There was a time when I was young and I had a fabulous life full of the wrong perspectives.
I was extremely happy and satisfied for all the wrong reasons.
You see, things were going from good to better and it was only natural to feel so fresh and promising: I was climbing the educational and professional ladders one step at a time, and I had a bright future ahead of me. At first, I was an energetic high school student, then an idealistic college undergrad and finally, I graduated and joined the workforce where I was sure to have a flourishing career (because, a fabulous life awaited). Each time I took a new step, I felt empowered and motivated to keep on going.
Life was full of hope and very generous. Each time it treated me with one of its goodies, I was reassured that there would always be more for me out there.
At that time in my life, I had heard from older, wiser friends, and I had also read in profoundly intellectual fashion magazines that it was very important for me to achieve my dreams. By doing so, I would become a successful person. And the more I was exposed to this wisdom on life, the more I wanted, because I was a go-getter and hungry to accomplish great things.
- My worst fashion failures
- Next time you visit a hotel, remember this
- I’m married and I’m still dating
- This fabulous mom has the life of your dreams
I wanted to be someone who dreamed big and was capable of achieving them.
So I made a plan and decided that as long as I was still young and in full bloom, I had to achieve all of my dreams to ensure that none of them went unforgotten. That’s how I promised myself that I would marry and have kids, that I would travel the world, that I would gain the highest career recognition, and that I would become an experienced horse rider, all before turning thirty.
I had a full decade to complete my checklist before I aged and wore-out.
You see, even though some people can live to over 80 years (if not longer), at that time I strongly believed that the process of aging started at thirty. At this age, you get disconnected from modern life, you are no longer funny, your gray hair starts to show and you can no longer wear a bikini because your wrinkles become ever present.
Time passed. And sooner rather than later, I was closing in on the dreaded thirty year mark.
My fabulous life was close to an end, and I was completely not ready for it.
The faster I got to my thirtieth birthday, the closer I got to the declining road of “grayhood.” I was officially going to be labeled as ancient, a dinosaur, out-of-fashion and out of touch, and there was no way to escape it.
This self-torture went on for a while, until my thirtieth birthday finally came about, but something unexpected happened: I felt enthusiastic, happy, even excited!
A surprising reaction for someone who totally dreaded turning thirty for so long, right?
Well, it turns out that on that day I realized I was no longer the oldest of a group, but the youngest of a new one. When I turned thirty, I was welcomed by many who were still enthusiastic with how young I was (to which I initially responded skeptically: Young? Who, me?).
Suddenly being thirty did not seem like a bad idea anymore. The world did not collapse around me. After all, I was still the same person. My hair did not turn gray. My wrinkles did not do a complete takeover. I was still funny (or so I like to think).
Besides, some of the points on the checklist I created a decade ago were not accomplished because in some cases I changed my preferences, but more importantly, because life simply happened.
They say that life happens when we’re busy planning other things. When we’re distracted. When we least believe in it. Well, whoever said that was very wise and I should have listened to him or her first.
Aging does not mean adding on the years, but rather gaining more experience. When I turned 30, I had built enough work experience to determine whether I needed to pursue an advanced degree, and if so, I could determine which specialization was the best for me. Around the same time, I got pregnant with my first child because I was ready.
I knew what I wanted and I knew how to get it, because I was more mature, skilled and sophisticated. And the best part was that I was still young, modern, fashionable and up-to-date simply because I enjoyed getting to know this type of stuff.
The only difference between now and then is that I’ve changed my perspective.
I’ve gained a better one. My new, or rather changed perspective has liberated me from the fear of being someone that I am not anymore: A 20-something who thinks that a checklist is the way to being happy and fabulous.
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