Posted by: j☆ | September 28, 2010

31

I will be honest. I have kind of been dreading turning 31.

My approach to 30 was drastically different. I was excited to be turning 30 and so I threw myself — body AND mind–into my 30s…and enthusiastically had myself thrown off a plane.

Case in point: Exhibit A. (I still get goosebumps whenever I watch this video!)

One year ago, I was excited and ready to tackle my 30s, and especially after surviving a skydiving trip with my “he’s-not-my-boyfriend” friend, his brother, and his brother’s girlfriend, I felt pretty invincible.

Then came a series of events in 2010 that took me back down a notch…and left me a bit winded. I’m not going to lie. Layoff #2 early in 2010 was a doozy, but I was fortunate to spring back fairly quickly considering how horrible the economy was and still is. I never imagined I’d be doing the kind of work that I am, but I am grateful to have what I have now, and the opportunities that it provides for me to accomplish more in the long run.

As many of you know, this blog was born out of my need for a creative outlet right after my layoff. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason even if the reason isn’t evident at that moment in time. Hindsight is 20/20. Also, I’m a believer in the saying, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” (Clearly, I like cliches.)

Well, so why am I flipping out about 31 all of a sudden? After all, it’s just 30 + 1.

Is it because it seems so anti-climactic after such a big birthday? [The Big 3-0 seems to be quite the monstrosity of a birthday for most women, but I was actually excited about turning 30!]

Is it because I am not quite where I thought I’d be by this point in my life, and the realization is hitting me stronger than it did last year? [You know…being established in my career as a translator or whatever, married, 2.5 kids, house with the white picket fence and a well-trained dog, driving a minivan, semi-retired world traveler…etc., etc.]

Is it because for some reason I find odd numbers unsettling? [Yeah, I’m quirky — and I like it!]

Is it because 31 is less about celebrating my new admission into my 30’s, and more about doing the actual grunt work and putting in the elbow grease required to make this decade everything that I envision it to be when I reflect on it at age (gulp) 40 and beyond?

Is it all of the above?

The fact of the matter is, I’m lucky to be alive. I’m lucky to be healthy–mind as well as body. I’m lucky to be living near my family, back at home in the City of Angels. I’m lucky to have gainful employment that provides me the freedom to live on my own instead of having to mooch off my parents, even if it means I can’t go out with friends as often as I used to, or buy “those pair of shoes” that I actually really do need (just ask my boyfriend and he can vouch for me! ;D). I’m lucky to have Facebook and Twitter — and moreover the Internet! — to keep in touch with friends located across the world who I was fortunate to have met during my total 6 years living/working/studying in Japan during the last 12 years of my life. I’m lucky to have been to the places that I’ve been to, seen all the places that I’ve seen, tasted all the delicious food that I’ve had — as most people never have and never will have these opportunities. I’m lucky that I have to “worry” about getting fat (just ask my parents who faced starvation as kids during World War II). I’m lucky that I can run as fast and as far as I do, and that I ENJOY doing so. I’m lucky to have a wonderful, kind, funny, handsome gentleman in my life who respects me and honors me and treats me as a lady, and who allows me to love him back wholeheartedly and without reservation. I’m truly lucky…although I think BLESSED is a better word.

And the thing is, I don’t think that any of this is an accident.

I still remember the day when I learned of Aaliyah‘s death while driving back up to college for my Senior year at Berkeley with two friends (“Akzoe”, who just recently got married, and “Heavy D”, who I visited in Chicago earlier this year…part 2 of which I will be posting soon, I PROMISE, CHRISTINA~!). She was my age, and she would be 31 this year if she hadn’t passed away a decade ago.

I also recall the morning when I awoke to the sound of my roommates scrambling to turn on the TV, and watching the news on the Twin Towers in NYC and how they had crumbled into a heaping pile of rubble after being hit by two hijacked airplanes. I had just visited NYC and decided on a whim to go to the top of the World Trade Center to the observation deck in January 2001 even though it wasn’t on our itinerary.

Most recently, I recall the day two weeks ago when after singing with the “company” chorus I sat in on a memorial service for a young federal officer and saw the impact of his premature death on his family and friends through a DVD they had created for the service in honor of his memory. His oldest child is 3, and youngest is just a few months old.

Every day is a gift.
Every.single.day.

I said this last year, and I will CHOOSE to say this again:
THIS IS GOING TO BE THE BEST YEAR — EVER.
Because I’m going to make it so.

Even though I didn’t intend this post to be so heavy, I will leave you with some of my favorite Aaliyah songs. Because every day is a gift. Every.single.day.

*Rock The Boat
*More Than A Woman
*Try Again
*Miss You

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Responses

  1. 31 is not an easy number. You start to see where you had dreamed to be at this age vs where you are now. But like you indicated, you are here to see 31 where many couldn’t. 31 will be great b/c you will make it great!

    As always, your blog is a great blog. I love reading it and I can actually hear your voice. I can see how your thoughts, which to some may seem like a jumbled mess, are all connected. I can see the 6-degrees of separation. Keep writing Jamie! I love your honesty, you cliches, and your humor.

  2. Not gonna lie, I’ve been really struggling with the whole age thing since turning 28. I dreaded the 30’s and currently dreading turning 35. I’ve learned so much the last few years. More importantly experienced many hardships, just like you have. I actually thought I would not survive. But I have, and I’m feeling stronger everyday. It’s crappy to have to go through those hardships, just so you know how to handle others better in the future.

    I have several friends in their mid to late 40s. They’ve been telling me the same thing for the last few years. “Rosanna, your 20’s where never for figuring out who you were. You’re actually trying to finding yourself in your 30s. You go through lots of ups and downs, plenty of bullshit that makes you stronger…… then you REALLY start to have fun in your 40s!” Everthing has moved a decade behind what it used to be. So cheers to youfor getting one year closer to even more fun!!! Happy Early Birthday Jamie Avocado!

    • You know what I used to say in my early 20s? I used to say that I can’t wait for my 40s…but that I don’t want to have to get through my 30s to be there! Nuts, right? My supervisors who were in their late 30s would tell me I’m nuts! In any case, I hear what you’re saying, Rosanna! At least we’re all in this crazy journey called life together. I’ve got your back!


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