Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The Thirty Chronicles: The Next Ten

who knew a birthday could be dragged out for months? it’s the kind of fixation that’s only appropriate when one’s turning 21, not 30. or maybe that kind of fixation is never appropriate. in any case, i’ll stop with the birthday bonanza after this post. by now, i’ve made peace with my twenties and have already put both feet into being thirtysomething. the view from up here is different.

well, not really, but there are a few things that thirty means to me. primarily, it means that it’s time to quit being the go-with-the-flow girl. not that i’m to become inflexible, but the carefree attitude that’s characteristic of the twenties -- where you can float for years in crap jobs and mediocre relationships -- is something to kiss goodbye.

my (slightly) older girlfriends have given me the wisest advice on the matter, saying that this is the time to start fermenting plans and building a sound foundation for achieving them. this is the time to discern the outline of a future that suits me and start steadying toward it, because it will take years before it looks just right.

and to think i once didn’t believe in making plans, figuring everything will work out just as it should. to make g-d laugh, tell him your plans, har har. he has a plan for each of us, har har. bull-fucking-shit. what a copout. it’s lazy, existential drivel -- the twentysomething “i’ll let the wind carry me to my destiny” attitude one takes when she’s goalless and clueless.

i know i’ve spent enough time wallowing in that romantic ideal, where everything happens for a reason and life is one great search for meaning, with some absolute truth awaiting discovery. whatevs. we make our own meaning, our luck, our destiny, our reason.

to recognize that it’s all meaningless has been remarkably liberating, i gotta say. there’s no ultimate answer to subscribe to, no limitation to accommodate. finally, the search ends through forfeit! i wasted enough time on it as is.

where the hell was i going again? oh yeah, my list of things to focus on in the next ten years. i have a feeling these years will pass rather quickly and be less eventful than the last ten were. even in the last few years, life has turned rather monotonous: i’ve finished all the schooling i’ll ever need, have a steady job i have no reason to leave and, at a mere two and a half years, i’ve lived at my current residence longer than i’ve lived at any other residence that came before it, save my childhood home.

as someone who’s inherently restless, i get uneasy by a lack of flux. i need stimulation and newness and adventure to keep my senses engaged. but i’m trying to reprogram my thinking to see the stability as something positive, where i have my basic needs met and can focus on creating controlled adventures that still enliven. i certainly don’t care to return to the days of “find a new job because you’ve just been laid off... again” or “find a new apartment because you’ve just been evicted!”

yeah, that wasn’t much fun at the time, invigorating as it may have been. future adventures should be far more adult, as the following list demonstrates:

• have a kid! maybe even two (three tops). maybe this won’t play out completely perfectly, maybe you’ll need to visit the sperm bank when you hit your “scary age” but have a kid at some point, even if it’s just one, because from the outside, parenthood looks interesting, exhausting, otherworldly and definitely worth knowing.
• don’t get married just to have a kid or just to be married. honor the promise you made to yourself regarding marriage -- that you’ll do it only if it feels absolutely right in your bones, your blood and your brain. and even then reconsider.
• write a friggin book! or two or ten. find the time and discipline and just write already. potential without action is worthless. publish or perish, bitch.
• quit being negative. we’ve gone over this before.
• recognize that everything that’s happened up to this moment, whether good or bad, is not as important as what happens after this moment. remind yourself every day that the past does not have to impact the future.
• get better at buying your own bullshit if you expect other people to.
• buy some property. g-d ain’t making any more real estate. and then sell the property. paper equity is not as good as money in the bank.
• dogs. have more.
• all that adult shit that your pops has been telling you about for years -- saving for retirement, insuring everything, maintaining good credit -- subscribe to it. also, eradicate all student debt by 40.
• prepare for deaths in the family. you aren’t the only one who’s aging.
• don’t bother with people you don’t care for, tasks you don’t need to do and situations you’d rather not be in. you have the freedom to politely excuse yourself from all of them. up until you have that kid, your greatest obligation is to yourself.

now go get ’em, tiger.

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