Forgot to accomplish, experienced instead

18 Apr

As I’ve mentioned a few times, I was less than thrilled to turn 24 in the middle of March and have, since my birthday, been dealing with the realization that I am now in my mid-20s. In fact, I haven’t even wanted to admit to my age lately and have, instead, latched on the term “twenty something” (and also, “quarter life crisis, but that’s a whole other debacle). When my birthday hit, and, who am I kidding, for the two weeks before my birthday, I found myself frustrated that I hadn’t accomplished as much as I thought I would. I always thought, when I thought about it in my teens and earlier twenties, that I would have a degree by now, that I would have a house by now, that I would be, um, well, more settled by now. And so my birthday was really just a giant reminder of things I haven’t accomplished and despite everyone’s best attempts to make it a good birthday, I remained bitter.

Until today, when I realized something. Somehow, through the decisions I’ve made and the paths I’ve chosen I have, perhaps subconsciously, chosen experiences over accomplishments.

Instead of getting my degree, I spent a year in Kosovo as part of a peacekeeping mission. Instead of going back to school immediately upon my arrival back in the US, I opted to get married, go on an absolutely wonderful honeymoon, spend time getting to know my husband away from the military, and get a job. Instead of zipping merrily through college, I went to basic training and military job specific training and gained the experience of living completely outside of my comfort zone for six months.

And you know what, I’m actually proud of the experiences I’ve racked up. They rock. They’ve shaped me and ultimately made me a more worldly and empathetic person, so really, why the hell am I complaining? What do I really have to complain about? That I spent a year in Europe wearing a uniform, forging friendships, kicking ass and taking names instead of finishing college? Yeah, um, no, not sorry about that.

I’m not sure if it’s the weather that’s put me in such a perky, optimistic mood (it’s over 80 degrees outside right now and so, so beautiful), or maybe the new job is having a positive effect, but whatever is, I think I’m actually starting to like me.

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7 Responses to “Forgot to accomplish, experienced instead”

  1. bejewell April 18, 2008 at 4:26 PM #

    Just ran across this on the blogosphere, and listen – you’re doing great. Wish I had done as much by the time I was 24. When you’re an old and haggard 35 like me, you’ll look back on it all and feel even better about yourself. Promise.

  2. instatick April 18, 2008 at 4:43 PM #

    bejewell – Thank you! I think I really did need to hear that.

  3. turnonthestars April 19, 2008 at 5:53 AM #

    I think we’re twins…

  4. Rachel April 19, 2008 at 8:52 AM #

    ummmm… you are way more accomplished than i’m going to be at 24! you’re such an amazing person, you have done so many amazing things with your life… thing that people like me only dream about. so what if your path was a little less that “conventional” who defines that anyway? the experiences you have had in life are WAY more valuable then some degree in something you’d probably never use. you’re awesome, don’t ever forget it girl! xo

  5. instatick April 19, 2008 at 8:54 AM #

    Rachel – thanks 🙂

  6. Kassie April 19, 2008 at 10:58 AM #

    24 is awesome and so young. you’ve had awesome experiences and i say many of them are accomplishments!

  7. generation next April 23, 2008 at 1:37 PM #

    For the first part of your post, I was thinking, “but she went to Kosovo and has had all these other life experiences! Of course she’s not behind!”

    I know what you mean though. I feel behind a little too, and I’m now late-20s. I want to change the world, and I don’t feel like I’ve done enough yet. I think we’ll always compare ourselves to others, but that can be a positive thing if it motivates us to get in gear and act on what we want.

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