Saturday, January 2, 2010


I'm 23.

At 23, I realize I have a fair number of friends and acquaintances who are married or almost married. They have jobs and houses and really cute cats. And for a split second each time I'm reminded, I fight the feeling of being horribly unsettled. I'm a single girl with a really only a bedroom to call my own for now and a lot of socks that don't match.

Three of my closest friends are are scattered across the Western states, each of them with a grown-up job and an apartment and a couple of them with serious boyfriends. They have car payments and salaries and can eat cereal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner without someone so much as batting an eyelash. Sometimes, I envy that security, that freedom and that perceived independence.

And then I remember that I'm really exactly where I'm supposed to be. Because those freedoms come with a price I don't yet have to pay, literally and figuratively. Because I essentially work for my room and board, I can work short hours at my three OTHER jobs and not have to worry about making rent. My scrappy little Honda is paid for. My debt is minimal at best, and I can go on weekend climbing trips as often as my schedule and pocketbook will allow (which still isn't as often as I'd like). I make just enough to support the odd weekend at the dropzone, pay for most of my food so I don't eat my amazing “family” out of house and home, and get the few bills and expenses I do have out of the way.

At 23, sometimes I have the desire to be a little more settled (don't tell my mom or I'd totally ruin my free-spirit reputation that drives her crazy), to have a reason to browse used furniture for pieces to turn into projects or to experience the odd satisfaction in choosing matching barstools or curtains. I'm pretty normal--I sometimes want those things. But MORE than that, right now I love that I don't feel like I have to be anyone in particular just yet. I don't have to confront the reality that I might NOT be a expedition leader in the Himalayas or live as a writer in a studio apartment in the heart of New York City--two dreams that have occupied my focus for more than their fair share these last several years. I can enjoy being mismatched, and not just with regards to my socks.

On the best days, I feel like I could be anyone I'd like to be. On the not-so-good days, I consider that in all reality I may spend some time in a job I don't love but take because it's the best offer I've got. On most days, however, I remember that I'm an innately happy individual with a knack for being pretty content most anywhere. I try to keep this in mind especially on the days when I'm feeling pressure to decide who it is I want to be, or that I feel like I'm not meeting expectations, set either by me or someone else.

Of course, this all sounds very good on paper, er, on the screen, especially to an impulsive idealist like myself. And even though I eschew resolutions for the new year, I decided upon waking up today that I was going to make a few changes to the way I look at things. I've been so anxiety-ridden the last few months that I didn't realize what a toll it was taking on me. I feel badly for the folks who've been gracious enough to stand by on my angsty days and share each meltdown-du-jour. On my exceptionallly beautiful drive into town this morning, I couldn't help but smile, and about halfway there I found the words I was looking for.

I'd like to choose peace. To practice it, to seek it, to listen for it, and to encourage it. In myself, and in others. I've already got the enthusiasm thing down pretty solidly, so I think I'd be well served to learn to temper that just a little with some well-executed peace. By no means do I contend that I will tone down my energy, just learn to use it as constructively (emotionally, mentally, physically) as I can.

For my part, day one went pretty well, save for the fact that it's gulp, almost 3 a.m. er, pretty late. Ah well, tomorrow's Saturday. Plenty of time for catnaps.

Goodnight, dear friends! May your 2010 be full of blessings and hugs.


  1. So many are envious of your ability to enjoy the present.

    I'm one of them.

    As a Creative that also took the road less travelled, and ended up in a domestic nest, I would encourage you to trust yourself.

    You will find your perfect balance.

    We always do.

  2. hmm you really do write spectacularly late at night (either that or you're just getting better at this blogging thing) =) You have such a knack for describing who you are and who you want to be. You have so many paths ahead of you, and I am so glad that I get to be part of your life as you find the directions you want to travel in.

  3. You DO write rather beautifully, you know. (I'm aware, by the way, that someday you are going to stop believing me when I say that everything you do is amazing--it's just, so far, it really is!) And you're not alone in that big boat. I'm happy to see you resolving to have more peace in your life. It will make you even happier and more well-balanced. Plus? Maaayyybe you won't sock me when I say you're cute. Peace and love, peace and love!

  4. "And then I remember that I'm really exactly where I'm supposed to be."

    That is very, very encouraging.

  5. Good post. Judging by your blog, you needn't give up the dream of becoming a writer!

    Happy 2010 :)

  6. Roem: Thank you. If I may be so frank, you certainly were an early influence to my idea that it's okay to be an "unconventional grownup".

    Nina: You're gonna have to take some of the blame for all this...I don't know that many others would stay up until all hours waxing philosophical on gchat.

    John: You'll just have to take that risk, now won't you? (translation: thank you.)

    Kelsey: I love our talks, however infrequent and all-too-brief they are. In the maelstrom of figuring things out, it helps to have a steady friend who's been around for a while that gets it.

    Neil: Aww, shucks! Well, I appreciate the encouragement...I certainly haven't given up that dream, though I do let it fall by the wayside all too often.

  7. I know what you are talking about. I still haven't moved out of wherever my parents are living yet. But then, I am realizing more and more, I could move out right now, but my parents (particularly my mom) need me. I'm the one with most (and) consistent hours at work and can as a result help pay for things in a pinch. They need someone to help paying for things. And frankly, my dad is crap at being an emotional support for my mom. It appalls me, but I can't change him. So my mom needs me to be there because she is going through one of the harder parts of her life.

    So am I a proper grown up right now? Heavens no. I don't have to fuss with bills or figuring that sort of stuff and they can help me figure out adult things, which is really nice. But I think I'm more ok with it than I used to be. I might not be moving out anytime soon, but at least there's some good things coming out of that. And I have no debt, unlike most people my age!

  8. Ok, so I don't know if I'm one of those friends spread across the western states or not, but I'm gonna go ahead and assume I am ;)
    And I would just like to add- that while I do have a wonderful boyfriend and cute cats- I work four jobs. Still don't have health insurance (and we know in our ridiculous states, we both need it) and month to month, I don't actually know for sure if I'm going to have hours enough to pay for my bills. But I took a few huge leaps of faith when I left CA, and my parents, and my comfort zones, and every time I've done so (quit my 40 hour a day desk job with benefits that I hated to go to a non-benefitted ER position without the guarantee of hours that I love) everything has miraculously fallen into place.
    I have said more than once that I'm so proud of you and who you're becoming (as it's still a constantly changing process) and mostly that's because you were able to stomach and squash, a little bit, the concern you had/have for what other people think, and are truly beginning to love and live. You are taking your own leaps, figuring out the things that make your heart burst and your love for life soar, and that is what is important. I'm 25, not married, could be unemployed at any minute, and love everything I'm doing. Keep avoiding those comparisons of what you thought you should have been doing- because when you were fifteen, you really had no idea who you'd be in ten years, and those expectations don't do anything but cause you to question where you are in life. And right now- you're in a great place, mismatched socks and all (because somethings will never change- and that warms my heart a bit).
    love you.

  9. Nae: I admire your ability to thrive no matter where you're planted. You always seem to eventually seek out the things that make you don't give up. And you KNOW those things, which most people don't, at least that I know. Parents will be parents. It's not up to them how we turn out or what we think of them.

    Shar: You remind me how important it is to remember providence, that as we take these steps away from the known, things turn out. At the end of the day, we've got a place to sleep, full bellies, and friends to hug us when we need it. I love that you've cared enough to watch and participate and comment as I've started figuring things out a little, so thank you.

  10. I loved loved loved this post. You speak like you write. I hear you as I read your stuff. Something about you makes me proud to know you.