Today is the last day of my twenties. Weird.
When I turned 16 I didn’t feel like I had accomplished all the things I’d wanted to by then (I know, I was weird then too). So I delayed the birthday, I refused to celebrate it and basically ignored it. 21 came and went with a glass of champagne and no big deal. 27, which is my “golden birthday” someone explained to me, and one I’d always looked forward to, was spent abroad away from the people that mattered most to me. So here I am at 30.
And I’m really excited, actually. My twenties were pretty great. I had my first book published (though in a very small run by a very independent press and now it’s out of print), I got engaged and then married to the man of my dreams, I graduated from high school (again, weird, I know), college and got a master’s degree in literary theory. Most importantly, I figured out what my real goals were, how to measure my happiness and success.
And I travelled. Boy did I travel. In my twenties, I went to: China, France, Tortolla, Puerto Rico, Chile, Mexico, England, Scotland, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Greece, and the Dominican Republic. And that’s not counting the U.S., where I went all up and down both seaboards, and jaunted out into the middle a little too.
The world changed significantly in my early twenties. The first presidential election I could vote in was the one Bush stole from Gore. Bush bankrupted the country, mortgaged my future (and probably my hypothetical children’s too), and engaged us in two wars. From my teens to my twenties the country went from being more or less at peace, and having a surplus and a strong economy to being financially and morally bankrupt. My twenties have spanned almost exactly what I read once was called “the decade of broken dreams.” In my twenties the world got scary, and not just because I got older and wiser.
In my twenties my best friend from high school went off to war, and she’s there again, and she won’t be with me as either of us enter our thirties.
But despite, spitefully in spite of all this I am an optimist. My twenties were on the whole great, and I hear the thirties are even better.
This year will be one of several big changes, and not just in my age. I’m moving away from Boston finally, both in the anticipatory and ultimate sense (I hope). Next year I’ll finish my MFA. Maybe I’ll even have another book! One a decade wouldn’t be bad…. I begin teaching my first class where I get to design the syllabus next week, the first week of my thirties. Overall, the outlook is good, and big, and exciting.