Sweet Sixteen, To You & Me.

While I’m sure most everyone else my age was out celebrating last night, I brought in the New Year with my nieces. That’s right. So, while everyone else was toasting away or watching the ball drop on TV or whatever it was they chose to do to celebrate the festival occasion, I was stuck playing mediator between a 12-year-old and a 5-year-old – as the 5-year-old insisted on talking to “SIRI” on the 12-year-old’s new iPhone that she just got for Christmas…whereas the 12-year-old felt the 20 minutes she’d already let said 5-year-old talk to “Siri” was long enough and therefore she should be able to have her phone back so she could resume playing her “super intense” (**her words, not mine**) “Clash of the Clans” game in peace. Umm, yeah. So, that’s how I rang in the New Year. Not exactly the most exciting NYE, I know…but definitely an interesting one. It’s never a dull moment with kids—especially this bunch—I will say that. While I can’t say that I particularly enjoyed playing mediator between a 12 and a 5-year-old at midnight in a fight over a phone…I can/will say that I preferred that to going out somewhere and celebrating. Crazy, right? I know how strange it must sound—like I’m some old recluse or something—but the truth of it is–that scene just isn’t me anymore. It hasn’t been for a long time.

There was a time when going out and celebrating occasions like New Year’s or Thanksgiving Eve with my friends was a given. When no one voiced a plan or invite…it was just expected. An unspoken arrangement of sorts. There were rarely any plans. Aside from choosing and agreeing on a place to pre-game, nothing was set in stone. We’d meet up, get nice and tipsy, and see where the night would lead us from there. The spontaneity was the best part of it, I think. I mean, really. Plans are predictable. Plans are stiff. Plans are boring. Who wants that?! Oh…to be 18 again. Or even 21. Just to be young again—hell to feel that young again. These days, those days seem like a lifetime ago. I honestly can’t remember the last time I went out with friends and had some pure, unadulterated, alcohol-infused fun. It’s been that long. But—sadly, yes there is a but in there—I can’t say as though I really miss it all that much. The camaraderie and company of friends, sure…sometimes. But the whole drinking to excess, making horrible/stupid decisions that I’ll likely regret come morning or at some eventual later point (because let’s face it, there’s always regrets), and waking up with a hangover that’ll make me rue the day I ever learned the word tequila or turned 21…yeah all that—not so much. Not to mention, with all the different meds I’m on for these wonderful (NOT!) PCS headaches of mine, I couldn’t go out for those drinks even if I had wanted to—unless I wanted to ring in the New Year’s in the Emergency Room…or worse. I don’t know. I guess that’s what happens when you grow up. Your priorities shift.

Or so I’ve heard… 😉

It’s funny because I think I’ve probably done more growing up in this year alone than I ever have…and yet I still don’t quite feel like an adult. Adult…the term alone just makes me shudder. It’s scary as hell…and confusing as fuck—pardon my language. It’s true. I mean, at what point do you really become an adult? I mean a real, full-fledged, card-carrying (if there were one just for it) adult?? Society would say it’s when you hit 18. Or 21. There’s a little leeway in there a bit. But that’s just an age. A technical formality, were it be. Age is just a number, after all. So what really defines the transition? Is it experience? Do you have to rack up so many moments before you can call yourself a bonafide “ADULT”—and if so, what kind? Are there certain kinds of required moments? Do you have to fall in love first—or have caused or to know heartbreak? Do you have to be challenged and fall and hit rock bottom first? Do you have to find career and/or personal success and/or know failure first? I was thumbing through this list on Buzzfeed the other day–about how you know when you’re an adult, or something along those lines–and it had this little line about “…when you start saying “Congratulations” to hearing about someone being pregnant instead of “oh, shit”…”–so, is that the transition point? Do you suddenly become an adult just because you’ve settled down and started a family? Does having a child suddenly make you an adult? I’m 28, so it seems like everyone around me these days is either getting married or pregnant or having their 2nd or even 3rd kid. And part of me wonders how much of that is because they’re truly actually ready for the responsibility…or if its because its what society expects at this point and time, you know?

I think about my grams and how when she was my age–at 28–she was already a wife and mother to 7 children. Seven! That just blows my mind. By those standards, I’m practically ancient. An old maid, so to speak. I can’t even imagine it. There’s a lot I’m unsure about, but of one thing I am certain–I’m not ready for all of that. Marriage. It’s a huge commitment, tying yourself to one person for the rest of your life…hypothetically. I’ve always been a little marriage-shy…maybe because I think about it too much and I’m too rational and logic tells me that there’s a chance–a good chance–that either him or I might wake up tomorrow or a month or year from now and decide we want different things in life. I don’t know. And the thought of throwing kids into that mix–these innocent little lives whose happiness and well-being that we’d be responsible for…well, that’s just a little overwhelming. Don’t get me wrong, I love kids. I do. And I can handle the responsibility–hell, I basically raised my sister’s twins their first year…but right now…I don’t know. I feel like I still have a lot more growing up to do first. That is, maybe growing up isn’t the right term for it. I just feel like I have/need something more that I need first. The carpools and recitals and soccer games will all come later, in due time…if it’s meant to be. Carpe diem, right? If it happens, it happens.

I don’t have the answers. I just know that 2015 brought so much growth—both personal and professional—and perspective into my life. When I packed up my life and relocated down to Tennessee all the way back at the start of the year, I honestly didn’t have a clue where I’d end up a year from then. Where I’d be today, right here. I really didn’t. I put everything—and I mean everything—on the line. I left everything and everyone I’d ever known—without a doubt, THE scariest thing I’ve ever done—and took a chance on something—someone with not the greatest track record … myself. I left New York to find myself–to figure out who I was and whether or not I could stand on my own two feet without my family there to catch me when I fell. There were no guarantees. And it was terrifying and hard—you have no idea how much so—but it was also so very gratifying and rewarding. I’ve realized a strength in this past year that I never knew I had—would never have even guessed that I had—and I’m so grateful that I did. Some don’t understand…some may call me crazy for uprooting my whole life just like that—and it was a little crazy—but there’s no denying the success I’ve found. Or the peace. For 27 years, I feel like I was living my life in slow-motion. Like it was all just a dress rehearsal for now. For right now. Now I’m finally pressing play and living in normal pace…and it feels amazing. It feels exhilarating. I don’t know what’s going to happen from one day to the next…and I love that about it.

I’m not a big believer in making New Years resolutions…but if I were to make one this year, it would be to continue that journey I began a year ago when I left out in that Jeep and crossed those state lines. The accident may have hindered things a bit…but it hasn’t stopped me. I’ve still got a bucket list of things to do, and I’ll be damned if I’m not going to at least try to do them. We only have this one life and I’m going to live mine…the only way I know how: With open arms and at breakneck speed …

So here’s to an eventful, successful, beautiful Sweet Sixteen world!

Happy New Year Y’all!!



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