As many of you can relate, turning 25 spiraled me into a crisis, and for some reason, 26 has been a much easier transition.
I believe, as humans, one of our purposes in life is to replace what it costs of us to exist. Just by simply ‘living’, we consume oxygen, nutrients, water, space, and when we add in our ‘humanness’, we consume in our relationships with others, in our emotional needs, material requirements to complete our jobs. We do a significant amount of taking, and therefore, it’s our responsibility to figure out how we can equalize that so we don’t leave Earth with a larger deficit than when we entered it. Some of us are given lots of time–we have the abilities to work from home, to be stay-at-home moms–so we should give that time to others. Some of us are given lots of strength–we have the abilities to move furniture, reach the top shelves at the grocery store–so we should give back that strength to others. Some of us are given space, money, a unique perspective of the world, so we should give that back to others. I remember waking up a few months ago to a message from one of my friends; he just ended a long term relationship, was struggling, picked up my book, and was so relieved to know these feelings were ‘normal’.
If you are a Type A personality, Go-Getter, Over Achiever like myself, you probably find yourself bouncing from one activity to another. Nothing is ever good enough, there is always more to learn, other successes to be had. Once you receive that promotion at work, you immediately start planning how reach the next. Once you complete that training, you immediately start scheduling the next one. Once you master that handstand, you immediately start working on the next trick. And, because you are always bouncing from one thing to another, you never quite give yourself time to revel in all that you have actually built.
After I received this message from my friend, I suddenly felt like, whatever consumption I owed to society was equalized by this one extra person reading my book, and anything I offered hereinafter was ‘an added bonus’ (like Jason Aldean sings, “If this is as good as it gets, I think I’m good to go”). And, I realized that I, too, do a lot of bouncing and no ‘basking in the glory’, so I’ve devoted the last couple of months to reminiscing in all that I’ve built: a dance team from scratch, an almost-completed master’s degree. I wrote a book, established a career, been on three incredible voyages to Europe (and many other places). I’ve maintained incredible relationships with people, learned to ski, survived some pretty tragic occurrences. For a Go-Getter like myself, ‘basking in the glory’ is pretty unnatural, and it required me to slow down a little, stop seeking successes, but I think it’s really important we allow ourselves to take stock in all of our hard work.
If you would have asked me 5 years ago, I NEVER would have guessed my life would turn out this way, but I wake up and thank God every single day that it did; there were multiple instances that I was SO CLOSE to going down a path–with dance teams, jobs, friends, boyfriends–that I was saved from; even if I did not like the ‘saving’ at the moment, I am SO grateful my life turned out the way it is.
Of course, being Type A, A Go-Getter, Over-Achiever, this basking is a momentary state. Up until now, my life has been devoted to building a career, breaking my dysfunctional habits, establishing myself, and now that I’ve done all of that, I’m ready to ride out the rest of my 20’s in style. As I move into this next year, I’m ready to make a new list of things I hope to accomplish before I turn 30 (in no particular order):
-Finish my master’s degree
-Hike the Grand Canyon
-Visit The Netherlands (in order to understand ourselves, we have to know where we come from)
-Attend the Tulip Festival in Seattle (fulfilling another part of my Dutch-ness)
-Upgrade my skiing abilities to blacks (and possibly ski the Alps)
–Hike another 14er
-Take a dance class in New York
-Coach a dance team that makes state finals
-Complete yoga teacher training
-Expand my writing influence
-Work on my cooking skills
-Deepen my faith (right now, I’m working on my thoughts on the after life)
-Continue building meaningful relationships with others
-Become an expert in Garage Band
-Sleep more? (This one may not actually ever happen)
And, most importantly, continue going on adventures. As Oscar Wilde once said, “To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all”.
…but, of course, now that I’m 26 and off my dad’s health insurance, I might have to severely limit the kinds of adventures I go on…