Today is Nov 2, which means in 10 days it will be Nov 12 and I will be 24. Not a very impressive landmark by anybody's standards, and it certainly isn't as monumental as when Mary turned 25 last month and I thoroughly enjoyed teasing her about being a quarter of a century old, but it is what it is. In the past I've always looked forward to birthdays but the milestones haven't been a big deal. I didn't care about gambling or smoking when I turned 18 and I missed the 2004 election by like a week or so. I didn't develop any kind of appreciation for alcohol until at least halfway through 22 and even now I'm not much of a drinker. I've always just sort of had the attitude of "hey, it's another year to be on planet Earth and experience life and maybe I should go somewhere special to mark the occasion." Ok, so I never sound like that - it's probably more along the lines of "It's my birthday and I want to GO somewhere. ANYWHERE. I want to go see something." Then more whining is involved.
This year isn't any different when it comes to travel since I'll be spending my birthday in Las Vegas. I've had the tickets for a while and have plans to go to shows and I'm counting down the days. The excitement just doesn't seem to be there. I'm not sure what's going on with that. It might have something to do with the fact that for reasons beyond my control Mary decided she can't go with me. I'm still going with Shantelle and she is way excited, and I think we'll have a good time, but I'm not running around like a crazy person screaming "Vegas, Baby!!! Wooooooohooooooo!" Maybe I'll get to that point when we get off the plane in Nevada.
I have a trip to look forward to, but I seem to be in quite the birthday funk. I can't even call it a quarter-life crisis because I'm not there yet, but something is definitely off. It's probably that I'm looking at 24 and realizing that I'm not anywhere close to where I thought I'd be in my life at this point. Not that there's anything wrong with my life, but this wasn't "the plan." You know "the plan" that I'm talking about. It's the one you come up with when you're a little kid and there's this big shiny future in front of you with all this endless potential and you know exactly what you're doing with it. I threw that plan out the window sometime near my senior year of high school, so I have no idea why I seem to keep getting hung up on it. That life that I had in my head isn't ever going to happen. Real life got in the way and the original plan is no longer relevant. Heck, I don't even want that imaginary life anymore, but I still feel like I've failed. I'm not really sure what that's all about, but I have a hunch that it has something to do with the fact that I don't have a new "plan."
When I threw the original plan out the window, I was 17 and I still had a big future in front of me. I took a shot at community college because I was "supposed" to (one of the stupidest decisions I've ever made), realized that wasn't the right move for me, and dropped out. What I really needed was time to figure things out. By that point I'd turned 18 and no one should expect me to know what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I needed to go out and experience things and come up with a new plan. It made sense. I spent the next couple of years bouncing around between various jobs while trying to figure out what I wanted to do, eventually landing haphazardly at my current job as a receptionist. This coming January I'll have been at this job for 3 years. I'd like to think I'm good at what I do, my boss seems to like me (that would be Shantelle - we obviously get along otherwise I wouldn't have agreed to let her come to Vegas with me), the paychecks keep my yarn habit supported, but this isn't where I'm meant to be forever and I don't know where to go from here.
The uncertainty was understandable at 17, but staring at 24 with a big empty space in front of me is pretty frightening. I know I shouldn't compare myself to anyone else, but lots of people have full blown families or pretty substantial careers under way by time they turn 24. What do I have? A job as a receptionist with no potential of growth and an ever-growing mountain of yarn at home. I should be happy that at least I have a job, especially since I was part of a major layoff last summer and others that were laid off at the same time as me still haven't found jobs (I got my job back after about a month), but that's all this is. It's a job. It's a paycheck. It's not a career or a life's passion. I answer phones and order office supplies. It's probably not the best idea in the world for me to be posting this online for all the world to see, but it shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone.
My boss and I had this basic conversation last week and she knows I don't plan on being here forever. She asked me what I want to do with my life and only one word came to mind. YARN. I don't really know what this means, but I do know that I want yarn in my future. There's this fuzzy idea of owning my own yarn shop, or being a pattern designer, or something along those lines, but I don't know exactly what that is or how to get there. I do know that I want yarn to be involved. I still need to figure out what that means, and I need a new plan, but maybe there's a light at the end of the tunnel. Or maybe it's just some glow-in-the-dark yarn. Either way, it can't be bad.