Once upon a time I was in my 20’s and I thought they would last forever. I realize that logically we start our 20’s with a finite schedule but when you are in the thick of it, 10 years seems SOOOOOO long. Now it seems so long ago and quite frankly I don’t miss it nearly as much as I thought I would. In fact it is far enough away that I can honestly say I don’t miss my 20’s a bit. As I am now surrounded by people in their 20’s this only holds true even more.
The students in my class, as I’ve mentioned before, are mostly 25 and under. There is a wide variety of personalities, skills, levels of dedication to their studies and maturity. This last one is the one I am noticing the most. Maturity. For me maturity is equal to life lessons. The more life lessons you have under your belt, hopefully the more mature you become. Or at the very least somewhat informed about how life works. As my daughter once reminded me I’m not always the most mature person but I am working on it. So while I may not exemplify maturity at every moment of my life, I have been old for a long time.
My 20’s were spent a little differently than most people I hope. Not better, not worse but different. I was accruing life lessons faster than the belt I was wearing could accommodate them. In fact I had to get a belt that was braided and not notched so it could continue to expand. At the rate I was going I was going to try to have to wear three belts at a time. The life lessons were good and bad and as studies will show, both impart their own kind of stress. I would have made an excellent case study …
I bring this up because I have begun to feel a bit bitter towards my young classmates and the cavalier attitude that most of them have towards life. They have done nothing to deserve this other than be young and free and apparently unencumbered by life’s cares. I don’t know what is going on in most of their lives so for all I know they are all battling some kind of demon or going home to a miserable situation. For the sake of my story, I’m going to assume it’s idyllic. Sort of Leave it to Beaver meets One Day at a Time.
This bitterness was somewhat unsettling. I had no idea where it was coming from. Behaviours from some of them were annoying me disproportionately to what the infraction actually was. And as the behavior was not usually directed at me, it was even more unsettling as to why I was getting crazy angry. Not to their faces but an inward rage that seethed under the surface was being carried around like a canker. It was sitting and irritating me just enough out of reach that I couldn’t fix it but was fully aware that it was there.
I have been journaling for many years and so I decided to journal about this. Maybe by writing it out of my head I could make sense of it. I’ve also been trying to discover why I comfort eat and sneak sugar so this could serve a dual purpose. Lucky for me, the spirits convened and decided to give me a glimpse in to the reason for my insanity. I am jealous of them. The 20 somethings, not the spirits. Not them personally. Not anything they have. Not any skill or project. Not how they look. But of the fact that they appear to be skating through their 20’s with nary a bump. That just ticks me off. I don’t wish bad things for them but I am bitter that my 20’s were marked by massive life changing events that robbed me of the time where I was supposed to be finding my way as an adult and discovering who I was. Some people develop maturity and some have it thrust upon them. I was shishkebabbed at 20 and am still trying to pull that stick out of my arse.
To get some perspective on my 20’s I wrote a list of good and bad things that happened in that 10 year time frame. Low and behold, while the good list was great, the bad list was really freaking long. I mean LONGGGGGGGGG. Between losing my dad, my grandfather, my grandmother and two dogs and having to deal with lawyers, estates, law suits, Revenue Canada and the Law Society was sandwiched the good stuff. Going to college twice, getting married and having my babies. This was interspersed with a variety of health issues for my mom, my new husband and myself. Not to mention my sick son that lasted in to my 30’s. Actually so did the law stuff … bit of a carry over there. I think there should be rules about that. Now do you see why I needed three belts ?
Through out the 10 years I was dealing with regular life stresses and trying to grow up and deal with stuff. Stuff that all people have to deal with. Stuff that I don’t begrudge a bit and know that it needs to happen. However – all the other crap ? I could have lived and matured quite nicely without all of that thanks. Maybe I wouldn’t be the hard ass I am today, which has served me well in some cases, but I’m ok with that too. I know we are the sum of our experiences but I didn’t think I’d have to get a degree in mathematics in order to figure myself out !
Needless to say, now that I’ve made this discovery I’m going to work very hard on letting stuff go. I can’t control other people. I can’t make them learn life lessons before they are ready. They have to go through their own stuff and find their own style of belt. Some will need more notches or braiding than others but that is their decision. What I can take control of is how I react and how much I let it get to me. What I can control is how much I eat and how much sugar I pour down my throat in attempts to soothe that angry 20-year-old that never got to be a “kid”. Maybe that’s why I got my tattoo in my 40’s. Maybe that’s why I’m finally finding myself and following my dreams. Maybe that is why I’m so lucky to be on this side of 20 and have no urge to recapture my youth.
I’m comfortable dressing appropriately for my age. I’m comfortable offering my opinion. I’m comfortable discussing odd events and sharing personal stories if it helps someone. Hell I’ve crapped bigger than what most people can throw at me and I’m comfortable with that too. I guess that is the bonus of having the crud knocked out of my 20’s. I don’t have to wait until my 50’s or 60’s to have the level of comfort with myself that I have now. I’m in no rush to age but I also have no desire to look with longing at a time in my life that was not so long ago. It’s far enough away now.