Monday, October 1, 2007

The Twenties.

The Roaring Twenties.

An omniscient account: A Decade of Growth. They say hindsight is 20/20.

At twenty: I've been in my first apartment for exactly two months. Splitting rent with two other girls. One is my best friend. One is her acquaintance. I'm learning about how you make rent, how you split kitchen-duty, and how you concentrate on taking 18 credit hours (stupid) when you're in a newly long distance relationship with a guy who's just not that into you. (You cling really tightly, in case you're wondering.)

At twenty-one: Still in that long distance relationship. We've now broken up twice in the last year. He's broken my heart TWICE in the past two years. But I take him back. My friends forgive me for being stupid. I maintain a 4.0 GPA and am well on my way to becoming a social worker. Which is what I set out to do.

At twenty-two: Two weeks after I'm twenty two. I finally say good-bye to Mr. He-is-not-that-into-you for good. But only because he made me. Only because he was a no-show when he really should have shown. He gave me the "maybe some day we can really make this work" speech. And I gave him the teary "I can't do this any more my heart is breaking" speech. Then I took a walk in my sweat pants and smoked cigarettes. My heart was broken. But broken hearts can mend.

At twenty-two: I meet a guy! I once described a man that I hadn't met yet to a friend. I was dating Mr. Aforementioned A-Hole and described this guy to my friend, when I whispered thoughts of how I might not end up with Mr. A-Hole. I mentioned a guy that was literate, looked a little like a Ken doll, and that would do homework with me in the library. I questioned to this friend how do you spend your life (yes, I talked at length with Mr. A-Hole about lifelong commitments. Stupid. Yes.) with someone who is not all that intelligent, who does not read, who does not know much beyond his own...self? Do you know what I did with my future husband the second weekend after I met him? I ran into him at our university's library, studied with him, and walked out with him after he wrote me an impromptu poem about running into me at the library. Love. And yup, he looked a little to me like a Ken doll.

I graduated. First generation bachelor's degree. Social Work Student of the Year. With honors. And a medal to match.

At twenty-three: Career social worker. Civil servant. New wife. Dog owner.

At twenty-four: More of the same. Fixing up our starter home. Loving my husband. Perhaps starting my 401K.

At twenty-five: Man, that felt like a milestone. A quarter of a century. Still fixing up house. Talking babies.

At twenty-six: Having a baby. Brenna Michelle. July 2003.

Started grad school. I'm gonna be a school teacher. For kids with disabilities.

At twenty-seven: Grad school. Raising daughter. Working full-time. Living the dream.

At twenty-eight: New job. Moving to Omaha. Finishing grad school. Whoops! Pregnant with #2. And happy.

At twenty-nine: I now have a son. Mason David April 2006. I teach high school special ed. I learn about the fragility of life. And gratitude for my own. I have two kids. And still have a husband. I'm realizing that I did marry young. And that's okay.

Saying goodbye to my twenties. I thought it would be hard. In a day and a half, I'm beginning my 30's. Which they know. That's crap. I want my 30's to be my 30's. I've earned it. I've earned the right to not be the baby any more. To not be the youngest at everything I do.

I have been working with people with disabilities for 11 (!) years. Which is surprising to me. Because it is but a blink. My eyes are wide open though.

What is next: I can't wait for chapter three.


Alpha DogMa said...

You are on a roll! You've written some really great thought provoking posts in the last week. Good for you. I'm jealous!

Milestones aren't just for babies. They come for adults too. I've shared some that you've listed here. Really is it the universal experience to date an asshole in your early 20s? How do I make sure my sons never fulfill that role, or is being a asshole to a girl part of the milestones for men?

Anyway, welcome to your 30s. Its not so bad. You get to opt out of a lot of stupid fashion trends just by virtue of your age. You stop saying yes to everything. You learn who your real friends are. It is mostly all good!

Jenifer said...

Ditto everything ADM is universal to date an a$$hole in your twenties! Mine lasted for over 8 years though...took me much longer to learn.

At 36 I can say I am still trying to figure out me and that is OK because once you are in your thirties you kind of feel like you have earned that time.

Thanks for the peek into your world!

Mimi said...

Wow! Another fantastic post, Omaha! Oh, the twenties are busy, huh? I have my share of A--hole partners, too, but didn't meet Mr. Forever until I was alreday 30. You have so much of the hard stuff done already that I think your thirties might be really really awesome.

I'm 34, and I loooooove it. It is great to be 'an adult' and not always be the youngest at everything. Hooray and happy birthday!

Beck said...

This is great!
I dated more jerks than you could shake a stick at in my early 20s. It was like a big Jerkapalooooza.
I love the sweetness when you write about your husband - hurray for good men!

Midwest Beach Girl said...

This post reminds me of the song Strawberry wine. Remember when 30 was old? Due to the show Friends, we all made an agreement to marry someone we liked if we were still single at 30. Yeah right. Backups are for people who settle. 30 isn't old. Thirty is when you get to finally start being you. It took all of your 20's to find yourself, and now you can just be....just be happy.

nikkis30by30 said...

It's funny how, when I think about "finding myself in my 20s", I don't really think that I HAVE found myself. I have been so busy being mom, wife, daycare mom, etc., that I wonder: Have I REALLY found ME?!? I think I am starting, but not even close to the real answer. Then again.... we are ever changing..... right? Hmmm....

I must agree that this last week has been wonderful in your postings. You have been deep thinking a LOT this week. Wonder if the same ponderance will happen the week before my 3-0? (I'll tell you next week!! OLD FART!!!! ;))

Jacqniel said...

Great post, Melanie! Keep exploring and processing - there are so many more lessons to learn -and I know you will excell at them all.

aimee / greeblemonkey said...

Hi there, I tell ya, my thirties were way better than my twenties. And happy birthday!

Michelle said...

what a great recap of your 20s! I enjoyed this post; and I had a long-distance relationship that sounds very similar! LOL

Twinny said...

Funny, but the only thing I picked out was, oh my gosh Mel, you smoked? Ha Ha.