Cause in Your 20’s, You Know EXACTLY Who You Are

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I consider myself an avid reader.  Since I was a little girl, I always loved to read.  My mom would take us to the library and I’d walk out with at least 20-30 books, finish them in a week, and repeat.   As one gets older, free time doesn’t come as easily as it did when you’re 8, but I still try to find time to read.

This morning I was thinking about the types of  books I have read over the years and how different my tastes have become.  When you’re 20, you’ve convinced yourself that you know exactly what you want and that’s how it’ll be.  For some reason, in my 20s, I convinced myself that I had become everything I was supposed to be — like I had reached the top of the mountain of “discovering me”, and this is who I’d be for the rest of my life.

Clearly, I was wrong.  On SO many levels.

(Goes back to one of my favorite questions, usually used in reference to twenty year olds who get married, but fits in quite nicely here: “WTF do you KNOW at 20?!?”)

For a long time, I was obsessed with pastor and author Max Lucado.  When I mean obsessed, I mean, if you came to my bookshelf you would most likely see 90% of his work.  Every time I caught wind of a new book, I was at Mardels (Christian bookstore) as they were stocking it on the shelf, buying it.   I remember an acquaintance was saying he didn’t like Lucado because of how simplistic he was in his message.  My counter-argument was “I love how SIMPLE his message is.  I don’t think theologically (who can at 20?), I need something easy, basic, and simple — but profound” and Lucado was just that.   I would start his books and wouldn’t put it down until I finished it.

But I bought his most recent book and I started it and never finished it.  That’s when I realized, I’ve outgrown my interest in Lucado.  It was nice while it lasted, though.

I also had a thing about novels.  In my mid-20’s I would read books by Jane Green or Sophia Kinsella and LOVE them. You know, those sappy love stories.  Single, hard-working girl who couldn’t find a man, then suddenly meets the man of her dreams, and by the end marries and lives happily ever after.    The biggest author I spent lots of hard-earned Pre-K teacher assistant on money is on, none other than one, Nicholas Sparks.   (That lying rat bastard. I want ALL my money back).  I have read almost ALL of his books.  In my mid-20’s, I ate that crap UP and was determined to move to scenic North Carolina, work at a mom-and-pop shop, and meet the love of my life on a dock of a lake.   We would also reenact the scene from the Notebook.   Then, during Christmas Break this past December, I decided to buy Sparks’ _Safe Haven_ for some light reading. I thought, that even though I’m older, I’d still enjoy it.

I almost threw my Kindle out the window.  I was so pissed off at the dumb book.  I was pissed at myself more for buying it, for thinking it would somehow be different than his other 200 books about the same thing.

What’s my point, you say?  Well, it’s that, I’m quickly learning that my interest is no longer in the “simple”.  I like books that are deeper and a little bit more gritty.   I randomly picked up Wally Lamb’s books (talk about hardcore), got into Khaled Hosseini (Kite Runner, anyone?), a big fan of Jhumpa Lahiri and Vikram Seth (East Indian fistbump!). I finished _Perks of Being a Wallflower_ a few weeks ago and enjoyed it.   I JUST finished _Silver Linings Playbook_ and couldn’t put it down.   When I’m in the mood for light-reading, authors like Tina Fey and Mindy Kaling have been my go-to books (although I made a HUGE mistake by purchasing the smut that is Brandi Glanville’s book. I do believe I lost a piece of my soul that day).

I was never a fan of books that Oprah promoted, I thought they were a bit much.  But as of late, I’ve thorougly enjoyed Dr. Brene’ Brown’s books and have been going on a highlighting rampage.

Basically, what I’m trying to say is……at 20 years old you don’t have the same interests and likes that you do at 30.   To me, that’s a sign of growing and changing, needing something more and different.   Just like I don’t want to eat baby food at 29, I don’t want to read books that don’t feed my soul in some way either, and speak to me where I’m at NOW.

This can also speak to my tastes in music (although I still love me some NSYNC even at 29), movies, tv shows……

and, unfortunately, even friendships (but I’ll save THAT for my next post).

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Still 29.

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I debated whether or not I should start this blog on my birthday when I officially turn 30 (May 20th, for anyone who is curious.  Send all checks to…..sorry, I couldn’t help it:)).   But, I figured it would be fun to fill you in on how I felt before the B-I-G day and then watch my life afterwards.

I know, I am making this sound like something EPIC is going to transpire when I turn 30.  Like, suddenly, the Earth will start spinning the opposite way or something.   I should be really honest with you, though….nothing is going to change.   More likely than not, I will be doing the same, predictable thing I have always done.   You just get a front row seat to watch.   Maybe the lesson you’ll learn from me will be what NOT to do when you’re about to turn 30?

I might make light of this, but the truth of the matter is, and to make myself sound like a guest on Oprah’s “Super Soul Sunday” — I feel a lot more reflective about myself now than I ever have before.   I am seeing and learning things about who I am and HOW I am as a person that I didn’t really pay attention to before.   It’s been uncomfortable and has, at times, filled me with shame and disappointment.   But isn’t that the point?   To realize your shortcomings and get better?

For example, on Friday, I was tweeting about how it was my last day of Spring Break and instead of being productive like I planned, I intended to lay on the couch all day long and do nothing — I was in denial that my break was ending.   Don’t get me wrong, I love my job as a teacher.  I wanted to do it since I was 6 (ask my sister and cousins who have stories of me forcing them to play school, as I was the mean teacher assigning homework to 4-5 year olds).  But, unless you’re in the throws of the job, you’ll never understand how much teachers NEED these breaks.  Teachers who want these breaks shouldn’t be berated for “not loving their jobs” or their kids.   I love my kids.   I love my job.  But I am human.  And when we teachers have poured and poured ourselves endlessly into 20 little lives every day, — days where either it’ll be fruitful or days where we’ll be hitting a wall — we get burned out faster than anyone else.  Have some empathy.

Anyway, after I tweeted this, an acquaintance I follow,  tweeted to teachers that if Spring Break ending was this traumatic, then, “please resign before you infect your class with your attitude.”.

I IMMEDIATELY responded the way I would have years ago — arms up, fists at the ready, punches about to go.   And so I did. I punched.  I hit him the only way I knew how — below the belt.   I got angry, tweeted about how people who aren’t teachers shouldn’t criticize especially when they’re sitting on their unemployed butts.  (He used to be a teacher, but became an artist).   I deleted him, blocked him, and immediately chalked it up to saying, “I’m 30 now….I aint putting up with anybody’s BS!”.

He responded with “I never heard you complaining. This was about someone on Facebook.  And I was a  teacher for 4-5 years before I decided to become SELF-employed not UNEMPLOYED”  I don’t know if he was telling the truth or not.  It seemed coincidental that it was soon after my tweet.   And my friends, afterwards, had said that perhaps he should have thought of people who follow him on twitter who could have taken it the wrong way.  All legitimate arguments, but the truth of the matter is, I lost my cool and while I basically put my character on the line, I also offended someone in the line of fire.

After a few tweets back and forth, and profusely apologizing (from my end), I spent the rest of the day beating myself up in my mind.  I couldn’t believe I blew something SO miniscule out of proportion.  Why didn’t I just handle it better?  If I thought it was directed at me, why wasn’t I adult enough to tweet him privately and ask if he was referring to me?    Why did I have to respond like an emotional high schooler?   And WHY did I have to make it “okay” by claiming that I was 30?  How does responding to something like this make me “30”?

I was mortified and it wasn’t because of WHO I got into with, it’s HOW I responded.  I am always ready for a fight.  Why do I feel like I constantly have to be ON GUARD?

So, by the end of the night, after I beat myself up mercilessly, I finally realized that I’ve got to THINK about it before I DO it.   Meaning, I’ve got to think about what my reaction should be.  I can’t be like the 20-something-year old who made decisions and responded emotionally.   If I’m going to BE 30, I am going to have to start CHOOSING like I’m 30.

I’m excited about 30…..but I can already tell this is going to be a buttface of a ride.