I’m 33 years old.
This happens to be my favorite number, which I curiously did not make the connection that this equaled my age until only a few moments ago. Here I am, the age of my favorite number– that must mean something, right?
A slow learner. That’s what I’ve often described myself as, especially when it comes to life. Somehow I’ve escaped my childhood, teens, and 20s for the most part unscathed; but man, I sure could tell some stories. My journey to being an adult, a mother, and a useful part of society has taken more time and effort than most people I know of, but I’ve somehow made it here, mostly intact.
Here I sit in a house that only feels too big when it comes to cleaning it, with 2.5 kids that are all but well behaved, cats that keep me company as I work from home most days, and a awkwardly long dog that is somehow always happy to see me. We have well paying jobs and a savings account (er, well… the plan for one), we count calories and actually cook home cooked meals. Planned in two weeks is a vacation off work for the first time in my life and I found myself talking about a 2 year financial plan just the other day.
Oh yeah. I’ve got it all. I’m such an adult now.
There are moments it strikes me without warning and I pause, take a quick look around and am quite certain somebody is going to run towards me pointing, “Imposter! Fraud!” because surely I’m in the wrong place. This life can’t be mine. I’ve stolen it and it’s certainly only a matter of time before somebody finds out.
This wasn’t the life I was meant to live at all. I knew that if I didn’t somehow die at the age of 24 that it meant I was living my dreams. Traveling, writing, and being incredibly interesting. It meant I’d know how to dress stylishly and do my hair, that people would flock around me just to hear the grand stories I could tell. I most definitely wouldn’t work a 9 to 5 and I’d live smack dab in the middle of a big city, like a cultured person ought to.
Instead I work a 9 to 5… or sometimes, a 9 to 9. Most days I don’t even get out of my pajamas or step out of my house that sits comfortably in what can only be described as suburbia hell. My days are spent writing code, fixing bugs, troubleshooting server issues and attempting to avoid office politics. My evenings are filled with rushing kids to dance class or taking bike rides all the while my eldest daughter complainining as if I were torturing her. I can’t go where I want or when I want because this requires planning, organization, and good timing.
I’m happy, though, where I am. I’m not saying that isn’t so. It’s not the life that was meant to be mine but it’s the life I have, and I’ve never been more content. I generally enjoy my job and I generally enjoy my kids — especially when they are sleeping. In my good sized house I can drink all the lattes I want, I can throw the clothes on the floor, and I can put up rules that the other inhabitants are meant to abide by whether they do or not. And yet, here and there, I notice something is amiss.
It’s that slow learner thing. I know that since I was 13 putting my pen to paper has been the single most thing that kept me vaguely sane. That I lived and breathed words, taken and created and mushed up into pretty little sentences. It’s almost cliche, but without the words sometimes I wouldn’t know whether I existed at all. And yet, for almost a decade now, the words have been neglected. In spurts every 7 months or so only to be pushed aside again for something else. Something more urgent.
It’s not until recently that I realized, after saying it for most of my 33 years of life, that I need to write. Let’s say it again, yes? I need to write. That, my dear readers, is what I’ve learned after 33 years on this earth. That the life we imagine rarely comes to be. That the life we are in can be all we really need. And that, low and behold, we must do the things that we yearn for. Whatever it may be. We must do it, we must try. We were given the ability to feel this sort of need– I don’t care how. What else can we do but answer it?