Twenty-Two

I have always hoped to look back on my life in fifty years and think, “At twenty-two I had it made. I was young and beautiful, thin and sexy, popular and intelligent. I was invited to the best parties, went to the best places, knew the funniest people. At twenty-two, life was perfect.”

But the truth is, I probably won’t be looking back saying any of that. The truth is that twenty-two just isn’t like that for most people. This is probably more like what I’ll be saying when I look back in fifty years:

At twenty-two…

1. I was still alternately napping and pulling all nighters in an effort to get through college.

2. I was curvy (which is a nice way to say that I never got rid of my Freshman 15…okay, Freshman 50).

3. I still watched Disney movies with a religious dedication known only to a few monks in Tibet.

4. I’d had four internships – which really meant, I had provided slave labor for a number of companies loosely related to my studies.

5. I had changed what I wanted to do with my life at least once a year for all twenty-two of those years.

6. I came out of the closet as the true nerd that I really am, comic books and MMOs included.

7. I figured out how to use hashtags on twitter. #thattookwaytoolong

8. I learned that you really don’t need to read every line in your textbook – but you actually do need to read some of it.

9. I learned how to take a “B”. Fellow Type A’s, you know this is a struggle. I didn’t say I learned to like it, rather I learned that sometimes life happens and a “B” will not be the reason you miss out on a job.

10. I beat Mortal Kombat 9.

11. I learned how to travel and explore by myself without being scared. Well, without being too scared.

12. I found that my biggest regrets were about not taking more chances and making bigger changes.

13. I found that while unplugging is the hardest thing to do, sometimes it must be done to avoid early onset carpal tunnel and premature eye problems.

14. I found that pearls and ballet flats never go out of style (Preach it, Audrey!)

15. I believed that Saved by the Bell was still quality television.

16. I realized that just because you were making life plans, doesn’t mean that other peoples’ lives will follow your directions.

17. I fell in love with a sweet boy and learned what it was like to be treated like a princess.

18. I learned to have a voice – on a blog, on twitter – and to know that if you have something to say and you say it passionately, someone will listen.

19. I learned that the friends you make while traveling and volunteering are probably the best friends you’ll ever have. (Read: go travel and go volunteer. Now.)

20. I’ve learned that friends you met a year ago can be just as close as friends you met in first grade. But both types of relationships take a lot of work to cultivate and maintain. The more you talk the more you’ll want to talk.

21. I’ve learned that you absolutely, positively, seriously need to grocery shop regularly – no matter how much you hate it.

22. And finally, I learned that it doesn’t matter if you go to all the right clubs or parties. It doesn’t matter if you’re thin or have amazing style. What matters is that when you look back, you know you are proud of all you’ve accomplished and you can’t wait to see what your next twenty-two years will bring.

Hey friends, what did you learn at twenty-two? Leave a comment and let me know!

 

…And to all a good night.

The Grinch

 

In my family, we celebrate BIG on Christmas Eve, and then get together again on Christmas day to discuss what Santa brought, eat copious amounts again, and enjoy each other’s company once more. It’s a tradition much older than I am, and something I greatly fear losing. But this year brought some changes.

First, my sister didn’t wake up with me to walk downstairs and see the Christmas morning tree in all it’s glory, surrounded by gifts. She lives a few towns over now, with her boyfriend of four or five years. They woke up, celebrated their own Christmas before coming to our house to open presents, and eventually moved on to his family’s house in the afternoon. All of which brought a second change: we had another person open presents with my immediate family for the first time ever.

The next change is that I split my time between being with my boyfriend, Benjamin, and my family. On Christmas Eve, I went to brunch with Ben, celebrated with my family, then spent time driving around looking at Christmas lights with Ben, again. Christmas day, he and I ate a dinner with each of our families in turn.

The final change is that my cousins are all growing up. The youngest is now twenty. Instead of buying for everyone, we’re moving toward a Secret Santa path – something I’ve been fighting for a long time. I love the feeling of finding the perfect gift and seeing a family member light up while opening it. To me, that’s a big part of what Christmas is about, making someone you love happy. I’d hate to not be allowed to have that moment with more than one person.

But with all these new and scary changes to age-old traditions, I’ve learned a little something:

1. Just because someone grew up and moved out doesn’t mean they’ve moved on. My sister still gets just as excited. We even bicker a little less.

2. Adding a new family member to your Christmas traditions can be strange at first, but it gets to be really great. Like I said, I love finding that perfect gift, and it just means that I have someone new to make happy.

3. It can be hard to leave family time at Christmas, but it’s so worth it to share the day with the person you love.

4. Even if your traditions are changing, it doesn’t make the day any less Christmasy. It’s about family, friends, love. That’s all. Just remember that.

 

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and enjoyed the season. It is, after all, the most wonderful time of the year!