Thursday, January 19, 2012

A look back at the 30's

Well, if I had anything on my before-I-turn-forty bucket list, it's a bit too late to worry about it now since that day is rapidly approaching.  Holy cow!

I fulfilled the only urgent to-do-before-I-turn-forty item yesterday - went to the DMV and renewed my license!  I only had to wait an hour too, which wasn't bad.  When I left, the line just to pick up paperwork was about 10 people deep.  Crazy!
Before I reflect on the nature of turning 40 and what that means, let me just say that I am leaving this decade in a better place than where I was when I entered it.  I feel that I actually became somewhat of an adult over the past 10 years, and not just because I finally met one of society's standards of measurements by getting married.  In every other way, I still fall into "irresponsible" category (no house, no kids, I don't even have a car to myself these days).  However, I do feel that I've changed for the better, just like a fine wine improves.
Seriously though, I'd call myself a late-bloomer without any hesitation.  I was pretty much a disaster throughout my 20's, so things could only look up.  Fortunately, they did!
Not to reduce the decade to bullet points or a quick paragraph, but looking back, I can see significant moments that have shaped how and where I am now.  For instance:
- Moving from Seattle to Monterey, Ca.  That was a hard decision, and there were so many times in the years following the move that I questioned the decision.  However, it WAS exciting to live in California, an experience that I never planned or necessarily wanted.  I explored the Central Coast and got to know the Monterey Peninsula, Big Sur (one of those must-see places!), Santa Cruz and even San Francisco, which was an easy weekend get-away.
- After 3 years in Monterey, moving to the LA area where I've lived in 3 areas or neighborhoods, all very different.  Again, I never imagined that I would live in Southern Ca nor that I would stay here for going on seven years nor that it would feel so much like "home" to me.
- Getting hitched!  After a whirlwind two years of bicoastal flights and long weekends together, Michael gave up his super urban New York lifestyle.  It still amazes me that what started as a great fling in Colorado at some friends' wedding gained serious traction, and, well, here we are.  Cheers to that!

- Adopting Gus and Milo, obviously!  What a game-changer that was.  I was so dog-crazy a few years ago that we even started the search to buy a house so that we could get a dog.  Note that I said A dog, not two.  But we ended up with two pretty fantastic mutts who are great travel companions, accompanying us to San Francisco, Seattle, annual trips to Colorado and even to Texas!  And they are our daily companions too, enriching our lives and sometimes driving us crazy.  

- After bouncing around job-wise, I've seemingly become more responsible and stable on that front and have taken on new roles and different challenges.  It has been a great experience to grow professionally and personally at a place of work, and I do feel lucky for that.
- The 30's have definitely been marked by a range of travel, near and far.  While there are large swaths of the state of California and the American West in general that I have yet to explore, I do know some places quite intimately thanks to yearly pilgrimages (Boulder, CO and San Francisco come to mind) and have been north and south on the 5, east and west on the 10, the 15, and highways in between with stops in Oregon, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico.  Plus, a few trips to Spain and France and Ecuador.  Peripatetic indeed!
- Other changes are more subtle - better food and drinking as I've developed a taste for dirty martinis and good beer, in addition to wine of both colors; creaking bones and more grey hairs but still enjoying fairly good health; a penchant for REI, Patagonia, and 'gear' in general; dressing better for work (that's actually kind of a bummer) while keeping up a great t-shirt collection and sock collection; doing more 'couples-things' while still being an individual; getting to run again; living in a one of the most boring towns in the world that happens to have access to so many adventures.

Maybe because I am so content with where I am now, I don't have a list of improvements for myself for the next decade.  While, yes, I am still not perfect and probably won't ever be (ha ha - the "probably" is a joke), I don't need dramatic changes in my life.  If they come about, positive and negative, I hope that I can manage them without a kerfuffle*, but maybe a bit of chaos will keep me on my toes, lest I become TOO content with my life.  That is the delicate balance for me, but I've struck a nice equilibrium at the moment.
We shall see how long I can sustain it!

Kerfuffle - A commotion or fuss.


ChezJulie said...

My trajectory was somewhat like yours. My 20s were awful and my 30s were good. I found that turning 40 was just fine because I felt good about where I was in my life. I think it's when you turn 40 and you're dissatisfied that it's a bummer.

Happy upcoming birthday!

Ameena said...

Happy Happy 40th my friend! You look fabulous by the way...can't believe you've done so much at such a young age. I've always wanted to move and I will but with a kid it's so much harder.

I think that I'll be happy when I turn 40. I already feel like I look/feel better than I did in my 20's. I think 40 will have the same effect!

Kristina said...

Thanks for the b-day wishes. It was a good day - past tense. I'm officially in the 40's. Shew!

You are being VERY! I hear you on the looking/feeling better than in the 20's. It's nice to age well.

Kalli said...

i absolutely love this post! i am so happy for you that you have come to your place of yes. a place you love and you have chosen. i too feel very happy and could live in a yurt if necessary. life is good. 40's are good! happy bday to you........

Kristina said...

I'm hoping that the 40's treat me well, and I think they will - it's been a good start so far!
Thanks for the b-day wishes!