I turned 26 on Monday. I now have one foot in the grave.
If you read my Monday Morning Mantra from this week, you'll know that I get pensive around my birthday every year. I start benchmarking what I was doing last year to what I'm doing this year, and planning long term goals for the coming year.
Really, it's a lot of journal writing, wine drinking, and probably more crying than is necessary. I even listen to some Ani DiFranco.
So what's the consensus on the year of 26? Well, as you can see by my side tab, I did far fewer of the things on my "26 Things in my 26th Year" list. Yep, I came up hopelessly short. I didn't even make half. I blame it on Asia.
But in the interest of being kind to myself, I have to look at the year as a whole. Because, no I didn't check too many things off of my list, but that's because I was busy doing other awesome and amazing things.
I killed my comfort zone: Like, my boundaries of comfort are monumental since I flew back from the opposite side of the world. Yes, I know. I talk about my trip to Asia a lot. But, a year ago, a solo, three month trip wasn't even on my radar. I would sulk if I didn't have Friday night plans. And then I found Sarah and realized that maybe complete solo travel was something I could do. And in all that impromptu trip-planning and apartment-moving and furniture-selling and long-flight-taking and sitting-on-my-backpack-in-Vietnamese-bus-terminals, I realized that I can deal with some shit and then I can figure out how to make the best of it. As a traveling partner (a male) once said to me on the last leg of my trip "I don't know how you did this all by yourself. It's just so damn uncomfortable to be alone all the time." Comfort zone is relative, and I have grown the most by pushing the limit of it.
I stopped doing and started feeling: My 23rd, 24th, and 25th years were a lot about doing. I had found a job that gave me a decent enough salary (basically one in which I could eat more than Raman every night. My parents were totally stoked that my $120,000 Georgetown degree was finally paying some returns.) and it was relatively low stress. When the economy crashed, I had even more free time to...well, just explore. I explored Manhattan, becoming a pseudie-foodie (hah, I just made that up!) and finally figuring out what Milk&Honey actually was. I started to travel, going abroad, learned to scuba dive, started running. I took dance classes and volunteered. I basically started living an adult life.
And while I still do all of that (minus the foodie-ism) I am starting to become more acutely aware of my motivation behind "doing it all". I have put less (although still a little) pressure on myself to "get it all done" and to "try everything once" and focus more on enjoying the things that really make me happy. I'm listening to those tingly feelings I get when I hit a long run, and noticing the flip flops in my stomach that come when I'm in the great outdoors. So maybe I won't ever try sheep riding, but that's okay. It gives me more time to do the stuff I really want to do.
I am more aware: My nieces and nephew are bomb, not only because I can totally get away with buying them $0.99 Disney stickers for every holiday, but because they are totally freakin' amazed. By everything. Like, puddles on the sidewalk? Fascinating. 10 minutes of fascinating. Five senses and ten minutes of amazing. And while they are a little more aware than I actually have time for (because I don't think my boss would appreciate if I stared at my keyboard for 20 minutes talking about how really freakin' cool it was), I'm trying to get out of the "seen that, done that" mentality and really notice what's going on around me. Because have you ever noticed how tall the buildings in Manhattan are?
I let it go a lot more: After rushing around so much the past few years, I've had more than enough personal and professional heartache to realize that really, really big success? Well, that comes with some really big fuck ups (yes, I'm swearing. You know it's true when I swear). And instead of falling to pieces and feeling like I'll never dig myself out of this stupid freakin' hole that I'm in, I remember all of the other times I've been let down, go for a run, and know that, eventually, I'll get to where I want to go.
What have you learned in the last year? I'm still working on tons of stuff too, though. Any words of wisdom for me as I kickoff my 27th (eek!) year?