achieve, and to-do lists unfinished.
I’m in the latter group, I suppose. 17-year-old Jessica was wildly depressed, heavily into grunge music, spiteful and vengeful, rude and disrespectful, hated smiling, hated working, especially hated working in food service, hated being nice to customers, hated customers in general, hated people, hated nearly everything that wasn’t Kurt Cobain or Dave Grohl. Ten years later, I’d say I’ve at least matured past MOST of that (Dave Grohl is my number one hero). Though I have a job, pay bills, and maintain my own full independence, the “successful adult” me that teenage Jessica dreamed up is still MIA.
Where is my Mustang? Where’s my dream job directing short films? Where is my luxury apartment outfitted with the most stunning, modern decor and lighting? Where’s my kitchen stocked with Whole Foods? Yeah. I’m still working on it. I drive a Nissan Versa–that’s how far away the dream is.
So the shock of being “almost 30” as one coworker delicately put it isn’t because I feel so old and ancient. It’s because I feel so shocked at what I haven’t done. Since I can’t go back, I’ll have to move forward and focus on what I can do now. There is no choice but to live in the present. If I thought about it, I know I could come up with a list of things I’m proud of–choices I’ve made that were good for me, things I’ve done or am still doing, accomplishments/achievements. It may not be much, and it may not even be that impressive or what I ultimately am striving for, but, I mean, it’s literally better than nothing.
So there’s that. How’s that for a motivational ending? 🙂