You were a decade of ups and downs, trying to figure out who I was and what I wanted to be. A time of choosing paths and wondering if they were the right ones to take. Asking, “where do I belong?” in this fast-paced, YOLO (thanks 2011) life was what my 20s were all about.
Attempting to live life like there was no tomorrow ruled the beginning of this era. I thought never growing up and staying young forever was a good goal at the time. While some of my peers found themselves in their junior year of college, I decided to take a break from school and find a job to save money for an adventure.
You see, I had this grand scheme of becoming famous.
I’d been doing art since I was five, I’d participated in theatric productions, I’d taken dance classes and modeling classes, I attempted to play the keyboard, the trumpet (coronet) and the guitar at various times – I wanted to do something ‘artistic’ and school wasn’t doing it for me…
A job as a waitress was the first thing I landed, so the world of late night shifts in a downtown restaurant began. I had a goal, and although drinking and shenanigans took place every evening, I ended up saving more than $2000 after a few months of work. Deeming this enough to move to Austin, TX (proclaimed music capital of the world & halfway point to LA and future possibilities), in May 2009, I packed up and moved out.
There are a whole bunch of stories from Austin that could and probably will fill a book one day, but we will skip most for now. I did end up joining and forming an Indie-Rock band for almost 3 years, I played shows (including SXSW one year), I found and lost love, my ‘dream car’ was destroyed in a wreck, and I learned a little bit more about myself.
But before I turned 25, I found myself in a rut. I couldn’t handle the immense stress, inside my head or not, and I left Austin. I moved in with my grandmother who lived back in my hometown of Mobile, AL. I tried school again, only to realize that I was mentally incapable of such structure and responsibility. I hadn’t achieved much inner-personal growth when I could and should have, and it was starting to really show.
Ignoring my past issues was catching up to me, and I was falling. These realizations only pushed me farther down the deep dark rabbit hole of self-destruction. I found myself starting 2013 in a haze of wine and negative thoughts. Finally having enough, at rock bottom I decided to jump into a life of therapy, sobriety and meetings. For a couple of years, I tried to make myself a better person (not that I don’t still do this, it was just more of a huge step at this time). I tried to get my head on straight and tell myself that things were going to be alright.
In Fall 2013, I started school again. This time, I found out that I actually loved it because I chose a major and minor that made me want to attend classes. I wrote and wrote and joined the radio and learned and it felt like I was accomplishing something. I was!
In April 2014, I met someone who would change my life. Mark (I didn’t know his name at the time) took my order at the drive-thru at Starbucks and gave me discounts on caramel Frappuccino’s. It was a harmless crush until we went on our first date. After 7 hours of talking, eating humus and smoking hookah, we decided that more dates were in order. Well, I think you can see where that led.
In December of 2014, we got engaged. In January 2015, I found out that I was pregnant. Having moved to Odessa, TX for his first job out of college, it only felt right that I should be with Mark during this life changing time. And since I could, I did. I still wasn’t as strong (or at least I wasn’t giving myself enough credit) and I couldn’t do it alone.
So again, I found myself in the Lone star state. Odessa was okay. It was mostly desert, people seemed to only live there to work in the oil industry and my pregnancy hormones were raging, but we were together. Those months were spent by Mark working 12-24 hour shifts, us playing video games, making lots of food, going on walks, visiting our favorite Sno-cone place and my almost monthly airplane rides back and forth to my gynecologist in Mobile.
Lillian Adele was expected in September 2015, so I moved home to Mobile in August to celebrate with a baby-shower and eventually her birth on August 31, 2015 (she couldn’t wait to get out). Around this time, Mark landed a job with Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) in Montgomery, AL. So we were moving from Odessa during these events as well. I stayed in Mobile until October, and then off to Montgomery to live with Dada. We were a little family now.
In January of 2016, I started writing freelance for Montgomery Advertiser and felt better about my career path. Mentally, I was still getting a handle on life, but that’s what my 20s seemed to be all about. We moved again, for good this time (at least for more than a few years), in August 2016 to Mobile when Mark was able to transfer. I wasn’t able to stay with Montgomery Advertiser, but I finally finished school on December 10, 2016. It’s September 2017 and I can say that life has not been boring.
I’m not currently working in a ‘dream job’ or living in a ‘dream house’, but I have my dream family and things will change. I’ve had experiences that no one can take from me and I have a beautiful daughter that learns and grows everyday. Hell, I grown and learn everyday.
Life has proven itself to be on a constant change, and I can deal with that. I always strive to be a better ‘me’ and I work hard towards making our lives happy and fulfilled.
All of the inquiries about “who am I?” and “what path should I take?” are now just naïve thoughts. It’s not a clean-cut explanation.
Life doesn’t lie out its rules and guidelines for you like a readable map.
Any path can be the right path, ‘who you are’ is who you want to be, and all that really matters is that you tried. Keep on trying and keep on fighting, never giving up and finding your own joy is what life is all about.
Thanks for the ride 20s.