I’ve been waking up in my new, light filled house for almost a week now. While the decision to not travel this winter and instead stay here and wait tables was hard to make, I’m happy thinking about the months of bike riding and kayaking I have coming up. Every morning I drink coffee and look at Connie the Bike (she lives in my bedroom), and I think, “this is my life now”.
Turning 28 has been the most life changing thing that’s ever happened to me. And I’ve had plenty of life changing experiences in my life, like every other person alive. I’ve graduated college, broken bones, had horrifying swims, backpacked through Ecuador, learned to surf in Indonesia, and rafted the Grand Canyon.
And while those were all life changing (my face got so sun burned and blistered in Indonesia all the photos from the trip feature me holding a book in front of my face, “How I Read Through Bali”), the most life changing thing to happen to me was turning 28.
I can’t quite explain it yet, but for the first time in my entire life, I signed a year lease, and got excited about it. I called and got internet, I bought a bed at Ikea and bought beer and dinner for the friends who set it up for me (I mostly tightened screws, useless!). I walk into my house now and it feels like home. It’s not scary to think that I’m locked into it for a year, I don’t feel like I’m suffocating when I realize that I can’t leave this place for 12 months.
I read someone’s blog the other day about progression. We’ve all heard the phrase, “respect the progression” when learning a new sport. I’m learning that first hand with mountain biking. But its hard to apply that to our lives as well.
Right now I’m thinking about the decisions I need to be making for this stability to be long-term. I look at my life: I should have more money in the bank, I won’t be able to replace my beater car anytime soon, I’m going to be waiting tables all winter most likely and not have benefits. I’m disappointing myself, and embarrassed to tell people my age. I’m not 22 anymore, when waiting tables is cool. I’m 28. I should have my s**t figured out.
But, maybe life is a progression. And maybe I’m right on track.
A year ago my life looked totally different. I was unemployed for half of the year, and when I did work, I couldn’t afford more than $200 a month in rent, much less sign a year lease and have wifi. I traveled the world in the winters, and yes that was amazing. But it was very unstable. I would start over every March with barely a grand in the bank and no place to live.
And this year, I have a secure home and place to live for at least a year, I have several months of living expenses in the bank. And I’m starting to think long term. Maybe that’s where I need to be, maybe starting to think long term is enough for now. I might be right on track because I’m making progress; I’m not staying stuck.
So maybe I need to have more grace with myself. I’m making steps forward, and that is what is important, not the speed of them. Life is a marathon, not a sprint. I’ll get to the place I need to be eventually, and along the way, I’ll have the time of my life.