I have been doing some thinking about how adulthood has simply snuck up on me. I am turning 30 in about a month! This trip through Asia will be my last opportunity to do something big all by myself before I turn 30 (even though it was not intended as such).
And, in the end, the 20s were more glorious than anyone could have ever told me it would be. In hindsight, I think that if you just follow your heart, there's not really any way to mess up your 20s unless you're doing drugs or setting out to hurt people. No matter where you live, what you do for a living, no matter if you party all night or decide to tell your boss 5 months in advance of leaving a job, no matter if you move across the country without knowing anyone, no matter if you are disappointed and cry your heart out, or if you end up living in a 9ft-by-5ft bedroom infested with cockroaches, in the end your life will always turn out to be better than you could have planned it out to be.
One of my most memorable grown-up moments was when I cried over money for the first (and thus far, only) time. I had always been an idealist, and I never thought that this could catch up with me. I realized sometime soon after switching into teaching, that I needed to transfer a fairly sizable amount of money out of my savings account in order to help out my parents. In consequence, I also realized that my own life choices do impact those that I love, and I cried then, with the hope that there would never come a day when someone I love needed my help and I couldn't afford to help them.
One of my biggest "growing up" realizations about myself is that if I believe that things are possible, then they become entirely possible. Sounds like BS, but it has made all the difference in how I perceive my pursuit of goals. One of the examples of this was when I auditioned for a swing dance troupe in NYC, and at the time I simply was not technical enough for it. I gave it my all and I was crushed when I did not get in, and the next year I gathered up all of my broken hopes and did it again, after first requesting a private lesson with the troupe director to fix some of my bad dance habits. And the second time, despite all of my self-doubts and feeling of absolute foolishness for even giving it another shot, I was in!
Being part of a swing dance troupe in my 20s was an amazing experience. I had to place complete trust in myself and someone else in order to even attempt an aerial, and then to pick myself up repeatedly when I kept falling on my butt or on my old injury of a bad knee. I felt like I triumphed over my fears, the same way I felt when I jumped off a 30- or 40- foot high cliff and almost hit the side on the way into a volcanic lake or when I climbed up 4 or so stories of ladder-stairs in Tikal. I know that down the road, when I have to replace my knee, I'll still think this dance adventure was completely and absolutely worth it. We got to perform at Frankie's 95th Birthday Celebration in front of swing dancers from all over the world, and I also met some awesome and passionate people through this experience. It had changed me for the better, because I got to experience something that was made possible only by leaving myself fully vulnerable.
Most of all, I will always remember this decade as one filled with love and happiness. Geoff and I have been together for almost 6 years now, more than half of the decade! I love him dearly and I could have never imagined that I would be so lucky some day to have someone like him. But, even before his time, I had the good fortune to share my life with some wonderful people, truly amazing friends, my beloved family, and even some pretty great boyfriends.
So, cheers to a marvelous decade, and I hope the 30s live up to their promise.