Saturday, April 9, 2011

The end of an era

As I sat down this morning to write my final post as a 29 year old, I thought about making a reflective list of the best of my twenties, or "... you know you're 30 when..." but first I opened a Pandora window, as I typically do, and as if somehow the universe knew, the music started with "Looking for Space" by John Denver.  

When you're looking for space
And to find out who you are
When you're looking to try and reach the stars
It's a sweet, sweet sweet dream
Sometimes I'm almost there
Sometimes I fly like an eagle
But sometimes I'm deep in despair
Sometimes I fly like an eagle,
like an eagle
I go flying flying 

Couldn't have said it better myself, John.  It's basically your twenties in a nutshell.  You enter your twenties fresh, green, wide-eyed, counting down the days to 21.  Then you excitedly buy your first legal drink, a flavored Absolut Vodka.  A little while later, you're driving away from your college staring out the window and thinking to yourself, "Did the last four years really just happen?  That was great.  What's next?"

You arrive back home, buy some cool, mature, interview outfits and land your first job.  The paychecks are coming in, you're traveling, experiencing the world, trying limoncello.  Heck, you might even start a retirement account and buy a new car.  Life is good.

More time passes, more of your friends start getting married.  You settle in to work and think, "I need a vacation.  My car needs a new CV boot.  Doesn't this pinot have a lovely bouquet?"

After a while you think, "Finally, it's my turn to get married."  You busy yourself for an entire year choosing lighting, cake flavors, the song list, transportation, hotel reservations.  You're sneaking in plans during work hours and preparing for your next role in life as "wife".  You sit down for a meeting with your pastor discussing exactly what that means and you realize that those past eight years of exploring and learning as an independent person have changed your outlook and you're not who you thought you were when you were that wide-eyed twenty year old.

Suddenly you've been married for a year, you're still working and you look around to think "when did everyone grow up?"  You're at a party and it's approaching ten o'clock and you're ready to get home to your cat.  No clubs, no karaoke, maybe we can just dance and sing on our Wii.

Next thing you know it's your 30th birthday.  You're back to drinking pitchers of beer and can't imagine why you would ever want flavored vodka.  Your days revolve more and more around nap times and work schedules.  

But one night after work, as you sit working on your latest sewing project, your phone rings and it's an old college friend you haven't talked to in a year.  He's in the area on business and wants to get together with another college friend.  Twenty four hours later you're sitting in a booth over some glasses of water, laughing and joking and catching up on the years gone by.  As you drive away, staring out the window, you think "I'm so glad to have such great old friends and I'm so glad to see how we've all lived life."  You find peace with your twenties.  With all of the highs and lows, the paychecks and bills, the breakups and weddings, you think to yourself "my life's been grand."

My life's been grand

I been a hand at livin' it up all the way
I've had good times and bad times and hard times and done time
But life's been a blessing every day

My life's been grand
You know I'd write home and tell 'em 
But they wouldn't believe how good my luck's been
And if it ended today I've been all the way
My life's been grand
My life's been grand

-George Strait
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