Today I turned 35 and for some reason it was very difficult for me. Actually, strike that. It’s not an unknown, random “some reason.” I know why. It all goes back to a silly, completely debunked, statistic from the mid-80’s that occasionally is popularized by film, particularly in the genre of Rom-Com (Romantic-Comedies for all you out there without a uterus, cat and/or stock in Kleenex brand tissues).
My freshman year of high school the movie “Sleepless in Seattle” came out. I was young and idealized the romanticism of the film. It made me want to grow out long blond hair (check) and move to a fabulous houseboat in Seattle (um… townhouse in Missouri… eh) and of course have a whirlwind, all-consuming, magical romance much like in “An Affair to Remember” (yeah… definitely haven’t done that one yet). But more than these bucket list type items stood out; something else in the movie stuck with me. The characters were all up in arms about a statistic that women over the age of 40 were more likely to get killed by a terrorist than to get married. That’s when the seed was planted.
Fast forward thirteen years to 2006 and the release of “The Holiday” where the same statistic was touted, only this time it was 35… and they pointed out that terrorists were now a real part of our fear spectrum thereby giving the faulty statistic more credibility. That stuck. I was getting older, the statistical age was getting younger, I was still single and terrorists were very real. That seed had been fertilized and well watered. For years it has lurked in the dark recesses of my brain, growing stronger and stronger toward this day. This moment. This birthday. Thirty-Five.
35 years old just feels as if the path before me has slowly, systematically narrowed in all the directions that were once offered. And when I look back, the multitude of options behind me grow more distant, more overgrown and more unlikely as viable paths. Marriage. Kids. These things suddenly seem like less of a realistic option.
So, what to do? Maybe that’s not my path. Maybe it’s time for a new dream. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not giving up on it entirely, but… when all is said and done, if my dream of being a wife and mother is not realized, what meaning will my life have had? My guess, my hope , is lots. I want to look back on my life and, regardless of its path, be filled with the joy of knowing it was a life well-lived.
And so begin The Misadventures of Awkward Jean. Each month I’ll try something. Something big, something small — as long as it’s something. As long as I’m putting myself out there and looking for new paths, new options, new dreams; something that pushes me more toward my extroverted self and less into my introverted. I always joke that if I won the lottery I’d be an eccentric hermit. Yeah. That’s no joke, I really would.
Sooo… let’s focus less on hermit and more on eccentric. It’s not about big life-changing moments, but rather about just living life. Doing. Being. And then sharing it. And who knows, maybe somewhere along the way the life-changing moments will set in and the years after 35 will be looked upon as my having found the path that truly became the meaningful life I seek. Or, it’ll just be a collection of hilarious, awkward, cringe-worthy, good memories. Either way I’d call it a win.
That said, after many suggestions I’ve come up with the following list, in no particular order, of random things I’ll be doing and writing about in the next 12 months. I may add more to the adventure as time allows, but for now the list is as follows:
1. Get my tarot cards read professionally
2. Take a cooking class
3. Learn to meditate
4. Write every day for month
5. Take a train trip
6. Cut-It-Out (This will be a week at a time and I’ll do dairy-free, caffeine-free, gluten-free, alcohol-free)
7. Join a book club with strangers
8. Take a sign language course
9. Mystery Road Trip Adventure
10. Plan the perfect date and invite someone on it
11. Yoga (Oh. Dear. God)
12. Walk 10,000 steps every day for a month (Um.)
13. Unplug — technology free weekend
My first adventure is this Sunday, October 27th. I’ll be attending an event at the River Market Antiques where, for a mere $20, Gypsy Joan will probably get my whole life figured out in a simple ten card spread.
Oh, and as for this whole fancy technology “blogging” thing… yeah, I’m still working on figuring it out… so, be a little patient while I work on the best layouts, links, shares, “fancy blogging term here”, etc. I miss Facebook Notes already… (HashtagSoOld)
XOXO — Awkward Jean