In which we discuss something aside from celebrity skin care for just one evening . . .
It started when I was 15, a year I spent wishing desperately to be 16 so that I could drive a car and be an "adult". In fact, so focused was I that I can't tell you much about that year except for how much I anticipated the next. At 20 years old, I had my driver's license but spent what should have been a carefree college year preoccupied with professional school decisions (I could particularly kick myself for this one) and the prestigious job and husband I'd surely have by 25. And of course at 25 - cue the John Mayer quarterlife crisis music - I'd finished school, yet found myself wondering about where the prestigious career and husband were and grieving my failure to attain these seemingly important milestones, without necessarily questioning whether I wanted any of the above . I know, it infuriates me just typing "milestones" or anything involving a 5 year plan, but there you have it. Basically, every five years or so, a sort of paralysis set in, an inability to appreciate the present - always wonderful, if not exactly as I'd pictured it - due to my focus an imaginary future.
So when I rounded the, ah, the . . . um next 5-year corner recently - let's just say it's the one at which I am old enough to be shocked by the subject matter on "Gossip Girl" - I determined not to let the Ghost of Birthdays Past get to me. An insanely delicious Vegas birthday definitely helped this, but once the Veuve cleared, it was just me & 30 (gaaah). And while I've fought the good fight for most of the year, trying not to get started with the "if only-s", old habits die hard - every 5 years, apparently. I find myself more or less with the things I HAD to have at 25, only to be thinking about the stuff I thought I'd have at 30 - mostly along the picket fence variety. (((hitting head on keyboard softly)))
I don't need help with the "why's" so much, having placed a few phone calls Upstairs about this very thing. I also know when I'm being my Mature Self - stop laughing - that I don't even actually want those things at this very moment. However, the "how" of staying patient about them, to enjoy the moment until that time is right and I have time to question what is right for me, and for my now family, is kicking my (pert, obviously) behind at the moment. To know there is a plan, and things I've always wanted that comprise my definition of the good life is one thing - to be able to enjoy the moments up until that plan unfolds is entirely another, and one that is challenging me at the moment.
None of this is meant to say that having life goals is a bad thing, obviously. If we didn't have some Unicorn and Rainbow-level clouds to keep us afloat, I for one would turn in my membership card right now. Besides, us Type A Minus sorts (I don't pretend to keep up with any of you true Type As, but I salute you. Perhaps because I'm afraid of you, but nonetheless - kudos) need a goal or three to keep the juices flowing.
I do have enough perspective on this existential navel-gazing to realize how very much I have, and that compared to most people - you know, those without employment or at war or without loved ones (ie, actual problems) - this is ennui of the most questionable order. We should all be so lucky as to have the luxury of wondering What We Want To Be When We Grow Up and getting anxious about why why why isn't happening on our schedule.
So in the meantime, I'll just keep moving along and being shocked by "Gossip Girl" (honestly, La Perla on a high school senior?) and just thinking and being and throw some Sinatra on the iPod until the 5-year-fog clears. The ghost may make an occasional appearance, but it would be a shame to give in and miss my happy and fabulous husband, or coming home to my funny dogs and perfect cat, or hearing from an old friend as I did today, or even neato adult stuff like having (my own) roof over my head. At least until I turn 35 and have to rethink all of this, that is.