There’s a handful of things on social media lately, leaning heavily in the FB direction, that are absolutely making me cringe. As Sarah pointed out yesterday, the ability to block people on Facebook is a feature that has improved my experience on that platform tenfold. And you know I love a good social media rant… Now before you jump down my throat with “maybe you should just unfriend them if you feel that way”, it’s actually some of my closest friends whose updates I choose to remove from my timeline.
I hardly think I’m in the minority when I prefer not to read the “oh my god my life is AMAZING, I’m so in love and everything is perfect” because we know in real life there’s serious trouble brewing but hey – gotta put a face on for social media. Or there’s the friend who makes more money than she knows what to do with and splashes photos of Louis Vuitton purchases and the “oh woe is me, do I want a BMW or Benz? Life is hard.” posts all over my newsfeed. (And FWIW, I’m not jealous. Money can’t buy happiness.) I won’t even touch on the engagement posts, because Ashley from Witty + Pretty covers it much better than I ever could. It’s amusing to me because everyone responds to this with “she is SO bitter and obviously hates being single” but uh… I’m not single – not even close – and I agree with all five of her points. So it’s not single rage.
There’s a Buzzfeed post that’s making its rounds in my feed today: Every Year of Your Twenties Ranked from Worst to Best. I thought I’d take this and run with it, ranking my own years of my 20s since my final year is coming to a close sooner than I’d like. I’ve heard 30s are the new 20s, so ask me how I feel about that statement in about a year.
22. Sorry Buzzfeed, can’t agree with you here. 22 was, without a doubt, the worst year. I started drinking a lot more (partly as a result of the B/D fiasco [see the 21st year] partly because working in a restaurant made it impossible not to) and it caused a ton of trouble. I’ll leave it at that. I ended 22 unemployed, with a newfound appreciation for the Food Network and Criminal Minds. I also learned that despite your parents being six states away, they will still find out what you’re trying to hide from them. And make you learn a lesson from it.
23. This year was slightly better than 22, but not by a whole lot. It took me until about July to rip myself out of a downward spiral and land a job (albeit still in a restaurant) as a bookkeeper. Finally putting all of those finance and accounting classes to good use.
21. This year was… interesting. It was pivotal in my dating life. My serious relationship with D (we’ll just call him that) was strained by an increasing interest in a coworker named Brad (yep, the one and only) and in February I had royally screwed it all up by cheating on D. Once caught, I wasn’t even sure Brad was the one I wanted to be with. D & I had been together for a year and half, lived together, talked about our future… how could I just give all that up? So I cut things off with Brad and went back to D. But I still found myself texting Brad and meeting up with him on the DL. So I had the brilliant (I blame said brilliance on Jager) idea to try to date both in an attempt to make a final decision. Somehow, the two of them started TEXTING EACH OTHER and I was totally busted. D was pissed and he moved away (from FL to MA) for the summer to get a break from the insanity. I changed my mind eleventy billion times between February 2005 and June 2006, at which point D made my decision for me and started dating someone else (who he is now married to). What I learned: shit works itself out in the end. As much as I’d like to say this entire situation didn’t define my 21st year, it totally did.
24. Another critical year for my relationships. Here’s the short version: Brad moved to Texas and I didn’t go with him … I dated a guy, B, from July until November when he showed his true crazypants side and I broke free … In December, Brad came back from Texas to visit family and we met up for dinner and a few drinks. It was perfect and I was like, wait – why aren’t we still together? He felt the same way so we decided to do the long-distance thing. It was exciting, but expensive. But money well spent.
25. This should have been the year of my quarter-life crisis. All of the craziness in my early 20s may have helped avoid that meltdown. Brad and I went on a cruise to the Bahamas. I flew out to Austin twice, once for SXSW and once because I had nothing planned and Brad wanted to see me. Brad flew to Florida to visit, for less than 48 hours and again – just because he wanted to see me. Things started to feel more real as he talked about buying a house and the subsequently asked if I would move to Austin. It took about month before I built up the courage to say yes, put in my notice at work and terminate my lease. We went to Vegas to celebrate a few of our friend’s birthdays and our new life together. I learned to love Brad’s dog, Bo. Fun fact: did you know I once hated dogs? Obviously things have now changed since I can’t seem to get mad at that adorable little puppy that keeps chewing holes through our sheetrock. We bought a kitchen table .. with a LEAF! And hosted our first Thanksgiving dinner.
20. SO. MUCH. FUN. I worked in a restaurant and despite not being 21, I had no problem getting served at any of the local bars in town. The first year of my 20s was a blast – exciting, carefree and ridiculous. I stayed up too late, danced often, and laughed until my face hurt on a regular basis. Not damn thing to worry about! I wouldn’t trade these years for anything. Being young was so easy…
26. I learned the ins and outs of working downtown in a big city: spoiler alert – it’s nothing like Sex & the City. When I was 18, I remember thinking “I can’t wait until I’m 26. I’ll work for a great company and go to happy hour with coworkers afterwards.” Obviously 26 was an arbitrary number but there was a fair amount of happy hour-ing at my company. That means I fulfilled my dreams, yes? Running became a part of my everyday life, despite the fact I was never athletic growing up. Brad started a new job that didn’t require traveling all of the time so we got to see each other more than twice a month. Brad’s mom lived with us for most of the year and we managed not to kill each other. SUCCESS. I spent Christmas (and NYE, after an epic snowstorm that dropped 3ft of snow on NJ) with friends and family.
27. I ran my first marathon in Washington DC, with Brad and my family cheering me on. We visited friends in San Diego and went to our first country concert. I learned I didn’t hate country but I sure hated Rascal Flatts. In a surprising turn of events, I found out who my real friends were. Finally grasped the concept of spending less than I earn. Now I may not have put all that extra cash into a retirement fund, but let me tell you this: life is short. If something were to happen down the road, I don’t want to be like “oh whew, glad I paid off those credit card bills!” I want to think about all the fun shit I did and time spent with my loved ones. If we can afford it, we’re going. No regrets, kids. I’ll say it again: LIFE IS SHORT.
28. I got a big promotion at work. I became an Aunt! I mentored a local runner and helped her cross the finish of her first half marathon. Surprisingly, she didn’t end up hating me – we’re still friends (hi, Leslie!) I learned that meeting friends on the internet isn’t as weird as it sounds. And I’m glad I did because my life feels much more complete knowing Paula. Hello, she taught me the trick to avoiding horrific hangovers: always always ALWAYS drink water with your booze. So simple, yet so effective.
29. This was hands down the best year, despite the fact I’ll spend the final days of it in January mourning the end of a crazy decade. I (somewhat) learned what it’s like to be a parent when we adopted a two-month old puppy from Austin Pets Alive. She solidified the fact we’ll never ever have kids and we’re 110% okay with that. I love that sheetrock-eating puppy with every ounce of my being. Sleeping in on the weekends now means sleeping until 7, when we grab some coffee and head out to explore the trails with the dogs. We’ve been to more concerts this year than I can count on two hands and try to visit as many of the amazing restaurants in Austin as possible. Friends, family, and loved ones are the primary focus in my life. I’ve followed a “no bullshit” policy for quite awhile now and intend to keep it that way. I’ve learned that saying “I’m busy” is a crock of shit. You’ll make time for the things you want to do, and skip out on the things you don’t. And people notice – don’t forget that part.
I have exactly two months to go, but here are my 29th year takeaways: be honest, be passionate, don’t get taken advantage of, don’t keep your mouth shut, and fight for what you want. If you’re not happy, do something about it. Do what you love, pursue your dreams, make shit happen.
Love the life you live. You only get one.