Tuesday, April 12, 2011
wants and dreams
I recently had a birthday, a big one. No, not 30, 31. Which is probably only really a big one for those of us who are Mormon and still single. For this is the age at which we loose out classification as a "young single adults" and become just "single adults". We are encouraged to leave our young friends and meet with an older crowd.
The other day, a friend asked me how I was doing with this change and I could honestly say that I wasn't all that phased by it because I went through my crisis of lost youth a year ago. It's ridiculously cliche, but turning 30 terrified me. I felt like a failure, an embarrassment, undesirable and hopeless. Yes, I was in a really dark place (and I'm not just talking about Alaska).
And then one day as I was caught up in the depths of despair, I started thinking about the past decade of my life. I got this little spiritual nudge, and I saw all of the things that I'd done: the places I'd visited, the things I'd learned, the degrees that I'd earned. I suddenly became humbled by own accomplishments and grateful for the opportunities that I had been given. In one decade, I had exceeded any expectation that I might have had for myself as a teenager. When I looked at my life objectively, it didn't look like a pathetic, failed existence but a grand adventure. And I finally saw that potential that had been wasting away inside of me.
For the majority of my teens and twenties I had two goals for myself: get married and have a family. I had lots of other dreams but I allowed my primary goals to eclipse these dreams because I thought that was what I was supposed to do. And, I spent 12 years of my life failing miserably. I didn't sit idly by. I kept busy with school and a mission and working and more school. And though I worked hard, my heart wasn't in it. I knew what I wanted and I knew that I didn't have it. And I had no idea how to go about getting what I wanted - still don't obviously. And in spite of all this confusion and turmoil, I did some really awesome things and accomplished some incredibly grueling tasks.
I think that the real mistake of my twenties, was limiting myself to one set of goals. And because I couldn't get what I wanted, I sort of wandered around aimlessly hoping that I'd find what I needed along the way.
For my thirties I am determined not to make the same mistake. For my thirties, I'm setting lots of goals. I'm going after my dreams. When I had my epiphany last year, I made a list of 30 things to do in my thirties. Sadly, I lost the list but I remember a lot of the things on it and have already accomplished a few of them (e.g. visit Machu Pichu, learn to spin, start a business, plant a garden, get a cat, learn to sail, see a whale, drive across the country and sing karaoke). And amongst the silly and the ambitious are my primary goals of getting married and starting a family. Maybe I'll accomplish all 30 and maybe I won't, but I'm going for it.