It occurred to me this past week, on a big kid trip to Muscatine, after a grown up week at work, during an adult type evening of making shredded pork stew and watching the news, I'm 29. I should know, clearly, considering it's you, age 29, that I'm writing this slightly-less-than-world-famous blog to. (I tried rewriting that sentence without ending with a preposition. Another mature decision.) Being a grown up is kind of hard.
|This photo was taken so long ago. Like at least 2.5 years. 26 was ages ago.|
They don't tell you this when you are 17, practicing your graduation speech in your football-kicker-boyfriend's car, thinking how cool it'll be when he becomes a professional soccer player/cool teacher and you are "doing something art related" in a city bigger than eastern Iowa at age 23, because clearly by then you'll be ready to settle down, have enough money to drive a Honda with a CD player, spend time with fancy people sipping wine spritzers and picking wall colors for that extra room in the single-family home you own that you've been referring to as the "someday for a baby" room.
|Here's the face of that fantasy. My mom made me put on mascara that day.|
I can say, wholeheartedly, that I am damn happy that little dream didn't come true, other than the Honda (score), but really, why did I think at 23 I'd have it all figured out? Did Mrs. Larry teach that in 8th grade home-ec (do they still teach home-ec) when she showed me not only how to whip up pudding pops and sew a bag I'd use to hold my disc-man, but also to balance my checkbook? Because I firmly believed my life would be rich with well, riches and babies and handholding in the HyVee before this blog was even a twinkle in my eye.
|This is really what 23 looks like at Thanksgiving with your cool sisters.|
They should really teach you (no offense to you personally Mrs. Larry) that by 23 you'll mostly feel confused about how to style your hair to make you look still 23, but also be taken seriously as a professional. You'll wish your family lived a little closer, drink cheaply during happy hour at West Des Moines bars, work later than you want to at the office and struggle to find friends in a new city without lecture halls and force-fed study groups. You'll feel tired a lot, wish you could afford cable, get pumped when your window unit air conditioner actually cools your living room and live 3 months with lamps that don't have shades on them.
|Oh dude, college was awesome. So few grown up responsibilities, so many nights at the Sports Column |
in matching shirts and one-dollar-you-call-its.
But you know what Mrs. Larry* also doesn't teach you? (Come on, make a guess here while scrolling past yet another photo of me. I'm sure you're are sick of those by now, but I'm making a point here.)
|Who knew I'd be in Mexico at 24? Bet I couldn't have done that if I was maintaining that single-family home, I mean I probably could (lots of people do it) but believe me, I wouldn't have, I know me by now.|
Mrs. Larry doesn't teach you that even if you are prone to worry about everything and enjoy drawing out your monthly calendar on the first of the month
(wake up wake up) so that you can memorize your schedule, you really can't plan exactly what will happen after those moments in your high school boyfriend's super sweet Monte Carlo. (I think that's the name of a car) I'm constantly surprised, mostly in the good kind of way, by how great my post-23 life has turned out.
Getting old is kind of hard, true. You have to pay for your contact lenses (an astigmatism
- pain in the ass and expensive). There are budgets and difficult work meetings about goals and outcomes and you have to keep in touch with your sisters via gchat and you'll start fishing even though you don't feel outdoorsy. But 29 has been more fun than 23 ever could have been and more fun than my 17 year old self ever, ever had. (I think this blog post just took a turn toward sappytown**.)
|Fishing in Muscatine. Lived 20ish years of life there and this was my first time.|
As a grown up there are dance parties and dinner parties and nights where you can watch the Voice
in oversized tshirts while eating risotto (because you're a grown up who knows how to make risotto) and sipping petite sirah (because you're a grown up who can legally buy booze and knows how to ask for the best tasting, but cheapest bottle of red.) There are scotch clubs as a grown up. Come on. My fluffy headed, nerdy 17 year old wouldn't have known how to even imagine a future with scotch clubs.
I think what I'm trying to say here (I know, you're wondering where this is going) is that while I might not have lived out the visions I had for my adult life, my life is indeed full of riches.
Being a grown up is kind of hard. But being a grown up is also kind of awesome.
*Seriously Mrs. Larry I'm sorry for using your name so much. I don't know what you're up to now but I wish you well. I'm sure you've retired and don't park in front of my parents' house anymore and I can guarantee you don't read this blog, but you are being honored in this post. You taught me to use a sewing machine, what Junior Achievement is and how to make some delicious microwave granola. Thanks for being a teacher, Mrs. Larry.
**Sappytown isn't a place I like to ride into on the blog, but hey, we all have introspective moments. And if you aren't part of that "we all" you probably don't read this blog anyway. So it's ok.