Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Long Road/ Wait...I'm thirty?

"As it turns out, every map has an artificial edge prescribed by those who define its scope;
who draw the thick black line, however arbitrarily,around the edges of the world. But here, at the edge of the map,where it tells me the road should end by way of a thick black line, I can see quite clearly that it doesn’t. And to be sure, I’ve taken the step;I am proof that the road keeps going..."

                                                                     Cheryl Lawrie
 When you're 10, turning 16 seems like its never going to happen.When you're 16, turning 18, though slightly terrifying (but mostly liberating), seems to take an eternity.Then there is 21. Let's not talk about 21. Most of you probably don't remember it anyway. But somewhere between 20 and 30, its like God presses the fast forward button and BAM! There you are.10 whole years come at you like a whirlwind and by the time your 30th hits, you're not sure what the hell just happened to you but you're frigging exhausted. And as of tomorrow, that's where I am.30. Ho-ly-crap. I'm 30. What?
Its funny to me about birthdays. What is traditionally thought of as a day to celebrate one's life, I find we often use a mile marker in our lives. 16 = car+freedom. 18= independence from parents. 21....well..we discussed this earlier. 25 is your mid-20's. I could go on....but I won't. When you're younger, you build these up as defining moments in your life, which is great....until you pass them by and head towards the one that most young people dread......30. Turning 30 is built up as a sort of terrible ending to an awesome story. "Well, you're 30 now...time to stop having fun."
I always dreaded turning 30. I had so many plans, so many things I wanted to accomplish before then. When I was 18, I was sure that by this time I would be married to a hunk and have a whole bunch of kids. I was going to be living in an awesome house on several acres and organic farm. I was going to have written several books and home school my kids. I was going to have lost a bunch of weight and teach my techniques to other women.So basically, I was going to use my twenties to slowly morph into 1950's housewife meets super woman. And every year that passed, I was so upset because I wasn't going to meet my deadline. I had until I was 30 and that was it. If it didn't happen by then, it never would. Imagine my depression when my 29th birthday hit and I wasn't even close. That's life is over. So long dreams.
About a month ago, I saw the poem featured above painted on a wall at music venue. I just sat there, mulling it over. I had been questioning my life and the direction it had been taking for awhile. As I read the words, I thought about how life is like a continuous road. All these little milestones, these little pit stops ( turning 18, turning 30) are just that; momentary hesitations on a continuing journey. We treat these moments as if they're endings...thick black lines that define the edge of our map. We reach them and then, that's it, its all over .This isn't so. We are in the middle of an ongoing journey that began before we were ever created and will continue long after we're gone. There are no limits to what we must accomplish and when. Its what you make of a whole life....not just a piece of it.
30 isn't an end for me. Its a hesitation. I have so much road ahead of me. Screw the black lines.

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