Tag Archives: birthday

Hello 32. Such a strange age.

I woke up this morning from one of my continuous wedding nightmares as of late and I completely forgot it’s my birthday. I guess that means I must be 32. This is the age when some people have been parents for a while and their kids are starting to become serious “kids” or even young adults. For me, this is the age I’m getting married, starting a new job, and maybe starting to build my family.

What does 32 feel like? I am not “old” yet, but certainly not young. There is a huge gap in behavior and mentality from myself and the youngins. Even college students, once the epitome of youthful old age, are babies, while 40-50 year olds are relatively childish and childlike. No one seems to really grow up ever, it’s just that young people change in their ways so the old youthful behavior suddenly seems like old people behavior. But we’re not much different from who we were when we were kids.

I don’t feel excited to turn 32. I’m excited I’m alive, of course, but nothing really feels like a “happy” birthday. The next birthday really worth celebrating is 50, so I have some time until then. At this point I just know my life is really rolling on and I’ve got to make some quick decisions to make it work. As each day goes by the more and more I want a family. It doesn’t help matters that many of my friends have their first child – even though few of my friends gave birth in their early to mid 20s, the majority of them hit that milestone prior to now, expect the ones that don’t plan to procreate (there are exceptions, of course, with some having waited even longer.)

I went and tasted cake last night for my wedding – felt that was a good “goodbye 31” celebration to have secretly in my mind. After 30 I think we should be celebrating the day before our birthdays, not the day of. Celebrating making it another year, the never-ending sun setting of our youth, and all of the things we survived mentally and physically in the year prior. No need to celebrate getting older at this point. Nothing to see here, carry on.

When you’re 20, or 20-something, that’s a great excuse to make mistakes. I made my fair share. Then 30 rolls around and you don’t quite accept that you’re not in your 20s anymore at 30. You try to forget the whole turning 31 thing. Then 32 is here and you can’t deny it, you’re heading rapidly towards your “mid 30s.” Biologically this is significant. As a woman, you only have a few more years left to bring life into the world. As a professional, the lines forming on your stressed forehead mean you’re suited finally for those coveted VP and partner jobs, or at least you’re getting closer to those opportunities.

You always looked young. You always got carded. You haven’t gotten carded in a while.

When we’re 2, we expect to grow significantly by the time we’re 12. Yet there is a grand denial about the aging process between 22 and 32. But, man, I’m OLDER. Older than I was. That’s how life works.

At 32, I see my family less and less. Everyone is moving away, even though I deserted them years ago. My sister may move off to the midwest soon and work weekends and holidays, so I’d only see her on specifically planned joint vacations. My parents have their new winter condo in Florida so should a work trip to the east coast occur during the months they’re gone I won’t just happen to be able to have dinner with them. I’m at that part of my life when your family unit is depleted and you must start to build your own. I am fortunate to have a partner in life, because if I didn’t I’d feel horribly alone and depressed right now. I look at us and see us aging and hope that we have a long, relatively and fairly healthy life together. That’s the most one can do, is hope.

What did I think I’d accomplish by 32? Heaven knows. I never had a plan. I wanted to have $500k in net worth, but I’m only about 70% there. Not bad. Not great. But it’s something. I never thought about when I’d have kids, just that I’d have them and not wait until the latest possible time I could, which really means I thought I’d probably have kids by now. At least I’m getting married to a man who will be a great husband and father. Check. That’s some progress. I’m terrified of this whole adult thing which I’ve put off for so long. It’s time to grow up. Goodbye 31. Hello 32.

 

 

 

 

Hello 31.

Well, I’ve made it. Another year around the sun. Another 365 days of ups and downs, laughter and tears, deep depressions and manic outpouring of not-so-situationaly-appropriate glee. It has been a year of growth and change, saying goodbye to one job and another, embarking on a shaky yet exciting advancement in my career; moving in – finally – with my boyfriend of 8 years; losing my grandfather and attending my first funeral; and — starting — to accept that aging is going to happen, and is happening, to my own flesh despite still wanting to believe that I’m forever-young invincible.

So I have 1/32 of a grey hair now, a few more wrinkles in my forehead due to my chronic state of worry, and a couple of more breaths between freak outs to remind myself I’ve been in those unpleasant shoes before and managed to survive to see another happy day. I’ve taken steps to seek the right kind of help — hired an ADHD coach — focusing on treating the symptoms vs the root cause of my psyche which, no matter how well I psychoanalyze and understand, is never going to dramatically change. I guess you can say at 31 I’ve accepted that I have a chronic condition known as “me.”

Am I 100% satisfied with myself? God no. I have a lot of work to do. I’m always pushing myself to improve all while pondering how that may be possible given my constant state of neurosis. I’m longing to become a mother despite being terrified of how that fits in with this life I’ve managed to create for myself as a business executive and otherwise responsibility-free adult, all things considered – no mortgage, no car payments, no kids, no debts – just save, save, save, and push through the lows so I can try my best to enjoy the highs. It’s the best I’ve been able do so far, but I still have a lot to give and still have a lot of getting my shit together to do.

10 years ago I had this crazy goal to save $250,000 by age 30. I didn’t really think far past that, other than a seemingly impossible objective to save $500k before I have my first child. At the time I had $10k in the bank and didn’t even have a boyfriend so it was all a crapshoot of dreams. Today I have my guy and I’m nearing a solid $300k in networth as I say hello to 31. I’m in a good spot to achieve my $500k before my first kid goal. On paper my life is pretty damn spiffy. But every day is still a struggle with all the highs and lows.

In my 30s, now that I’m actually “in” my 30s vs just starting them, I want to achieve some kind of stability. Perhaps this means medication is a requirement vs a nice to have, but I need to find consistency in my routines and slow down enough to find serenity in the everyday. Perhaps I can do that. As opposed to my 20s and before when I longed for a bit of a crazy, uncertain, constantly changing life, now I yearn for consistency, routine, and regularity. I know I’ve always hungered for the later but a fear of not picking the right route of settling down kept me bouncing from one path to the next. I was terribly lost and only the rush of impractical choice would make me feel momentarily alive and free – but the lack of stability punched me in the gut day after day after day. In my 30s I’ll admit open heartedly that I’m tired of trying to be different and letting a fear of being “just like everyone else” run my life. Maybe being just like everyone else… (even though that’s not really possible anyway) is not that bad.

What’s throwing me off most tonight is that I graduated college in 2005 when I was 21. It was easy to accept 10 years removed since high school graduation — high school was the end of my childhood — but college… that doesn’t seem that far in the past in many respects. In others it seems like a lifetime ago. Still, it was actually 10 years ago. 10 years ago at this time I was in my senior year, falling into a very dark depression that I’d spring out of only after moving to the west coast and pushing through a year of one failure after another, picking my pieces up again every time I fell apart. Senior year of college is a blur – I was lonely, confused, unsure of where I was headed, and just trying to give myself some framework to follow, some sign to guide the way. I had just returned from my first trip abroad, a summer in eastern europe studying and traveling, and continued a relationship with my boyfriend at the time who had moved to a city on the east coast for the year, and who I visited fairly frequently as a treat to escape my life and throw myself squarely into his which I never did fit. It took a move to the west coast and a serious heart-to-heart shortly following the move that we mutually agreed we weren’t right for each other. And there I was, completely alone, with no framework or guide or must-do for life’s next steps. All I knew was that I couldn’t fail – permanently. I had to get up and keep going. And so I did.

Well, so now I’m 31. I have a goal to have my first child by 34 at the latest and the fact that that’s three years away probably scares me the most… especially because 34 isn’t even a “young” age to have a kid and I’d like to have at least two. It’s crazy how fast time flies once you’re in your mid 20s. I guess it’s strange because childhood is this extremely slow moving set of years where you’re growing and learning so quickly that every day can seem like a millennium… and suddenly you’re thrust through a magnetic launcher and boom you’re rapidly accelerating towards the rest of forever and you can’t stop it… you just have to try to breathe and appreciate the sights and sounds and wonder as you rapidly approach the end of your ride. I’m sure I’ll feel the same way at 35 and 40 and 50 and 60 and beyond, and even more so. And miss the days when time was long, the nights where the sun seemed like it would never set, the mornings rushing out the door and chasing after the school bus in excitement because of a certain topic to be discussed in class or an after school activity to be held that day.

My goal for this year is to find some sort of similar excitement in my life again -in a sane, healthy way. I’ve lost a sense of happiness, a sense of wonder, a sense of joy. Life has become a calculator of finances and hours in the day to fill with work and getting stuff done. While these are first world, middle class problems they are my problems nonetheless. I’m looking to establish my own independent sense of adventure and peace with solitude. I know this year will bring about lots of change, perhaps more than the shifts in the last 365 days, and I hope I’m ready for it. I approach my 31st year with wide eyes, an open heart and an open mind. Come on 31, bring it.

 

 

 

 

Her First Grey Hair… and Turning 31

“You have one,” my boyfriend exclaimed in a taunting manner. “I have one what,” I asked, half paying attention. “You have a grey hair,” he said, giggling, knowing that he was pushing my buttons just a few days before turning 31 (to be fair I’ve teased him re: his own grey strands for years now.) “WHAT,” I exclaimed, suddenly feeling the blood rush away from my face, breath stop, and the panic of time punch me smack in the stomach for the nth time this week. If turning 31 wasn’t enough god though to start the decolorization process of my hair as a gift for surviving another year.

Now that I’m about 31 and topped off with one silver grey hair (or, apparently, the start of one in about an inch of root) it’s very clear that in order to accomplish anything in the life of mine I must make haste. It’s so easy to get lost daydreaming about the meaning of all this and coming to yet another lapse of solid conclusion. I think back to the days when I felt excitement for the future, for moments, for all the ups and downs of life… and I try to swallow the memory of those days when there was true unfiltered anticipation and trepidation… today I’ve completely lost that part of myself. I look forward to absolutely nothing.

Maybe that is being my bipolar self yet again, perhaps I’m in a depressed phase. Or maybe this is just the way a rational person approaches life. What will the next thing that I look forward to be? A year ago I took a trip to southeast Asia with a friend and I was somewhat excited about that – it seems travel to new places is the only thing that really excites me anymore, yet I don’t like traveling on my own and I don’t actually have time to travel with work. Instead, I just am trying to be heads down, really focused on my job. I know I’m in such a fortunate place where I have a great position in a company where I actually am interested in the subject matter and I like the people I work with and I’m getting paid well. Everything is going so great. I should be extremely elated right now. But happiness is not what I feel. I feel the rush of saving money each month. The rush of knowing that I’m increasing my networth so one day I can be free – but even if I could actually accomplish financial freedom what would that actually buy me? I spent two months without a job and I was miserable and ready to go back to work by the end of the first week.

I am convinced that the next thing I’d be actually excited about is having children and seeing them grow up and go through their own phases of over excitement in discovering their new world. Yet I don’t see a life as a mother and life as a startup executive jiving together. I don’t think I can do both. Sure, some women can, but I’m barely able to handle such a high-pressure job without the kid(s) nagging for my attention and time. I’m pretty sure I’d fall completely apart trying to do both at once, even with the support of a future-husband who would be more than thrilled to stay at home.

And, of course, I shouldn’t rely on children to resolve this emptiness in my life, the hollowness in my heart. I don’t have time for hobbies but I’m sure if I had the motivation I’d figure out a way to make time. I don’t do well in a life without structure yet I’m terrible at making structure for myself. The days and months and years just tick tick tick on and on. Soon more grey hairs will pierce through my scalp, swallowing the vibrant strands which tease as the remnants of youth. Meanwhile I’m watching my always angry father fade away from his cancer and my mother continue to nag as she nags and all of life just slip past as I beg of it to stop so I can embrace it as fully as I once did, back when every moment meant more than it should have, instead of near nothing, a fractured fragment of its absolute worth.

Growing Up and Growing Out of My Life

It’s the last year of my 20s. There is so much that I’ve accomplished in the past 9 years, yet I am struggling with wanting to create a more stable life for myself and trying to save a sizable amount of money. I want to be able to applaud myself for having built up a networth of $200k by the age of 29 (well, it’s down to $194 again, but should be up to $200k by the end of the year) but I just don’t feel accomplished. I feel more scared then ever. $200k seems like nothing that could easily disappear should I not have a job for a while or have some horrific health incident.

I also still feel uncomfortable in my own living situation, which granted, is a lot of my own fault. I’m not the easiest person to live with. For the most part I try to keep to my room, but if I ever spend time in the common areas I just have a natural tendency to be a little messy, and my roommate is a bit of a neat freak. I actually really enjoy living in a neat apartment, so it’s been nice to have her so focused on keeping the common areas clean which I could enjoy from afar while I walked to my room. Still, I just want a place to come home to that feels like home. And I’d like to be able to simplify my life and focus on keeping the place clean.

So I’ve looked on Craigslist to see what’s available. I’m paying $650 a month right now for a small room in a 3br / 2ba. I practically have my own bathroom (long story) so it’s really nice. And the complex is lovely with a pool and overall I like the place. It’s a 30 minute drive to work. There is free laundry in-unit (which is basically unheard of in apartment rentals) because this is a condo that’s rented out.

For a one bedroom apartment of any reasonable quality in a decent area, it would be $1500 minimum. More like $2000 a month. Studios aren’t much cheaper. Then there’s all the utilities I’d have to pay for on my own. It just doesn’t make fiscal sense. I’d be best off staying here as long as possible and saving the money. It makes up for all my shopping splurges. Otherwise I wouldn’t be saving nearly this much. And my goal next year is to save (with interest) another $50k. How could I do that spending another $18k a year on rent? That would just be stupid.

So I’ll go back to hiding in my room, trying not to offend my roommate with any ounce of mess, and hopefully she will forget I live at this place for a bit longer. At least another year of saving. Once I have a quarter million in networth, maybe then I’ll feel like I can relax a bit. I’m just so frustrated because I feel like I’ll never have the kind of control I want over my financial life. I know, I know, everything is so superficial, but I want a nice house and a life where I can buy my clothes at Nordstrom or Bloomingdales without having to worry about it. I don’t need to buy $1000 designer jeans but, my bras cost $60 a pop and my jeans do cost $200. I spend $300 on makeup some months because it makes me happy. I still save a good 25% or more of my income. Because I am paying so little for rent. Because even though I spend too much on clothes and food, I don’t really have much of a life and I don’t spend on anything else.

I am just tired of being so focused on saving, I guess. Which is stupid – I need to save. But I look at other people I know who are my age and for the most part they aren’t as worried about money as I am. Heck, my boyfriend who will be 31 in March has not saved a dime and he just quit his job. He hasn’t even opened a Roth IRA yet. Not that I want to go to that extreme, but here I am making $100k plus bonus and I am still worried about spending $1.5k – $2k a month in rent. Which is what I’d need to spend to live on my own. If I can’t afford that with a six-figure income, who can?

The Obligatory What I’m Thankful For / Birthday Post

Tomorrow, I’ll be turning 28! That’s a big number. It’s one of those numbers that is only scary in how it’s only two years away from 30. I’ve always felt ones 20s were still a time for trial and error, but come my 30s, I need to get serious. About everything.

I think I’m way ahead of where I thought I’d be in terms of my career, but otherwise I’m still a bit behind. I didn’t end up going to graduate school (though I still dream of getting an MBA and/or a painting MFA one day), I’m sans an engagement ring, have no bun in the oven, no mortgage, or any long-term commitments and responsibilities. Quite frankly, outside of living a fairly hum-drum life in the burbs versus spending my 20s in the big bad city, I think I’ve done my “pre-30” 20’s justice. And I have two more years left to close out the final chapters of my self-defined youth and move on to actual adulthood.

That said, it so happens my birthday falls on Thanksgiving, and at this time of year, every year, I think about what I’m thankful for, and there happens to be a mighty long list to review.

I’m so fortunate to have all the opportunities that are on my plate right now, even though sometimes I get frustrated with my own abilities and insecurities. I’m thankful for my family, for my friends, for my wonderful boyfriend, and for things always managing to work out as long as you push through the hard times and just don’t give up.

Most of all, I’m thankful for coming to terms with and accepting that happiness is not made of, or from money, and that I may just be happier in the long term without it. I’m thankful for being able to see the world in a different way than my parents, and that one day I may be able to pass on these insights to my own children. I’m grateful for being able to travel for work to see my family anyway, because I love them and all their nuttiness, because who they are made me who I am, for better or worse, and there are some days when I even like being me.

And I’m thankful to you… my blog readers… who come back and read of my ups and downs of life, and leave me thoughtful comments, or don’t and just choose to read and be anonymous, and for knowing that my honesty might be helping someone else out there know s/he isn’t alone, that there are always down days and up days, but we’re all in this big pointless yet spectacular life together. So thank you for reading.

Girls Just Want to Have Fun

When I was filling out the “10 financial commandments for your 20s” post, one of the commandments said that you should be focusing on having fun in your 20s. That one bullet sent me into a bit of an identity crisis. I started to try to remember what I consider fun… and it was really difficult to find something. I’m struggling to find anything outside of my job that is fun in my life.

I’m turning 28 next month, and while the birthdays before this one haven’t felt significant, I am starting to feel, well, old. Now, I know some of you who read my blog are much older than I am, and I don’t mean that you’re extra old. I’m just saying that — as the world around me ages — I question not just what I’m living for, but also what I’m not living for. One thing I’ve realized lately is that I’ve died a few times so far in my life. For instance, the young me that I once was died a long time ago. She doesn’t exist any more. She might not be buried under ground, but she’s just as dead as a corpse. And although I never loved her, I still miss her and need to take the time to morn her passing. I also need to remember what made her happy, and try to bring some of that back into my life. Continue reading

Boyfriend’s Birthday Gift… Late, and $100 Cheaper

This year I wanted to get my boyfriend something special for his birthday this year. He has been mentioning how much he wants a guitar every other second, so I figured that would be a good, useful gift to get him. But I know nothing about guitars. My only requirements were that it had to be electric and blue, and cost anywhere from $300 to $600.

With a little research I learned that decent guitars start out at $1200 (Fender American Strat) but as much as I love my boyfriend, I wasn’t going to spend that much on his birthday gift. Instead, I did a little more research. I didn’t want to buy him a crappo guitar, so I figured I’d spend $700 at most if I could find something decent.

That led me to the Epiphone Les Paul Standard Plus. Knowing nothing of the difference between Gibsons and Fenders, other than the name, the price and reviews seemed right. I looked for it online and found it for $650 w/ free shipping and a one year warranty. I was sold. So I ordered it.

Something went wrong with my order and I’m glad it did. When I went back to reorder it, I found they put it on sale and it was $100 cheaper. Their loss, my gain. Spending $550 was much better than the original $650 pricetag.

The guitar is scheduled to arrive anyday now, but I’m worried I made a stupid move in buying such a pricey gift that may or may not be a good guitar for him. Granted, he’s never played guitar before, but a guitar is such a personal thing and he really should go shopping for one. But he didn’t want another gift certificate (how boring) and wanted to be surprised with an actual gift. I also didn’t get him a Christmas gift so I could save up for a bigger gift for his birthday. And I’m sure he’ll love it as far as concept and overall open impact goes, but the guitar may not be right for him.

I think I should have went with the Fender, even though it’s like, double the price. He’s more of a classic rock kind of guy and upon watching some videos on YouTube about the Fender versus Gibson/ Epiphone, the Fender sounds right for him. Ugh. Well, I guess we can return it (shipping it back will be a bitch though) and he can trade up to the Fender if he wants.

Do any of you know about guitars? Is the Ephiphone Les Paul Standard Plus a decent purchase for a newbie player who likes 60s rock?


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