The Eighty Year Old Twenty Year Old

How come no one ever warned me about how hard your twenties are?

Well first, let me say hi. I returned last week from a medicinal tour of America. Yeah! I had to see my doctors in Colorado and Miami–Which means I had to take part in modern American air travel which means I felt like crap a lot. I went to Colorado and felt absolutely terrible the whole time I was there. The funny thing is, despite feeling awful, I had a really great trip. I stayed with my grandma at her assisted living residence. But judging what my days were like and what her days were like, you’d guess I was the 83-year-old and she was 28. She lives a very active, involved, and social life. She wakes up by 5 and it seems like she doesn’t stop until she sits in her recliner chair at night. She can hardly keep her eyes open through the news. Me, I slept mostly. She brought my food at normal food hours and finally after being completely fatigued and short of breath for 3 days, my uncle Mike hooked me up to her oxygen tank she uses at night.  So I looked like this most of the time.

 

Air please thank you.
Air please thank you.

The extra oxygen helped, but I was still out of sorts the whole time. Weak, Dizzy, Fatigued Yada Yada Yada. Luckily my grandma is one of the easiest people to be around. We talked a lot while I was there. I love hearing her stories. I love how happy she is at her age. I love that grandmas exist. I used to fear growing old, but watching her, I don’t anymore. In fact, I’m ready to stop being young and stupid.

I ask about a warning I never got because this Saturday I will turn 29. The last year of my twenties. It seems typical to freak out a little when the big three-oh approaches on the horizon. I sense that a bit. But at the same time, my twenties have been really hard. And nobody warned me! Though I don’t know who would, and it wouldn’t really make a difference would it. There’s been tragedy and heartache and some things I didn’t think I’d find my way out of. But, alas, I survived. I laugh because the more people I ask about their twenties , the more I hear people say that those were some of their toughest years. In fact most people said their 30′s were great and my grandma insists your 40’s are the best. Hers were anyway. I don’t know what makes them so, tortured, your twenties. Mine have felt mostly uphill. You know how babies go through the “terrible twos”? Well maybe your twenties are the adult version of that. I think it’s an odd time. You’re no longer an adolescent at all, but the college experience isn’t quite a real-world experience. I went to a University of 30,000 people, but still, it felt like a bubble. After leaving, it felt a little, anti-climatic? It’s like you’ve got all these credentials to prove that you’re an adult now, and the world expects that from you. But there’s still so much to figure out. Then again, I guess everyone is still trying to figure it out. The most important thing is to figure yourself out. I guess by your 30’s you’ve got a pretty good grasp on who you are, and that makes things easier in general. Have you ever hung out with someone who is unsure of themselves, who needs approval for everything? It’s exhausting, and it stems from not having a good hold of themselves. Sadly, we’ve probably all been there. I have to say that not really having my own home or my own money sort of stripped down my identity. I had to start over in a way. It was humbling but it also helped me get to know myself better. When you lose all these external things, it forces you to go within.

Then again, I can’t deny that my twenties had some amazing parts to it. I fell in love for the first time. I lived in France. I published my first article. I traveled and I made incredible, life long friends. I wrote a blog that became bigger than me. It’s had its perks. But I must admit, a part of me is banking on it getting a little easier in my 30’s. Like I’ll really get to enjoy all the wonderful things I’ve gathered with me along the way. A girl can dream.

A few days ago, I found a journal that my dad kept. It feels like I found lost treasure. Of course it’s always extra special when you’re reading someones written words after they’re gone. I read it with such a sense of wonderment. I was only 12 when he died, so I wasn’t really able to experience who my dad was an adult. I feel sad to have missed out on it, but at the same time, reading this journal has helped me to know the man I wasn’t able to know as a kid. I admit I completely idolize my father. It’s easy to do–he was a wonderful person and anyone who knew him would tell you that. He was a lot of people’s best friend. I’ve only ever heard of the wonderful things he did and the amazing person he was. I remember him yelling only once, and that was at my sister for not eating the disgusting buckwheat pancakes he cooked for breakfast. That night he bought her yellow roses, apologizing for having gotten upset.

In other words, he was Mother Theresa. And I often wonder if I am living up to how good he was or how generous he was. Furthermore, I compare other people to who he was, setting a really high bar particularly for the men in my life. Which is for the most part, good. It’s fine to have high standards. But sometimes I wonder if the bar is set so high that no one could live up to it. I need to remember that my dad was still human. He got upset sometimes. He judged people sometimes. He even cursed at our dog Bacchus while throwing rocks and chasing him down the street in his suit and tie. He slipped up like we all do, and I need to remember that. Reading the journal has brought to light the very human nature of my dad that I sometimes forget was there. The best part was, in the journal he describes each of my siblings and me and what makes us each unique. There on the last page were his words about me. Reading them was such a gift. It felt like I was sent an early birthday present, from somewhere over there. :)

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Anyway, I’ve become a little distracted. I try to write but I just feel more an urge to read.  Which is OK so long as this doesn’t turn into a writing breakup. I need to stay focused. But it’s been gloomy and grey and rainy out–so it’s perfect read and nap weather. Know what I mean jellybean? Anyway, all this reading and napping jazz has me worn out. I’m off to dream world.

Health, Happiness, Twenties.

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13 thoughts on “The Eighty Year Old Twenty Year Old

  1. Around the very first 7 days associated with Christmas, my personal Kafkaesque adore delivered to me personally; five satanic stalagmites! 4 300-year-old goatherds, three lactose-intolerant knights, 2 unlicensed basics as well as an income-tax type in a pumpkin.

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  2. Ugh, thank goodness for your blog. I read this other blog on Generation Y and being twenty, and she’s always going on and on about how it’s the best time of life. While I’m over here loosing my mind. You’ve put in to words all I’ve been feeling and I just want to hug you. And sit down, and say PHEW, thank goodness. And maybe cry.

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  3. I turned 29 in May and have ME/CFS. I totally know what you about your 20s being hard, about leaving University being an anti climax. Teenage years were just confusing and 20s have been a battle. I feel now I know much more who I am, I am looking forward to my 30s! Your Dad’s journal is such a wonderful find – happy early birthday present! I’ve just discovered your blog, I look forward to following you.

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  4. The 20’s was rough, but as time went on to 30’s things get better. I pray for the best for you and happier days to be, I believe they will. Your writting was very enjoyable. write. We all send our Love.

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  5. What an amazing treasure to find. My father died when I was a little girl too. My therapist told me that learning more about him can help with the healing. So I think you found a wonderful healing tool.
    Your strength is so inspiring. I am bed ridden too and am finding it so hard right now.
    Have a great last year of your 20s!

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  6. wow, you may be feeling a bit crummy, but you don’t look sick or hurting at all!! In fact, I honestly wouldn’t have thought you were anywhere close to 29! Either way, I sincerely hope you can keep up this determination; you’re really inspiring!

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  7. What an early birthday gift you got! Your Dad’s journal-he saw what makes you a great person and a great writer. Happy early birthday! By the way, each decade you hit gets better-at least it did for me. Don’t fear that big 3-0. You’ve got a whole year before you even get there. Take care.

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  8. Happy Birthday in advance! Your dad’s journal seems to have come just in time too :) I hope you’ll be strong enough to enjoy your day because you deserve it, with all those peaks in your 20s and all! Cheers!

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  9. Long but lovely post…Yeah teenage was confusing, twenties were tough and in thirties i feel focused..keep reading and come out with some more interesting posts :)

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  10. How long have you felt this way? are there any treatments that you have found that actually help? I’ve been feeling like this chronic fatigue syndrome might be what is making me feel so tired all the time. I very rarely feel wide awake and energetic. I feel like I could spend my day’s sleeping most of the day or just lying around… this is not like me at all… Just wondering if you have found anything that really helps?

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