I spent the better part of my formative years – at least the ones that weren’t defined by my parents’ splitting up – in a small town in Central Florida. There was always so much I wanted to do, but there never seemed to be the time or resources to do it all. I would read articles in the Sunday paper about parents taking their kids to ballet and piano lessons and all of that good stuff, and I always wanted to do those things. Instead of going to concerts in middle school (and most of high school), I rocked out in my room as hard as I could to whatever 90s radio or random mixtapes I could get my hands on.
In some ways, I led a sheltered life as a child. In many ways, this was a good thing.
But it led to me letting loose in my 20s. Not in the sense of sex, drugs, and rock’n’roll (well, not as much the former two), but in the sense of being determined to have every possible awesome experience I could. And be ambitious career woman, and all.
In a lot of ways, it’s been expensive, as my personal savings are very little at this point, but what a ride it’s been. And sure, I’m to the point where I am far more settled than many of my peers, but I’m still constantly about going and doing and making things happen. To the point where I’ll spend six weeks away from my still newly-minted husband this summer to get that experience.
We’ve discussed this particular idea for years now, to the point where it’s not a thing, but in a lot of ways it’s not something we’re looking forward to.
It’s not just me running off and joining a hippie drum circle cult (OR IS IT!?), it’s me doing something to further my career in what will be the most efficient way possible before I have to officially stop being selfish. Ugh.
But as our friends grow older, start having kids (this fall will bring a bumper crop) and I feel stupider and stupider dancing at clubs and the like, I have to face the facts: it’s time to say goodbye to my 20s.
Somehow, I miss the year 2005 the most. I don’t really know why. I remember thinking at the start of 2005 that the year prior had been a really amazing one, and that ’05 couldn’t possibly live up. But ’05 indeed ended up being quite possibly the defining year of the decade for me, and the one I think of most pertaining to college. Taking 20th Century Music Analysis, and later 19th Century Music History. Writing workshop, and my writing center job in full swing. Being in a steady relationship and not worrying about stuff. Wonderful friends, a happy home away from home, college radio station marathons, old friends coming back from Michigan, helping friends deal with massive tragedy, working with all sorts of kids, being nominated for big awards, road trips to Denton, magical nights out (and a 23rd birthday where I insisted on climbing a tree near Lake Eola at about 2am). Pink high heels clopping down the streets of downtown Orlando. Sleepovers full of Tetris/Dr. Mario tournaments. Coming home from orchestra concerts to house parties. Success. Love. Friendship. Fulfillment. 2005 saw a lot of those things for me. And listening to the New Pornographers Twin Cinema album only reminds me of these things.
My life clearly has more direction now than it did then. I’ve done now what I only set out to do then. And I have a partner who will stand by me as we move onto the next phase of our lives together. As a team.
I read something the other day – on a message board. Someone had copied and pasted it from a site they couldn’t properly source. I know, right.
But it was fantastic advice in regards to a marriage. And in regards to loyalty. About a married couple being a team – a team that no one else in the world could ever be on, except those two. Maybe that sounds depressing, but it sort of shifted my thoughts on my own marriage. And that once you’re in the marriage, what it’s really all about is making decisions that will benefit the other person as well as yourself. That’s what you’re really giving up.
On second thought, simple google searches really do help:
You and your spouse are a team of two. It is you against the world. No one else is allowed on the team, and no one else will ever understand the team’s rules. This is okay. The team is not adversarial, the team does not tear its members down, the team does not sabotage the team’s success. Teammates work constantly to help and better their teammates. Loyalty means you put the other person in your marriage first all the time, and you let them put you first. Loyalty means subverting your whims or desires of the moment to better meet your spouse’s whims or desires, with the full understanding and expectation that they will be doing the same. This is the heart of everything, and it is a tricky balance. Sometimes it sways one way and some the other. Sometimes he gets to be crazy, sometimes it’s your turn. Sometimes she’s in the spotlight, sometimes you. Ups and downs, ultimately, don’t matter because the team endures.
From here. Quoting Mrs. Netzer because she says it 100,000 times better than I could, which is why she gets paid to write books.
In a good marriage, I believe that you don’t stop thinking about yourself. You just stop thinking about yourself singularly. While it seems obvious, sometimes it just has to crack you over the head. And I imagine that kids take it one step further. Once again, several years before facing that reality.
The writing is clearly on the wall, but I’m just not ready for it all. I want more dance parties and running around once a year at Art Basel Miami. I want more weekends where I can just drive long and far away and not worry about it. I’m lucky enough to have a mate who covers a significant portion of the domestic stuff whilst I’m off dreaming. I’m not ready yet to let go of my 20s. To answer the question of friends who’ve crossed the threshold thus far: yes. I’m satisfied with how I spent my 20s.
And truth be told, the wedding was a wonderful capper to this decade of my life. Both my husband and my wedding are/were more wonderful than I’d ever have imagined they’d be in 2005. Many of the people who made speeches at our wedding (and there were many) talked about the shared past we had, and brought to light some of these memories of the decade gone by, and put into very clear focus exactly how lucky I was to be where I was in that very night.
Should life get more difficult – should one of us have both of our legs run over by a truck tomorrow, or our careers and skill sets become obsolete – we’ll make it through just fine, I imagine.
And the memories of the decade gone by, with Neko Case singing the descant, can come too. They’ll just have to sit in the trunk. My husband and I are sharing the front seat.