I began this blog as a grad school project about seven years ago, and within the first few weeks, I wrote a post lamenting over being 23 and entering into total crisis mode because of my advanced age. I turned 30 two weeks ago, and it would have been more traumatic if I hadn't been completely distracted by the closed-book comprehensive exams I scheduled for my birthday. Genius? Masochistic? Mature? Actually, it was a combination of all three, because now I'm so old and boring that it meant more to me to advance to Ph.D. candidacy quickly than it did to go drinking and smear birthday cake all over my face like I would any other year. There's always 31.
Bless my little heart, back in 2005 when I wrote about my so-called Quarter Life Crisis, I was adamant about not having marriage in my five-year plan. Would you believe that mere months after writing that, I met my future husband at a party and then ended up married two years before any five-year plan set back then would have expired? I think what was most important to me back then was that doing life my own way was far more important than following some socially-imposed time line. I'm still the hard-headed sass bucket that I was back in 2005, but now the subject is fighting everyone's expectation of me producing chil'ens to carry on my chihuahua-like personality and pointy elbows.
I've made a lot of progress since 23. I'm capable of stopping at a gas station before running out of gas about 90% of the time (up from 40%), I can open a can using a manual can opener, I've successfully used a power drill, and I've made progress on kicking my (Diet) Coke habit. So I haven't learned to parallel park, get things from the top shelf, or squish my own bugs. I have to leave something to accomplish before 40.
By far, the biggest change since 23 has been learning how to share my life and space with my husband, Eric. He's a kind, patient, and tall man who manages to do and reach the things I can't (or won't). Back when I started this blog, my primary directive was complaining about the many men I met and dated. Okay, "men" is a strong word. Guys. I'm now glad that I was so judgmental and analytical, despite the angst it caused me all of those years of dating. Without holding out for what I actually wanted and needed, I would have ended up stiffed and perpetually annoyed with whoever that poor guy would be.
I'd like to say that the old adage of meeting the right person when you least expect it is true, but it's really not quite like that. I met Eric after step two of the Three Bears Process. The guy I dated at the beginning of the year before Eric was cheap and more rugged than my taste. The one after him was extravagant and prettier than I was comfortable with. Eric was just right - no weird money habits and traditionally handsome. But it didn't end there. I quickly understood what it meant to find the right person, because everything was natural. I won't deceive you and say it was easy, but it wasn't hard to have a relationship. Perhaps I wasn't ready for that before meeting Eric, because it was a lot of fun to tell crazy dating stories with my friends and strangers in the blogosphere.
Though a lot has changed since starting this blog, and I'm being a sentimental old lady now, some things haven't changed. I feel like I've just evolved and taken in a wealth of experience. I'm almost secure in my age, even though the best I'll ever get is, "Yeah, Kelly's not bad for 30 [40, 50...]" or the dreaded, "I bet Kelly was pretty hot back in her day." Maybe it's alright to have had my day. It's not like I wasted my youth sitting at home and eating Peppermint Patties in front of Teen Nick...every night. I took lots of pictures and am still friends with the same people, so at least we can enjoy the good old days together. Someday I'll long for the new version of the good old days of when I was 30, so now it's all about making the most of whatever stage of life I'm in so that older me can reminisce effectively.